adventures in cambodia

thngai nis geu thngai brohor

Today is Thursday.

My day began around 5am, as it usually does. The slightest start to the days’ activities sets ‘our’ dog, Lucky, off. I say ‘our’ because the family who me and my housemate rent from live in the house immediately behind ours, so I’ll claim Lucky as our dog. Wish he was more obedient. So after 2 hours of listening to barking, I dragged myself out of bed. As I walk into the hallway I’m greeted by a wall of heat – it’s going to be hot again today! I drink about half a litre of water to rehydrate, shower, dress and make some coffee. Not sure where the time went, I pack my bag, finish my coffee, tidy up a few things and head for the door. I padlock the front door behind me, put my shoes on and unchain my bicycle. As I open the front gate I see two or three tuk tuks parked across the driveway, I pull the gate closed and latch it. Time to ‘be water’.

The traffic isn’t bad today, in fact things are noticeably quieter in the lead up to Khmer New Year next week. Many Cambodians will be going to their homelands for the celebrations, which officially last 3 days but almost everyone takes a week or more off.

Because today is Thursday, I go to school for my Khmer lesson. The road that the school is on is under construction, so it’s dirt, pretty bumpy and they water down the dirt to keep the dust under control which means lots of mud puddles to avoid (especially on learning that it may or may not be waste water they use). It’s been a couple of months since I began lessons and I’m improving much more this way than through immersion! Though I realise when I arrive that I didn’t do my homework! Oops. I manage to improvise my way through the homework component of the class. Next week there will be no class because of new year.

After this I stop by my office at ConCERT where I’d left my laptop charger yesterday. Then carry on to the computer shop to get a new mouse. Gifting back the mouse I got there a few months ago that has already broken – I don’t think it was really a Dell – maybe a Dill. My usual co-working place is closed for relocation so I ride to a well known cafe that are well set up for working in, Common Grounds. The internet is a little slow today. Then I see my friend, she’s on her lunch break from the NGO she works at, we chat briefly about her pending trip to Borneo over the new year break. Back to work.

Three hours speed by, then I get a message from my friend and owner of the coworking space – lunch? Sure. We talk about a fundraising project we’re both working on and then part ways. I ride home, cannot afford more cafes nor do I want to consume anything except water. In the living area, fan whirling…. it’s hot. I’m locked out of the website for the fundraising project – this is a good interlude. I work on other projects and try to contact my little brother again – it’s his birthday today!

Then it’s time to go and meet a friend for dinner and one of her friends I haven’t met before. We start our evening with a lovely pre dinner drink near the river and some (slightly too loud) jazz. Then find our way to a nice place for dinner. It’s a restaurant where one of our friends is the sales manager and I also have a discount card. We enjoy a lovely dinner and I discover that Socheata’s boyfriend works for AusTraining (now Scope Global) how funny! We think we might meet up in Phnom Penh in a few weeks time when we are all there for various reasons (I’ll be going for Anzac Day). Before I know it, it’s time to go, Thursday is usually soccer but we have this week off for new year. It happens to be ABCs and Rice night for the quiz at Ivy Guesthouse. So off I go.

I arrive just as it’s starting; though I spend the first 10 minutes chatting with Tammy – then she has to go and relieve the babysitter. It’s $1 to play the quiz, tonight I pay $5 – I think of it as a birthday present for my bro. On my right is a lovely lady who works at a local pizza place and her colleague is sitting opposite me. We chat. Not much quizzing going on! Yarin and I realise we’ve met before at our mutual friend’s house! Small world. We concentrate on the quiz for a little while, then finish up and go home. I put my helmet on and my bike lights, then cycle home. It’s quiet now, around 10-10.30pm and there isn’t much traffic. It’s quite peaceful and makes an enjoyable ride home.

Once inside the gate, I lock the gate padlock (job for the last person in each night), lock my bicycle (I’ve learned my lesson), tell Lucky ‘it’s just me’ in hopes he’ll stop barking a little more promptly, unlock the padlock to get inside and then loop it back through. My housemate is away tonight so I’m on my own. Though I thought the family were away too but they were all home a little earlier which I find reassuring.


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