Trip Start Dec 31, 2004
71Trip End Apr 22, 2005
I adapt fairly quickly and can become comfortable in places that just a day prior had seemed so well, foreign to me. On my second night at the FCC I walked right to where I'd sat the night before tossed down my copy of The Economist and before I'd put my bag down ordered a gin and tonic from a passing waiter
Tonight at the FCC I met a very sweet lesbian couple who are both doctors and one's from the UK and the other I believe was an Afrikaner but I'm not too sure. I couldn't tell they were lesbians at first because when traveling you don't know if they're seriously no-nonsense, no-frills hardcore travelers with short-cropped hair or if they're scissor fighters. And really who cares in the first place I was looking for some single-serving friends and that's exactly what I got. There's a certain protocol that comes along with this situations. One of you will begin hinting about what the other is doing the following day and if they're going somewhere you're not you're off the hook and there's no need to even mention the future in the least. Otherwise if they're heading in the same direction as you and you enjoyed them you test the waters and tentatively decide that, "Seim Reap is a small town I'm sure I'll see yŠll around cocktail hour." After we left the FCC and had a great Khmer dinner of Fish Amok that's where we left it. The company, food and cocktails were delicious and I was full.
Developing a sense of casual familiarity can also have its downsides as I experienced today. This morning as I was checking my email on the computer in my lobby a tour bus of about 12 to 15 French tourists filed into the hotel and all bid me a hearty, "Bonjour!" I welcomed them back and continued typing then five minutes later one of them came up to me and in French asked about using computer
The street hawkers normally remember you and if you're lucky and they're paying attention they'll back off or better yet just yell out a familiar greeting as you pass. Tonight however the lesbians bought a book from one of the hawkers who came by an hour later and asked if they wanted to buy a book. He'd already forgotten. They offered to sell him the book back for a dollar more and even when he realized his faux pas he snapped back with, "Postcards--you want postcards?" I finally broke down and even let a boy shine my leather slides for fifty cents hoping that not only would I be getting dust-free shoes back but also a reprieve from the shoe-shiners
I had planned on staying on a bit longer in Phnom Penh but since I stayed in Bangkok longer than I'd anticipated I need to keep moving until I get caught up. If truth be told though I certainly have seen all of Phnom Penh and I like very much what I saw. Tomorrow after a four to six hour bus ride I'll arrive in Siem Reap where I'll stay for maybe four or five days and see the great temples of Angkor Wats and oh, by the way there's an FCC there, too.
Recommendation: A couple of days ago I went to a wonderful restaurant called Friends that helps street children get off the street and make a better life for themselves. The organization teaches them skills and offers them hope along with shelter and an education. Not only did I have a terrific lunch there I also went next door and bought one of their skirts that the students had made. If you are feeling charitable or just curious I encourage you check out their website: www.streetfriends.org
SALUTATION: Happy Birthday Ange!