Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cambodia at first sight...

Where to begin? When we arrived in Phnom Penh it was warm and rainy...aaaahhh, a piece of home. It doesn't take long to notice things are a bit different here. The driving pattern (or lack there of) is my favorite difference, actually. I kind of feel like we are playing a video game and trying to avoid oncoming asteroids. In order to maneuver around their impending doom, you use whatever means possible. Instead of a spaceship, you have a moto (small motorcycle/moped thingy) or a tuk tuk (small motorcycles pulling a cart thingy). It takes creativity, skill, and lack of fear to accomplish this task. I have none of these when it comes to driving and I obviously have not tried to drive any type of vehicle, including a bicycle. I think you have an even less advantage on a bicycle. The other amazing thing about motos is that you carry an insane amout of things and/or people. Who needs a gas guzzling SUV when you can have a moto and pile on the...bananas, family, ladders, large boxes of water. I will probably be able to add to that list as the week continues.

The other major difference is that if you asked for a hot dog, you would get exactly that...a roasted dog. Just below Jenni and Holly's apartment (where we are staying), there is a stand that sells dog meat, including the head. I took a good, long stare at the roasted head and I am still unsure where the meat is. To see a picture of this, you can check out Jenni's blog at http://www.jennincambo.wordpress/. I am pretty sure we will snap a shot or two of this as well. I am glad Seth and Lydia are not with us because this might be traumatizing. They still talk about our dog that we had for about a year with love and longing. This sight might give them a different, haunting take on the use of a dog. I also contrasted the perspective of dogs here vs. the perspective of dogs in the States. In the great land of opportunity, a dog has the hope of being purchased, loved, bathed, receive gourmet meals, given baked doggy biscuits from a specialty store, pushed in stroller, or even carried in a purse. In Cambodia, there is no hope. Their greatest hope is to rummage around the trash--otherwise it's time to be roasted. PETA would have a hay day here.

Sarai is definitely our world traveler. She now requests a ride in the tuk tuk (she generally repeats words twice when saying its name so I think she naturally falls into some of the terms here). She is a "rock star" here, as well. That is the name Corey gave her and she was right. Everywhere we go, people smile at her, say hello, and are generally attentive to this white, curly-headed, blue-eyed doll. She doesn't seem to mind it and has even offered her autograph a couple of times.
There is so much to say and it is difficult to really put it all down. I feel like my eyes are wide open and I am taking in as much as I can. Processing all of this is difficult right now; partly because of the intake flow and partly because I have yet to sleep more than 4 hours. The next few days will prove to be even more challenging and welcomed.

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