At a little place called Phalok a couple of boys were playing volleyball on a small grass court. I played along with them for a half an hour and we were all greatly amused. Their French was very fluent and their enthusiasm while playing also reminded me of the French. When it got dark, I loaded 4 bikes and boys in the back and drove the last 16 kms of a decent road into Siem Reap. Concrete lined ditches , bridges, locks and sluices along the road made me aware of the extensive irrigation works underway.
Siem Reap looked like a metropolis the first time I saw it. It differed from Thai villages in that it boasted several attractive large buildings and boulevards. So one notices instantly the difference due to the French colonial regime, while Thailand boasts about never having been colonized (by the West). Although the country has a separate atmosphere and people react different, because of this French influence, the true character of the Cambodjans shows in many small details and is intrinsically more like that of the Thai than the French.
This French control dates only from the middle of the 19