Good times in Phnom Penh

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February 15th 2009
Published: February 15th 2009
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My day began with a visit to the Counseling Center of the Royal University of Phnom Penh's master's program in Counseling Psychology. I was able to sit in on a workshop introducing Rational-Emotive Therapy (RET) and listen to an interesting discussion on the nuances of "feeling" that are not shared by English. I enjoyed it a lot.

After the class, my host invited me to lunch, which turned to be lunch with her, her sister, her husband, and the student who was serving as a driver. It also turned out to be lunch at Phnom Tamao Zoo, 44 kilometers south of Phnom Penh, past the Cheung Ek genocide center (the killing fields). This zoo is a wildlife rehabilitation center. I was the only non-Asian person I saw there.

Lunch was served on wooden platforms surrounded by hammocks. We had roasted chicken stuffed with lemon grass and dipped in fish sauce, a large fish eaten with shredded mango, tomatoes, coconut milk, and rice. I was, of course, immediately given a whole leg with a tasty chicken foot, but I managed to dejoint it and return the foot to the communal plate. If my mother had been there, I would, of course, have given it to her.

After lunch, we drove and walked around the zoo. None of the birds count because they're captive, but it was terrific to see them up close. When we walked by the Crested Serpent Eagle, my hosts told me of the superstition that if you hear it cry, you die. I thought, then let's get the hell out of here!, but I didn't say it aloud.

They dropped me back at my hotel, where I did not eat the kim chee with tiny tentacles because I was tired of new things. I repaired to the computer to finish my lesson for tomorrow, and the USB drive stopped working. Fortunately I was able to save a copy of the document and e-mail it to myself, but now I'm sick of the whole deal and going to bed. Tomorrow I have an 8:00 AM lecture to present in a class that actually begins at 7:00 AM, so count your blessings.

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Called "stork" by the guide

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