Archive for January, 2008

The Wicked French Lady, My Stinging Shin, and “Looking Good.”

January 29, 2008


Today was my first day at my MFI, AMK. Paul, the CEO, is a wonderfully nice guy (the nicest ex-pat I’ve ever met here, in fact). He is from the southern suburbs of Chicago. The utter mention of the words south and Chicago in the same sentence immediately frightened me, as if a sudden and deep philosophical difference suddenly arose between us. Thankfully, and this must have been commanded from on high, he is nonetheless a Cubs fan (see Mark’s objective truth list, #2, “Baseball is the best sport in the world”). I will be his friend even if for this reason only (though I am sure there are many other valid reasons for friendship.

Being here as a Kiva fellow, I felt that my first day’s experience should be mentioned first, but as nothing in this entry’s title really involves my first day at work (except maybe the last part), I’ll move on to the past few days. I will begin with the wicked French lady. As I was reading up on Management Information Systems (not a pleasure read) and visiting with the guys at the Boddhi Tree, I began to take notice of a cantankerous old snot who would not cease whining about everything, loudly, and with a French accent which I believe was intentionally pompous. She had ordered a beer, Anchor, which immediately made me aware that her taste in life’s finer things was poor. When the beer arrived, however, she began ridiculing the staff (my friends) about the glass she had been given. Evidently, the standard, eight ounce beer mug is not suitable for a refined lady such as herself. Did it make her look fat? Like an alcoholic? Uncivilized? I don’t know, but she needed (yes, “needed”) a tall, “smooth,” dainty glass, something that would befit her status as a rich French woman who traveled half the year and never worked a day in her life, which she proudly declared. At this point, I began to consider throwing her off the balcony. But, being principally a nonviolent guy, I decided I could not do this. Being that I would have had to carry her upstairs to the balcony before I could throw her off of it, it also seemed like the timing wasn’t quite right.

The next day was a standard day. I woke up, ate breakfast, read, did some writing (not blogging), went to the market, etc. That evening, though, it rained, poured, inundating (a word I’ll discuss in a later blog entry) the streets. The wicked French lady had peaked my curiosity (rage, actually), so I decided to return to the Boddhi Tree to see if anything else on par with the night before would happen. I sat, prepping myself for something to unfold by reading more about MIS. As the rain came down, the wicked French lady stormed into the guest house with an angry Cambodian behind her. The two were yelling. Evidently, he had been here tuk tuk driver, taking her back to the Boddhi Tree from Street 240. It was about 7:30 in the evening, dark, and wet, really freaking wet. She, of course, was perfectly dry. The tuk tuk driver was demanding that she pay him $2.00 for the ride back, while she insisted that the ride only costs $1.00. Now, for those of you who don’t know, she is what is generally referred to as “full of it.” I would use another word, but I only hazily remember the parameters of my blogging privileges with Kiva, and choose here to substitute an innocent pronoun in the place of a more crass word, truthful though it may be. Anyway, the two yelled at each other, and, frankly, given the conditions outside, she should have paid $3.00. As the yelling became louder (by the way, Cambodians don’t yell much, at all), the tuk tuk driver brought up the Khmer Rouge, S-21 prison, and the Killing Fields, and told the wicked French lady that she did not know Cambodian history, she retorted, declaring that she knew it much better than he. She then said that this whole incident was stupid and that the tuk tuk driver should not be so greedy over a dollar. She would have been over the balcony had she actually been on the balcony, I thought. I also pondered just getting up and giving the guy the extra dollar to set a good example and embarrass her, but then the tuk tuk driver said that she was stupid, and, suddenly recognizing his exceptional powers of perception, I decided to continue watching. Additionally, I think she realized that the tuk tuk driver was probably going to follow her to her room if she did not pay him, and so she finally yelled at Vireak to give the guy a dollar, and he left.

As I sat watching this display of unparalleled stupidity, Vireak text-messaged me about said stupidity. As many of you know, I am text-messaging averse, that is to say that I have never learned how to do it. Given this situation, however, I felt compelled to respond to my friends words of keen observation. Thus, I set out to teach myself how to text message. It took me ten minutes, but I finally typed out “she is crazy,” and hit send. My phone replied simply: “message failed.” Determined not to let my friend’s efforts at communication and subterfuge go in vain, I tried again, and, in spite of myself, was successful. Within twenty seconds I received “you are right, she is crazy” as a reply. This text messaging, I maintain, is the only time that a Cambodian will ever write in English faster than I can. Nonetheless, Vireak had encouraged me to learn something new that evening (don’t ever think it’s okay to text message me though), which is always refreshing.

While I sat watching the wicked French lady sit down, order a beer, and chug it like a baboon guzzling the juice from a coconut, I decided that I had to mock her with my Cambodian friends. I heard Thou outside, and decided to go chat. Thou was chatting with a very drunk moto driver, who had imbibed way too much of his own wine. I declined the offer for a taste. I started up a conversation with them, when my drunken friend said “ooh ae vu”. Mind you, it took me a while to figure out what the hell he was saying, because I was trying to interpret his “words” as being spoken to me in broken English drastically altered by his drunken state. Thou, however, is brilliant, and told me that he wanted to know where I was going, and that he was trying to speak French (oú est vous). Always wanting to practice French, or any language that I don’t know so well, I embraced this less-than-ideal situation and began conversing with my very drunk friend in a language that I was at the present moment comparatively fluent in (those of you in the know about my aptitude with the French language can probably now guage the extent to which he was drunk given my comparative fluency). Then of course Thou decided to break into his French, at which point I suddenly realized I had another opportunity to teach my friend Thou a new word. I asked him if he was familiar with the term bête, which he said he was not. Given the wicked French lady’s wicked French nature, I felt that this was the right word to teach, and so Thou and I laughed at how elle est bête (she is stupid). Mind you, Thou has not mentioned to her that he knows some French, because, as he says, she is like a baby. The less he has to speak with her, the better.

Sadly, the wicked French lady has screwed many Cambodians over, and when confronted with how it might actually be proper to pay them the right price, she says that because she is on holiday for so long, she has to budget, and that those people who stay for less time are making it difficult for her. In “budgeting” (think euphemism for “screw over like a heartless…”), her purchases include a $100.00 pair of shoes, which she financed by not paying for her rides, or paying Thou his fee for extending her visa ($5). Why he extended her visa I have no idea. I would have burned her passport, but that would only increase her stay. She has also stayed in nearly every room at the Boddhi Tree, demanding that she be moved every day because of some problem: rats (i.e. her imagination), mildue (it’s freaking Cambodia), size (too small, to large and thus too expensive). All I have to say is that she is a miserable old woman, and that I hope she never sits upstairs.

Moving on, I will now turn to my stinging shin. Some of you may have guessed that it had something to do with the wicked French lady (Laura’s her name, but as I find Laura to be a pretty name, I decided not to use it, less it be ruined for me). Well, no, my shin has nothing to do with the wicked French lady. Rather, it is the result of children playing in the street. Back in the United States, in the quite streets of our sprawling suburbs, we scold our children for running and playing wildly on the asphalt. Here, in the chaos driven streets of Phnom Penh, this value system does not seem to exist in many cases, or the streets are simply too loud for the kids to hear their parents cautioning them (again, not a lot of yelling here, except for “you need moto bike?!,” which I’ve now analyzed more fully and decided is both imperative and interrogative…again, apologies to non-grammarians). Anyway, as I walked to the internet café, there were two children playing in the street, near what is technically the sidewalk, but functions as a parking lot and place for vendors to sell stuff. In other words, one is forced to walk in the street, and while this may not seem safe, I actually feel pretty safe doing it, more so than in the US. That being said, these two kids were playing badmitten (sp?), though without a net. As I approached them, I noticed a certain glow appear to emanate from me. This certain glow, oddly, differed from my normal, natural glow, and I quickly realized that it was coming from the headlight of a moto fast-approaching from behind. I knew the moto would not hit me, that he’d go around, but I was walking straight into this one little girl’s swing at the birdie with her racquet. I had a choice, make a sudden move and hope the moto driver was still able to go around me, or brace myself for this innocent little girl’s feeble little swing. No contest, I would take a slight nick to my leg, and then laugh with the child, who would be amused and excited about being able to run home and tell mom that she clobbered an American with her racquet. I think I erred in judgment, for that girl swung with such gusto that I nearly fell over and banged my head on an old man’s grill, on which cooked some delicious-smelling grilled bananas. I hopped around on my good leg, while the little girl laughed just as I suspected. Finally, after regaining my composure, I comforted myself with some of those grilled bananas and continued on to the internet café, where I emailed Asawari briefly about my first day.

While the shin incident was a painful experience, the night before was quite pleasant. Sovath and I drove up to Olympic Stadium, where we talked about stadiums in the United States, and about life in general. He asked about the difficulty in finding American girlfriends. Mind you, Sovath understands a great many things, but in terms of my wisdom on such matters he is still lacking a bit in the understanding department. When I tried to explain this lack of wisdom on my part, he did not believe me (and thus I am tempted to take him home with me so he can explain his disbelief to various females). Anyway, as we walked, he came up with the weirdest analogy (simile). He said that I walked like Santa Claus. Impressed though I was with his familiarity with western religious/mythical/capitalistic icons, I was a bit concerned with how a 5’9”, 158-pound guy in his 20s could walk like everyone’s favorite blubbery old soul. I thought that perhaps it was the damage from the girl’s racquet the night before, but as I was not limping I did not want to fib. Rather, we walked over to some bleachers, and sat down. He never said anything, and so I will take that to mean that I do not sit like Santa Claus.

Moving back to my first day at work, I will take this time to comment on my attire. I wore a very sexy pair of grayish-green slacks, a light blue polo shirt, brown belt, and flip-flops. In other words, I looked like a waiter at a posche Hawaiian golf resort, expert at carrying Mai-tais across sandy white beaches to slowly-reddening people dividing their time between the sea and their blackberries. I immediately apologized for my shoes, and explained that my shoe tailor would not have mine ready until the 31st. Paul did not seem to care, probably because from the ankles up I was business casual, or because several other people were wearing sandals, though I was the only one who wore a matching belt.

Upon returning from work to my house, I was met by my friend Ratha, who immediately said, “mmmm, you look good.” Normally, I associate “mmmm” and “good” with a Campbell’s tomato soup commercial, but given the new association with me this evening I was a bit confused as to what my response was supposed to be. “Thank you” seemed appropriate, so I started there. Ratha was truly impressed, apparently, and it immediately became clear that this was not going to be a casual compliment, but a full-fledged conversation. I braced myself. Ratha then said, “I do not speak good English, but, mmmm, good!” He was shaking his head back and forth the whole time, to add emphasis to what he was saying. I commented that my clothes came from the market, but he replied, “yes, but…” and then began showing me how impressed he was that I tucked my shirt in. He touched the fabric, pants and shirt, and just smiled, “mmmm, good!” I said ‘thank you’ again, went upstairs and changed.

In other news, it seems that my friend Khmao has taken what I have taught him about non-violence to heart, as there are now several rats living comfortably (i.e. fattening up) at that wonderful place called the Boddhi Tree. Mind you, there were no rats in any of Laura’s rooms, since there is no place to hide, and so I maintain that she was making this up. Nonetheless, I had another chat with Khmao today and told him that, while nonviolence is important, so is eating three squares a day. Life here continues to be good, and in addition to my lesson with Non about how “sweeping is futile,” Thou and I now have “elle est bête.” I walk like Santa Claus, and look “mmmm, good!” The pork here is outstanding.


Much love to you all,


p.s. The wicked French lady returns to Cambodia in April. I think I’ll buy her a beer, in a regular mug, and have a little chat about how not to be a wicked French lady.


On typos

January 25, 2008

This will be short, as it concerns my last blog entry. First and foremost, I should reiterate the importance of editing, which, no longer being recquired to do so at work, has meant that I have become what is called “fastidious.” Fastidiousness has its consequences, namely that, in my encounter with Anchor butter, I said that it WAS swill instead of saying that it is not. More importantly, I said that Thy gave me a gun. I am not exactly sure how gun came out, but it does share two letters with the word I meant, hug. Thus, for those of you who are concerned that I am packing heat as I meander about the streats of Phnom Penh, your fears can henceforth be allayed. Moreover, if Thy had given me a gun, I doubt I would have given him a hug. Yet another example of the need to edit is in my inspection of my place’s wass. I’m not sure what a wass is, or rather are, since the next sentence referred to them as the plural they, but what I really meant was “walls,” which, as I said, are not crumbling.

 That being said, I have not edited this post, so please interpret whatever typos I made as you see fit (though please do so in a way that makes me sound more likely to stay alive…where gun=hug, e.g.).

On Butter, Beer, and Life so far

January 24, 2008

I will begin where I left off, my trip and arrival back in Cambodia. Ahem, rather, I will start with memories of my first time here. As is one of my customs when traveling, I feel it is necessary to sample the various local brewers’ specialties. In Cambodia, this means Anchor and Angkor beer. Har licquor, it seems, is largely westernized (Johnny Walker comes to mind), and this may be ignorance on my part, but other locally-made “hard stuff” I fear needs to be categorized as “Jungle Juice,” which 1) probably tastes like the bug spray of the same name and 2) does the same nasty things once imbibed.

 Anyway, back to the beer. Anchor is absolute swill, and ranks with budweiser, heineken and pabst in my book of crappy beers. Angkor, conversely, approximates Coors Light, but isn’t as strong, and is really just “augmented” water. I developed a taste for it the last time I was here, and have once again “taken to the bottle” (of “augmented” water, and in compliance with any standards of sobriety).

But I digress. On flying from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh, I was once again served breakfast. Being that breakfast is my favorite meal, I was not disappointed. Being that it was airline food, I was. Anyway, as the breakfast trays approached, I noticed that the little mini-butter packet for our mini-highly-processed-non-rolls was made by Anchor. For those of you who know me, for the past several (4…5?) years, I have made it my New Year’s Resolution to eat less butter. I do this because there is no practical and quantifiable way to verify that I actually eat less butter. Honestly, I think I’m losing the battle, but that only forces me to renew this resolution yearly, and hence insure that my other vices remain safely untouched. Thus, while I sat on the plane, the thought of my New Year’s resolution never occured to me, and if it had, I would have said, simply, very simply, “meh.” And so I spreadsome Anchor butter on my mini-highly-processed-non-roll. TO my surpirse, it was swill, or whatever the butter-equivalent is for that word. That is not to say that it tasted like something fresh from an Irish churn, but that, like Angkor, I could develope a taste for it. This butter was the highlight of my flight(s).

 Moving away from butter and beer (important though they are), I will turn now to life at the Boddhi Tree Guesthouse, since many of you prospective readers may find this of interest. For those of you who don’t know the Boddhi Tree, please bear with me, and there may even be something worth reading. Plus, if (when?) you come visit me, you should stay there. Anyway, Non (his spelling, not mine) got his hair cut, which makes me feel taller, which is, in other words, good. Ti (my spelling…wrong by definition) is still Ti. I haven’t seen Sophon; Sidan is well, and the first thing he said to me was that I was wearing the same hat as last time (accurate memory considering my hat is a nice indistinguishable beige). Thou is busier than ever, and his tuk tuk siren isn’t as pleasantly ubiquitous as in times past. His sister and nephews and nieces are now in Phnom Penh (he brought them here), and he is still studying English. Finally, Khmao is doing very well. I checked up on him about late-night rooftop violence, but he didn’t say much. Since he’s a cat I wasn’t expecting anything too deeply philosophical, like a debate between the efficacy of principled nonviolence or the Hobbesian State of Nature, but I thought I would get a little more out of him than I did.

 Upon my arrival to the Boddhi Tree I was greeted by all the moto drivers, who remember us all very well (source of income) and send their wishes for you all to come/return (source of income). One of the moto drivers, Thy (his spelling, and probably what Ti’s should be), came and gave me a gun, then asked me what my name was since he had forgotten. I only remember him as someone I was obliged to drink with at the wedding. Speaking of which, Non invited me back to his “homeland,” and I said I would go so long as I didn’t have to push another bus, or spend the eight hours it took to get back sharing and ipod and listening to John Mayer (good) and Brittany Spears (it wasn’t my ipod).

This evening, as i was reading some Kiva stuff (I can feel the rejoicing in San Francisco) and eating dinner, the wind picked up and blew flower pedals and leaves throughout the Boddhi Tree. Non, like the good man that he is, grabbed a broom and swept evertying up. Just as he had all the debris in a nice pile, and as he walked to get the dust pale, the wind kicked up again, blew his pile everywhere, and more flower pedals and leaves blew off the trees and other shurbbery. I cannot express Non’s response in words, but it was some kind of yelp that came out while he was swallowing. I stopped reading (sorry) and laghed for a good two minutes before I could compose myself.

 Now, this event was not merely comic. No, there was a lesson in this as well. As a lover of words, and someone who regards himself as nominally observant, I found that I had an opportunity to teach Non a new word–Futile. Normally my lessons in futility revolve around the Mark-girlfriend dynamic (static?), but as Non and I had already discussed this, I felt this example would be more clear given the recent events. Truthfully it was the opportunity to discuss futility in a way that was not at my expense (informative though those lessons are). At this point, I needed a phrase that would help drive the point home, something catchy that he would remember and link to this concept of futility. I now refer you to Star Trek (see Mark’s list of objective truths, #3, “Star Trek is the bomb”). We are all familiar with the Borg expression “resistance is futile,”and despite the fact that it isn’t (we still have Captain Picard, don’t we?), it is nonetheless a catchy phrase. Now, I could not use the word resistance, because the reference to Star Trek and the situation at hand were not compatible/complimentary. Thus, in short, I chose a substitute word, and we now have “sweeping is futile.” This should, of course, be recognized from this point forward as an axiom.

I will now move away from life at the Boddhi Tree, because I just recently moved away from the Boddhi Tree. Mission one in my move was to find a moto driver. To accomplish this, I stood up. Instantly two moto drivers appeared at the entryway saying “you need moto bike” (I won’t punctuate this quote, because I am still debating myself about whether or not this phenomenon is interrogative or imperative…apologies to non-grammarians). Regardless, I did need one, and told the drivers where I wanted to go. They worked out the details, like which one would take me. Of course, my driver said he knew where he was going (most say so), but as we were driving he also said he was the son of King Sihanouk. By this point, however, I knew he didn’t know where I needed to go. That being said, I deployed my “rugged”Khmer in hopes of remedying the situation (Note: I use the word rugged because it implies that my accent is intentional. On the contrary, my throat does not make those shapes/sounds, but in deference to my first Khmer teacher I will try and make her proud by using “rugged”) Anyway, since we had turned right on Sihanouk Blvd. instead of left (he may have wanted to visit the king, which was in the “right” direction), I told him to turn left. He turned right. Now, recognizing how rugged my Khmer is, my next decision was to tap his left shoulder, and then point, just in case I had actually told him to turn right by accident. He turned right again. Those of you tracking my progress may note that we are now headed in the correct direction (two rights = one left). This may be so, but this is Phnom Penh, which means I had no idea where the hell we were, plus I’m directionally impaired to begin with. Thus, my moto driver (a really nice guy, by the way) pulled over to ask for directions from a tuk tuk driver. I felt reassured when the tuk tuk driver burst out laughing. Nonetheless, after two minutes of what was undoubtedly humourous ridicule (certain things always translate), we were on our way again, turning right every single time. We eventually found the place…after another 10 minutes of driving (a long time in Phnom Penh), and, sitting outside the Guest house was the same tuk tuk driver. He was still laughing (there is lots of laughter in Cambodia). While they sat chatting, I went in, came out, and moved 300 feet from the Boddhi Tree, to a place Non recommended just around the corner. A big part of this decision was the ugly, disagreeable, shirtless white guy smoking a cigarette outside his room. He would have been my neighbor, and I didn’t want to hang out with him. Now I get to hang out with my friends at the Boddhi Tree more often.

This was not the extent of my houseing search. Earlier that same morning, Sovath, who for those of you who don’t know is essentially another brother, showed me the room he was about to rent for $30/month. There was a room next door, and being intersted in what life is like for a Cambodian, I went to check it out. No way could I have lived there. There wasn’t a window. It was basically a tin shed on the third floor of a builiding, like an oven, but an old one (i.e. without a window). I can’t imagine living in a place without ANY natural light, ever. Knowing that Sovath now lives there is even harder. For a while he was living at a Christian place, but to live there he had to study the bible for an hour and a half every day (he’s Buddhist, like 95% of the rest of the population), from 10-1130am. On the weekends, moreover, he was not allowed to study anything else, like English. So he moved, and is now moving again so he can study more (his last house got too crowded). I would have him live with me, and pay for it, but I know he wouldn’t accept my offer, which makes is much harder.

Now that all my friends, loved ones and relevant individuals are breathing a sigh of relief that I am not living “like a Cambodian,”I will now turn to my present living situation. I have a shaded balcony, two chairs, a small table, bed, refrigerator and fan (= air conditioning). I also have my own private bathroom (or, as they say here, “bathroom inside”).

There are certain things one looks for when in search of a place. I look at the wass for a starter. Mine are not crumbling, and are colored in a pleasant nuclear yellow, like a blond labrador dunked in gatorade. There is also ample light, supplied by the sun, as well as many well-placed overhead lamps. To my surprise, I also have a full-length mirror (perhaps a quantifiable way to measure my butter intake), and my pillow cases depict a bunch of brown teddy bears holding soccer balls (seriously). That being said, there are also certain things which one does not look for, which one expects to have automatically, such as a trash can, or a toilet seat. Every other place I’ve stayed in has had both of these. I have neither. Luckily, the Boddhi Tree is nearby, just three right turns away (I don’t think I turned left all day).

 Much love to you all,


entry 1, trip and arrival

January 21, 2008

Since the last 40 odd hours have involved sitting at a gate or in coach, it would seem odd that there exists the potential to write anything, but as I am still in a state of exhaustion, I’ll simply disagree with myself and write something anyway.

 Leaving San Fran was really quite simple, and way better than my previous experience at LAX when I nearly went on the conveyor with my checked bag through security–interrupt: they have new keyboards at this internet cafe, which preclude me from being able to use parentheses…anyone who knows me knows the difficulty this presents; thus, what should follow the word “security” reads something like: I actually think it the policy of LAX to make sure that one does indeed hop on the conveyor belt with your bag and go through security with it. Being only a code orange, they probably just decided to let me off easy

Anyway, during my last day in San Fran I got to chill with Navin, the coolest person on earth (yes, even above me…also, I just figured out how to get parentheses…the keyboard is wrong when it says the left one is above the #8 key, and aside from some swirly “letters” on the keys, it’s a standard qwerty). Anyway, again, she was telling me about the Nanny Diaries (or maybe it was the princess diaries…I can’t remember just now…thank god for parentheses), but the point is that they were showing the Nanny Diaries on my flight, which I decided to watch. So, on my flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong I watched the Nanny Diaries in German. That was Cathay Pacific’s choice of language for this particular piece of in-flight video entertainment. I am not sure to what extent this was a good test of my german skills, as the story was pretty generic…i.e. girl=nanny for uber-rich, white asshole parents; gets “disenchanted”/fired, security camera catches her lecturing the bitchy “mother” who really cares for the child in the nominal sense (by calling her son her son)…fast forward, happy ending. I watched because the nanny was hot and it was in german. There was also this one jock-like dude who was supposedly somewhat shallow in the beginning but by the end had developed yoda-like wisdom, as all good-looking secondary male characters do. Either way, I was jealous since he got to kiss the hot german speaking (overdubs) nanny while my shoulder was co-opted into my neighbors awkward sleeping arrangement.

 Now, food. I must say that I was actually able to sleep for a bit on this flight, and before I knew it 8 hours had passed. Psychologically this is very important. My typical experience is to be asked if I would like the braised chicken with rice or the fish and spicy noodle just seconds before I fall asleep. This did not happen, and so in a clear state i was able to order the braised chicken. While the fish may be just as good (i.e. just as bad), the thought of travelling for another 16 hours with fish breath…well, enough said. Anyway, in the decade that I have travelled internationally (not that impressive, really, but Ireland in 1998, when I was 12, did represent the first time I was out of the country), I have noticed that the food on airlines is improving. There is one thing that remains a concern. My meal came with prochiutto (sp?) and melon, which I became mildly excited about…as much as one can in situations such as these. Suffice it to say, the melon measured up to my expectations of airline fruit, but how fat and salt with a bit of meat (i.e. prochiutto) can taste bad remains a mystery. But, there it sat on my plate, looking particularly scrumptions. I picked it up, moved a bite towards my mouth, and it smelled like feet. Knowing that some of the finest creations smell bad (cheese, e.g.), I committed to not letting this prejudice keep me from continuing.  I put it in my mouth, and it tasted like feet. In fact, I think it probably was feet. Swallowing was a test in the power of the mind, particularly the ability of the conscious to tell the subconscious (as well as the decenting parts of the conscious) what to do.

 That being said, I am now in Cambodia. The ride from the airport did not go as planned, since I had to take a taxi and look like a rich white guy, but it beat sitting on a moto with 60lbs of luggage depending on my ability to keep in on the seat. My taxi driver got lost, not uncommon, but I finally arrived, slept, walked to the internet cafe, and wrote this. Ah yes, home in Cambodia again…now I have to go eat.