Thursday, April 12, 2007

Phnom Penh

Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh.

I'm really not sure where all the h's go in this city name.

I'm in Phnom Penh living with Dary and her sister and brother. Jessica and Suzy are with me. We're living in a little studio apartment somewhere in the city.

Wednesday the entire DTS (just about) got on the 1:00 bus from Battambang. We're all in a holiday mood. Especially the leaders who for once in 6 months weren't in charge, and could kid around with the rest of us. On the way, as usual, the bus driver played hours of Khmer music videos, loudly. It would be entertaining if not for the lack of subjectmatter. Every Khmer music video is about a boy or girl who is in love with someone, but they don't love him/her, and always go off with the other guy/girl who drives a Lexus instead of a moto. By the end of the trip, I was making bets about the plot line, and comments in Khmer -- to the amusement of the Khmer students around me. I'm glad they think I'm funny. Otherwise I'd be wildly annoying!

Upon arriving there was mass chaos. Stuart wanted to coordinate everybody, but all the Khmer students wanted to take their guests and go home. So that was madness for a while. Suzy and I bought a pizza which was the best thing I've ever tasted, bar none, in my life. Canadian Bacon and Pineapple and sausage. Yum!

Yesterday we went shopping in the Russian market, and I bought a skirt I needed for outreach and got a tank top to wear. We ate fried noodles and pork in the market for breakfast with a sweet iced coffee on the side. And for dinner, after I'd helped Suzy and Jessica buy gifts for their family and friends (my team will spend three days in Phnom Penh on the way back from outreach, so I can do mine there) we went to the riverfront and ate in hammocks suspended around posts around the table. I've decided that's the most relaxing way to eat in the world. We bought sweetened popcorn there, and took it home to watch the Chronicles of Narnia.

Today we woke up and I cooked scrambled eggs and bread for breakfast (we bought the bread). Then we went to Bunsom's house and met his family and talked for a while. We're meeting everyone for lunch at the Russian Market.

Phnom Penh makes me homesick. Everything else in Cambodia is so foreign, that you hardly notice that you're away. Here feels like any other city (with Khmer flair, of course) but the first night as we were driving in a tuktuk through the rain, we could have been in Seattle for all I could see...we were in the western part of town. Ohhhhhhhh!

While I was hanging in my hammock at dinner a cat came up and laid down next to me (a well kept cat, not the usual strays) and I scratched it's chin and it's tummy and missed my Cai dreadfully.