Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Is it Christmas yet?

A holiday in Cambodia isn't quite as bad as Jello would have us believe. Things have improved enough that, 2500 US soldiers from a big-arse ship just enjoyed one a few weeks ago during their R&R beach stay in Sihanoukville, and they certainly were indulging in more than a bowl of rice a day.

I decided on a whim to jet down to the beach on Christmas eve in a shared taxi. The Toyota Camry managed to seat 8: 4 in the front and 4 in the back. Now how, I can hear you asking, do you seat 4 people in the front seat when one of them is presumably driving? Very carefully. With 2 people in the driver's seat, it looked like 1 of them was steering and the other on the pedals. There's never a dull moment in Cambodian transport, I tell you.

I wanted to do a personal recreation of the baby Jesus' birth scene by arriving late at night with no hotel reservation, all of the rooms being booked up, but finding a kind soul to provide me with humble but sufficient lodging. The plan worked perfectly! All of the rooms were in fact booked, and I spend the night having my feet feasted on by mosquitos. I've been performing regular puja's involving incense and fruit offerings to keep out the bad spirits, known to some western scientists as "malaria".

So here I am on the beach, soaking in rays, not a snowflake in sight, but there are a few shabby plastic Christmas trees and some battery lit Santa hats. It seems Santa couldn't sort out the thatched roof of my bungalow because my socks are full of the same lint and sand that they were on the 24th.

Today I return to Phnom Penh, then on to Thailand and the big Bangeroos. Enjoy your final days of 2007 and don't be afraid to COMMENT.

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