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March 21st 2009
Saved: October 17th 2009
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the killing cavesthe killing cavesthe killing caves

the khmer rouge was bad.
So it has been quite some time since my last entry, but I have essentially been having a variation of the same day since starting work here. It is very enjoyable, and definitely what I wanted from this part of my trip, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m living Groundhog Day. I have always found it surprising that pretty much everyone gets that reference, although the movie’s reputation doesn’t seem to reflect it’s popularity. Just goes to show that groundhogs are box office gold. I’ve been saying it for years.

Work is good. The days are not super long, but my responsibility is ten-fold anything I have experienced before, so it seems pretty intense. The hours are about 7 to 5 or 6 every day but Sunday, which is my day off, which means I only round until about noon then am free to…take a nap. Quite a life. Most of the surgeons that do this only go for three months at a time. I can definitely see why as I am at three months and feel a little tired. But in just one month I will be back in the states. I don’t know what to expect,
the bat cavethe bat cavethe bat cave

the dark line is all bats. the people are throwing sticks at the bats to sell to restaurants.
since I’ve been gone since before the economic crisis and new president (and Britney Spears come-back), but I will be disappointed if there are no flying cars.

The names here have taken some getting used to. I have encountered the most masculine name I’ve ever seen: Men Man. That dude definitely needs a leather jacket and pet snake. Best name ever: Long Phally. The cook for our house I was calling “Kid Rock” for two months, I thought it was a pretty solid name for a 45 year old woman. Turns out it’s actually “Kim Roth.” Obviously, I’m still calling her Kid Rock. Everyone at the hospital calls me Dr. Ben, pretty standard since leaving the states. I have gotten accustomed to it, although initially I felt obligated to give everyone relationship advice, peppered with phrases like “tough love” and “tell it like it is.”

I have started running again, which has been nice. It is still a little strange to jog for exercise in this country, but I think most of the stares are a result of me being white. A “barang.” Barang is the Khmer equivalent of “gringo” or “sucker.” The most frustrating part is running
the emergency teamthe emergency teamthe emergency team

I'm the unusually tall one with the beard.
past this nightly outdoor dance aerobics class who thinks I’M the one who’s weird. Initially it was kind of cute and cool for all the children, seriously ALL the children, to yell “hello” as I pass. Until I realized that this is essentially the equivalent of me sticking my head out the car window and yelling “moooooo” at passing cows. They are just looking for me to moo back, probably also waiting to give their wife, who is not paying attention to them for some reason, a high five.

The best things about Cambodia: You can wear pajamas as normal clothes. About 10% of the population does this. This is not track suits and sweat pants (which are arguably acceptable to wear in public) but straight up bears with balloons and pillows jammies. You can urinate in public anywhere without judgment. They just need to start having college football games and it will be like home. The bars routinely feature hammocks as the primary or only seating options. You can swim all year.

Worst things about Cambodia: Loudspeakers. From the pagoda that begins it’s incoherent broadcast of Buddhist mantras and xylophone music at 6 am to the weddings that are always happening somewhere within speaker distance. Although one wedding was playing a Khmer version of Jingle Bells. It was 90 degrees and I was walking past chickens and cows. It was nostalgic, surreal, and disorienting all at the same time. Winter is 2 weeks long and it dips only into the 70s. Other than that it is hotter than balls all year.

Cambodia has been just what I wanted out of this experience. But I won’t lie, I am ready to head home. I just can’t get my TiVo to predictably record “227” here. Peace, B.

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Comments only available on published blogs

28th March 2009

Thanks for a good chuckle
You've described beautifully a few things that I could never quite find the right words for - thanks for the entertainment!
29th March 2009

Thanks for the new post
I laughed my ass off. I wish I could name my kid Men Man. Merman sounds so lame now in comparison.

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