Back in Phnom Penh

Trip Start Dec 06, 2006
Trip End Jan 06, 2007

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Back to Phnom Penh about 1pm and took tuk-tuk to apartment. David went to hospital to work and for Christmas party. About 5 I went out looking for food. First I found a woman selling corn-on-the-cob and bought two. Then around the corner was a street food area with carts along the street and an area behind them to sit. Got two baguettes and some Chinese BBQ pork with cucumbers on the side. The BBQ as good as I've ever had. Meal total = $1.75.

Leslie and I up before sunrise ...
Rooster crowing, we're sitting on the balcony,
Watching the sun come up over Phnom Penh,
Market setting up down the street,
People walking up the dusty lane.

Days into days. Cool season in Cambodia and still, lassitude is the way of here.
Days into days,

Dusty days warm,
I'm here, I'm gone,
Gone 40 years, gone,
Long gone, down the line.

Song of the day: Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past (our hope for years to come)

Walked over to the big market, Psar Tuol Tom Pong ... "Hello saaa ... Hello madam ... What you want? You like? Hello saa, have a look ..." And back on the street through people selling vegetables , fruit, vegetables, fish, meat (whew, we're almost past the meat) and more meat, neat piles of entrails (glad it ain't hot), woman with a basket 10 or 12 inches deep in eels squirming, sliding around and she's fishing out the best ones (I guess) for a customer. Back to David's apartment and the three of us go to breakfast at a place that sells grilled beef and an egg on a hot iron skillet (like fajitas) with a baguette for 2500 Riels(~.65 USD). Hot tea is free. David walks back to his apartment and Leslie and I walk to Wat Tuol Tom Pong.

We can't get inside, so we sit and watch children play outside the school on the temple grounds. The bell rings for recess and the children go slowly back inside except for one boy who runs over to a tree to urinate and then he's gone too. Four country women walk slowly across the school yard, faded/bright sarongs, kramar like turbans. A young man engages us in conversation - In Lay is his name. He's come from a province to Phnom Penh to go to school and work - living free at the wat with other young men seeking a new life. Wants to be a teacher.

I'm here, I'm gone
40 years gone
Living like a ghost in the world
40 years down the line
Circling back
My mate, Jeff, on patrol
For 40 long years
I'd be careful around him if I were you
Leslie said once,
"I'm glad you're violent ... I always feel safe around you and Jeff."

Back at the apartment ... Woman from downstairs just brought us a pot of rice, an onion omelet, and a small pot of vegetables with pork and shrimp. Alright!

Last night, Linda's Mom, Pha Ouk, and some other people came over. We served watermelon, bananas, and Sprite. They brought bananas, persimmons, and beer.

Another day ... the girl from a few houses over showed up with her Grandmother next to our balcony (all the houses are connected side by side). Chanmony is 9 years old and speaking excellent English. In school taking French and Thai as well. Really a scholar. Later we met her Grandfather. Nice people. Chanmony wants to be a doctor - it seems very likely for her.

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, we're headed to Saigon.
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