Ok.

This is an article about danger.

I thought a lot about the dangers of this
journey before I left. I thought like a soldier, analyzing the possible outcomes
of different scenarios, things that could go wrong. I was fed with so much
fears from family, friends and coworkers that I have to confess I was scared to
death.

What happened?

Nothing at first. The food had no deceases,
the people were kind, I didn’t get lost…

But what looked like safety on the surface
changed as time went by.

When I came to Siem Reap for the first time
the bus arrived late. I had a clear picture of the way to the guest house but I
just couldn’t find it. I started to ask locals for directions. Everybody was
eager to help, with some knowledge of english. So I followed the directions
from an old man but no guest house could be found. I started to ask others and
I got new directions. This didn’t help. Darkness descended on the city. I walked
into dark alleys with no other choice than to follow the directions from the
locals. Two hours went by and I just had to give up. I found a new guesthouse and
finally found safety inside.

Days went by and my suspicion from the night
days before was essentially correct: Cambodia is no safe place. Drug addicts,
pick-pockets and so forth. The locals I talked to warned me about this especially
on one occasion.

So what about it?

You have to put danger in perspective. You
have to accept that you can get lost, be robbed, get killed. Overrun by a car
or bitten by dogs. But an even greater danger would be to not travel at all,
dying inside.

At one occasion I warned a fellow traveler
to walk away from guard-dogs, barking aggressively and coming out from under a
fence.

You get sharper as time goes by. You shall never
walk around with thoughts on your mind, not looking at the traffic and the
people. You almost never go out at night, especially when the streets are not
crowded. You keep your money and passport closely to your chest, knowing that
there are decent people, but appearances fool you all the time.

One guy in Sihaoukville lost his entire
backpack getting drugged by a girl he slept with. And this happened just before
I came there.

So I still think like a soldier.

The problem though is that you can’t grasp the
unknown. You take measures but realize that you have to watch out for the
unexpected. The unexpected is one of the greatest dangers in my mind.

I could go on…

Going back to Thailand now. The thing is
that Cambodia houses wonderful people. Much more friendly than the ones I met
in Thailand. And there is a great difference between different cities, almost like
different countries inside the country. Phnom Penh was hell, Sihaoukville
paradise in comparison but the kindest people of them all was found in Siem Reap.
People are so natural and easy to talk to you almost start to believe that
there are no dangers at all.

Big mistake.

Which leads me to Stanley Kubrick.

I think he was close to the truth.

I’ve analyzed the films from another
perspective.

I think I initially was like the soldiers
in Barry Lyndon. Just marching on, almost blindfolded, capable to anything, but
not knowing the possible outcome of any scenario. No traveler I ever met on
this journey have talked to me seriously about these things, with one
exception. I listened but didn’t have perspective. It’s rather something I’ve discovered
by myself.

It’s like being in an desolate forest.
Getting lost.

The rules: In the event of disaster you shall
not move, just breathe, observe the situation closely and think logically about
what is happening.

It’s not paranoia. It’s necessary.

So that is what I want to say to new
travelers talking about the safety of these trips.

Watch out for the unknown.

Perhaps that is why the greatest
horrorfilms always build on that fear.

Our greatest fear is the fear of the things
we cannot know.