Thursday, 14 February 2013

# 26: “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” - Christopher Hitchins

Now that my amazing new life has become 'normal', I no longer seem to be reeling in stunned amazement at everything I see and hear.
My inner story-teller is being challenged, but I shall, nevertheless, try to find some entertaining tales for you.

I have made one interesting observation that still has me totally puzzled:
This city is overrun by dogs. They're everywhere.
No specific breeds, unless you count mongrel as a breed.
They enjoy constant, indiscriminate mating. A habit that the kids (and my Tuk-Tuk driver) find endlessly entertaining, so there are always more, really cute little puppies around.
There is no regular street cleaning. A relevant point, because....


I am sure of this, because I have looked. 
I've looked from the dubious 'comfort' of my company Tuk-Tuk..
I've looked from the even more dubious 'comfort' of my bicycle..
I've looked as I stroll around the streets on foot..
I've even tried looking from the genuine comfort of my rented moto - although that was a little tricky, since I actually had to focus on the other traffic in order to avoid dying..
Now, my beautiful little Goddaughters have 2 dogs, Jack and Bronson and I can attest to the amount of landmines those 2 can deposit in a day (the dogs, not the goddaughters... although....). I've also, personally, witnessed the slightly disturbing habit that little Jack, the Jack Russell, has of eating the anal offerings of his much larger buddy, Bronson the Golden Lab, but surely that's not the answer - Battambang's dog population cannot possibly be devouring all the evidence!

Just another of life's amazing mysteries, I guess...

On a much less crappy note, I finally got my Cambodian licence - which, of course has my address on it, complete with the name of my Village and the name of my Commune...

Unfortunately it's in Khmer, so I still don't know where I live..

This joyous event did allow me to grab a moto for the last long weekend - woohoo!

Rode for an hour up National Road 5 to Khum Chrouy Sdau to go to another wedding.
Cchaiya's family and 600 of their closest friends.. copious amounts of food, even more beer, which was being drunk through straws.... making for a gaggle of drunken uncles..

Had a fun day, drank beers with the uncles and cousins, danced with friends and family and managed to ride home without dying..

The only slightly 'hairy' moment happened while I was overtaking one of the ubiquitous, gravity-defying, over-loaded trucks on the 'highway'.

 Nice, wide stretch of straight road, a bus coming the other way but still plenty of room...until another overladen truck popped out and started overtaking said bus.
It was a few seconds of scanning for potential escape routes, realising there weren't any and ultimately accepting that there would either be enough room for all 4 of us ...or things would get a little messy...

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), there was enough room, or I wouldn't be sitting here writing this stuff.

I then spent the next 2 days riding all around town and the nearby countryside.
Such a buzz - must buy a moto of my own!

Let's see, what else have I done over the last 2 weeks...

I started a couple of online courses from University of Edinburgh..
  • "Critical Thinking in Global Challenges" 
  • "Introduction to Philosophy"
Both really interesting - I've even been giving some of the exercises to my older students. They got a real buzz from being able to do some 'Uni-level' work...
We're focusing on Critical Thinking at the moment 'cause they still don't really understand how much misinformation is out there, let alone have the skills needed to recognise it.

Loving the little gems that spring from the minds of children, as I do, I thought I'd share this one with you:
I was talking to a Canadian traveller at one of our favourite Friday night haunts, the Balcony Bar, last week and he related a story about a friend of his who had lived here in Battambang for about 5 years. His son was born here and when they returned to Canada his, then 4 yr old, son asked a question that kinda sums up some crucial differences between life here and life in the West:  
"Dad, I like it here 'cause it's all clean and I have lots of toys, but why is everyone in such a hurry, they never stop to talk to me and why are all the doors closed in the daytime?"
Says it all really.....

And lastly, a game that's played all over town, anywhere there's a bit of space; footpaths...parks...roads:

This game only requires people - 2 or more, and a 10 cent, plastic, feathered, bouncy, shuttlecocky-thingy and a very little bit of space.
It's played by anyone, of any age, boys and girls..and occasionally dogs....but they cheat...they tend to catch it and run away...
 While this game CAN be played with 2 teams on either side of a net, that's a bit prohibitive for most Battambangers, so all the games I've seen are played by standing in a ring, using hands, heads and feet. Just keep that thingy-whatsit from hitting the ground!
Great exercise...well, it probably is, I must try it....some the future...


  1. Hahaha, love the dog poo anacdote. Also lold at the "still don't know where I live" line.
    Question....why does the truck in the photo have a stupid amount of stuff tied to the side and the roof and nothing at all in the back?
    Your inner story teller is still doing just fine so keep it up! See you in 19 days. xxx

  2. Thnx Baby Girl... Don't know what the story is with the truck, although I did wonder if there was maybe a load of something yicky that they didn't want to get on all the bagged stuff - something like.....all the missing DOG POO !
    In 3 weeks you can do your own investigation :D
    I love you. xxxxx