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Entries in cambodia (2)

Thursday
Jul042019

Take The Orange Pill 

Another brilliant Banlung day bloomed bright. Infinitesimally small intense waves and particles traveled at 186,000 miles per second.

What you don’t see is fascinating, said Ice Girl. She and Leo heard the clatter of tourist utensils singing near dumb thumbed Angkor Wat guidebooks dancing with dusty beggar children hawking vignettes at a medical clinic.

The Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap has 22 beds in one room. They are filled with infants wearing air hoses in their nose. They suffer from pneumonia, tuberculosis and dengue. This is common. A parent holds a tiny hand.

I.C.U. has five occupied beds.

400 mothers cradling kids wait to see a nurse. She dispenses free orange generic pills.

Life is a killer. Life is a generic placebo.

The mothers are happy to get SOMETHING, anything. They have no knowledge about modern medicine.

One effective blue pill costs $1.00. Parents need to buy 15. 

$15.00 is a fortune. Out of the question. Parents accept free ineffective orange drugs. Parents need a miracle.

How much does a miracle cost?

Mothers are hopeful. They wait. They have ridden on the back of cycles from distant villages. Everyone there had an answer for the child’s sickness. Babble voices of genocide female survivors sang remedies. Men pounded drums. Relatives prayed and burned incense.

A shaman dancing with death smeared chicken blood over a tiny chest. Another healer waved smoking banana leaves over a child running a fever.

400 mothers waited forever to see a nurse and get an orange pill.

Chapter 22 Ice Girl in Banlung

Ling's art in Laos

Tuesday
Jun252019

Conversation Dies

"He didn't believe in countries and the only borders he respected were: Borders of dreams - musty borders of love & indifference. Borders of courage or fear - golden borders of ethics.” - Roberto Bolano

The beauty of travel is the anonymous sensation in a crowd.

On a Sunday all the Khmer men gather for coffee, tea and stories.

Do you take milk with your stories, said one. No, straight.

Some study another's face and words.

The majority study cell phones or a Thai music TV video.

I love my phone, said one, it allows you to give up your consciousness.

Others study a conversation disguised as a peddler pulling his trash cart

down a street squeezing air

out of a worn plastic bottle to summon the attention

of a survivor waiting to hear the air

knowing they can pawn junk

perhaps an old family heirloom or weaver's word loom

in a Lao village along a river stream of consciousness.

No one bothers the stranger writing or drawing in a notebook.

He's been here many times, many places on Earth.

Men sit and stare. Trembling eyes pursue the endless stream of life.

When a face-to-face conversation dies someone picks up their phone to call another conversation.

I just called to see if you're alive. Amazing.

Have you eaten?

Yes. Today was eggs and rice, tomorrow it's lobster. Ha ha ha.