Razz (probably just a stage name) was kind enough to leave a comment here at PiaR, which led me back to his very interesting blog, All The Dumb Things. Aside from his excellent photography, I was particularly fascinated by his accounts of being a 17 year old hanging out in Cambodia in 1974. No, I’m not sure why he did that. If I was 17 today, would I be looking to visit Israel or Kenya or Iraq? Hell-fucking-no.
Either way, his posts about Hitchhiking by air in Cambodia are well worth the read for anyone with the faintest interest in the history of the period. Be sure to read Part 2 as well.
“I stayed in Cambodia for about six months and found myself various jobs teaching English (not being qualified, didn’t stop me). Road travel at that time was impossible as the government only controlled the cities (if you could call them that) and several of the larger towns. The Khmer Rouge were in control of the rest of the country.
When I wasn’t working (which was often) I used to hitch a ride down to the Phnom Penh airport, walk out onto the tarmac (Ahhh the bad old days when safety just didn’t seem to matter) and ask pilots for free rides as their planes were being loaded. I didn’t care where I went and most of the pilots were happy to have someone to shoot the breeze with on their flights. I used to get flights with civilians and the military.”
Air America was an American passenger and cargo airline covertly owned and operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1950 to 1976. It supplied and supported covert operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
According to The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, a 1972 study by historian Alfred W. McCoy, Air America transported opium and heroin on behalf of Hmong leader Vang Pao. This allegation has been supported by former Laos CIA paramilitary Anthony Poshepny, former Air America pilots, and other people involved in the war. University of Georgia historian William M. Leary claims that this was done without the airline employees’ direct knowledge and that the airline itself did not trade in drugs