Mondulkiri: Photos from an expedition to the provinces

At the end of our first day in Mondulkiri, clouds gathered over the "sea forest."

At the end of our first day in Mondulkiri atop a mountain, clouds gathered over the “sea forest” and threatened rain.  A downpour did arrive in town late at night.  (Click to enlarge all photos.)

The biggest laughs came near the end of our brief visit last week to Mondulkiri — the name of a city and verdant province northeast of Phnom Penh and adjacent to Vietnam — during the three-day Cambodia New Year holiday.

On a detour to avoid an impossibly pitted and dusty road under construction on the city’s outskirts, our car took us in the dark along a narrow street that parallels the Mekong River, on which cooled banks are cultivated patches of lettuce.

One relatively recent tradition of Khmer New Year is for clusters of boisterous youths to congregate alongside roadways, many of the kids with faces besmeared with flour or powder, some dripping wet and all of them demanding monetary tributes in a Cambodian version of Halloween: Pay up or Continue reading