So we took at trip by night to check out the casino district of Poipet.
It’s a colorful place, only partly because of all the neon light. Night markets are a thing in Cambodia and I am still not used to the concept. It’s an wide-eye-opener because it’s amazing. If you love this type of food, you’ll love night markets, you’ll love Cambodia. Until something goes wrong of course I suppose. Eskil is set to eat some dog meat but that’s not exactly on my bucket list. So far things have been good and my stomach has been fine.
The casino district of Poipet is a type of no-one’s land where there are no taxes and the law is bent. In 10 year’s time it will likely look like Vegas today, and like Reuben in Ocean’s Eleven, Uriah might think back when it all was dust and sand. Or, as is the case with Poipet in the rain season, mud and water.
Real poverty isn’t to be seen on the strip itself so much, but the neon signs on the new casino buildings do contrast with the poverty just outside the zone – just south of it you can see slums and people without proper living conditions. Or pretty much without any living conditions.
We spent some time trying an ice cream – mine was neon green and tasted sweet and.. neon green :). In the area was also some entertainment geared towards kids, though the music video outside showed a pole dancer.. very sad. Bente tried one of the rides which was not to her liking, but she did better out-performing her brothers and her dad at the shooting gallery, and scored a stuffy with a single shot. Made her daddy proud :) As with the rides and amusement, the stuffy had seen better days, but after a wash it was baptised Mr. Bear Willingson.
The casinos are also an indication of the challenges that we all face, and that not everybody is very good at keeping at bay: Greed, combined with hopelessness is nasty! It’s good to remember that we carry hope wherever we go. Along with the fruit of the Spirit, it can bring freedom.
For all the lights, the feeling was one of dimness, so in the car back, we started singing “Jesus loves the little children”. It was Uriah that started it, for sure! But as we’re called to be child-like (and I secretly use that at times to be plain childish), it wasn’t hard to add that Jesus ALSO loves the casino bosses, parlor ladies, garbage ladies and – Bente’s request – the little puppies.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight!