A Little Bit Old

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December 14th 2014
Published: December 14th 2014
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"I will move you to a room on a lower floor because I think you are a little bit old."

The woman in the Phnom Penh guest house has no idea, none at all, that maybe she should find another way to suggest that she can move my fourth floor room to the second floor. She smiles sweetly and laughs, and I can only bless this perfect moment.

It's been a tiring day. My sojourn to Phnom Penh to extend my visa was not a short jaunt. I left Chi Phat at 8:00 am with my faithful driver, son Savin, rolling by sugar cane fields in the morning light as we headed for Andoung Tuek. I waited nearly two hours and watched eight buses whiz by until mine stopped for me. No matter that I had a ticket with an assigned seat in the back, I was directed to the front seat next to an older lady.

Great, I enjoyed a wonderful panoramic view out the front window of the road to Phnom Penh. I also got a good grasp of our driver's passing skills. At least ten times it seemed we had a face off with oncoming traffic. A bus and a car, or a bus and a motorcycle, cannot share one lane, so guess who won, each and every time. I'm here to tell you about it.

I imagined our bus driver losing just once, and our bus plowing head on into a huge heavy truck, me flying through the windshield and through the windshield of the truck. Eegads, what are you doing, Terry, I asked myself. Everything is fine, you're not going through any windshield. Of course not. So sit back, relax, and enjoy....the wretching. No, not me. I already swallowed my anti-puke ginger pills. The kids behind me. They're all tossing their breakfast. I just hope I don't catch a whiff.

Several people came forward to ask for more puke bags from the bus attendant. It looked like she was running low on those plastic bags. And where were the used bags being deposited, I wondered. I'll just not turn around and find out.

Oh just sit back and enjoy....the video. It was some really bad Chinese flick about a young pudgy monk in training who missed his mother. Thankfully, the Chinese was dubbed in Khmer and there were English subtitles, so I didn't have to miss outstanding lines such as:

"You ain't my mom, I miss mom.""He got those tremend-ious sadness.""Today the wind is blowing, freak if you are scared.""Be a really man.""Like a fart spread away.""Norway is norway.""How tired, what a feet.""If you won't picky, you can stay at my place. I have a lot of sweet potatoes.""My ass is numb, rub it out.""Life is just like eating sweet potatoes. You never know when you fart."

And here's my favorite, probably because it's the first one I wrote down when I realized this was a gem of a movie: "Here comes the virgin piss."

I had to stop watching when I realized I could get car sick even though I was highly amused.

The bus stopped way out from my hotel. I don't know why, but I was on guard when a tuk tuk driver immediately asked me if I needed a tuk tuk.

"Yes, how much to the National Museum?" I asked."Seven dollars," the helmeted driver said. I recoiled and said that is way too much. Didn't he know I knew that was too much? The hotel told me it should be a
The video screen and warning to your valuablesThe video screen and warning to your valuablesThe video screen and warning to your valuables

Your valuables should not get lost.
couple dollars.

"Oh but we are very far. You want to see on a map? I show you. See, we're on Mao tse Tung Blvd, way far away." I didn't believe him. We couldn't be that far. Since I wasn't sure and I had only a moto driver with a shredded seat on his moto competing for my business, I relented, and asked Mr tuk tuk if he could do it for five. In a flash he grabbed me with his sweaty hand and raised his other hand to stop traffic, dragging me across several lanes of sputtering motorbikes and cars. I wanted to close my eyes and just walk, he knew what he was doing. I wanted to think or say something clever for some reason, like, "today the wind is blowing, freak if you are scared."

Sure enough, Mr. Yeat delivered me to my hotel. And asked if he could take me somewhere the next day. By then my heart had softened. This young man was just trying to get a job. He really had a wonderful smile, and he was nearly pleading with me to hire him the next day. I took his number and
Comedy shows are popularComedy shows are popularComedy shows are popular

Usually they feature men dressed as women acting like nothing I've ever seen, a terrible caricature of a loveless old woman, perhaps?
said I'd call if I needed him. I've been thinking about him, and he's been hoping I will call so he can make a few dollars.

Yes, Mr. Yeat, once I get settled tomorrow in my new room on the second floor because I'm a little bit old, I'll call you.

Additional photos below
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15th December 2014
Crossing the Phiphot River at Chi Phat

So wise!
Really, it's so wise of you to trust the bus/moto/whatever drivers. I think there's nothing we can do anyway, and they probably don't want to die, so best to just relax and trust that all will work out. I love your collection of lines from the film, "Life is just like eating sweet potatoes. You never know when you fart." Isn't that just the truth. And regarding the sweet lady that lowers the floor of your room, it's so interesting that speaking the truth about we who are--perhaps a little old or a little fat (me, not you) is something that other cultures see as simple truths, rather than our silly western ways of thinking these offensive. So much to learn from others. I love your easy-going way of doing so.
15th December 2014
Crossing the Phiphot River at Chi Phat

Life is like sweet potatoes
Those drivers sure don't want to hurt their source of income, and they know that if you know they ripped you off, you will not want to use them again. I know all that, I really do, but for some reason I get into a bad habit of assuming I'm going to have to really haggle with them. I've found that Cambodia is the least stressful of all places to negotiate rides and to buy merchandise. I really do enjoy the people here, for their kindness and helpfulness. As for switching rooms, I'm so glad now, because I managed to screw up my knee so the sweet woman who says I'm a little old fixed me up with a huge bag of ice. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog!

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