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Old 07-02-2011, 12:26 PM
gary
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mt. Kuring-Gai
Posts: 5,589
Landmine clearance sign, Beng Mealea, Cambodia

We had hired a driver for the day to take us to the remote jungle
temple of Beng Mealea. Though only 63km from Angkor, the trip takes
several hours. This particular site had been a Khmer Rouge stronghold as
recently as 1996 and sees comparatively few visitors compared to Angkor.

When we arrived, I purchased a couple of entry tickets from a woman wearing
the drab official uniform of the Ministry responsible for administering the country's
ancient sites. As she passed the tickets to me, I noted she had lovely manicured hands
and as I glanced up I could see under the peaked military-like cap a beautiful
face. She didn't smile and I thought she looked a little sad. I guess she may have
been about 19 years old.

She told us in English that because some climbing was involved, a guide
was necessary and was included in the ticket price. She led us down the path
to the spectacular ruins and we attentively listened to her as she pointed out
various points of interest. Eventually, we reached some steps we would need to climb
and she introduced us to another guide who would take us from there. She had such
a lovely face to look at, if not a little melancholic, I felt a little disappointed to
have to part with her company.

An hour or so later, having scrambled over the ruins, we came to the front of
the temple complex again and our original guide was there to meet us.
This time I was happy to see she wore a smile. As is the custom, I handed
her a gratuity, stepped back, clasped my hands together, gave a bow and thanked her.

When I bowed down, I caught a glimpse of the gap between her black polished
shoes and the cuff of her uniform trousers and I could see for the first time that
she had a pair of artificial legs.

The problem with landmines is that they are a barbaric, indiscriminate weapon,
that injure and kill the innocent and often young, long after the conflict is
over.

I don't think I will ever forget that young women.



The next photo will have a "yacht" in it.
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Last edited by gary; 07-02-2011 at 12:37 PM.
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