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Coffee and Cambodia

There is a lot of news and speculation what Cambodia will do in the next days as far as reopening all segments of the economy including welcoming vaccinated travelers back. There are a few expat forum sites which cover the news and the time is getting close to when they decide. Cambodia has really achieved in a significant way with vaccination efforts across their country. It would be interesting to see them open before year's end but I really think it will be starting next year. I lived there for some time in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Kampot on a retirement visa extension. Easy, really easy to get.

My Khmer friend AV lives outside of Phnom Penh and proudly tells me she has been completely vaccinated and now it is time for me to come back to see her. Over my morning coffee, I peruse the expat forum sites I read on occasion. There is a lot of hope now especially among older retired types that have connections with Khmer people and have not been able to see them for over a year. I think on going back every so often but this is the closest they have come to actually opening all sectors of the economy including full access to the country. Many places offer limited views from an island or resort in one place but the real fun and enjoyment is going. I rode buses and flew all around Cambodia at one time and had a blast.

So over morning coffee and perhaps breakfast soon, it gives me pause to consider what the opening really means. It means Southeast Asia is reachable again but one big thing is that all these countries are joined by more than borders. There is trade, tourism, commerce and the ASEAN block work together on these things.

Pretty evident that all these places share a common thread of life and commerce. It used to be that travel across these borders was a routine thing. Flights to Saigon from Phnom Penh took about an hour. I did that flight a lot. Also going to Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok was easy. Back then Saigon had visa run buses to Cambodia. Hop a bus, ride some hours, drink and eat on the bus, walk across the land border and come back to bus with a new visa. None of this will work and maybe never will again. I think the new normal means some new normal visa and access controls will have to happen.

But over coffee and thinking on Cambodia, I am so happy for the people there. Cambodia is a poor country and has had challenges but seeing them reach their challenges with the virus and then be able to even consider reopening is a good thing. I'd go back perhaps. Just not until later. I don't know when later is. I never do.

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