When I first came to Phnom Penh, one of the institutions of the capital city was Sambo the elephant who spent the day at Wat Phnom giving rides for tourists. That was his life until he was retired in 2014 to an elephant refuge in the mountains where he spent the last nine years of his life in peace until he died this past week.

Sambo would daily trek along the busy streets from the park where he stayed to the wat.
One Sunday I was at Wat Phnom for some event and Sambo came by. I was talking with the Australian Ambassador and some colleague offered her a ride on Sambo. I don’t like the idea of using animals that way but she needed someone to accompany her so I had my only elephant ride that day.