Tourist troops with B 40s and AK47s. Ta'Prom, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 1995


Medic inside stone temple. Ta'Prom,Angkor Wat. Cambodia 1995It was surprisingly cool inside the ruins of Ta’Prom, one of the few sites where the jungle had not been cleared away. Periodically a Cambodian army patrol armed with Chinese weapons,outfitted in American camo,web gear and spit shined boots,dutifully marched past. They hoped to calm traveler’s fearful of Khymer Rouge or armed bandits.

Early one morning I strung up my old GI hammock in the jungle behind the temple. The guards found me reading a book.

“Why are you here?” they asked.

“I’m reading a book.”

“Aren’t you afraid?”

“I just want to be alone.”

They gathered around me. “May we see your passport?”

They checked the document, shook their heads and departed. A few minutes later the paperback slipped from my hands as I fell asleep.