Dear fellow American traveler (You so sexxy)

Dear fellow American traveler,

You: A wiry sixtysomething white dude traveling alone. Me: A non-wiry thirtysomething white lady traveling with my husband. Our paths, which crossed so briefly on the sweltering three-hour van ride from the Thai-Cambodian border to Siem Reap, have now diverged permanently, I fear. I can only write my heart here, in the privacy of the Internet.

It was so awesome the way you put our drivers at ease by asking them if it was easy to score drugs in Siem Reap during Khmer New Year. They may have laughed hollowly as you mimed injecting something into your arm, but I know that in their hearts they appreciated your humor.

Almost as good was your repeated carping about the van’s weak air conditioning. I think all twelve of your fellow passengers felt solidarity with your harshly barked commands and accompanying “turn it up” gestures. And telling the drivers that you were the guest and they were the employees undoubtedly clarified matters for everyone.

I think my favorite part, though, was when you told that group of little Cambodian girls to get a job. Thinking about the dusty and remote village where we encountered them, with its palm-and-bamboo shacks, flock of filthy geese, and a cat glaring out balefully from its perch in a pile of garbage, I’m surprised those seven-year-olds didn’t think of job-hunting sooner. You really told them what was what.

Ah, well, that’s all from me for now, fellow traveler. Just a note of appreciation from deep in my heart. I hope that whatever you were looking for in Cambodia, you found it. I hope that whichever guest house you ended up selecting ripped you off mercilessly. I love your shorts.

Page, fellow sanctimonious American at large

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