Cambodia up close: River cruise on the Mekong

Phnom Penh – “Life is not staying still,” Vuthy spoke softly to me, like a kind older brother. “It is moving from one place to the next.”

I followed his rhythmic breathing — in, out — inhaling the lotus air and untangling my own breath from the outside breeze, flowing in through the open temple doors.

“When we let something go, that is the ultimate peace,” Vuthy continued, his eyes half-closed in concentration. Like the monks around us, his head was shaved, but he was dressed in khaki — my guide on the river. He’d been a monk before; his instruction was real. Our morning meditation was a spontaneous detour from the rote tourist path in Oudong, a golden complex of pointed temples and the former capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

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