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There Must Be Something About Blue

It can't be a coincidence.

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Cambodia, September 3rd 2011

The van that brought us from the border of Vietnam and Cambodia, Ka Orm Samnor, to Phnom Penh had no air conditioning. The driver didn't turn it on, to be precise. When my Westerner fellow tourists complained, our driver's reply was as simple as:

"If it's too hot, just open the windows."

I was happy I got a seat by the window, although the window on my side could not be opened. The guy behind me pushed the window opened and I could feel the breeze from behind. About half an hour later it started to rain -- pretty hard. Everyone pushed back the window closed. However, the air became humid and a bit hard to breathe. As soon as the rain subsided, everyone immediately stretched their hand to the window knob. This repertory occurred several times all through the way.

Scenery speaking, nothing special. But... something about the color BLUE arose my curiosity. It can't be a coincidence, because this was a two-and-a-half-hour journey and BLUE was everywhere, on everything. There must be something about blue.

At first when I saw this blue stilt house, I said to myself, "Aha! That's my color! Muah!"

And then I saw another one, and another one, and another one. So I thought to myself, maybe the people here paint their houses in blue to identify themselves as a certain ethnic group, or village.

As my van went on, I came to realize that it's not only the houses that are painted blue. Okay, you might say that these are just wood sticks that was left by the side of the street and happened to be blue.

Well, how about this? This is a much more modern house than the stilt houses just now, and it's much more blue indeed.

Our van stopped and our driver got off seeming to give a report. His report was jotted down... to my astonishment, on a blue wooden box!

The gas stations are also painted blue.

And, another blue stilt house again.

This blue board seems to be about an election. I saw several of these with different photos, but all, yes all, had blue backgrounds. And yes, that's a blue gate again. The rest hasn't been painted yet. I bet the construction store has ran out of blue paint. Just imagine, everyone uses blue!

The other most common stilt houses are the ones like this. Blue mixed with green. Wow! That's me. Gue banget dah.

Blue is also for the roof of factories, and then...

... the sign of a company has to be written also in blue.

Whooozzz! An underconstruction area also has to be fenced with blue.

An intermezzo. The sky is also blue.

Now, it's a modern house.The gate and walls are white, but the roof is blue. It seems that it's a crime in this part of the country if you don't color your property with blue. No matter how much less, there should be something in blue.

Even the police license number's plate, has to framed and written in blue.

Whooozzz!! A trailer truck passed by... in blue. Even on the wheels, blue is added. I tell you, this is only one of the so many blue trucks I saw along the way. Actually I hardly could find a truck painted in other color than blue. In other words, the trucks came in many sizes but in one color. You'll be bored if I display all my truck photos. You might be already by now. Hang on.

My fellow tourists must have been wondering what the hell was I so busy capturing. As I set my continuous shutter on, the sound of my camera was like the sound of a riffle firing continuously. Tar! Tar! Tar!

This looks like the public transportation in my country which we call "angkot". It's also painted blue. The motorcycle rider's shirt is also blue. Light blue, but still blue.

This doesn't look like a house, but it is blue. Very blue.

Vendors must also apply the color blue.

If you cannot afford to paint your house blue, at least your water tank must be blue.

Yes, the car is blue. But what I want to show you is the steel pipes on the rack. Almost all of them are painted blue! The rest seemed unpainted. There are no other colors like red, yellow, green, etc. Why, why?

The nearer we got to Phnom Penh, the lesser was the dominance of blue. We all got off at The Sinh Tourist's office in Phnom Penh. A driver from the hotel I booked, Khmeroyal Hotel, stood with a big white piece of paper bearing my name. He helped me with my luggage and led me across the street to where his car was parked. I looked through the window and thought to myself, "I like it."

As I entered my room... tara! I was welcomed with not a red carpet, but blue carpet! I laid down my things, took off my shoes, pushed the bathroom door...
a blue shower curtain!
I burst into laughter at the sight of this soap bottle. Blue again! I've been in and out many hotels in several countries and this is my first time seeing blue for soap.

I asked my Cambodian friend whether there is favoritism about blue in Cambodia. He answered, no. He said that maybe it was just me thinking blue, so everything looked blue. I'm aware that I'm no one to argue with a local. However, to be honest, I still don't trust him. Not that I think he is lying, but it's just not always a guarantee that locals no better than foreigners. It already happened several times that apparently due to my crazy traveling during my stay in Japan, I knew more about Japan than a Japanese. On the other hand, the Japanese expats in my current company often knows better about places in Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia than me.

I searched the internet through and through. The only answers towards my curiosity of the color blue in Cambodia were that the color blue symbolizes the country's royalty and... that a gemstone from Cambodia called "Blue Zircon" is very popular. It's a gemstone that bears history. The history of Khmer people. One of the references I found in the internet is this. A picture of Cambodian Blue Zircon can be seen here. You can purchase one.

Regardless to what my Cambodian friend said, I strongly believe that all the 'blues' I saw along the way from the border until Phnom Penh were no coincidence. It was the color of pride. The color of Cambodian Zircon: BLUE.

That evening till night, I took a walk along the street that ran alongside Mekong River. The color blue seemed not to have a role here. However, I bumped into this restaurant:
Once again, out of curiosity, I googled for "blue pumpkin" and much to my amusement, blue pumpkin does actually exist. It's not just a name of a restaurant. Ah, hadn't had I crossed the border of Cambodia on road, I would never know that there's a pumpkin with my color.

Posted by automidori 21:19 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia

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