A Krama for All Reasons

A Krama for All Reasons

By Jody Hanson

Nothing screams “Cambodia” louder than the ubiquitous krama. But, what, exactly is a krama – spellings vary – and why does everyone need one? This versatile piece of cotton or silk – or a combination thereof – is perhaps next to the wheel when it comes to versatile usefulness.

The scarves come in two sizes: small, 35 by 170 cm and large, 65 by 170 cm. Colours abound: red and white, green and black, purple and brown. Or go for the rainbow effect and get them all in one. Different provinces have varying shades, although the design stays the same. It is a much classier way of making a statement of where you are from – or have been – than “Hard Rock Cafe Siem Reap.”

Uses of the Krama

Found only in Cambodia, the uses of a krama are infinite.  Distained by the contemporary  upper-echelons of Cambodian society as old-fashioned, the peasants cling to their cotton scarves and don’t hesitate to use them. 

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Moving Up-Market From Off-The-Rack in Cambodia

Moving Up-Market From Off-The-Rack in Cambodia

 

 

By Jody Hanson

South East Asia has some of the most beautiful natural fabrics in the world – silk, linen and cotton – and the people to whip up the clothes for you. When it comes to getting a new wardrobe, the basic problem is that most people don’t think it through. Instead they wander into some shop in Bangkok that offers packages and end up with things they don’t like and will never wear.

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Chasing Irrawaddy Dolphins in the Mekong River at Kratie, Cambodia

Chasing Irrawaddy Dolphins in the Mekong River at Kratie, Cambodia
By Andrew Kolasinski 

Our boat had motored out two kilometers from the dock. Now, in the intense mid-day sun we drifted through a cluster of grassy sand islands mid-stream in the Mekong.

The day began in Kratie, on the east bank of the Mekong, 350 kilometers from Phnom Penh. The previous day I rode the bus ride for almost seven hours through pepper farms and rubber plantations.

Kratie, a city of 13,000 has dozens of hotels and guesthouses, all offering tours to see the dolphins.

Kampi, fifteen kilometers north of Kratie, is the port for the dolphin viewing fleet. This riverside village is near the dolphin's feeding grounds. A dozen twenty-foot wooden, double enders are powered by long-shaft engines. Luckily they have awnings to protect against the doubly bright, river glaring sun.

Our young Khmer skipper said there are 20 dolphins, but the pod is healthy and they are now protected by law. They are found in other parts of the Mekong River with a neighboring pod of 35-50 dolphins living among the 4,000 Islands of southern Laos.

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© Andrew Kolasinski

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