Discover Seattle!

General Category => Discover Seattle! => Topic started by: TehBorken on Dec 19 06 09:52

Title: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 19 06 09:52
  A simple travel log of my recent trip to Cambodia where I got engaged to my lovely fiance:

My Trip To Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/)

I'll be back later, if you have any questions post them here and I'll answer them as best as I can.

You can also jump to the other trips from here if you want:

My second trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg58431.html#msg58431).
The TSA, The Drive Of Death, and Kompong Som 

My second trip (continued) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg58776.html#msg58776).
Candy For Breakfast, Power Coffee, and Parking Attendants With Machine Guns! 

My third trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg84089.html#msg84089).
Hello Vietnam, Cloned Schoolgirls, Eating Bugs, and Bribing Border Guards! 

My fourth trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg93579.html#msg93579).
Bring The Boy, Kompong Som, Buying A Moto, No Criminals Allowed   

My fifth trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg102751.html#msg102751).
The Mud Garden, Awesome Landings, Phnom Penh Traffic Insanity 

My sixth trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg110306.html#msg110306).
More Traffic Insanity, Scary Mannequins, Fish Bladders, and The Buffet Of Death 

My seventh trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg113207.html#msg113207).
Christmas In Cambodia, How NOT To Laugh, And Awesomely Cool Nails 

My eighth trip to Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg113207.html#msg113207).
Trafic Cops, Death To Schoolgirls, Hooting Noises, And The Magic Traffic Horn 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Dec 19 06 10:27
Aaaaaaah.........................

  What a beautiful read! I love it, TehBorken. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It was funny and touching at the same time.

  She's gorgeous especially in the last photo. So happy for you, man.

  I like the part about the dentist. Hilarious! The picture of the brain part was.... *cough cough*    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: SusanJ on Dec 19 06 10:34
  TehBorken wrote:   A simple travel log of my recent trip to Cambodia where I got engaged to my lovely fiance...

Thanks for sharing all that.  I know how much she means to you and am so glad you've included me in this journey.  I wish you two the very best - I have a feeling you two are 'forever keepers' to each other.  You deserve the very best, and it looks like you found her!

xoxo,

Susan
Syracuse NY
     
     
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Dec 19 06 10:52
wow, sounds like an experience. Welcome home again to you and your bride! Congrats again.

  EDIT: It looks like a cross between parts of Africa and China where Ive been. Alot of your food stories seem similar as well, I hope you had something like immodium. Did the McDonalds join other fast food outlets like pizza hut and KFC? Ive seen ones like that, and you actually get seated AND SERVED including booze in them.

Im glad you went and experienced that, most people I talk to havent ever experienced how alot of the world lives.'bless'
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Dec 19 06 10:58
Wow TB.  Those are lovely lovely pictures and thank you so much for sharing this.  I loved it... and WOW, Sakha is absolutely breathtaking.  She is such a beautiful breath of fresh air.  (scented, of course)  (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Teasing/5.gif)

  Oh, CONGRATS!  *hugs*
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: kitten on Dec 19 06 11:58
Congratulations, TehBorken.  She is so very beautiful!  The pictures and commentary were fascinating.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Dec 19 06 12:00
kitten wrote:
 Congratulation, TehBorken.  She is so very beautiful!

  .........

  She certainly is.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Liz on Dec 19 06 12:16
I'm new here, but I'm curious as to how you met your fiance.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 19 06 01:09
 Lise wrote:
I like the part about the dentist. Hilarious! The picture of the brain part was.... *cough cough*

 Yeah, that's exactly what my stomach said: "*cough cough*". I ate a lot of stuf I shouldn't have and I paid for it, believe me I paid for it. There's nothing like Cambodian diarheaa, the wondrous green color and tapioca-like consistency has to be ummm experienced to be believed.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 19 06 01:18
 Russ wrote:
EDIT: It looks like a cross between parts of Africa and China where Ive been. Alot of your food stories seem similar as well, I hope you had something like immodium.

Nope, it's almost unobtainable. There is almost no medicine in the entire country. Over-the-counter stuff like immodium or Tylenol or even aspirin is nearly impossible to get. She did find me something that worked, but it took a special trip to the "Pharmacie".


Did the McDonalds join other fast food outlets like pizza hut and KFC?

No, thank god, there are no fast food places in Cambodia that I saw. The closest thing was the Lucky Seven, but no McDonalds, No Pizza Hut, Wendys, etc. None.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 19 06 01:19
 Liz wrote:
I'm new here, but I'm curious as to how you met your fiance.

I met her through a friend of mine who lives here (in Seattle). He and his wife are both Cambodian.

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Dec 19 06 03:34
Ah! Welcome back and yes, thank you for sharing your journey    :)
You were missed.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Dec 19 06 06:26
Wow....what an excellent adventure TehBorken.  [FONT size=5]Loved your story.....GREAT !!!!!![/FONT]  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Dec 19 06 07:29
Ha ha! Enjoyed the pics and write up.



Those dentists were hilarious.









(http://www.stonehill.edu/compsci/CS400/congrats.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: mr pomegranate on Dec 28 06 03:08
  Nice travel log and wedding story.... well done!! :)

Thank you! (Actually we just got engaged, not married. But we will. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) )
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Dec 28 06 12:49
Congratulations to you too, Mr Pomegranate.  (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/11.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: mr pomegranate on Dec 28 06 01:39
oh my... lol

  is this a board glitch?? I assume that Teh Borken's reply to me ended up inside my post, making it look like I was saying that I just got engaged, when it was him correcting me that said he is just engaged, not married... lol...  I was all confused when reading my congratulatory pm's this morning lol... thanks for your kind thought anyways :))

  anyways... congrats on the engagement, Teh Borken  :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Dec 28 06 03:26
LOL, I must've read that wrong.  hee hee...  (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Teasing/12.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 28 06 08:56
 mr pomegranate wrote:
[div style="font-style: italic;"]is this a board glitch?? I assume that Teh Borken's reply to me ended up inside my post[/div]
 No, I quoted you and didn't italicize the text like I normally do so it looked like it was your post.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Dec 28 06 11:08
TehBorken wrote:
mr pomegranate wrote:
is this a board glitch?? I assume that Teh Borken's reply to me ended up inside my post

No, I quoted you and didn't italicize the text like I normally do so it looked like it was your post.

 Bork, that's not what he's saying. Check out  http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg43874.html#msg43874 (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg43874.html#msg43874) . It appears like it was written by Mr Pom, not you. I saw the original when it was first posted.

 

Now it appears your response to him has been incorporated into the body of his message.

 

First I scratched my head also, then I figured you accidentally clicked Edit, instead of Reply, and ended up responding that way.

 

The board has a few bugs, but I don't think this is one of them.      
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 29 06 07:17
 Raging Poodle! wrote:
First I scratched my head also, then I figured you accidentally clicked Edit, instead of Reply, and ended up responding that way.

Yeah, that's probably what I did. Doh!!
 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Orca on Dec 31 06 01:29
Where is your picture????

  Congratulations Teh Borken.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 31 06 09:09
 Orca wrote:
[div style="font-style: italic;"]Where is your picture????[/div]  
It's not there, no one wants to see my ugly mug, lol.


Congratulations Teh Borken.

Thank you!  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Brit_Guy on Jan 14 07 09:55
Wow! You are one very lucky guy
Best of luck to you(http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/21.gif)

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jan 14 07 09:58
TehBorken wrote:
It's not there, no one wants to see my ugly mug, lol.



  Ugly? Yeah right! I bet to differ!!!!(http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/midi/figuren/a026.gif)

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jan 14 07 09:59
I forgot to mention congratulations.  Wish you all the best.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jan 14 07 10:05
I'm a differ beggar too, Lise.  [img style="CURSOR: pointer" onclick=url(this.src); src="http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/more/bigs/c032.gif" border=0]

  I just went back and reread the whole thing......it's worth a reread.

Such an exciting adventure for sure.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jan 14 07 10:06
He should write a book, My Love Adventure with Cambodia......

  .....oh my.... that might not be a good idea considering the title of the book. Hehe. *blush*
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 15 07 11:55
Raging Poodle!!! Bless yer little heart. TB shouldn't let someone like Gunta bring his day down. This is a wonderful thread and most of us would prefer to see it stay up. However, the final decision will boil down to you alone and we respect your decision, whatever the outcome.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 12:27
 Lise wrote:
Raging Poodle!!! Bless yer little heart. TB shouldn't let someone like Gunta bring his day down.

Heh heh heh, he can't. He doesn't have that power.  (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)


This is a wonderful thread and most of us would prefer to see it stay up.

Thanks, Lise. I didn't mean I'd take the whole thread down, I just removed his mindless commentary. He's free to start a separate thread about his fascination with pedophilia if he likes.

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Feb 15 07 01:31
Good idea TB..

  I was curious when I signed on and saw the page number at 2 instead of 6. lol.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Feb 15 07 01:39
I'm glad that you removed those comments, TB.  :)  This is a lovely, lovely thread.  Me love, me love.  ;)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 02:42
My 2nd Trip to Cambodia


NOTE: If you haven't read the first part of this story yet, you can do that here: My Trip To Cambodia, Pt 1 (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/). You'll probably want to do that, otherwise some of the stuff that follows might not make as much sense.



I flew the Seattle-to-Taipei-to-Cambodia route and got in about noon. My sweetie met me there with flowers in hand for me. My bags didn't show up, unfortunately, so I filed the my-bags-are-missing form and off we went to the Phnom Penh Hotel (http://www.phnompenhhotel.com/). The PPH is utterly fabulous, it's grand, sumptuous, and plush as hell. The concierge lady at the PPH wondered why I had no bags and when we told her they hadn't showed up, she said she would scold the airport people for us (lol) and keep on them until they found the bags.

We relaxed for a bit in the room and then went to see my fiance's folks, said our hellos and visited with them for a bit. After a while we went out to dinner at a nice little place where we were waited on hand and foot by a slew of giggling waitresses who were talking a mile a minute to my fiance. They were quizzing her like mad about me, lol.

We turned in early because I'd been up for about 40 hours straight at that point. I was so dopey I could barely stand up.

The next morning we went to her workplace and did another round of hellos. The girls at my fiance's  workplace were teasing her like mad about her 'norteamericano boyfriend" and went into paroxysms of "woo woo woo" if I so much as held her hand. Public displays of affection are *not* the norm in Cambodia and so kissing my fiance on the cheek nearly put them over the edge, lol. From what I can tell, about half the girls at her workplace are getting married within the next few months.

We hit the big marketplace and got some miscellaneous stuff, t-shirts and odds and ends. We took a tuk-tuk (a little chauffeured cart) around the city for a bit just for something to do. When we got back to the PPH the concierge lady told us she'd found our bags and they were waiting for us at the airport. EVA air wouldn't deliver them to the PPH so we got another tuk-tuk and went to get my bags.

When I opened the bags there was a little note in each one from the friendly folks at the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) saying that they just *had* to open my bags and root through them in the interests of safety, and they were sooooooooo sorry if that delayed them for a day but they were sure I understood, right? They said if they "had to break the locks off" that the TSA inspector "sincerely regretted having to do that" etc etc. Yeah, I'm sure he cried himself to *&$@! sleep over it, no doubt.

So, I put all the stuff I'd brought for my fiance's family into one bag and took it to her apartment to give to her folks. You'd have thought it was Christmas in February. I'd brought all sorts of stuff that they either don't have there or don't usually buy, or that is just too expensive. I brought salt, mayonnaise (!!), noodles, Tylenol, Advil, Imodium, lots of shampoo, some body lotions, barbecue sauce, some spices, scented soaps, chocolate (a lot of chocolate, lol), fever thermometers, vitamins, and a ton of other things, about 100 lbs of stuff altogether.

One of her sisters quizzed me on what some of it was and wrote little post-it notes to put on all the bottle and bags and containers so her folks would know what it was. After all, if you can't read English you can't tell if some strangely-marked bottle contains barbecue sauce or body lotion. And you don't want to mix those up, if you know what I mean, lol.

The next day we rented a bus with a driver and all three sisters, me, and her brother drove out to Kompong Som (https://www.google.com/search?q=Kompong+Som&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FscuT5nxFrH9iQKulPzNCg&ved=0CF4QsAQ&biw=1306&bih=837).
The trip there was really, really exciting, the same way an airplane crash is really, really exciting. Our driver must have gotten paid extra for every vehicle he passed. He passed on the left, on the right, in the middle. Passing other cars and trucks was the order of the day. He'd pass on blind curves, on bridges, and on blind curving bridges (I'm not kidding). I nearly crapped myself about 500 times and that was in the first 20 kilometers. He'd swing the bus out from behind some truck and there would be two or sometimes three other vehicles all coming the OTHER WAY trying to pass. No joke. At the last instant he'd jerk the bus to the right (or left) and everyone else would do the same and somehow we would miss crashing into each other. I kept trying to get a picture of this insanity so that when they pulled our bodies from the smoking wreckage they'd be able to look in my camera at the very last picture and see what killed us. I am not kidding. My life flashed before my eyes so many times it went into syndication. He also must have gotten some sort of thrill from using his *&^#!@ car horn, because he beeped it every few seconds THE WHOLE F*CKING WAY- over 150 kilometers. I swear, I'm NOT kidding. BEEP, BEEP, BEEEEEEEEEP, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP, BEEEEEEEP....the whole way there, for four fricking hours. He was warning all of the hapless suckers in front of us that he was coming to pass them. If you beeped your horn that much here, people would start shooting at you, no lie. I am not making a single word of this up. He probably goes through two or three horns a year. And it was exactly like that the whole way back, too: BEEP, BEEP, BEEEEEEEEEP BeepBeepBeepBeep....


Anyway, Kompong Som is a gorgeous place. The water in the ocean is warm like a bath, it's just fantastic. The scenery is incredible there. I think I was the only white-skinned guy for 100 miles in any direction. I got a lot of looks, but everyone was just as friendly as could be. We swam until we were just dog tired and then crawled up onto the beach for a while. After we recovered we took a quick trip to a local market for some food. Most of it was still moving, I swear to god. All the fish and crabs and things were still squirming or squiggling or whatever. My fiance just stripped 'em all down and gave then to a chef at the market to cook up on the spot in a big communal bowl. We had about 10 lbs of crabs and huge shrimp other stuff, some of which I have no idea what it was except that some of them had a lot of extra legs and wiggly things waving around. I just closed my eyes a lot when I ate.

The market is just a big covered dirt area and all of the stuff (fish, plants, potatoes, etc) are just laid out on the ground. The crabs and shrimp and wiggly things are kept alive in big bowls and ya gotta be quick when you pick the crabs out or they'll grab your finger and nip the living crap out of you. "Sanitary" is not a word that comes to mind, but it's the way things are there. I didn't get sick so what can I say.

I do not recommend staying in "The Golden Castle (http://www.mot.gov.kh/hotel_detail.asp?name=Golden%20Castle%20Hotel&province=Sihanouk%20Ville)", the hotel we used for the night in Kompong Som. It looks nice from the outside, but it was a little barren inside. The hot water heater was the size of a pop can, so you could take a hot shower for almost a full minute before it suddenly ran out and then froze your ass to death. Woo baby, talk about shrinkage.

We came back from Kompong Som after visiting some waterfalls nearby. There were a lot of fields along the way that were "places no walk to", which I think meant they had landmines although I didn't see any signs. Sometimes they let cattle into the fields to graze and "find some mines". After a month the field is supposedly safe to walk into but I'll pass on that, thankyouverymuch.

I'll write some more tomorrow.

Click here to jump to the third part of this story (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg58776.html#msg58776).

           
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Feb 15 07 03:03
I like reading your stories like this.. I can relate to some of what you talk about.. lol.

  Good for you. My brothers gf. is over in vietnam right now and she's going through cambodia to thailand then flying home.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Feb 15 07 03:09
What a lovely lovely story and trip you just experienced Teh Borken.  Awww...that's just so sweet.  It's always wonderful to know that love really exists out there.  Bless your hearts.  :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 15 07 03:14
Wooonderful story, TB. I laughed myself reading that part about the bus ride. Thanks for sharing. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/1.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Feb 15 07 03:43


I'm glad those comments are gone also.



However, I took the time to express a legitimate concern. Either publicly or privately I'd like to have received a clarification on the issue, instead of being gagged and censored - which to me translates as only one thing:



"If it's my own happiness then I'll do whatever necessary to preserve the feeling. If it's another member's joy being spoiled by a troll, then it's no skin off my back."





(http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)      
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 03:55
 Raging Poodle! wrote:
However, I took the time to express a legitimate concern.

 ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Feb 15 07 04:02
TehBorken wrote:
Raging Poodle! wrote:
However, I took the time to express a legitimate concern.

 ??? ??? ???


Why the question marks? You were the one who read and deleted my comment implying that it was inappropriate and choosing to ignore its content.

 I won't be retyping the whole message.

 That's old frustration game played on DV.

I didn't register here to continue playing the same games.

 

  (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/10.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/10.gif)     
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 04:07
As it's TB's board, he has the right to censor any content he likes.

I don't really care about censorship on this particular thread, but I have always been lukewarm about the "vibe" here concerning unpopular opinion. It rubs me the wrong way. But I'm just one user among many. Still, there you have it.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 04:07
   Raging Poodle! wrote:[strong style="font-style: italic; font-weight: normal;"]
Why the question marks? You were the one who read and deleted my comment implying that it was inappropriate and choosing to ignore its content.[/b]

Yes, I was the one who (must have) deleted it, but I honestly don't recall what the question or concern you mentioned was. Would ya refresh my memory, please? You don't have to repost the whole thing, just give me a hint. as to what it was.

Edit: I just started removing all the posts after gunta's pedophile comment, so I probably removed yours without any deliberate intent as to the post itself. My bad.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 04:09
  tenkani wrote:
As it's TB's board, he has the right to censor any content he likes.

I normally don't censor stuff unless it affects the site or screws with the advertisers guidelines. I don't usually censor stuff just because I disagree with it or it rubs me the wrong way.


 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 04:18
I know that TB.

You're my buddy and this site is head and shoulders above the competition in most ways.

On the other hand, I've seen some interesting posters come and go because of the vibe I mentioned where people who seem nasty or troublesome are quickly stomped to death and tossed in the waste bin. I understand where this feeling comes from, but it still bothers me. On the other hand, most of the regs here are happy with it so take my comments for what they are, just the gut feelings of one poster.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Feb 15 07 04:18
tenkani wrote:
 As it's TB's board, he has the right to censor any content he likes.

  I don't think that he set up this place to practice dictatorship. That's what you seem to be implying. But that's never been my impression of this board.



   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 04:22
I was being very literal.

It is a private message base.

He pays the fees.

He has the right to delete any content he chooses.

Whether we like it is another issue altogether.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Feb 15 07 04:39
TehBorken wrote:
Yes, I was the one who (must have) deleted it, but I honestly don't recall what the question or concern you mentioned was. Would ya refresh my memory, please? You don't have to repost the whole thing, just give me a hint. as to what it was.

Edit: I just started removing all the posts after gunta's pedophile comment, so I probably removed yours without any deliberate intent as to the post itself. My bad.
So you weren't even READING what you were deleting?
If that's the case, then yes that's bad!  (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Angry/1.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Angry/1.gif)

The irony is that my message was actually supportive of your removing the comments that took away from the overall joy of this thread.

It was politely worded and appropriate.

The hypothetical question in the end was: "If this had happened in someone else's thread, would you consider cleaning it up, or would you just leave it as part of the discussion?"

In other words, would you give a rat's arse if a similar troll was souring someone else's joy, or would you only do this for your own threads?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 04:40
    tenkani wrote:
... I've seen some interesting posters come and go because of the vibe I mentioned where people who seem nasty or troublesome are quickly stomped to death and tossed in the waste bin.

Genuinely hateful or disruptive trolls are indeed stomped as flat as I can make them as quickly as I'm able. People who are merely annoying or unpopular don't usually push my button, but  yes, once in a while they do and I respond ungracefully. I'm only human. I try not to let my personal likes/dislikes get in the way, but I'm far from perfect and sometimes certain actions or behaviors do tick me off. I can't swear I'm completely unbiased or uniformally fair, but I try to be even-handed.


I understand where this feeling comes from, but it still bothers me. On the other hand, most of the regs here are happy with it so take my comments for what they are, just the gut feelings of one poster.
I understand what you're saying, and I don't disagree.  I do feel that I need to keep a certain standard of reasonable behavior here. If people want a complete free-for-all type of place they can always make use of DV or the hundreds (thousands) of other boards out there, but I like a place with a little civility. In some ways this place is a reflection on me, for better or worse. Lots of people say stuff here that I am opposed to or don't like, but unless it really gets out of hand or messes with the overall tone of the site I usually won't get involved.

That said, I'll be the first one to admit that sometimes I don't live up to my own standards.
   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 04:48
TB, I have to apologize for my lack of clarity.

I didn't mean to lay the blame squarely in your lap.

The deletions issue is one that concerns you and the mods.

The "vibe" issue is more general and is, in fact, usually expressed by other posters.

And I'll leave it at that.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 04:50
   Raging Poodle! wrote:  The hypothetical question in the end was: "If this had happened in someone else's thread, would you consider cleaning it up, or would you just leave it as part of the discussion?" In other words, would you give a rat's arse if a similar troll was souring someone else's joy, or would you only do this for your own threads?

 Ahhh. Well, hmmm....good question. I guess I'd try and take it on a case-by-case basis. I know that's a cop-out, but it's the only reasonable way I can think to handle it. It would be foolish for me to try and apply a blanket approach, i.e. "Never delete anything" or "Always delete stuff"....those sort of inflexible rules always go down in flames (in my experience).

I'll admit right up front that it was more bothersome to me because it was in a thread of mine, and one that I'd like to keep reasonably on-topic. If it was someone else's thread and they complained that it was getting out of hand, I'd probably clean it up to try and keep things on an amicable footing. I don't know, to be honest. I don't have an action plan for all this stuff, lol, and sometimes there are no good solutions, you know- just ones that aren't as bad as some of the others.

And yes, it was my bad that I wasn't paying more attention to what was getting removed. Truth is, I got only so many hours in the day and sometimes I make mistakes. Your post wasn't removed because of it's content. It was just mixed in with a bunch of other stuff that was going away no matter what, and to be honest it might not have made sense (to me) to leave it there, orphaned without any context, so to speak.

 
 

   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 15 07 04:56
 tenkani wrote:
TB, I have to apologize for my lack of clarity.

No cookie for you!  lol (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)

The deletions issue is one that concerns you and the mods.

Well, I generally back the mods up 100% in what they do. I trust them and their judgement, and if they make a mistake it's not the end of the world. Making mistakes comes with the territory, I don't expect perfection from anyone and I make enough mistakes myself as it is, so I know that sometimes stuff happens.


The "vibe" issue is more general and is, in fact, usually expressed by other posters.
And I'll leave it at that.

Yep, I understand. I don't claim or expect that this place will be all things to all people.


 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Feb 15 07 04:57
Ok, thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Moolah! on Feb 15 07 05:01
tenkani wrote:
 The "vibe" issue is more general and is, in fact, usually expressed by other posters.

Dude, if you're so much into vibes you should come to the synaesthesia thread.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Feb 15 07 05:03
I'm glad it was removed.  I really wanted to delete it myself.  Not so much for content, but context.  It was out of place IMHO.  The 'community' feeling here almost requires acknowledgement for a job well done or a 'here here' for sharing a great expereince.

  That doesn't eliminate discussion on less warm and fuzzy topics.  But when the two are mixed in what seems like an effort to take someone down, my suspicion is we'd probably all like the ability to react the same way.

      *Separate post.

  Loved your continuing story TB.  Thanks again for sharing.      
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Feb 15 07 05:20
Id be scared to go to his syn something thread Tenkani.. hes writing in the colour purple again which has a certian smell Im still trying to figure out.. but thats my thing for today. lol.

  I think you are doing a good job TB. I have no issues with how youve done it or how you have defended your position. Not that my opinion matters but I agree with you, a case by case basis, and a general idea. I also appreciate you defending your mods actions and state the fact that they are not infallable and you cant fault them on it, I had issues with something like that when I was a mod on another site (not DV, lol).

My brother is a mod on another site as well, and its funny to see how that site works.. he swings his ban hammer quite frequently.. but its a ten day ban then 30 day, etc, etc.

  Please keep up your mini-blog here with your trip. I myself admit I enjoy reading it, cause I can laugh and understand what you are talking about, I really enjoy the pictures too. You actually made me break out my china, singapore, and other asian countries pictures I have taken and drift through them.

  There is a certain style to this site, including a clique here. Not that its bad.. LOL, Im not even sure Im in the clique. Who cares really? I do agree with you Tenk.. we talked something about this before.

  Uh, Yarrgh! Thats about all I have to say. Thanks agian TB.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 07:04
No.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 15 07 07:05
OK. Well.....not you then, just me. *small voice*
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 07:10
*kissing Lise's cheek*

Not just you, buddy.

But that was sort of what I was talking about earlier.

IMHO we need to start defining ourselves as a community in ways other than as a reaction to DV.

In other words, if everything that reminds us of DV gets smooshed because we're DV-phobic, then we will end up smooshing a lot of good things. And I define sometimes painful debate as a good thing as long as it doesn't get really personal and ugly. I think a lot of us, myself included, are a little scarred and bitter by our experiences, but if we let that define us we will become just "NOT DV" instead of the wonderful DS that we all want.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Feb 15 07 07:12
Maybe there needs to be two forums, you know the bigger the place gets the more forums needed so things don't get lost.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 07:18
Two forums?

Oh goody!

Do the troublemakers get our own special leper island to inhabit?     ;)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 15 07 07:19
Well, tenk... I know what you mean though. On one hand it would be nice to have a forum where you can talk about everything and anything without fear of prosecution or a heavy hand at stiffling your right to say things. I can understand that. I mean, heck, we fought hard to keep it thus.

  It's just a bit hard to accept when we have been here so long, that we've known each other over the years. To see someone attack a member of the board.... well, it just plain sucks. I guess we were all 'blissfully happy'. It's not something I'm used to seeing.

  It's a fine line here at DS. On one hand, I want this forum to grow into something much more.... on the other hand, I'm very cautious. I do not want DS to become another DV. That would be the worst thing to happen.

  Anyways, I'm not offended by you in the least bit, tenkani. I understand what you're saying and don't be afraid of keeping things bottled inside you. Hugz back to you. And Raging Poodle as well.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 15 07 07:27
Fair enough.

For the record, I love it here or I wouldn't bother to post about this stuff.

Ahem, TB sorry about hijacking your thread dude.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Feb 15 07 07:30
I like the small community here I think its a huge plus to DS.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Feb 16 07 02:29
I echo Lise's point about wanting this forum to grow into something more - and at the same time feeling very cautious about it. I love it as it is and only wish there were more of it.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 16 07 06:15
Raging Poodle! wrote:
I believe I've already conveyed my best wishes to Bork earlier in the thread. My message should still be there if he (or someone else) hasn't deleted it.
So now, I'm out of this thread.

Hmmm, maybe I should just lock this thread to prevent any misunderstandings or posts or anything. I don't want it to become a point of contention. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 16 07 07:49
Okay....so where was I? Oh yeah, I miraculously surved the trip to Kompong Som and back.

Rejoicing in my avoidance of multiple near-death experiences at the hands of our enthusiastic driver, we checked back in at the Phnom Penh Hotel.

They have several nice restaraunts inside the hotel, one of them being the Palm View Café. It's a large room with multiple buffets set up with Indian food, Western food, and a couple of other kinds of food. Western food, as it turns out, means "things that are fried or coated in sugar", or, alternatively, "potatoes". Many kinds of potatoes- baked, fried, sliced, chopped, roasted, mashed, sauted, etc etc.

I happen to like buffets, probably because I'm a ravenous pig and I enjoy variety. We ate there a couple of times and the staff was so attentive it bordered on intrusive. For example, they'll run up, grab your can of Coke or whatever, and refill your glass if they think it needs refilling. Over here that would be considered a out of bounds but it's all part of the service there. If you look away for 2 or 3 seconds and they'll jump up, whisk your plate away, and leave you a new one. I practically had to guard my plate lest it disappear in the middle of a mouthful of food.

They also had a group from the Phillipines that would go from table to table serenading you, which frankly I hate with a passion. Every time they'd slither up to our table I'd wave my hands back and forth in the international "GO AWAY" sign, like I was waving off a Navy jet making a bad approach on a carrier landing. I *hate* having people stand next to my table and sing while I'm eating. They'd come up and say "Hi, can we-" and I'd scream "NO!!!!". Usually that was all it took, but sometimes we had to throw food at them too. (I'm kidding.)

The PPH also has a nice pool in the inside courtyard. We'd go there and just kind of paddle around in the water, very relaxing. My fiance had bought a bikini which is considered damn near scandalous behavior in Cambodia, and I had to coax her out of her wraparound sarong-thing each time, lol. She looks good in a bikini and all of the old farts sitting around the pool would leer openly at her, so she didn't stand up a lot, lol.

We took a trip to a bookstore for an English course for her and a Khmer-English phrasebook for me. They had some VERY odd little "cheap fiction" books there, with titles like "Candy For Breakfast", "Girl On A Motorcycle", and "Give Us The Money!".
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/funnybooks1.JPG)

Candy For Breakfast? ??? ??? ???  She looks happy. Or psychotic.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/candyforbreakfast.JPG)


We stayed on the Club Excellence Floor of the PPH, which has a great breakfast buffet (MmmMmm, buffet....) and we took advantage of that every morning. Yo, a load of bacon, rolls, potatoes, power coffee, etc etc, plus they had a chef standing by (literally) to make ommlettes to order. You tell him what you want and then one of their lovely Cambodian waitresses brings it to your table when it's ready. I would fire up my laptop (they have wireless in the hotel) and check email after we ate. My fiance was fascinated by all of the spam I get and I had to explain to her that no, I am not ordering penis pills, soliciting 3 dozen mortgage offers, playing the stock market, or corresponding with "bored and horny" girls named Jackie, Francine, Melinda, Jean, Alexis, Kate, Mandy, etc etc etc. No, honey, I'm not buying "OEM software FRO CHEAP!!!", I'm not having any trouble with my Paypal account no matter what it claims, nor any difficulty with my "Fifth Third National Bank account", and I'm not selling anythng on eBay, looking to send money to Miriam Abacha in Nigeria, and I did not win the El Gordo Spanish Lotttery 3 times this morning. Arrrrg.

Power Coffee: it has about 200 times the recommended daily allowance of caffine. Drinking just one cup will make you break out in a sweat, then you get a sudden urge to run around the block 5 or 10 times, then start mowing the lawn and painting the hotel while simultaneously dictating a few dozen letters. "Say-isn't-this-great-coffee-I-think-I'll-have-another-cup-and-then-finish-moving-all-the-furniture-
on-the-third-floor-back-up-to-the-roof..." It's heady stuff. I limited myself to 5 or 10 cups a day.

Power Coffee...vroooooooooooooom goes your heart!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/power-coffee1.JPG)
[hr width: 100%; height: 2px;"]
When you travel around the city you'll see that nearly every inch of sidewalk and storefront is paved in these gorgeous old tiles, red and brown, in a variety of patterns. I think they date from the time of the French rule, and they're all beat to hell now and dirty, but you can see that at one time they looked elegant and were beautiful to behold. It's kind of sad, really. All of this wonderful old tile, scuffed and covered in grime, but at one time it was grand and very lovely.

Practically the whole city is covered in it. Some has been painted, some is cracked, but it's everywhere and made me sad to see it in such a state of disrepair. Fixing the tile in the streets is a low priority in a city that has been bombed halfway to rubble and back, then abandoned for several years (during Pol Pot). It would be like painting your house while it was on fire- there are more pressing things to do, you know?

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tile-2.JPG)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tile-1.JPG)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tile-3.JPG)



The Parking Lot Cops versus the Police: The police are, frankly, a kind of ragtag bunch. They all look like they got their uniforms at a yard sale- they're all different and mostly non-standard. It's like they told them, "Okay, you're a cop- now go buy yerself some blue pants and a vest, or a jacket, or a cummerbund, or whatever you can find at Crazy Eddies House Of Uniforms. And don't spend more than five bucks".

The parking lot cops, however, look like friggin honor guards at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier- spit-shined boots, Sam Brown Belts, clean uniforms, and they're dressed at least twice as fancy as the cops. In fact, they look like brigadier generals who happen to be standing around in the parking lot directing traffic. Some of them even have medals (!!!) pinned on. I guess they got the medals from the Great Parking Lot War of 1912 or something.

A few of them even carry guns. No, not your wussy little pistol-type guns, but fricking machine guns. Really- I saw one at the City Market that had a full-auto Kalishnikov hanging on a sling across his back. I'll post some pics so you can see. Really, the cops look like refugees from Somalia and the Parking Lot Cops look like they're dressing for an upcoming military inspection.

Police officer - kinda shabby
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/police-1.JPG)


Parking Lot Cop - looking Goooood
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/parkingcop-3.JPG)

Parking Lot Cop - looking Goooood
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/parkingcop-2.JPG)

Parking Lot Cop - Park where he says, OR ELSE.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/parkingcop-1.JPG)



The Market: You can buy things here, including many tasty kinds of bugs to eat.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bugs3.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bugs2.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bugs1.JPG)
               
You can jump to the story of my 4th trip here (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg93579.html#msg93579).
(for some mysterious reason you might have to click twice)

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Feb 16 07 08:39
Interesting contrast between the cops and the parking lot guys.  What's with that I wonder.

  Why those food pics look ummm....delish. (http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/smilie/muede/o030.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Feb 16 07 08:55
So, Teh Borken, which one is you?  I have yet to see a pic of lovely Sakha and you together.  I'd love to see one. :)  In exchange, I will show you a pic of me and my fiance, all suited and dressed.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Feb 16 07 09:08
 awesome tehborken awesome.
teh borken pic? oh I want to see I want to see *jumping up and down like a little school kid* lol

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 16 07 09:44
Excellent story, TB. I love every minute of it!! Thank you! Looking forward to more. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/21.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Feb 22 07 06:33
^^^^ what she said     :)
More bug pics please!!!
How did you like them?
What kind of sauce goes best with giant hairy black spider thing??
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TheAngel on Feb 23 07 04:30
Congratulations on your Engagement, Mr. Borken. :)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 24 07 06:14
 TheAngel wrote:
Congratulations on your Engagement, Mr. Borken. :)  

Thank you. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Feb 27 07 06:00
Congratulations to you and your finace, TehBorken.  Thanks for sharing your travel story and photos.  What an interesting place.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 30 07 08:42
 Another trip, another update.

I did the Seattle-Taipei-Cambodia run again, and I timed this trip so I'd be there for my fiance's birthday. This is the hot season in Cambodia, and they aren't kidding. It's hot. Really, really hot. Like "writhe-in-the-fires-of-Hell" hot. But other than that it was okay. I got there, she met me at the airport in Phnom Penh and we stopped by her folk's place on the way to the hotel. We killed a whole day getting me a visa for Vietnam and wandering around a bit. The next day we went to Vietnam, and that was strange and bizarre.

We left Phnom Penh and took a little bus/taxi about 50 miles down a thoroughly-ruined-road-from-hell to a little fishing village on the Mekong River. No shit, that road had potholes the size of Rhode Island...every 20 feet or so. They were like tank-traps. (They might have actually been tank-traps for all I know.) Bam, THUD, Wham, crunch. Lather, rinse, repeat, until we felt seasick from all the jolting. At the little village we got into a really small 5-person boat and motored down the Mekong River for about 50 miles or so. The Mekong is a beautiful, picturesque river and about as scenic a place as I've ever been.

On the Mekong River
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mekong1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mekong1.jpg)

Along the river you'll see people washing and bathing, and even watering their oxen. Eventually we pulled over to the shore at this tiny, decrepit little shack. It was so dilapidated that in America we wouldn't even use it for a garden shed, but it was the  Vietnamese Official Customs & Immigration Entry Point. We got our papers approved and then took off on a couple of motorbikes ("motos"). As it turned out, this was a huge frigging mistake, but I'll get to that later.

We moto'd along for about 20 miles, then took a tiny little ferry across a twisty little river. Everyone, and I mean everyone gathered around me on the ferry ride and just stared at me. They were friendly, but still...I was waiting for someone to scream "Kill the imperialist running dog!"  But they just wanted to say "hi". It was very nearly a Depenz Moment for me.

We got off the ferry and by this time we were truly in Nowheresville. We were so far from civilization they'd have to pipe the sunlight in. Tiny little dirt villages that were right out of "Apocolypse Now", except people were wearing Nike shoes. God Bless America- 10,000 miles away and we could still pollute their timeless, age-old culture!
 
 We took the motos another 20 miles or so until we came to civilization, sort of. This is where my fiance's cousin lives and it was semi-developed, but still kinda rough around the edges.
 
 I was a sensation- everywhere we went people would stop what they were doing and call out to us, wave to us, etc. They'd follow us down the street and stare at us (me, actually). I was the whitest guy for 500km in any direction and some of these folks had probably never seen anyone as white as me. The kids just went bonkers and wanted to touch me, look at my eyes, etc. They all know the word "hello", but not much more. I felt soooooooooo white. Blindingly, excruciatingly white, but everyone was as friendly as could be. They treated me like a movie star, no kidding. Anywhere we went it was a total scene.
 
They have some weird signs there. I'm not sure what this one says; I think it means "Beware Of Ninjas Stalking Little Girls" but I could be wrong.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/weirdsign1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/weirdsign1.jpg)

 It was very, very hot and humid. Vietnam is like Hell With Loudspeakers. They have these big-ass speakers mounted all over the city and a couple of times a day they click on, play military music, then they read "news" or propaganda stories. It's freaky and there's no getting away from it.
 
 Clothing is super cheap. There are about 16000 dong to the dollar and nice shirt is about 10000 dong to 20000 dong (about a dollar or so). We bought a lot of clothes for my fiance, she just went wild in the underwear department, lol. We bought underwear, shirts, skirts, shoes, dresses, winter gloves, etc etc. It was too weird- here we were sweating our asses off  in 100-degree heat, and we're buying winter gloves. It was truly surreal. God only knows why they even sell winter gloves in a place that rarely drops below 80 degrees, but they do.

The schoolgirls in Vietnam all wear these identical white uniforms, it's a white dress and a long white cape and a white hat. When school lets out you'll see like 100 of them go by you pedaling their bikes, and it's just a bizarre sight to behold. They're all the same size and they look like a swarm of clones going by in their long flowing dress, hat, and cape.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sgirls3.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sgirls3.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sgirls1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sgirls1.jpg)
Just imagine coming upon a flock of 100 or so of these young ladies...!
 
 We bopped around the city and met a bunch of my finance's relatives, aunts, uncles, grandmas, etc etc. Nice people, very friendly. The way the electricity comes into the house is something else, check it out:

The power panel:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/powerpanel1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/powerpanel1.jpg)

The wire leading into the house. Bob Vila would not approve.
 (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/powerpanel2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/powerpanel2.jpg)

 I found that I can read Vietnamese fluently, like a native, although I have no idea what I'm saying. This was a huge source of amusement for everyone as I'd read the newspaper and headline stories aloud. Honest- apparently I read about ad fluently as a native-born speaker but with an American cowboy accent. "Dai ling ban chung gaow, pardner."
 
 We stayed in a semi-crude hotel. At night the hotel owner takes ("confiscates") your passport and runs it down to the police station, then brings it back in the morning. They explained it was for my "protection" *cough*. I don't know what it was they were protecting me from, but whatever...it's a rule.
 
 Unfortunately there was another Cambodian lady staying at the hotel and when she left in the morning to go to Ho Chi Minh city the hotel owner gave her my fiance's passport. The lady took off and went all the way to Ho Chi Minh city (about 300 miles!) and got to the gate at the airport before they noticed that it wasn't her passport. Meanwhile we were forbidden to leave the city or go anywhere since my fiance had no travel documents.

No one could (or would) tell us where her passport went or why it had gone missing, so we were getting a bit nervous. They eventually trucked her passport back but it cost us an entire day of waiting around wondering if we were going to be arrested for something or other.  When we finally got it back we decided to get the ^$%#!@ out of Dodge and so we made a mad dash up the road on a couple of motos to get back to the boat. Now I understand that line in Apocolypse Now: "Don't get out of the boat." No shit.
 
 However...when we entered Vietnam, we never got the official stamp on our passports. Whoops. Remember that "huge frigging mistake" thing I mentioned? Yeah, that was it. We had actually cleared the Customs garden shed Official Entry Point and were literally at the line that separates Vietnam from Cambodia when one of the customs officers stopped us. (The line is about 1/4" wide and is colored white, just in case you're wondering. Vietnam is here, take a step, *bingo*, now you're in Cambodia.)
 
 The customs officer had a *major* meltdown when he saw we didn't have entry stamps. Well, hell, we'd have gotten one but they never told us we were supposed to when we came in, so we didn't. Doh. Apparently it's a pretty serious crime to be in Vietnam without an official entry stamp in your passport. We spent the next couple of hours being run back and forth between several buildings being questioned, sent on, questioned again, etc etc etc. The questioning became more aggressive each time. I was sweating profusely and it had nothing to do with the heat, believe me. All I could do was nod and smile like a retard since I don't speak any Vietnamese. (I do now, but that's another story.)
 
Customs Officer: "¢¥ αΘ ωψ Φ ≠ζ  λϖ, ☼φ!!"
Me: "Uh, yeah..."
Customs Officer: "☼φ ≠ Ξψ, ≤ζ  λ╔ ¥ αΘ ω∃!!"
Me: "You bet, absolutely..."

You get the idea. I had no idea what he was saying. I could have been confessing to stealing nuclear secrets for all I knew.

 They finally got us backdated stamps, but not until my fiance gave one of the customs officers a 20000 dong note "for his trouble" (I swear I'm not making this up). That's right, it cost a $1.25 to bribe a Vietnamese Customs Official. That's a heck of a bargain if you ask me. He made a big show of not wanting it but when we left the interrogation room it was sitting on the table under his hat...
 
 We went through it all again, got our exit stamps, and jumped over that little white line. Ha ha, suckers, come and get me now. I'm Cambodia and you can't do shit to me here, hahahah! Well, as it turns out, yes they can. I had to get another #*&%! visa to be allowed back into Cambodia and I wasn't going anywhere until I did. Twenty dollars and 3 paper forms later I was legally in Cambodia again and just a wee little bit short on patience if the truth were told. Rrrrrrrrrrr.
 
 Back in the boat. Back up the Mekong. Back into the little taxi bus. Back up the road that seemed like it had been freshly bombed since we came down it two days ago. We got back to Phnom Penh that evening and it was like being in New York compared to where we had been. We checked into the Phnom Penh Hotel and I'd swear we looked, felt, and smelled like we'd just crawled across Africa on our stomachs. We were so tired we barely made it to bed.
 
 I got up the next morning and went to the wonderful little breakfast buffet they have on the 4th floor where we stay. There was a German guy in there yelling at one of the adorable little Cambodian waitresses, screaming at her in German for something. He was scaring the shit out her and she was frozen stiff. I have very little patience for this kind of shit even on my best days, and this was not one of my best days. I went up and interrupted him in mid-rant and quietly asked him if he spoke English.
 
 "Yes", he said.
 "Then shut the f*ck up", I replied.
 "The orange juice is warm!" he bellowed.
 "It's Cambodia in April", I said, "Everything is warm. Even the ice is warm. So just shut the f*ck up. a**hole." And he did. Prick.
 
 Oooh, the orange juice is warm! Grab your gun, Fritz, ve vill teach those Cambodians a lesson! Give me a f*cking break.
 
 Lol, the waitress appreciated my polite intervention on her behalf and I got really attentive service that morning. What an a**hole that guy was.
 
 That night we had my fiance's birthday party and it was a ton of fun. It was her first birthday party ever. I rented out a private room at the Hai Yi restaurant and invited her whole family. We had the works- a huge dinner, cake, presents, etc etc. We had gone out earlier and I'd had her pick out a nice rock for her finger, but the presents were the fun part. Who doesn't love tearing the wrappings off of presents? No one in that room, that's who. lol
 
 The rest of the time we shopped, ate, and recovered from our *cough* vacation in Vietnam. I got a cool MP3 player that is super small and has a gorgeous color LCD screen. It has a ton of stuff crammed into it: an MP3 player, an eBook reader, an FM radio, a movie player, a picture gallery, built in games, a voice recorder, and some other stuff. The movie player even came pre-loaded with "Ice Age", lol. All of that plus the charger and cables ran about $40. (!!!) It was nice to have on the ride back to the US and I'm going to get a couple more the next time I go back. I've not seen anything like it for sale in the US. I got my son a bunch of games for his Nintendo for a few dollars each. One of the game cartridges has 190 brand-name games stuffed into it. Remember, there's no copyright in Cambodia.

Buhdda Shrines
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buhddashrine1.jpg%20) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buhddashrine1.jpg%20)
We bought a nice Buhdda shrine, then made them take it apart so it would fit in my luggage. That was a first for them- they build 'em, they don't take 'em back apart.

Meeting the Monk
We also visited a pagoda and met with a monk who blessed us and gave us a nice Bhudda statue for the shrine. There must be something to that enlightenment shit because it was over 100 degrees in the pagoda and that guy didn't have a drop of sweat on him. Fresh as a &^#%! daisy. I, on the other hand, was practically swimming in my own sweat.
 
Finally, we went to the Central Market and yes, I ate a bug. Several, actually.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eatthebug1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eatthebug1.jpg)
YUM. It wasn't bad at all, really. (I'm pretty sure my nose isn't that big in real life.)


 So, I brought all this stuff back and have been unpacking for days. And that's about it.
 
 Oh, the Vietnamese I learned? Here it is:
 
 "Ban la nguy chung thom dai liy!".
 
 It means something like, "You are very, very white!"
 
                                                         
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Apr 30 07 03:18
Amazing TB.  Absolutely amazing.  I can't wait for more.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 30 07 04:53
P.C. wrote:
Amazing TB.  Absolutely amazing.  I can't wait for more.

OMG, there's MORE??  Woo hoo!!  (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gi)

  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: kitten on Apr 30 07 05:00
It has been wonderful to read about your trip to see  your lady-love.  Thank you for sharing it with us.  *everything but the bug-eating*
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Apr 30 07 05:52
Hey TB. OMG. Did you just eat a buggy bug???? *screams*

  Good story. You really ought to write a book. And post NAKED CUTE CAMBODIAN MEN.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: JayC on May 03 07 12:48
Great story, glad to hear the great news. I'd recognize those hairy arms anywhere! (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/10.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 18 07 08:17
Another trip to Cambodia to see my fiance...

I did the usual Seattle-to-Taipei-to-Cambodia flight, only this time I took along some extra baggage: my son. We got in around 11AM and my fiance met us at the airport. No lost bags this time, everything went very smoothly. My son managed the trip very well and my fiance was so excited to see us she was literally bouncing up and down with excitement.

After some intros we hit the hotel and dumped our gear. My son got his own room and we all took an hour or so to rest up a bit. Then the Shopping Marathon began....over the next couple of days we hit about 30 different stores, shops, and stalls, mostly in search of gameboy stuff for my son. He was in 7th Heaven- Cambodia is filled with happy shopkeepers who were only too glad to see a little tourist boy with loads of US dollars to spend, lol.

I had briefed my son on haggling for the best price and he did surprisingly well. He actually perfected the art of being disappointed when he "didn't have enough money" for something and then starting to walk away, looking all downtrodden and forlorn. Lol, if they had only known he was stuffed to the gills with cash. Over the next couple of days he managed to pick up about $500 of Gameboy and PC games for about $50. I managed to snag a bunch of those cool MP3/4 players for reasonable prices, as well as a couple of other goodies like shirts and stuff.

The little boy in Game Heaven (with my fiance's brother next to him)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/getting_games.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/getting_games.jpg)


We toured the Royal Palace again and saw all of the beautiful artwork there, none of which my son cared about since none of it was made by Nintendo or fit into a Gameboy. Those 15th century monks just weren't thinking ahead, you know?

My son at the Royal Palace
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/j_at_royal_palace.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/j_at_royal_palace.jpg)

We did a little more shopping as there were still two or three things in Phnom Penh that we hadn't bought, like the airport and a couple of multi-acre religious monuments.

After our shopping fantasies were satiated we checked out of the hotel and headed for Kompong Som, the beautiful white-sand beach that's about 3 hours away. We had the same very "pro-active" driver as last time, with one major difference. He still pased with abandon and gusto (see the pics) but he wasn't honking his way to Heaven like last time. It took me a while to notice, but he didn't honk his horn once during the entire trip to Kompong Som. After a while I wondered if he'd had some sort of religious conversion or had just become sensitive to making noise with his horn for no reason. I mentioned his lack of errr "enthusiasm" to my fiance about he "BEEP BEEEEEEEEP BEEP" serenade that took place last time, and she leaned over and whispered in my ear "Horn broked". LOL! He'd actually beeped his car horn to death. Seriously- do you have any idea how much work it takes to wear out a frickin' car horn? It's the one part on a car that NEVER needs replacement because it's so seldom used. (Well, except in Cambodia.)

On the way to Kompong Som. Ha, we ran them right off the road! Nyah nyah!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/off_the_road.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/off_the_road.jpg)
We took the whole family this time- me, my fiance, mom and dad, plus one sister and her brother. We stayed at the Jasmine Hotel which is a pretty nice place. Rooms were $20 a night, in the US they'd have been about $100 a night. Nice rooms, great views of the beach and surrounding jungle, and we were only 100 meters from the beach.

My fiance's mom and dad and my son at Kompong Som
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mom_and_dad_at_kps.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mom_and_dad_at_kps.jpg)

Kompong Som has a lot of free-roaming cows and bulls (oxen). The little baby ones (under 400 pounds) are like big ol' dogs...they'll come up to you and sniff for something to eat. If you feed them you've made a friend for life and they'll follow you around like a dog. A big honkin' 400-pound dog that will affectionately knock you down as they rub against you for attention or food.

A baby oxen looking for food...
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/baby_cow1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/baby_cow1.jpg)

Like a big friendly dog. Sort of.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/baby_cow2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/baby_cow2.jpg)

After our busy trip relaxing in Kompong Som we went back to Phnom Penh and relaxed a little more. I swear, the open buffets there will be the death of me. We must have consumed our weight in shrimp and beef and I don't even want to talk about the desert tables. Food, food, food. Amazingly enough my son never got sick or had diarheaa or anything, the little cheater. Sheesh. We also hit the Lucky Seven vertical mall for emergency doses of hamburgers and pizza, lest he become malnourished, lol.

I got some nice shots of the sunrise in Phnom Penh. These are pics straight from our hotel room and the sunrise was stunning every morning.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunrise1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunrise1.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunrise2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunrise2.jpg)

Most Cambodians don't eat a lot of ice cream and will get the dreaded "ice cream headache (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ice-cream-headaches/DS00640)"  because they eat it wrong. My son and I on the other hand have vast experience eating ice cream and would put away a bowl of it while they were still nibbling around the edges, lol. They locals couldn't believe how fast we could eat ice cream- it's almost like a dangerous substance to them. As part of our cultural contribution to their country we showed them how to slog down mass quantities without getting an ice cream headache. Another reason why America ruins rules the world. :)

We armed ourselves again and plunged into a little more shopping. My son got his mom some very nice silk cloth for sewing and some other trinkets (earings and stuff). We also got some local art for one of his teachers who had given him $20 for this purpose. We haggled and dickered and came away with a few very nice hand-made items for under twenty dollars- a beautiful 2-foot tall wood carving of a woman, some hand-carved seashell art (it's nicer than it sounds) and some carved stone wall hangings.

I wanted to get something really nice and really useful for my fiance, and I'd decided that a 2nd moto  (motorcycle) would be damn handy for her and her family to have. With just one they have to endlessly coordinate trips and errands and if two people need to go someplace one person always has to wait or skip it. Her sister's husband is quite the wheeler-dealer and knows where to go for stuff like this so we grabbed him and off we went.

We went to the moto shop and were initially greeted with big smiles. "Hoo boy", they probably thought, "Time to make some money off of a rich tourist!". The moto dealer's face fell when he saw 'Te', the sister's husband follow us in. Damn, no easy sucker-sale here. Te started bargaining and it was all over in a flash. They had 3 models of the moto we wanted: a low-end version, a mid-range version and a high-end version. The medium-version was only $100 more than the low-end one and was well wworth the extra $100. The high-end one was $600 more and came with nothing more than a few bits of chrome trim as far as I could tell. We ended up getting the mid-range version and Te waved the sales guy away when he tried to tell us the high-end version was "better for us". Lol, yeah, better for *him* was what he meant- about $600 better.

Nope, we got the mid-range one and it's a sweet little ride. They prepped it, gassed it up and off we went, but not before Te motioned to a poster on the wall offering some free stuff "with every moto purchase". There was a short but heated discussion as they tried to screw him (us) out of the free gear, but Te had his way with them like a drunken prom date. It was advertised as "free with every moto purchase" and we had just purchased a moto. What part of that was open to interpretation? There was a mini-fridge, a cool gas grill, a small TV, and a few other items. Te picked the gas grill (and it ended up being given to my fiance's parents).

The new moto, fresh off the floor.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/moto_1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/moto_1.jpg)
I thanked Te profusely for helping us, and my fiance said Te actually liked dealing with shops like this because he knows what stuff should cost and they can't jerk him around. Te was smiling as he drove off. I think he would have probably paid me for the opportunity to force the sales people to give him a fair deal, lol.

The rest of the trip is just a drunken, sex-filled blur. No, wait- that was college. Never mind. We went back to the hotel (driving our cool new moto) and had a nice dinner. That damn buffet sucks me in every time. Damn you, you evil buffet chefs! Honestly, you can only consume so much prime rib, jumbo shrimp, braised beef, seafood thermidor, pork cordon blue, Alaska King crab and your pick of 50 different deserts before you start to feel like a pig. (Or so I've heard, I never actually had that problem.) We had the bellboys wheel us up to the room on a luggage cart and collapsed for the night.

The next day we went over to my fiance's place and she got on her cellphone and called her parents from the street, "Come down and look what I got!". They came down, she showed them the moto and they went bonkers. Her dad made a noise I haven't heard since college. I had my fiance tell mom and dad that "I loved them very much and stole it just for them" and to take it inside and repaint it right away. That got communicated to all the neighbors standing around and was a big hit, lol.

We also went to a historical monument that had wild monkeys running around all over the place. We bought some banannas and fed the monkeys and I got some great pics of my son with the monkeys. I looked at them today and I can hardly tell who's who. I think my son is the one on the right. 
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/boy_and_monky.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/boy_and_monky.jpg)

We also went to the Phnom Penh Water Park, kind of like a Wild Waves place, if you know what that is. It was hot and we swam around for hours and hours. They had a sign that forbid us to bring our guns in, those party-poopers. Notice the "Attention Criminals" sign on the right side- LOL!!

No guns allowed in the Water Park.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/water_park1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/water_park1.jpg)


We went to CMAC (http://www.cmac.org.kh/), the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (http://www.cmac.org.kh/) to make a donation. CMAC's mission is to clear the country of land mines and other unexploded ordinance. The US dropped millions of land mines in Cambodia and other countries dropped similar numbers as well. They're still killing people to this very day and injuring scores of others- children, farmers, anyone who wanders into the wrong place (which can be damn near anywhere). My friend wanted to make a donation and inquire about being a point of contact in the US to help get donations and raise awareness of CMSC's mission. When we went there I met with the head guy, the Director of CMAC Operations. We gave him the donation and talked for a couple of hours to make arrangements for him to contact my friend for his assistance.

Old mortar shells at CMAC- a fraction of what they dig up each week.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/cmac1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/cmac1.jpg)

Plenty more where these came from. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/cmac2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/cmac2.jpg)


I also took some pictures of some odd signs, I have no idea what they mean specifically but you can look at them and decide for yourself.

NO, just plain "NO".
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign1.jpg)

No, you may not. Not what? I don't know.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign3.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign3.jpg)

And no, you can't do it here, either.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign4.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign4.jpg)

Or here. No, you just can't do...something. I have no idea what.
But whatever it is, you can't do it.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign5.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_sign5.jpg)

Weird, eh?

We also went to the doctor because my fiance had a small cough. The doctor's office is, umm, basic. Very, very basic.

The doctor is on the left. That's a sick person laying there on the right.
I loved his medical uniform- pants and a 'wife-beater' shirt. But he was good and well known.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/doctor_1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/doctor_1.jpg)


So there ya have it, another fun and enjoyable trip to see my fiance.   (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/3.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/3.gif)

Click here for the story of the 5th Trip (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg102751.html#msg102751)

     
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: kitten on Jun 18 07 08:26
Wonderful story and GREAT pics!  Welcome back, TehBorken!  So good for your son to have that chance to explore another part of the world.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 18 07 08:31
very cool. :)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 18 07 08:35
WOW......GREAT story as usual TB.  (I really lol'd at your 'Can't do something' bit....that was great.

The sunsets there are beautiful.  I notice nobody really drives in a LANE......is this normal?

  I bet your son will have some great stories to tell his buddies......a memory that will last a lifetime for sure.

Thanks so much again for sharing your amazing adventures TB.....I love them !
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 18 07 08:48
Very awesome story and pictures, TB.  Thanks for sharing!
 
 If you're the white guy in this narrative, we now know what the back of your head looks like (patting the baby oxen)?
   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 18 07 09:35
 P.C. wrote:
WOW......GREAT story as usual TB.  

Thank you!



I notice nobody really drives in a LANE......is this normal?

Lol, the lines in the road are purely ornamental and have no real meaning whatsoever. You can drive in any lane at any time in any direction. You can turn whenever and wherever you like without any regard to oncoming traffic. It's very freeform to say the least.


Thanks so much again for sharing your amazing adventures TB.....I love them !
Thanks P.C.!
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jun 19 07 05:50
*laughs* Wonderful! I enjoyed evey bit of your adventure! Keep em coming!

  Can we get pictures of the buffet next time?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 19 07 06:23
What are the gas prices like there TB.  (a silly curiosity, but I'm curious none the less)

   We also hit the Lucky Seven vertical mall for emergency doses of hamburgers and pizza, lest he become malnourished, lol.

 Also, I would love to see what THIS might look like......vertical mall. (?)      
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 07:32
 Lise wrote:
Can we get pictures of the buffet next time?
Sure, I'll take some shots of the buffets in the hotel and post 'em.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 07:37
 P.C. wrote:
What are the gas prices like there TB.  (a silly curiosity, but I'm curious none the less)

I think gas is around 4 or 5 bucks a gallon there. It's sold mostly by the liter and I think it was about $1.25 a liter or so.

We also hit the Lucky Seven vertical mall for emergency doses of hamburgers and pizza, lest he become malnourished, lol.

 
Also, I would love to see what THIS might look like......vertical mall. (?)
 
I'll get some pics of it next time. It's a medium-footprint building with 7 or 8 floors with a set of escalators sort of in the middle. It's very modern construction and each floor caters mostly to a specific type of stuff. One floor is mostly clothes, another floor is mainly toys and electronics, another is watches, jewelry and cosmetics, etc etc. It's a lot of fun to window shop there.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 19 07 07:53
So gas prices are only pennies away from ours.  Interesting.

    I'll get some pics of it next time. It's a medium-footprint building with 7 or 8 floors with a set of escalators sort of in the middle. It's very modern construction and each floor caters mostly to a specific type of stuff. One floor is mostly clothes, another floor is mainly toys and electronics, another is watches, jewelry and cosmetics, etc etc. It's a lot of fun to window shop there.

  Sounds like a practical set-up!  Very cools.  Are there 'supermarket' types of grocery stores ? or are they more 'market' type. (I have no idea why this stuff fascinates me.....it just does)  Like I said before.....I travel vicariously through others.  YOU may be the closest I ever get to this part of the world.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Jun 19 07 11:09
I also took some pictures of some odd signs, I have no idea what they mean specifically but you can look at them and decide for yourself.


It's a no parking sign. You probably saw some with an X, it's the no stopping sign.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 01:07
 P.C. wrote:
Are there 'supermarket' types of grocery stores ? or are they more 'market' type.

There's nothing like Safeway or Albertsons that I saw. Most of the food comes from small vendors on the street or in small shops. For example, a lot of their bread is purchased from street vendors who have small carts they push around the city, but there are some regular bakery shops too. Other stuff (veggies and whatnot) are gotten from open-air markets like this:
(http:///cambodia/outdoormarket1.jpg)


Bot-stopper: "chewer"  lol
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 01:12
 Michel wrote:It's a no parking sign. You probably saw some with an X, it's the no stopping sign.

Hmmm, could be. If so then it was widely ignored, lol. I didn't get any on the shots I took but there were often cars parked right next to many of these signs all over the place. Road signs seem to be routinely ignored (no right turn, one-way, etc).

 I don't recall any with an "X" but I'll look next time. There were some with an "I" in them but no one knew what they meant (at least no one I asked).
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Jun 19 07 01:19
If so then it was widely ignored

  Why I'm not surprised... (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/2.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 19 07 01:20
TB- would you recommend Cambodia to the rest of us travellers with no family/friends there?  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Hobbit on Jun 19 07 01:39
Welcome back and thanks for sharing your story. I don't know much about Cambodia, so it's nice to see pics and learn about it from you. Wish you and your significant other all the best.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 03:05
 Lil Me wrote:
TB- would you recommend Cambodia to the rest of us travellers with no family/friends there?

Personally I think all the foreigners (me included) should stay the hell out and not soil their country. I cringe when I see other American or European tourists there- most of them are loud, crass, and offensive to the core. Ugh.

However, it's a very cool place, a visual feast for the eyes, and the people are extremely open and friendly. I've never gotten a harsh look or an unkind word there and I feel safer walking in downtown Phnom Penh at night than I do here in Seattle.

Hotels are very affordable ($10 to $20 a night for nice rooms) and the food is varied and inexpensive. Shopping is like the Wild West- anything goes and prices are fluid. NEVER pay the listed price on anything, normally after a little haggling you'll pay 30% to 50% of the marked price.

Male visitors will find that the country is home to millions of genuinely lovely ladies who are fascinated by foreigners and find them handsome to a fault. (Soooo many women there told my fiance that I was handsome that I halfway started to believe it myself.) Be nice to them and they'll be nice to you, but these are "good girls" so don't expect any hanky-panky without a wedding. :)  However, that said, I'd probably marry half the ladies there without a second thought. They're just that nice. And this is coming from a (formerly) sworn-to-the-death bachelor.

Female visitors are, by and large, out of luck in the romance department. Cambodian men will probably disappoint most western-minded women. In fact most western women would find Cambodian men annoying and/or insulting to say the least.

Interseting places to see abound and the beaches and resorts are gorgeous.

So, yes, I'd recommend it as a vacation or travel spot, but I'd also hate to see the country overrun with people like me. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Jun 19 07 03:09
Did you went to Angkor Wat ? If so how was it ? Still a lot of minefields ?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 19 07 03:14
 TehBorken wrote:
Personally I think all the foreigners (me included) should stay the hell out and not soil their country. I cringe when I see other American or European tourists there- most of them are loud, crass, and offensive to the core. Ugh.
 --
 ^^^^
 The same can be said of Westerners travelling anywhere, though!
 "ETHEL!  GET A LOAD OF THIS!  WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK THIS IS FOR?..."
 
 Thanks for your candid opinions.  It sounds like a fascinating place.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 03:46
 Michel wrote:
Did you went to Angkor Wat ? If so how was it ? Still a lot of minefields ?

We haven't gone to Angkor Wat yet, but we probably will on my next trip. We may also go to Thailand.

Minefields: There are still minefields all over the country, most of them still well-stocked with live mines and other unexploded ordinanace. CMAC (http://www.cmac.org.kh/) is doing their best to rid the country of them but they don't expect to be dome before at least 2012 or so, and that's only for the larger, known minefields. There are hundreds if not thousands of smaller unknown minefields scattered about the country. We can't make a VCR that'll last ten years but the landmines are still perfectly functional and deadly after more than 40 years. I'm sooooo proud to be an American. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Jun 19 07 03:57
Yeah humans are good at it when comes the time to kill and maim their neighbor...    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 19 07 05:11
So how long do we have to wait for the next chapter ?  [FONT size=2](I can't wait)[/FONT]
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 07:34
 P.C. wrote:
So how long do we have to wait for the next chapter ?  

Oh, another month or so. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)  I'm going there every other month, roughly.

(I can't wait)

Me neither. lol



 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 19 07 07:52
A few fun movies I made while in Cambodia this time....If these load the server too much I'll have to take 'em down.

Almost Meeting Mr Death, Part 1 (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/100_1755.MOV)
Yeah, this was rather exciting in a "pucker-factor" sort of way. It's actually worse than it looks.

Almost Meeting Mr Death, Part II (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/100_1754.MOV)
This was worse than it looks too. The camera makes things look farther away.

5 Minutes Into The Rain Storm (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/100_1973.MOV)
When it rains, it pours. And the sewer system just doesn't work so the street just fills up with water. Check out the downspout gushing away across the street.

10 Minutes Into The Rain Storm (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/100_1975.MOV)
A few minutes later close to 6 inches of water in the street.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Schadenfreude on Jun 19 07 08:07
As long as you're looking ahead, and the shoulders of the road are basically even with the road, there is no problems.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 19 07 08:18
looks like southern florida with the rain lol.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 19 07 08:24
Cool clips TB.  Jebus......you're taking your life in your hands driving there !!!  I hope you took lots of underwear.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: GORDY GAMBINO on Jun 20 07 06:11
Congratulations Teh and fiancee on your recent engagement. Hope it all works out for you both. And Teh i agree she is beautiful.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 21 07 05:05
 GORDY GAMBINO wrote:
Congratulations Teh and fiancee on your recent engagement. Hope it all works out for you both. And Teh i agree she is beautiful.

Thank you Gordy. Yeah, she done stole my heart.

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jun 24 07 05:58
Thank you for the cool video links, TB. Interesting to see how ppl drive there. I think I would be down on the floor of the car, balling my eyes out. YIKES!!!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Schadenfreude on Jun 29 07 11:29
Lise wrote:
Thank you for the cool video links, TB. Interesting to see how ppl drive there. I think I would be down on the floor of the car, balling my eyes out. YIKES!!![/DIV]
 The back seat is for balling girls.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jul 01 07 08:23
Eeeeeow....... *scrap image from mind*
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: tenkani on Jul 05 07 02:02
 The back seat is for balling girls.

  I lolled so hard I nearly rolfed.[/DIV]
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Aug 15 07 05:16
(http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/smilie/frech/p015.gif)

.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Aug 16 07 01:06
patients P.C. patients.. hehe  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Aug 16 07 06:27
   My 5th trip to Cambodia

It was time to go see my sweetheart again. :)

Because I'm not a glutton for punishment, I upgraded my tickets to the "Deluxe" level for the trip. In short, it was well worth it- the seats are bigger, recline more, and the in-flight service is far better. Because I've accumulated about a billion air miles with EVA, I get to make use of their VIP lounges in the airports, and that's damn nice too. You get to hang around in a private little VIP lounge with all the snacks and drinks you can eat for free, plus free wireless as well. They also serve all sorts of full meals there too (kung pao chicken, twice-cooked beef, hotdogs, salads, etc etc).

The flight this time was flawless- we took off on time, the connections went perfectly, and we landed on time as well. Total flight time from liftoff in Seattle to touchdown in Phnom Penh was about 17 hours and 45 minutes. The landing in Taiwan (Taoyuan International Airport) was done in absolute pitch-black, zero-visibility conditions and it was also raining like hell. I've made over 1,000 landings in commercial airliners and this was the smoothest landing I've ever experienced. We descended through the rain and fog without being able to see a damn thing (not even the airport lights), and suddenly we were taxiing along to the gate. It was flat-out amazing. If I didn't know better I'd swear we taxied all the way from Seattle, it was that smooth of a landing.

My fiance had been chatting with a group of people outside of the airport in Phnom Penh waiting for me to arrive. When I finally appeared she came up and hugged me and the crowd of people she'd been talking with all started clapping and cheering. It was damn funny, and I had no idea what it was all about until she told me. They were just happy to see her meet me.

We checked in at the Phnom Penh Hotel and just relaxed for a while, then took the requisite nap. I'd been up for 45 hours at that point and I wasn't good for much except holding down a pillow.

Over the next couple of days we cruised around the city, did a little shopping, and visited a few people. We went to visit her folks and they were glad to see me.

With a little bit of whining I finally convinced my sweetheart to let me drive the moto around this time. Traffic in Phnom Penh is chaotic at best and friggin' scary at worst- it's totally unordered and free-form. You can drive on any side of the road at any time and go in any direction you like. You can stop whenever and wherever you like at any time, and turn wherever the hell you feel like it without regard for anyone or anything. You can make a full u-turn in the middle of the street across 4 lanes of traffic and no one bats an eyelash. Needless to say, this takes a little bit of getting used to.

To turn left, for example, you don't wait until you come to the intersection and then turn- instead, about two or three hundred feet *before* the turn you just drift across the center line and pull into oncoming traffic (!!), and then work your way over to the left where the streets cross. You cut the corner and turn directly into the oncoming traffic on that street and then work your way across the street to the right until you merge with the flow of traffic. I should add that you pay absolutely no attention to the stoplights, red or green, you go if you feel like it.

If you're at an intersection and want to turn left, you simply turn to the left (straight into the oncoming traffic!) and weave your way up the street, cutting to the right repeatedly until you cross the center line and merge with the traffic flow in the direction you want to go. I'm not making this up. This is how you drive in Phnom Penh, and it's the same way if you're driving a car or truck. Please refer to this extremely high-quality traffic diagram for a visual example:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/traffic_turn1.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/traffic_turn1.gif)
Green: traffic flow of cars, trucks, and motos
Blue: How normal people make a left turn
Red: How to make a left turn in Phnom Penh

It only works because Phnom Penh drivers are very cooperative, not like in the US where it's always a race to get in front of your enemy (the other drivers). You beep your horn a lot to let people know you're moving over or coming up behind them or whatever.

It's a friendly thing, not like in the US. In the US when you beep your horn it means one thing: "F*CK YOU, A**HOLE!", whereas in Phnom Penh beeping your horn basically just means "I have a horn, isn't it nice?". You beep your horn and lots of people beep back: "I like your horn, please listen to the wonderful melody mine also makes."

It's like echo-location; you beep and then you hear three or four (or twenty) horns beeping back. The horns in the US are also very offensive- quite loud and strident sounding. The horns in Phnom Penh are actually kind of cute little "beep beep" horns instead of the BEEEEEPF*CKYOUBASTARDhorns typical in the States.

So anyway, I drove the moto around, and to be honest it scared the pants off of my fiance more than a bit. She was worried I'd hit something or someone and she was always cautioning me "Easy, easy!" or "No hurry, no hurry honey". Lol. I will say that to my credit that although we had a couple of close calls, I never hit anything, ran over anyone, and we never fell off the moto or fell over in the street.

I've mentioned traffic signs before, but allow me to state again for the record that they mean NOTHING. Just like the lines in the road, they are purely ornamental in nature. You could remove all the road signs in Phnom Penh and not only would traffic flow normally, but no one would even notice they were gone.

The police were everywhere and would see me go by but they never batted an eye or stopped me. I mean, it was painfully obvious that I was NOT from Phnom Penh and that I most certainly did NOT have a Cambodian driver's license, but they couldn't care less. They just didn't give a damn as long as I didn't hit anything.

I loved driving in Phnom Penh, it was both exhilarating and exciting. It was also very liberating to drive without worrying about any pesky rules or laws or speed limits.

We stopped for gas and because the air was kind of muggy my fiance put on her filter mask. Here she is, dressed up like a bandit girl.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/banditgirl.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/banditgirl.JPG)

Later we went to a place called the Dream Garden. (See pics below.) The Dream Garden is a place with all these nice little open-air gazebos on the water. You can relax in them and they'll bring food and drinks out to you, and you can fish from the little gazebos as well if you want. A friend of mine here recommended it highly, so we went to see it.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreamgarden1.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreamgarden1.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreamgarden2.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreamgarden2.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreamgarden3.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreamgarden3.JPG)

Now, although the pictures make it look lovely, the fact is that the Dream Garden is a messy, muddy, rundown pit of filth.  We drove all the way there, got out, and spent 10 minutes walking around in the mud before we left. It should have been named the Nightmare Garden or the Mud Garden. It was gross. After escaping from the Mud Garden we laughed all the way back to Phnom Penh about how awful it was.

We did find another place that was very similar but it was much nicer, it's in a place called "Tablai Battai" (my spelling is almost certainly wrong). It was much cleaner and we intend to go back there during my next trip. The little gazebos are out on the water and you walk on a very skinny little board "bridge" a couple hundred feet to get out to them. It's basically a plank on some little stilts that connects the gazebo and the shoreline.
There were some gorgeous old ruins at Tablai Battai, and I got a few good pics of them.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ruins1.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ruins1.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ruins2.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ruins2.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ruins3.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ruins3.JPG)

Along the way we passed these places where they carve life-sized wooden animals. They're bigger than they look- the tigers are about 4 feet high at the shoulder. I want one of the tigers, but I doubt it would fit on the plane. Very cool stuff, though.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/woodenanimals1.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/woodenanimals1.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/woodenanimals2.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/woodenanimals2.JPG)

When I drove to Tablai Battai and back, I didn't wear a hat or long-sleeved shirt. That was a big mistake. I got so sunburned I could hardly move. I was bright, bright red and looked like I'd been deep-fried. My scalp was also burned. It hurt so much that I couldn't even brush my hair. (On the plane trip back I wore my hat so as not to scare anyone because my face was peeling really badly and looked pretty f*cking horrible.) 

Later we went shopping and I came across Welfare Barbie. No kidding, see the pics for proof.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welfarebarbie1.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welfarebarbie1.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welfarebarbie2.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welfarebarbie2.JPG)

Okay, so it isn't an actual Barbie, but it's the same damn thing. I have NO idea what this doll was meant to be.

While shopping we saw a place accepting applications for employment. What caught my eye was one of the "essential requirements" to be hired: you had to be a male or female.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/nowhiring.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/nowhiring.JPG)

I guess they don't hire hermaphrodites.

Another pic was worth taking. These are some steps that go up and down to a neighbor's home. The picture doesn't really show it well, but these steps are practically vertical.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/stairwell.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/stairwell.JPG)

 They go up about 10 feet in a horizontal space of about 4 feet. It's like climbing a stepladder. And the ceiling is low- only about 6 feet tall at the highest point. It's just weird construction. And of course there are no lights in the stairwells, so watch your footing or else.

We visited my fiance's doctor and let me tell you, it's not like here. This is the doctor's office, open to the street:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dr_office1.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dr_office1.JPG)

And this is the street out front of the doctor's office:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dr_office2.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dr_office2.JPG)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dr_office3.JPG) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dr_office3.JPG)
Nice, isn't it? :) My advice is not to get sick unless you really have to.

I also got a nice shot of the sunrise from our hotel room. The pic is really big, but well worth the time it takes to load. Click on the link below to see it full size:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunset01small.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunset01small.jpg)
http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunset01.jpg (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sunset01.jpg)

Well, that was about it. We went to several nice restaraunts and buffets, but mostly took it easy this time.

Click here for the story of the Sixth  Trip (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg110306.html#msg110306)  (just below)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Aug 16 07 06:45
(http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/more/bigs/c011.gif)

  TehBorken's Excellent Adventure.......well told as always.  (I still say you should write a book)

  omg....I can't believe the doctor's office.  I lolllled about the 'don't get sick unless you really have to'.

  Do you have any pics of the GOOD gazebos ?  

  You paint a great picture with your words TehBorken !
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Aug 16 07 07:33
(http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/smilie/frech/p015.gif)

ahah PC I was wondering what that meant. Now I understand.

Nice pics of the ruins The Borken, and entertaining reading too. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/21.gif)
  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 20 07 10:49
 The Sixth Trip

Wellllllllll........another trip to Cambodia under my belt. This was my 6th trip and like all the previous ones, it was a blast. We didn't go anywhere this time, we just hung around Phnom Penh and enjoyed our time together. Here are a few of the highlights and things worth mentioning from this trip...

Driving in Cambodia
I've written about driving in Cambodia and Cambodian traffic before, but the subject really bears a closer examination. Think of driving in Cambodia as a mildly challenging video game. It's not hard, but you have to play a perfect game every time or you die. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)

Some things weren't apparent to me the first few times, like the number of lanes on the road. For example, if you have a two-lane road (one lane in each direction), there are really 4 lanes, or sometimes even six lanes. The extra lanes are "hidden" lanes that exist and are used, but aren't marked in any way. The "hidden" lanes are on either side of the "real" lane and run in opposite directions to the direction the "real" lane runs. Well, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. It's confusing because you can use the hidden lanes to travel in any direction you want anytime you want, and you can switch them around at will.

If you have a lane that goes North (for example), there is generally a small space on the left and the right that you can use to go South, against oncoming traffic. Or if you want it can go North. Hell, it could even go West. It's up to you- whatever direction you want to go on that road, you can do it. You can drive right through oncoming traffic in the middle of the road if you like, too. It's not just legal, it's encouraged. I swear in some places it's even required, lol.

My fiance bravely let me drive the moto all over Phnom Penh, and it is to her credit that she was only scared of my driving 98% of the time. After a few days I handed her the keys and told her that I'd let her drive from now on. Her relief was palpable, lol. I will say that the people in Phnom Penh are probably some of the most skillful motorcycle drivers in the world, they display amazing agility in traffic and I've never seen any kind of accident. This is truly incredible when you consider the traffic flow there.

A lot of the women sit side-saddle when they ride as passengers. It looks damn dangerous but they clearly don't have a care in the world- their legs will be swinging freely as their boyfriend or husband weaves through traffic, leaning this way and that with them perched casually on the back, holding a bag of stuff or a couple of kids. Little kids from 6 months and up will often ride on the handlebars as if it's the most natural thing in the world. Over here the cops would shit nuclear atom bombs out their asses if they saw you do that. They'd give you so many tickets they'd get writer's cramp. Needless to say, helmets are optional in Cambodia, as are things like turn signals and brake lights.

Also, everything imaginable is carried on motos, even insanely dangerous things like large, fully-loaded propane canisters. See below.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/propane1.jpg)
Can you imagine what would happen if this guy tipped over and that cannister went skittering down the street, trailing a shower of sparks behind it? I can.


Store Mannequins
Holy shit. This is an actual store mannequin we saw in one of the Soreya Mall clothing stores. I don't even remember what he (she? it?) was wearing, but it scared me so bad I nearly wet myself. After coming face to face with this thing we left the store, went back to the hotel and hid under the covers until we stopped shaking.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/yikes1.jpg)
Yup, that's a White Person.


I also saw this great magazine in one of the stores, it's advertising these very elaborate nails that girls put on their fingers. It says, "NAIL Top Sexy- epignyous goodish fidelity! Undercurrent Florecence Potential!". No, I have no f*cking idea what that means. No clue whatsoever.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/topsexy.jpg)


The Jetsons Place
We went to a cool little resturaunt for a meal. The place was so cool- curvy ceilings, walls and floors, plus some mod furniture, straight out of the Jetsons TV show. I didn't see George Jetson (or his wife Jane) but I swear I wouldn't have batted an eyelash if they'd walked by.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/jetsons1.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/jetsons2.jpg)


Another Resturaunt: Yum, fish bladders!
Yeah, this is for real. You can order some tasty fried fish bladders if you have a hankering to. I didn't hanker for them and had pork fried rice instead. Sorry, I just DO NOT eat bladders, period. I don't eat anything whose original purpose was to hold urine. Noooooooooooo.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/fishbladders.jpg)


Shopping
We went all over and shopped for a few things of interest. I wanted to get some watches, specifically Rolexes. Not real Rolexes, of course, but fake Rolexes. They don't call them "fakes", they call them "replicas". Ha ha! So I picked up some very, very nice "replica" Rolexes. The replicas are of amazing quality and and are faithful reproductions of the real thing. I spent some time researching replicas so I could aviod the low-quality ones and I managed to come away with 3 excellent Rolex Submariners for about $11 each. They have all the "real" Rolex features- the sweeping second hand, the little O-ring in the locking stem, the magnifier window for the date display, etc etc. All in all, very nice watches. They have the same heft and look as the real thing and I'd bet that most people would be hard-pressed to tell them apart. I showed them to a friend of mine who was a jeweler for many years and he was blown away. He was so impressed that he asked to buy one on the spot (I gave him one as a gift).

BS Fashion
I saw this store called BS Fashion and thought it was funny, probably because I think most fashion is just that: BS.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bsfashion.jpg)


More Shopping
We also shopped for a wedding ring. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif" border="0"]  Diamonds are very inexpensive in Cambodia and we got a nice ring with a gorgeous rock for about 1/3rd of what it would cost here. My fiance initially picked out one with a very small diamond, and I damn near had to force her to get a bigger one. She kept saying, "No, no, we get simple one" but I wanted her to have something nice. The one we got is about a full carat on top of a graceful white gold band. It looks great on her finger. :) I wanted a slightly thicker ring instead of the thin one I have, so the jeweler took mine and replaced it with a nice wide band, also of 18K white gold. [img]/cambodia/weddingring1.jpg)

The Rock

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/weddingring2.jpg)
Dig those crazy nails! (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif" border="0"] [b]And Even More Shopping (for games)[/b]Yeah, I got my son some Gameboy games. The ones I got aren't available in the States and my son says his friends will go bonkers with envy once they see them. I got three games for $25 (they're about $25 to $30 per game here in the US). [b]The Buffet Of Death [/b]We went to dinner at the [url=http://tonlebassac.com/]Tonle Bassac[/url] buffet a couple of times. What a spread- 5 rooms of food, with open grills containing everything you could ever want to eat. Loads of fresh seafood, beef, chicken, etc etc. OMFG. We could barely walk when we got up from the table. [b]My Friend "Run" And His Wife [/b]We also took my Cambodian friend "Run" out to dinner with his wife. Run is 48 years old and by coincidence took the same flight as I did. His wife and my fiance met us at the airport. His wife is young...very, very young, lol. When I asked Run how old she was, he said, "She's 18, now." Yikes. She really is a very sweet, very nice lady and appears to love Run to death, although I swear she looks like she should be carrying a '[b]Hello Kitty[/b]' lunchbox. [img]/cambodia/hellokittybox.jpg)

It would easy to mistake them for father and daughter, or maybe father and granddaughter, lol. But they make a hell of a nice couple and no one thinks twice about age difference in Cambodia, it's not a big deal there. They took off the next day to go to her village up near the border of Thailand and we didn't see either of them again (they had planned to do a lot of traveling while he was in town).


Medicine
A friend of mine wanted to know if I could get him some meds while I was in Cambodia. Now, in Cambodia there is no such thing as prescription medicine, everything is available as over-the-counter stuff. And I mean everything- you name it, you can buy it. The only paperwork required are the dollar bills that get handed to the pharmacist. My friend said that V iagra costs him $10 a pill in the States and wanted to see if I could get it cheaper. It turns out that I could. I was able to buy boxes of 4 pills for $2 a box (50 cents a pill). So, I got him 10 boxes, lol. It's the genuine article, made by Pfizer, 100mg dose pills, in the box with the spec sheet and everything. Talk about a cost savings. He said his girlfriend would thank me later, lol. Maybe I should have gotten some for Run, too, because his wife has been awaiting his arrival somewhat errr, anxiously. :)

Hotel Switcheroo
We stayed at the Phnom Penh Hotel for the first few days, but then moved to the Asia Palace Hotel (http://www.agoda.com/asia/cambodia/phnom_penh/asia_palace_hotel.html"). The APH is very nice, very sumptuous and well appointed. We got a VIP suite for $60 a night. The VIP suites are three rooms, fully outfitted with everything you could want. All in all, a great place to stay. My fiance wanted to stay in a "simple" place (read: inexpensive), but I wanted us to be in someplace really nice. She just doesn't want me to spend money, but after a little pleading I was able to convince her. We stayed there for the last few days and it was great.



Coming Back Home
At the airport in Phnom Penh they have a TV display above all of the check-in counters. It continuously shows a short film of things you can't bring onto the airplane. I found it amusing that they would actually have to tell you that you may not bring hand grenades onboard the plane. Those wussies.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/no_grenades.jpg)
On the flight back one of the other passengers thoughtfully brough along an infant, who screamed the entire 6500 miles from Taipei to the US. This kid had a set of lungs you would not believe. I didn't care because I had my headphones for my MP3 player on, and over them I put my shooting phone (ear muffs) that I use when I go shooting. So I couldn't hear a damn thing, but everytime I took them off the kid was wailing away like a f*cking air raid siren. They guy next to me tried to sleep the whole way back and couldn't do it at all- not even for a second.

When we landed I leaned over and told him, "Man, I'm sure glad they brought that kid along or I'd have dozed right off." lol. Yeah, he laughed, but it was the kind of laugh people make just before they go on a shooting spree. That would have been fine with me, cuz I had my shooting phones on. I wouldn't have heard a thing.  (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)

Click here for the story of the Seventh Trip (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg113207.html#msg113207)
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Oct 21 07 02:36
LOL. Thanks for sharing, TehBorken!! Nice ring, BTW!! Your fiancee is truly a lucky dame!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Oct 21 07 03:13
Excellent update TB.  I'm still thinking you need....no NEED to write a book.  Your writing makes be truly LOL.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 17 07 08:08
The Seventh Trip

Another trip to Cambodia... (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)  this was my 7th trip and although some things were the same there's always lots of new stuff or things I hadn't noticed before.

I did the usual Seattle to Taipei to Phnom Penh route and got in around 10am or so. The weather in Cambodia this time of year is great- it's the cool season and the temp hovered around 75 to 80 the whole time. For me it was perfect, but 75 is practically freezing for Cambodians and a number of people were wearing light jackets (LOL!!) to ward off the brutally cold temperatures (LOL!!!). My fiance and I were cruising around the city one morning on the motorcycle and she actually said, "Oh, so cold!". It was 78 degrees out.

I was there last year at this time and I was just dying from the heat. No shit, I mean I was physically faint most of the time and felt completely drained of energy- it was like I was moving through molasses, and I was congratulating myself on being such a trooper and surviving the unbelievable heat.

Well, as it turned out I was actually sick as a dog and didn't realize it. I was running a 103 degree fever, so of course it felt hot there to me, lol. Not just hot, but standing-on-the-surface-of-the-Sun-hot. I felt like crap, but it was all due to my being sick and dying, not because it was actually hot. I just wanted to clear that up. To sum up: if it feels really, really hot, it may not be weather related, it may just be that you're dying.

One thing that really got to me this time was that everywhere we went, and I do mean EVERYWHERE, they were playing Christmas music. Every shitty, sappy-ass Christmas song ever recorded was being played on repeating loops all over the damn city. EVERYWHERE!!! Not just in stores, but in hotels, dental offices, at the airport, in restaurants, filling stations, and even in the Buddhist temples. Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the idea. A lot of the Christmas music was, believe it or not, Frank Sinatra. Yep, apparently Ol' Blue Eyes is making a vicious f*cking comeback in Southeast Asia, and the only way to escape his crooning is to push chopsticks into your ears until they puncture your eardrums. And it would be a welcome relief, believe me.

It wouldn't be so bad except they play him endlessly, over and over and over again, looping though 4 or 5 of his songs until you want to scream and start kicking the crap out of someone, anyone, it doesn't matter who. I swear, I'd beat up one of those Buddhist monks after 30 minutes of non-stop Sinatra and it's only due to pure luck that I didn't stumble across one while I was in one of my Sintra-induced rages. Yeah, you laugh, but you try listening to "Santa Claus Is Coming" and "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire" 10 or 20 times in a row and see if you don't feel like killing someone.

The really pathetic thing about this is that Cambodia is about 98% Buddhist. I mean, you could pretty much atom bomb the whole country from end to end and not kill a single Christian (unless you got really lucky, that is). Personally I think anyone who decides to play that %$#@! Christmas music should be put in the re-education camps and tortured until they die, writhing in horrible, unspeakable agony.

But I digress...

Okay, what else....let's see...

I didn't get such great deals on watches this time, most of the sellers were taking a pretty tough stance price-wise. Rolexes were running about $25 to $30 apiece. Rrrrrrrrrr. My friend Jack wanted some Patek Phillipe watches and a Movado for his daughter, so I got two nice Patek Phillipes for him.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/movado_mens.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/movado_mens.jpg)
The Movado was another story- there was only one place that had the model we wanted and the lady wouldn't cut a deal for it no matter how much we begged. If you've ever seen a Movado you'll know it's a very simple looking watch. On a Rolex there are LOTS of details they can get wrong, the hands, the date window, the bezel, etc etc etc.

A Movado, on the other hand, is just a goddam circle with a dot. That's it- a frickin' circle and a dot. The one we got was very nice and I bet only 1 out of a 1000 people could tell it from the real deal. I mean, there's not much to screw up...Asia Palace Hotel (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/movado_mens.jpg%20it%27s%20a%20circle%20and%20a%20dot%20for%20god%27s%20sake%21%20It%27s%20a%20beautiful%20watch%20and%20Jack%27s%20daughter%20is%20going%20to%20owe%20me%20a%20favor%20big-time,%20like%20an%20introduction%20to%20one%20of%20her%20cute%20friends%20or-%20oh,%20wait,%20I%27m%20already%20engaged.%20Never%20mind.%20%3Cbr%20/%3E%3Cbr%20/%3EWe%20started%20off%20staying%20at%20the%20[url=http://www.asiarooms.com/cambodia/phnom_penh/asia_palace.html) again, but due to some crude comments by the cleaning staff we opted to take our business elsewhere. I won't go into details but they said some things about my fiance within her earshot, and she was pretty hurt by what was said. Not speaking Khmer I didn't realize what was going on at the time or I'd have kicked some room-cleaner butt on the spot, but once my fiance told me what they'd said, we just up and left. I had a few choice words with the manager as we left regarding his cleaning staff, something to the effect of "f*ck you and your puke-bag hotel, you a**hole shitf*ck" (and I didn't say it in a nice way, either).

We took a look at a place called the Hong Kong Hotel- it was actually fairly nice but had two fatal flaws. First, there was no in-room internet service, which sucked. They had wireless internet available in the lobby but it cost $3 per hour. It was just too unwieldy and considering we were going to be getting a VIP room it seemed kind of cheap-ass, really. All the other hotels pump a signal into your room but they didn't want to go to the trouble, they'd rather you fool around in the lobby with the meter running.

So, we ended up at the New York Hotel (http://www.newyorkhotel.com.kh/) on Monivong Boulevard. Actually, damn near *everything* in Phnom Penh is on Monivong Boulevard as near as I can tell. The New York Hotel is pretty nice- large, well-equipped rooms, a nice free breakfast bar, and (be still my heart) free internet in the room. They have a 1/200th scale model of the Statue Of Liberty out front and it's kind of cool. It looks like it was made by Miss Miller's 4th grade class as an art project, but it's the thought that counts. I tried to take a picture of it but every time I got it in the viewfinder I started laughing and eventually the hotel staff chased me away.

There was a light switch in our room at the New York Hotel that didn't seem to go to anything. Every so often Sakha and I would flick it on and off while looking around to see what it did. After a few days of doing this, some guy who lives up near the Thai border in North Vietnam called us up and told us to "cut it out".
 
Another interesting thing about hotels in Cambodia is the water spigots. Hot water comes from the tap or knob on the right, except when it doesn't, which is about half the time. Then it comes from the one on the left. Really, I swear they just hook the pipes up according to whichever is closer to the knob or whatever. And they're not even marked 'Hot' or 'Cold' (where would be the sport in that, eh?).

Also, in American hotels (and Canada too, I believe) the hot water temperature is limited by law as to just how hot it can be. It's a liability thing, I guess. Not so in Cambodia- some hotels will give you tepid, 75-degree water while others serve it up so it comes out of the faucet at its boiling point. Really- you can make coffee with the hot water straight from the tap at the New York Hotel. You can actually boil a chicken in the shower if you want. And you can boil your fiance too if you're not careful, but the less said about the ummm 'Very Extremely Hot Water Incident' the better, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Not to change the subject but remember how I wrote about traffic in Cambodia and how you can drive on any side of the road in any direction at any time you want? Well, it turns out that applies at night too. Woooo Hoooo! Yep, I'm here to tell you that pulling into oncoming traffic at night is one hell of a stimulating experience, especially when you factor in the idea that many Cambodians simply don't bother to turn on their headlights at night. I'm not making this up. At least half the motos and cars drive around at night with no lights on whatsoever. It's pretty f*cking exciting and yes, about twice a minute I would scream like a little girl with a spider in her pants.

It's amazing how close you can come to having a head-on collision without actually colliding. In some cases we missed people, cars, and other motos by about the thickness of a credit card. We got so close I could tell what some of the other contestants had had for dinner. I was really sure we would die, but we didn't. After a few close calls we had to go back to the hotel and change my underwear and rinse off, which led to the aforementioned 'Very Extremely Hot Water Incident', but I don't want to talk about that.


December 9th: My fiance and I had a small celebration for our 1 year engagement anniversary, a quiet dinner out at the Tonle Bassac buffet restaurant and then did some scenic cruising around the city. Then we went back to the hotel and wild sex for hours. Or maybe we just went to sleep, I really don't remember.

We went to the Tonle Bassac buffet another night, and I decided that, for a change of pace, I would eat everything that I'd never normally eat. So, I had a variety of things that were a little different. I ate the "Braised Ox Tongue". I had some of the chunks of "Special Superior Young Goat". I ate the "Balls Fish" ( ??? ) and I also ate the "Pan Fried Grouper". I ate the "Crunchy Fried Squid Strips". I choked down a few "Eel Rolls". I ate the "Sauted Pork/Pig Floss". And then I threw up. Haha, I'm kidding, but it was close.


I also had a birthday while I was there this time,and my fiance took me to a place called "I'm Baker" (lol!) to order a cake for my birthday. Yeah, "I'm Baker". I laughed. I was just glad he hadn't called his bakery "I'm Plumber". Some of the store and product names in Cambodia are a bit odd- some are very literal ("The Shoes"), some are kind of fractured English. There are lots of stores whose names are long sentences, like an auto parts store whose name is "Selling All Make Of Car Part And Custom Item And Order Any Thing For Motor". I'm not kidding, that's the name of the store. Or, "Sell All Make Of Shoe To You For Man And Woman And Child". That's the store name, it's on the sales receipt just like that.

There are also a lot of products marked "Hight-Quality", which is actually pretty funny if you think about it for a moment. Maybe the product is high quality, but the ad copy on the box, well, that's another story I guess.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/hightquality.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/hightquality.jpg)
You see that on all sorts of things, so maybe there's really only one guy doing this- he just happens to design a lot of product boxes and writes the ad copy for companies in Phnom Penh.

Some products are just named very simply:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/justjuice.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/justjuice.jpg)
It's just juice. That's all. Juice. Get it?

Mmmmm, Suck Jelly. Tasty.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/suckjelly.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/suckjelly.jpg)
[/span]

We saw a few more of those freaky-ass mannequins that scared us silly last time. I overcame my fear and shot some pics of them for posterity. Holy ^%$#@!.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin05.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin05.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin04.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin04.jpg)
Makes you wanna buy stuff, don't they?

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin03.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin03.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin02.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin02.jpg)
I'm scared, mommy!!!                         Zombie Child?


My fiance's sister had a baby boy just before I came this time, and we went to see her and him. I brought the baby a classic teddy bear to play with but I think bears may have bad connotations in Cambodia. The baby's mom looked at me like, "WTF?? You bring my kid a giant scary baby-eating animal? What is wrong with you white people??"

I could be wrong but that's what I thought the look meant. It could have meant "What a nice and somewhat puzzling toy", but I don't think so. lol. I explained that this big, flesh-eating carnivore was actually a classic, loveable baby toy in America, even though we run from them in real life. This sparked quite a bit of animated discussion between my fiance and her sister, after which my fiance looked at me and said "Okay, we go now". But I'm tellng you- I think they really loved it despite the the fact that they threw us out of their home.

Laughing in Cambodia: laugh all you want, but don't do one of those crazy "Mwuhahahahahahah" laughs. Apparently, in Cambodia laughing like that will make people think you really and truly have a genuine mental health problem and sometimes they may ummm also take offense. Ask me how I know.

Well, I'm glad you asked. See, I got us in a bit of trouble at the Sorya Market while we were in the Sony Electronics store. I happened to see the coolest cellphone there and I lusted after it, and so I went "Mwuhahahahaha!" rather loudly while rubbing my hands together. My eyebrows might have been going up and down a little bit too when I did that. Before you could say "mental patient" there were 3 or 4 salespeople clustering around us (okay, around me). They were talking to my fiance and from what I gathered later, they were giving her a lot of grief for bringing a mentally disturbed "crazy person" (me) into their store where I might run amuck and break stuff or expose myself or god knows what. My fiance explained to them that I was just kidding around, but that was like explaining to the Fire Marshall that you were "just kidding around" when you yelled "FIRE!!!" in a crowded theater. In other words, it just made them even less thrilled with me.

After we were thrown out, errr, I mean "left because we damn well felt like it" my fiance just looked at me and rolled her eyes. She thought it was funny, but I could tell she was also coming to the conclusion that her dearly beloved was a certified nutcase. God I love her for not taking the easy route and having me committed to the Cambodian Home For The Incredibly Annoying. That concluded our shopping for the day. Mwuahahahahah!

(If I ever write a book about this stuff, I'll call it "All The Stupid Things I did In Cambodia", volumes 1 through 7.)

The next day we went to the Central Market and got some really nice dishes and bowls to bring back to the US. (Dishes and bowls and ceramic stuff are very inexpensive in Cambodia.) We got whole bunch of matching pieces (duh) of heat glazed china that has a soft blue color for the glaze. The pieces have holes in the china spaced around the edges, and a rattan border is woven into the holes around the ceramic. It's a little hard to describe but they're really nice looking. The lady selling them made us a really good deal on them- a large set of about 45 pieces came out to about $50 (it would have been at least several hundred $$$$ in the US, and probably more). I started to go "Mwuha-" and my fiance gave me the "Don't You Dare..." look, which I complied with instantly, if not sooner. (Out of about 45 pieces I packed, only 2 got broken in my luggage on the way back, which I considered to be damn lucky.)  Here's a sample of what they look like (a bowl and some of the coasters):
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bluedishes.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bluedishes.jpg)

The Nail Stores: All over Cambodia there are these little shops where ladies can get their nails done, but you ain't NEVER seen nothing like the nails they do there. The nails can be astoundingly complex and detailed with all sorts of little beads and flowers and patterns that are mind-boggling. A few pics will illustrate what I mean.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/nails02.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/nails02.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/nails03.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/nails03.jpg)
To be honest, these are some of the simpler ones.

Some of the nails are so impractical that you can't do anything while wearing them- you couldn't feed yourself, dial a phone, cook, write, or drive a car. They're a sign of extreme wealth because it shows that you have someone to do all of those things for you. Like these:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/fancynails.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/fancynails.jpg)
See the flower? What could you do wearing something like that on each finger? Some of the nails even have little gold "vanity" chains about 6 inches long with birds and stuff hanging off the ends. I'm not kidding about this, when you wear nails like this it's a sign that you are so wealthy that you don't do anything yourself, your hired help does it all for you. You can't even wipe your own butt when wearing these nails, and again, I'm not kidding.

Toe Socks
One of my fiance's friends had the cutest little socks.
They were so cute I just had to take a picture:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/toesocks.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/toesocks.jpg)
Awwwwwwwwwwwww!!!
She's a really nice young lady but I had to coax her into letting me take a pic. Every time I'd raise the camera she'd make a hooting noise and run away laughing. Finally my fiance convinced her to stand still for a moment and I was able to photograph her cool toe socks.
 
We also went to a place called "Maxim", a nifty little lunch place and bar where it's rumored that "couples go to kiss". (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) has these little semi-private rooms made for semi-private kissing, and the entrance to each room is guarded by statues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I am not making this up:

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mutantturtle2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mutantturtle2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mutantturtle1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mutantturtle1.jpg)
 
Why "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"? I have NO idea. I'm as baffled as you.


And there ya have it, another trip to Phnom Penh that I survived. Mwuahahahahah!!

Click here for the Eighth Trip (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/index.php/topic,3388.msg115488.html#msg115488) (just below)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Dec 17 07 08:47
Hey TB.  Thanks for posting your travel update and photos.
 Congrats to you and your fiancee.  You must be a very happy couple.
   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Dec 17 07 09:42
Excellent story again TB.  I've read stuff by notable authors that aren't half as good as your writing.  Love it.

  Thanks for sharing. I can't wait til you go again, just so I can read about it....lol    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: YourMixedUpFriend on Dec 25 07 04:33
So WHEN is the wedding?

  I thought with this trip, you two were gonna tie the knot?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 25 07 08:12
 YourMixedUpFriend wrote:
So WHEN is the wedding?
Not until she comes here.

I thought with this trip, you two were gonna tie the knot?
 Nope, nope, never said that.
Title: Well, not outright,
Post by: YourMixedUpFriend on Dec 26 07 09:53
"all goes well we'll have a traditional Cambodian wedding [SPAN style="FONT-STYLE: italic"]in Cambodia[/SPAN] sometime in January. "

  Found where you said that in Dec 06 --.....

  AND

  " guess it depends what you call long term...we've been enaged since last December and we're getting married later this year. "

  So what's up???
 
Title: Re: Well, not outright,
Post by: TehBorken on Dec 26 07 12:16
YourMixedUpFriend wrote:Found where you said that in Dec 06 --....."all goes well we'll have a traditional Cambodian wedding in Cambodia sometime in January."

I misspoke. We'll be married here.

"I guess it depends what you call long term...we've been engaged since last December and we're getting married later this year. "
 
We have been engaged since last December, and we will be getting married later this year, shortly after she arrives in the US. After she's here we have 90 days (by law) to get married. Then we apply for a Change Of Status for permanent residency for her.


So what's up???

Right now our paperwork has been approved and is at the National Visa Center. It's just waiting to get sent out to the embassy in Cambodia. Once it's there they'll contact her to come in for her exit interview. After her interview she'll get a visa and we'll fly back here. So we're thinking it'll likely be February or March before she's finally here.


 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: YourMixedUpFriend on Dec 26 07 01:20
Aha!

  Well....I sure hope that the paperwork gets done sooner vs. later, I know how happy you two are together and that's what counts!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Feb 20 08 12:36
The Eighth Trip

Wow, this was a fun trip (#8!) and getting out of Cambodia without being incarcerated was a real plus.

As usual, I did the Seattle-Taipei-Cambodia run on EVA Air. The trip itself was uneventful, although I admit that being stuck in a seat for 20 hours is a little less fun each time I do it. My friend 'Run' took the same flight as me this time and we arrived on time with both of our sweethearts waiting for us at Phnom Penh International Airport.

Dishes, Dishes, Dishes
One of the things my fiance and I did this time was to get another huge load of dishes for eventual use in Seattle. I got what must have been about $1000 worth of dishes for $140 and change. This is the same beautiful blue glaze stuff as last time, although this time we got full sized dishes, cups, saucers, etc. We got so much I had to leave some behind- there was just too much to fit in my bags after it was packed for travel. By the way, you cannot buy bubblewrap in Phnom Penh at any price. You can scrounge some up from auto part stores, but it just isn't for sale anywhere (and believe me, we looked). This fact alone, I believe, explains America's superiority over Cambodia in matters of commerce and standard of living.
Some of our dishes in their native habitat:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/Dishes001.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/Dishes001.jpg)

I'm happy to report that every single dish, plate, and cup (about 60 pieces) made it home in perfect condition, not a single broken or cracked piece in the bunch. I did get into a bit of a skirmish with the baggage monkey at SeaTac airport, however. He was taking the bags as they came off the conveyor and literally throwing them into a huge pile. When the pile got to be too big to toss bags on top of, he just started throwing them OVER the pile to the other side. What a dick. When my first bag appeared I stepped in to grab it and shouted "Whoah, wait wait wait, there's china in there, it's fragile, let me get it please." The baggage monkey took offense at my bizarre request and got all official with me, "You'll have to step back sir, blah blah security blah blah terrorists blah...." Yeah, like that's going to happen after all I've been through, lol. I grabbed my bag and told him that I'd flown this  stuff all the way from Cambodia and if I wanted it broken, I'd damn well do it myself. The scene was repeated for the second bag as well- "step back sir, blah blah blah". No fricking way, Mr Baggage Monkey. I grabbed the second bag and told him "Yeah, right, this is me and I'm stepping back- WITH MY BAG thankyouverymuch.".


Traffic Cops - Pay Me Now, Or Pay Me Now
While driving down Monivong Boulevard one day I got waved over by a Phnom Penh extortionist, I mean traffic cop.  I couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong- did I turn in a "go straight" lane or did I go straight in a "turn" lane? Apparently I did neither- what I did is known as "driving while being a tourist". The cop saw me, figured I could afford a fine, and waved me over. My fiance started yelling at him and that worried the hell out of me. Things got a a bit errr heated, and he asked me (through my fiance) for my license. Riiiiiiiiiiight,  I mean it's pretty obvious that I'm not from around these parts, you know? Like I'm really gonna have a valid Cambodian drivers license. Duh. So I gave him my Washington State license and he examined it for a while, but he wasn't very convincing as he was holding it upside down the whole time (lol!).

I told my fiance to tell the cop that it was an "International" license and was good "in all civilized countries all over the world" and so I didn't need an actual Cambodian driver's license. Since the cop couldn't read or speak English, it sort of worked but I still had to pay 5000 reals for my unspecified offense (about $1.25). My fiance really lit into him then and he started yelling, she started yelling louder, all his cop buddies came over to see what was the trouble....hoo boy. I listened to all the commotion thinking to myself, "Shit, I am SO going to jail". The cop would yell something at me, my fiance would yell something at him, and round and round we went. But she didn't back down and apparently ORDERED him to give me back my license, which he reluctantly did. Being a complete idiot, I asked my fiance if I was going to get a receipt for my payment. She looked at me as though I had said something even stupider than normal and told me, "No get receipt for bribe."

It turns out that you can pay your fine on the spot (how convenient!) and I guarantee you that not a nickel of your fine makes it into the city's books- it goes right into the cop's pocket. Don't want to burden City Hall with unecessary paperwork, right?

After a few more choice comments to him from my fiance, we were allowed to drive off. That's when she explained to me that I hadn't done anything wrong (except for being a  tourist on the wrong street in Phnom Penh).


Fishing for Lunch
We went to a really cool little place way outside of town- it's a little place on a lake and there are all of these nice little gazebos that sit out on the banks of the lake. They give you a fishing pole and some bait and you go fishing for your lunch. If you catch a fish they cook it for you and serve it up on a platter. You can also buy lunch there if you want, and that's a good thing because we didn't catch a damn thing all morning long. We would have starved to death if we had to rely on our skills as anglers. The worst part is that the fish were jumping out of the water all over the place further out in the lake, but our poles couldn't reach that far. Hmmmm, what a coincidence. My fiance has gone there a whole bunch of times and has always caught something, but those damn fish were just too scared of me to come close to where we were. Yeah, that must have been what it was....all in all though, it was a lot of fun, right up to the part where we drove home and I ran over two little Cambodian schoolgirls and killed them. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)


Running Over Cambodian Schoolgirls
Okay, I didn't really kill them, but I came awfully damn close. Before I say anything else, I'd like to apologize to the two young ladies I almost killed. They know who they are (and they're probably still having nightmares about the whole thing). I hope you live long and happy lives, but that probably won't happen unless you stay off the road while I'm in your lovely country.

Here's what happened....

We were zooming home on the moto. I was driving and I was going about 50 or so along this fairly busy highway road. For some completely inconceivable reason, these two schoolgirls about 10 years old decided to do something utterly insane, namely, cross the road while I was driving nearby. I mean really, what were they thinking? Haven't they read about my moto driving?

So, they start to cross the road. I spot them and start to veer to the right to avoid them. They move forward a step so now I'm coming right at them again. They step back just as I overcorrect and again we end up on a collision course.

75 meters and closing fast. They start forward again just as I change course and I veer toward them again. Ooops. Now they freeze, one foot in the air, trying to discern just what the f*ck I'm doing. What I'm doing, of course, is heading right for them like a fricking cruise missile.

50 meters to go and their mouths are open in anticipation of their imminent death. (Since they're only 10 years old it probably didn't take long for their lives to flash in front of their eyes.) I heroically apply the moto's handbrake, but did I mention that I was a) going really fast, and b) still heading right for them?

40 meters. Shit, this is looking really bad. I put a Terminator-like death-grip on the handbrake, and now the scene resembles one of those Driver's Education movies, you know, the one where they show that slow motion collision inside a car. Our sudden slowing causes my fiance and I to slide forward on the moto, our hair and clothing is pulled forward from the G-forces, pens and pencils are flying out of our pockets, and we're all doing that slowed-down yelling thing, just like in the film, "Nooooooooooooooooooo........"

25 meters left and and I'm still racing right at them like Rosie O'Donnel running for the refrigerator. I'm crushing the handbrake so hard it's almost to the handlebar. The brutal deceleration causes my fiance's head to impact the back of my neck, causing her teeth and jaws to snap shut with a very audiable "CLACK" noise. I hear her yell something but it's muffled by the fact that her face is now sort of forcefully buried between my shoulder blades. I think she might have been telling me what a great and skillful moto driver I am, but I could be mistaken here.

Oh dear. 10 meters left. Game over. By this time the front tire is now locked up and we're skidding on the pavement, but I don't dare turn even a little bit because that would definitely throw Sakha and I right off the moto, giving us a short aerial view of Phnom Penh just before we would hit headfirst into the roadway divider wall, which has thoughtfully been made of solid concrete. (No, we weren't wearing any helmets. Where would be the sport in that?)

So, I can't turn, the moto is skidding, and we're all basically screwed. The schoolgirls are still frozen solid and we're about to squash them like bugs. At this moment I manage to downshift straight from 4th gear to 2nd gear. Wow, talk about instant deceleration. The moto's transmission makes a terrible screaming noise like an overheated starship engine and the added deceleration causes my fiance's head to once more slam into the back of my neck. I hear her teeth make that *CLACK* noise again. I'm hoping her tongue wasn't in the way, but mostly I'm getting a really up-close and personal look at the schoolgirls eyes, which by this time are about the size of dinner plates.

Thanks to my downshifting we come to a very dramatic screeching stop with the front wheel of the moto ending up less than a centimeter from the tips of the first schoolgirl's Hello Kitty sneakers. I smell urine. Maybe it's mine, maybe it's the schoolgirls, but I didn't have time to ponder that because now the front shock absorber of the moto springs back from it's hyper-compressed position, causing the moto to lurch backwards a little bit, which causes me to lurch backwards a little bit, which drives the back of my head into my fiance's mouth one last time. I hear the aforementioned *CLACK* noise yet again. My fiance screams another somewhat muffled comment, again probably something about how much she loves me but I don't speak Khmer so I'm not really sure. But that's what I'd guess she said.

I look at the schoolgirls (still frozen solid with that deer-in-the-headlights look) and I say "Hi!", probably a little too loudly. I think I startled them because the paralysis instantly left their bodies and they started scrambling backwards blindly, trying to get back to the safety of the roadway divider. They actually went up the divider thingy backwards, no kidding.

My fiance called out to them in Khmer (probably telling them that I was a great moto driver and not to worry), but by then they were running along the roadway divider away from us, occasionally looking back over their shoulders to see if I was following them (I wasn't).

My fiance was so exhilirated by this whole thing that she insisted on driving the rest of the way home. I mean she really, really insisted.

When we got home, I told her that since this was my first real Combat Kill (well, almost) in Cambodian traffic that I should get some recognition of it. I showed her these little drawings I had made and taped to the moto- they were two little silhouettes of a pony-tailed schoolgirl's head with a big "X" over it, just like the fighter aces used to do in World War II when they shot down an enemy plane.

      Credit for two kills
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ponytail2.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ponytail2.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ponytail2.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ponytail2.gif)
My fiance pretended she didn't like them and scraped them off with a nail file. While she was scraping them off she was muttering to herself, "I cannot believe I'm marrying this..." and then she used some Cambodian word. It was a really short word but I think it meant something like "creative guy" or "wonderful man" or something like that. Then she took a bunch of Advil. The next morning she said her teeth and jaw felt much better.

(Footage from my gun camera later revealed that had I been using live ammo, I would have completely smoked those schoolgirls butts for sure.)

When my fiance told this story to her family (in Cambodian), she made all the appropriate back-and-forth motions and screeching noises and ended up by holding her fingers about an inch apart for them to see. This must have really impressed her family with my awesome moto driving skills because they were very quiet and (probably out of respect) avoided me completely for the next few days, but then they got over their awe of my incredibleness and things returned to normal.


Weird Hooting Noises Cambodian Girls Make
I don't know what to tell you, but this is just weird. Sometimes when Cambodian ladies get all worked up about something they will all (in unison) make this "whooowoooowoooo" noise. For example, I bought my fiance this Louis Vitton handbag. Apparently it is THE handbag to end all handbags, period, end of story, go home. If you carry this handbag you are too cool and every woman within 500km must bow to you and tell you that they like your handbag. Now, I'll be really honest here- it looks terrible to me. It's looks like it's been stitched together from like 5 other handbags, none of which match AT ALL. It's just freakin' hideous. It looks like it has a mutant handbag growing out of the side, plus all sorts of chains and things flopping around. You couldn't bury me with one of these, but for the ladies it's like dying and going to heaven. So I got her one.
[img width=302 height=286p]http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/louis-vuitton-bag.jpg
When we visited the place she used to work you'd have thought the Pope had arrived. All of the girls went into this frenzy, making the aforementioned hooting noise and they clustered around my fiance like she was a movie star, admiring her Louis Vitton bag. Then they all kissed her toes and swore their loyalty to her till the End Of Time. Wait, I made that last part up, but only just barely. (I should mention that the real LV bag sells for like $3,000.00 and no way I'm insane enough to spend that much on something like that. You couldn't buy the real thing in Cambodia if you wanted, but you can buy spot-on copies for about $35 or so.)


Valentines Day
Yes, Cambodia has been infected with Valentines Day, or as we guys call it, "Romances' Answer To April 15th". All sorts of little steetside stalls spring up offering candy and flowers. I was driving Sakha somewhere on the moto (did I mention what a great moto driver I am?) and I pulled over to buy her some roses. I told her to pick out a bouquet, and she pulled a single flower out of the basket. Oh, please, I'm not going to fly all the way to Southeast Asia and buy one flower! So I grabbed one of the nicer  bouquets but she didn't want it- she kept holding up the one forlorn little flower and telling me "Simple, simple, no, simple!" She really doesn't want me to spend money on stuff like that, lol. But after a little back and forth I got her a nice bouquet and off we went. Wow, everywhere we went all the other women looked at her enviously and would smile at me, then they'd turn to their husband or boyfriend and pound him on the arm for not getting them a bouquet. The guys looked at me like, "Oh you bastard, now I've gotta buy her flowers. Thanks a lot." But the ladies dug it and Sakha was the envy of most of the city. Cambodian men are about as romantic as wet bricks and they don't go for that stuff unless it's at gunpoint.


Drilling For Oil In Our Hotel Room
We stayed at the New York Hotel this time, and the room was very nice. But, every so often we'd hear this noise, or more accurately, this NOISE. I swear to god it sounded like they were drilling for oil in the room next door. It was so loud that everytime it started up it would shake the room and we'd jump about a foot. "BR-R-R-R-BAMBAMBAMBAM-DDD-BAM-RRRRRRR!" We never did figure out what it was. We were too scared to go out into the hall and see what was making the NOISE.

What To Do When They Insist You CANNOT Take A Picture
Lots of places will tell you quite firmly that you can't take pictures, like malls, stores, resturants, etc. Just take a picture anyway:

Me (taking pictures): click, click, click
Store Owner: Please, you cannot take picture in here!
Me: Okay. (click, click, clickclickclick) I won't. Clickclickclick.
Store Owner: No, you cannot. Is not allowed!
Me: I see (clickclickclick). Why is (click) that? (click)
Store Owner: Is rule, no picture, no take any picture here!
Me: Ah, (click) I understand. (clickclickclick)

You get the idea. Never ask them first! Remember kids- it's easier to get forgiveness than permission.  By the time they're done telling you "no", you got your pictures. You can also point the camera at whatever you want to take a picture of (like a guard with a gun, for example) and quietly press the shutter button while you politely ask if you can take their picture. If they decline, say "Okay" and walk away. For god's sake, remember to TURN OFF YOUR AUTOMATIC FLASH or you can get yourself in big, big trouble. Ask me how I know.

You can also pretend not to speak English. Pretend you're a German tourist:

Me (taking pictures): zeclick, zeclick, zeclicken
Store Owner: Please, you cannot take picture in here!
Me: Yah. (zeclick, zeclick, zeclickclickclick) Wilkommen da biergarten. ZeClickclickclick.
Store Owner: No, you cannot. Is not allowed!
Me: Jahwol, mien putzengruben! (zeclickclickclick). Vast ist der autobahn (zeclick) schnitzel? (click)
Store Owner: Is rule, no picture, no take any picture here!
Me: Vost? (zeclicken) Pleben der schnitzel haus. (zeclick,click,click)

By the way, the rough translation of the "German" above is "Welcome to the beer garden", Yes, my putzen something", "This is the autobahn sausage", and "Paint the sausage house". Or something like that. (Hell, I don't know, I don't speak German!)



The Magic Traffic Horn
Driving in Cambodia is a lot of fun (especially if you're a great moto driver like me) and one of the secrets to success is to be "BAD". That's "Bold, Audacious, and Decisive". In other words, go for it. When you come to an intersection you must pretend that you don't see the other drivers coming the other way. They will pick up on the fact that you don't see them and they'll slow down or go around you instead of making you stop for them. Also, it's critically important that while you're pretending that you don't see them, you also use your horn for its  tactical "first strike" capability. [span style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;"]Beep beep, beepbeepbeepbeep[/span]. That way they KNOW you're coming and have to pay attention to you no matter what. Don't overdo it though. Only use your horn 90% of the time. I am firmly convinced that you could drive from one end of Cambodia to the other without stopping (or even slowing) if you just taped your horn button down and pretended not to see the other drivers.

When crossing intersections you can also use a car as a shield, just drive alongside them and cling to them when they cross the intersection. No one wants to hit a car so the cross-traffic will stop or slow to allow the car (and you) to go by. Mwuhahahahah!

True story: My fiance used to always tap me on the shoulder when I went "too fast" and she'd say "No hurry, no hurry honey!". I told her that was very distracting and was likely to cause me to have an accident. Now all she says from time to time is "Uh oh".


The Prohibited Fruit
There is a *very* delicious kind of fruit sold in Cambodia. I cannot pronounce its name, but it's spiky-looking and very big (see picture). It's absolutely to DIE for, it's that good. Very expensive but worth every penny. It has a very powerful and distinctive aroma and most hotels have a picture of the fruit with the international "NO" symbol over it posted at the elevators. You are not allowed to take the fruit into the hotel because of its overpowering smell. You buy it and the stall owner slices it open and deftly removes the meaty blobs inside like he was doing a cesarean or something. It's repulsive looking but so so so delicious.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/spikyfruit01.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/spikyfruit01.jpg)


More scary mannequins
A few more pics of mannequins. God help me, I never get tired of having the living crap scared out of me by these things.  Use 'em to scare your kids if they're been bad.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi001.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi001.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi002.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi002.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi003.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi003.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi004.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi004.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi006.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi006.jpg)

Ummm,, wait a minute...that's a GUY with BREASTS...
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi007.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequi007.jpg)



Good Advice
A few signage shots from various places. I like the "Be Careful" one. That's just good advice whether you're driving, making love, searching for landmines, or (as in this case) stepping onto an escalator. I apologize for the blurry "Be careful Your Head" shot, it was made on a moving escalator. I hate to think what prompted them to put up that sign. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/becareful002.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/becareful002.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/becareful001.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/becareful001.jpg)




Transporting Stuff By Moto
As you can see, anything and everything is transported by moto. These are just a few shots of various things being catred around the city on motos. It's the standard form of transport for virtually everything, animal, mineral, or vegetable.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter001.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter001.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter002.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter002.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter003.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter003.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter004.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter004.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter005.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter005.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter006.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter006.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter007.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter007.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter008.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter008.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter009.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter009.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter010.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter010.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter0011.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter0011.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter0012.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mototransporter0012.jpg)

You get the idea. If it can be carried, it will be carried.


Multiple Moto Passengers
This is also very very common. Seeing 3, 4 or even 5 or 6 people (including babies) on a single moto going somewhere is quite common. Do that in the US or Canada and the cops would write you so many tickets you could wallpaper Disneyland with them. And helmets are uncommon, at most maybe 1 in 10 or 20 people use them.
] (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto001.jpg)] (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto001.jpg)](http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto001.jpg]) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto001.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto002.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto002.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto003.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto003.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto004.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto004.jpg)[/img]
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto005.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto005.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto006.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto006.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto007.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto007.jpg)(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto008.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/peopleonmoto008.jpg)


Romantic Love Rubber
I really have no idea what this is and I'm not sure I want to. But it was too good of a picture to pass up!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/loverubber01.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/loverubber01.jpg)


Double Happiness Cigarettes
Gotta love it- I'm only surpised that there wasn't a tagline like "Now With Twice The Cancer!"
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/doublehappiness.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/doublehappiness.jpg)


Funeral Scene
Outside one of the markets I saw all these people dressed sort of like KKK members. It wasn't a KKK rally, it was a funeral and the custom is to burn the body and throw paper messages on the funeral pyre to speed the departed soul to Heaven.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/funeralpyre001.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/funeralpyre001.jpg)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/funeralpyre002.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/funeralpyre002.jpg)


Terrible Sounds All Around
Outside of some of the markets there are these people who set up a mobile computer station and then play 10-second clips of the WORST music you've ever heard, one clip after another. If you want you can pay them a little money and they'll beam the song to your phone for use as a ringtone. They play the worst music imaginable, and at very VERY loud volumes. When you get 5 or 6 of these idiots doing it at the same time it sounds even worse. There aren't words bad enough to describe it, but I came up with a phrase that comes close: "Ear Diarrhea". Because the term "Loud Shitty Music From Hell" doesn't quite cover it.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eardiarhea01.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eardiarhea01.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eardiarhea02.jpg)


Burned Out Buildings
These date from the time of Pol Pot and all of the horror that took place during his genocidal regime. In some places you can still see bullet holes and other evidence of the fighting that went on. "During his time in power Pol Pot imposed a version of agrarian collectivization whereby city dwellers were forcibly marched out to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labour projects, conceived as a restarting of civilization in 'Year Zero'. The combined effect of slave labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions had an estimated death toll of 750,000 to 1.7 million. His regime achieved special notoriety for singling out all intellectuals and other 'bourgeois enemies' for murder."
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/oldbuildings001.jpg)

Monks
Some monks going about their daily routine of traveling around the neighborhoods blessing people and receiving donations.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/monksonpatrol001.jpg)

Weird Art Stuff
You, yes YOU can own this delightful picture of a scowling Ayatollah for only $30 Wouldn't this look great on your living room wall? Answer; Hell no, it would not. Why anyone would buy this is beyond me. Completely beyond me. That's my fiance holding it up, by the way. Isn't she cute?  :)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/Freakyart01.jpg)


The Alien Bar
I was afraid to go inside for fear of being ummm "probed" if you know what I mean and I think you do.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/alienbar01.jpg)

Electrical Wiring
Nothing odd about this, it's an example of the basic wiring all over the country. This is outside my fiance's apartment, by the way. Notice the dangling wires? They're live.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/cambodianwiring01.jpg)


CASHEWS!!
Also, in the market you can get killer deals on some things, like cashews. A brick of 8 kilos -about 17 pounds- of cashews goes for around $10.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/cashewsforsale.jpg)


Dressed for Reentry
At the airport there was this woman dressed in a tinfoil dress. The picture doesn't show it as shiny as it was, but I swear she looked like she was dressed for reentry from orbit.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/reentrygirl.jpg)


Well, that's about it. I hope ya enjoyed this latest look at Cambodia!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Feb 20 08 03:07
Thanks for the story TB! The narrative how you look at it tongue in cheeck makes it all the better! Glad you made it safe and sound.

I know what you mean about the Durian (sp?) fruit, they had the same warnings at the hotel i stayed at in china.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Feb 20 08 04:14
     
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Feb 20 08 04:15
Thanks for sharing TB!  LOVE the pics...you are just too sweet, for spoiling your Fiance. :)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Feb 20 08 05:45
Awesome and hilarious coverage as usual TB.  Each story gets better and better....I love it !
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: 49er on Feb 21 08 04:54
Michel wrote:
LOL I'm curious (well not really) to smell that fruit. It must smell really strong.[/DIV]
 Go to an asian market....frozen food section.  Likely the frozen  yellow meat of the fruit is sold in packages.  Sniff the outside of the plastic bag.......you likely will smell the stink, the fruit is a thousand times worst
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Feb 21 08 05:39
   

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Feb 22 08 09:11
So is this a GOOD stink....or a BAD stink ?

  (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/reentrygirl.jpg)

  Yipes.....not unlike a baked potato.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 27 08 05:58
Shoot! I'm outta time reading your journay but it's damn interesting and funny. You really ought to think about publishing your memoirs, TB. I'd buy your book in a heartbeat.

  Good stuff. Carry on.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Feb 27 08 08:30
I keep telling him the same thing Lise...but I think HE thinks I'm just blowing sunshine up.....ummm....well I'm not sure he is taking me seriously.  I would absolutely buy a book with this kind of humour and wit.

  GET BUSY TB !!!!   (http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/more/bigs/a084.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Feb 28 08 08:01
TB's writing's got style, humor and pictures. What more could a gal ask for? PC, we both have to push him into writing and publishing his stuff one of these days for sure.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: michaelday77 on Mar 20 08 05:01
your wife is beautiful!

what a nice trip!  scared of the brains though!!(http:///forums/richedit/smileys/10.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Mar 21 08 04:27
 michaelday77 wrote:
your wife is beautiful!

Thank you. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)  She's Beauty, I'm the Beast.

what a nice trip!  scared of the brains though!!(http:///forums/richedit/smileys/10.gif)  

Yeah, don't eat the brains. Brains baaaaaaaad.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: YourMixedUpFriend on Apr 19 08 01:58
Just wanted to pop in and see how things are progressing in your neck of the woods.

  Hopefully her paperwork will be finished soon so she can join you......or is she there?

  Moving on to a new chapter in my life as well.....we shall see how this round goes.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 28 08 11:15
 YourMixedUpFriend wrote:
Just wanted to pop in and see how things are progressing in your neck of the woods.

See below.... (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Apr 28 08 11:20
(http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/smilie/konfus/a070.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 28 08 11:33
 This was trip number something-or-other...I swear I'm not even sure anymore. 9 or 10. And it should be the next-to-last one if all goes well.


Before I say anything else, I've got to tell you that Cambodia in April is really, really hot.  It's murder. Hot hot hot and incredibly humid...you step outside and you're soaked in sweat in one minute, even just standing perfectly still in the shade. I mean it's just TRULY godawful hot and sticky and miserable. It's almost too hot to describe. But I'll try.

For what it's worth, it's much worse inside of the Central Market- it's easily 115+ degrees in there and about 95% humidity. It's unreal, I simply don't see how the sellers can stand the heat all day long, stuck in these little booths, no wind, no breeze, no nothing. Some of them have a fan, but that's like fluffing the pillows on the Titanic- a fan just blows the hot air around. If anything it just makes it worse.

I won't belabor the point except to say that it was really really hot...even my fiance was saying, "Oh, so really, really hot honey...". Look, when a native Cambodian who has lived in Cambodia all of her life tells you it's "so really really hot", you can damn well bet that it is, in fact, "really, really hot". Ugh. But enough of that, you get the idea.

Dante's Jetway
Anyway....I did the usual Seatle to Taipei to Phnom Penh run and as soon as I got off the plane in Cambodia I realized that it was like, really, really hot. Oh, wait, I already mentioned that. The metal jetway was like Dante's Inferno with windows. Windows that let in sunlight, effectively raising the temperature to approximately that of the Sun's surface. But enough about the incredible, brutal, overpowering, mind-bending heat.

Diamond Earrings!
I timed my arrival there this trip so I could celebrate my fiance's birthday with her, and for her birthday present I got her some beautiful diamond earrings. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)  She loved them and of course we had to go visiting everyone all over the city so she could show them off, lol. Unfortunately, the diamonds melted right off of her ears because it was really, really hot.

I also fell madly in love while I was there, but not with a woman. I became smitten with a cell phone. I saw the Motorola V8 Razr phone and before I knew it I had pulled out my wallet and purchased it. Then I fainted because it was really, really hot.

After I regained conciousness we went to my fiance's apartment. We had gone to this little store and gotten her mom a portable hammock. When it's really, really hot all you want to do is lay around, so this was the perfect gift, believe me. So we set the hammock up and I gotta tell ya, it was soooooo nice I was tempted to get one for the hotel room.

Hacking The Hotel Room
Speaking of the hotel room, most of the hotels have a little card-reader thing by the door...when you go in you stick the hotel card-key in the reader and it turns on the power to the room. When you leave you pull it out and the power shuts off after 30 seconds or so. I wanted the air conditioner to stay on so that when we came back it would be nice and cool, because it was really really hot in Cambodia (I don't know if I mentioned that or not). So, I jimmied the power interlock on the hotel room so that the power stayed on even when we weren't there. Ha ha ha! Coming back to the room was like stepping into the Arctic Circle naked. In other words, it was wonderful. My fiance thought my little power-switch hacking trick was *very* *very* cool and she showed her appreciation in no uncertain terms. Heh heh heh. All that electrical engineering stuff I learned wasn't wasted after all!


Pick On White People Week
Aside from it being really, really hot, this had to be "Pick On The White People Week" in Phnom Penh...I swear I could hardly drive 30 feet on the moto before a cop would wave me over and demand 5000 rials. They would rarely tell me or my fiance what we were being pulled over for, just that we had committed some infraction and we owed them cash. Sometimes they claimed we went straight in a turn lane (not true) or that we turned in a 'go straight' lane (not true) but usually there was no time wasted in explaining anythng other than that we owed them money. The typical fine was 5000 rials, but sometimes it was 10,000 or even 20,000. Lucky for them it was really really hot, or I'd have jumped off the moto and kicked the crap out of each and every one of them.

It got so bad that my fiance was scared to let me drive at all. Even with her at the helm we got waved over, again and again and again. I mean it was just f*cking blatant. One day they had 20 cops stationed at one street corner and they were pulling over everyone who a) wasn't wearing a helmet and b) who didn't have mirrors on their moto. HELLO?? MCFLY, HELLO?? This description fits 95% of EVERYONE driving in Cambodia- you've seen the pictures- NO ONE wears a helmet and damn few people have mirrors on their moto. The cops made a fortune that day, as they had about 300 people pulled over at any one time. They collect the money and wave you on...no ticket, no warning, no paperwork, just "Give me the money" (which goes right into their pocket) and then they'd tell you to go. They put the money in their wallet right there, no pretense that it was anything but a shakedown. And it seemed to me like there were a disproportionate number of light-skinned or caucasian people getting pulled over (my fiance pointed this out several times). Oh well.

The local paper also had a story about how a "drug dealer" shot and killed two policemen not far from our hotel. Bad stuff, right? Well, it turns out that the "drug dealer" was actually another cop who had been arrested for something or other (it was never really clear what for). They handcuffed him with his hands in front of him and never searched him (DUH!)...so he reached into his pants, pulled out a Colt .45 automatic he had hidden there and shot five of his fellow officers, killing two of them. He later claimed he snapped and killed them because it was "really really hot". (I'm kidding, but it WAS really really hot that day. Coincidence? You be the judge.)


We went by the American Embassy to try and prepay my fiance's visa fee for her interview next month (see below), and I must say that the people at the embassy are the rudest bunch of bastards you'll ever meet. Maybe they were just cranky because it was really really hot, I don't know. All I know is that they treated us like shit from start to finish. As I was leaving through the security station one of the guards asked me if if I'd left anything there. I told him, "Only my dignity" and I kept walking. I left the embassy, went outside, and fainted because it was really, really hot.

Yes, my fiance has her interview in May, so I'll come home, brush my teeth, and fly back to be there for it. Back-to-back trips with only a couple weeks in between....ack. On a brighter note, I introduced a good friend of mine to one of my fiance's girlfriends and they really hit it off. Soooo, my friend Jack will be going with me in May to get engaged to his sweetheart..(http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/15.gif) .how cool is that? (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)  His fiance-to-be is a really sweet young lady and both my fiance and I are very happy for them. I'll let you know how that goes. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)  There's even the possibility of *another* friend of mine coming with us on the same trip....this other friend wants to meet my fiance's sister, lol. I suspect there will be another engagement ceremony before long because my fiance's sister is a genuinely lovely lady and could capture any man's heart in about 5 seconds. She's also really really hot. But not as hot as the weather in Cambodia in April. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)


Moto Accidents
Now, I've previously related in tremendous detail what a fantastic moto driver I am, probably the greatest moto driver in Cambodia and maybe even in all of Southeast Asia. Even when it's really really hot, which it was. So when I tell you we had not one, but two moto accidents, I know that you will not jump to the insane conclusion that I was driving when they happened. I was, in fact, NOT driving during these two unfortunate episodes. (Had I been driving there would be nothing to report except maybe a whole bunch of really exciting close calls, due to the fact that it was, like, really really hot.)

For the first accident, my fiance was driving along when we saw these two dogs running around in the street. My fiance screamed "Kill the dogs!", accelerated toward them with an evil gleam in her eye and ran right over one of them! Okay, maybe it didn't happen exactly like that.

What really happened was that these stupid f*cking dogs were running around in the street and one of them turned and literally ran right under the front wheel of the moto. It wasn't my fiance's fault, there was no way in the world to avoid it, the stupid dog just turned and *bam* went right under the wheel.

We unfortunately did not have the foresight to buy the kind of moto that's good for running over dogs, so the moto's wheel jammed, stopping us instantly, pitching both of us up and over the handlebars and into the street. (Yes, it hurt quite a bit, just in case you're wondering.) We both got a good bit of road rash and some bruises. All these people ran over and helped us up and started wiping the blood off of us. The stupid dog ran off howling, so I couldn't even strangle the little f*cker. My prescription sunglasses got some very nice, artistic-looking scratches in the lenses and my camera got a bit banged up too. The moto got a little bent, but was still driveable. We were also a little bent but still drivable so we limped our way back to the hotel, put some ointment on our cuts, and took a hot bath. To add insult to injury, on the way to the hotel we got waved over by a Phnom Penh cop and had to pay him 5000 rials. I'm not kidding- there we were all banged up, bleeding, our clothes torn, it's really really hot, and this dumb-f*ck cop waves us over and takes 5000 rials from us. So help me god, if I had a gun....

The second accident wasn't my fault either. We had just finished buying a huge container of that delicious Durian fruit, which is good to eat when it's really really hot (which it was, by the way). My fiance fired up the moto and I started to climb on. She started pulling away while I was only about halfway on, so I stupidly said "Wait wait!" and she stopped abruptly, with the moto half on and half off the curb. This was not, as we engineers say, a "stable configuration" (duh) and so we toppled over into the street in a very amusing fashion. Amusing to the people watching us, that is. I know this because they were laughing as they pulled the f*cking moto off of us and helped us to our feet. Say hello to some more road rash, more bruises, and this time my glasses were a total loss. Oy.

We decided to call it a day and go back to the hotel and not venture outside again. We took several hot baths trying to ease our bruises and scrapes. We'd had just about all the fun we could stand and so we went to bed at about 7:00. We couldn't sleep because we were sore all over and it hurt every time we moved. Excedrin PM helped knock us out, but we still woke up feeling like cripples. Thank god that at least it was really, really hot.

So, I can report with complete authority that the pavement in Phnom Penh is every bit as hard and unforgiving as in the United States or Canada, so clearly the country is making some real progress in bringing their road system up to international standards. They even heat the roads internally so you get burned when you fall down (either that or it was just really, really hot).


Intermittent Power
Sometimes the electricity just goes off for a few minutes and then comes back on. No one hardly even seems to notice. We'd be in a store, the lights would go out and no one would bat an eye, they just keep talking, paying for stuff, looking at merchandise, whatever. A few moments later the power comes back on, and like I said, no one seems to notice. I thought maybe I was having some weird-ass brain cramp because of the heat (I don't know if I mentioned that it was really really hot) but no, it's just a normal part of life in Phnom Penh. My fiance says it just happens sometimes, it's no big deal. I sure as hell hope the hospital where they do heart transplants has a backup generator.

Doctor #1: "Alright, you retract the periocardium tissue and I'll clamp off the artery."
Doctor #2: "I've got it retracted, go ahead and-" <electricity goes off...zzzwoooooooomp, everything powers down>
Doctor #1 and Doctor #2 (together): "OH SHIT!!"
Patient: "Arrrrrgggggblurptphhhh...."
Nurse #1: "Hey, did you guys notice that it's really really hot in here?"


Blackened Chicken
There is a traditional Cambodian dish called "Blackened Chicken". It's delicious, and the chicken is in fact as black as coal. I mean jet black, through and through, bones and all. I don't know what they do to make it black, but it's reputed to ummm "give you the POWER" sort of like V.iagra. Supposedly a lot of Cambodian men eat it when they want to show their lady a good time. My fiance mentioned it when I saw it on the menu and asked about it, so I tried it. It does in fact appear to GIVE YOU THE POWER, and it tastes better than  V.iagra (or so I would imagine). I asked my fiance if she knew how to cook it and she said (and I quote) "all Cambodian lady know that recipe", lol.

The End Of Cambodian Culture As We Know It
I'm sorry to report that a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise has opened on one of the main streets in Phnom Penh. I damn near fell off the moto the first time I saw it. I feel this is truly the beginning of the total destruction of everything good about Cambodia, namely that it has (until now) been mostly unpolluted by American "culture" like fast food franchises and mass marketing. It won't be long before McDonalds is there, and Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wal-Mart, etc etc and then the whole country will be just another merchandising outlet for American crap. I'm not kidding about this, I'm very saddened to see this kind of shit happening. It was wonderful and refreshing to go somewhere and NOT see the Golden Arches, ads for Dominos Pizza, and all that kind of crap. And now it's coming to an end. Before long Cambodia won't be a foriegn country, it'll be just another f*cking suburb of Amerika, bought and paid for.

Cellphones And SIM Cards
In Cambodia you can buy ANY phone regardless of make or model, put your SIM card in it, and it'll work. No ifs, ands, or buts. You cannot do that in the USA or Canada. In the USA and Canada your phone *has* to match the carrier type network that you use, and it's easy to buy a phone that will not work with your cellphone company (and never will work, either). For example, the Nokia 6500 Slide phone cannot be made to work on the Sprint/Nextel network. It doesn't work, it will never work, and no amount of f*cking around with customer service ninnies at Sprint will change that. It's a very very cool phone, but if you're a Sprint/Nextel customer, you're screwed and cannot use it. (Ask me how I know.) But in Cambodia it will work with any company and with any network or carrier. Thank goodness the US and Canada are so much more advanced than those primitive Cambodians! We can put a man on the Moon but goddamn if we can transfer a frickin' cellphone from one carrier to another.

Return To Honest Weather
When I flew into Seattle it was 50 degrees and raining. And by god I f*cking LOVED it. I almost stripped off my clothes and rode on the roof all the way back home. It was sooooo refreshing, I almost cried. But then my buddy who picked me up turned on the car's heater and I fainted.

Pictures
A few assorted pics of the trip....

First of all, here is my lovely fiance blowing out the candles on her birthday cake at the Washington Restaraunt outside of Phnom Penh. Isn't she cute?  (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/3.gif) 
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/birthdaygirl1.jpg)

An here are her diamond earrings....whoah baby!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/earrings1.jpg)

Buying Ice
In the morning everyone buys ice from the roving ice vendors..they take it home and use it. A lot of people don't have refrigerators, so this is how they keep stuff cool.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buyingice1.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buyingice3.jpg)
They just cut off hunks and people carry them off with a bit of rope tied through the hole.

Buying Wood
A lot of people also don't have ovens so they buy charcoal wood to use in their stoves at home. The wood is delivered on a big cart and people pick out chunks to take away. There's often a bit of spirited argument over how much a particular bit of pre-burned wood is worth.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buyingwood.jpg)


Here we see a gang of uniformed criminals cops extorting money from people making them pay traffic fines for terrible offenses whatever excuse they can make up. The typical fine is 5000 Rials (about $1.25 US)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/criminals1.jpg)


Don't f*ck with the guards at the Central Market. Shoplifting may end up with you getting machine gun therapy. This guard has a full-auto AK-47 casually slung across his back. (Even though it looks like they're discussing something really important, they were actually just playing cards when I took this picture.)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/guards1.jpg.jpg)

Scary Manneqins
No trip would be complete without a bunch of scary mannequin pics, right?
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequin22.jpg)
Girl, what the &amp;^#$! are those THINGS on your head???

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequin23.jpg)
This is a WHITE person. Or a Vampire.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/scarymannequin24.jpg)
Dude, what the %#$! happened to your HAIR??


My fiance's sister, Reaksmey (pronounced "Reh-suh-may"), and mom at a restaraunt.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smey1.jpg)

Reaksmey and mom at home.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smey2.jpg)


"Swiss Watches"
I bet you didn't know that Cambodia is the Swiss Watch Capital of the world. This is in downtown Phnom Penh. I just thought this was funny (but it may have been the heat affecting my brain).
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/swisswatches.jpg)


Wrapping Phones
It's very common to wrap cellphones in plastic. It keeps them looking like new and protects them too. It takes about 30 minutes to 'wrap' the phone and it's a very exacting and tedious process. This lady was very skilled at doing it- after my phone was wrapped you could hardly tell anything had been done to it because it was done so neatly. It's pretty slick.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/wrappingphone1.jpg)

They use a special plastic wrap and lighters and razors to mold the plastic to the phone following all of the little grooves and contours. Here she is with a lighter heating the plastic before the molds it (by hand) around part of the phone.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/wrappingphone2.jpg)



There was a whole lot of other stuff that happened, but the heat basically cooked the memories right out of my brain so I can't write about them. Maybe I'll come back later and add some pictures or something to this entry. Maybe.

In closing, I'd just like to reiterate that it was really, really hot in Cambodia.

         
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Apr 28 08 01:16
Fascinating as usual TehBorken !!!!!!!!

  So....how was the weather ? (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on Apr 28 08 01:26
   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Apr 28 08 04:18
Had to come back for a second reading.  

  TehBorken....how much is 5000 rials ?  

    Yes.....some pictures would be nice.....and more story as well please.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Apr 28 08 05:29
Love your travel stories, TB.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 29 08 01:45
 P.C. wrote: TehBorken....how much is 5000 rials ?

5,000 rials is about US $1.25.

As for pics, I didn't take very many this time. I don't recall if I mentioned it, but it was really really hot there and the camera would almost burn my hands when I pulled it out of its fireproof storage bag.  

I'll see if I can add a bit to the story. I'm just so beat right now I can barely tell the difference between up and down. And of course I woke up bright and early at 0200, wide awake and ready for the day.  (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/4.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Apr 29 08 05:00
Good story, Sir TB. I honestly say - I missed your pictures.

  How hot was it again? I don't believe it was hot enough for you. GO BACK! (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)

  I remember back in M'sia when it was so hot and humid, we couldn't do anything at all. The heat just saps you. We just laid on the couch and vegetate or escape to the mall.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 29 08 07:55
Okay, I added some pics...........now I'm going to take a nap or two.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Apr 29 08 03:39
Bless for the lovely pics! (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/1.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: van_guy on May 01 08 05:50
So was the weather warm?

Glad to hear there are other countires that have uniformed extortion atitsts.

I had to kick down the house of the chief of police a couple of weeks ago - because he was miniing illegally on our property.  Luckily i had a group of extortion artists with better uniforms on my side - the guys in the better uniforms have since screwed me - but alas that's another story.

I'm looking forward to july and august in vietnam - what do you think TB will it be warm or no??
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 01 08 07:16
 van_guy wrote:
So was the weather warm?

A little. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)


Glad to hear there are other countires that have uniformed extortion atitsts.

Yes, it was a great relief to me too. I was worried there for a moment, but not anymore.

I'm looking forward to july and august in vietnam - what do you think TB will it be warm or no??
 
 Oh no, I'm sure it'll be fine. <snicker> You might even want to bring a coat. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)
(Actually July and August probably won't be too bad, but, yeah, it'll be warm. Trust me...it's Southeast Asia...it's always warm.)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: van_guy on May 02 08 05:21
Oh no, I'm sure it'll be fine. <snicker> You might even want to bring a coat. (Actually July and August probably won't be too bad, but, yeah, it'll be warm. Trust me...it's Southeast Asia...it's always warm.)

I was here in January and it was freakin' cold ... +3 degrees C to +5.  Waterbuffalo were freezing to death.  We couldn't get coal to keep warm - it was very unpleasant.  no heaters in the house  - not many windows either

Now it's quite pleasant,

 
Title: The Final Frontier
Post by: TehBorken on May 29 08 06:03
  Trip #10: The Final Frontier

This was the Big One- the trip that we'd been working toward for a year and a half, and I'm happy to say that it all went according to plan. In fact, everything went so smoothly that I can hardly believe it myself....

Getting There Was Half The Fun
I flew the usual Seattle/Taipei/Phnom Penh route on EVA Air, leaving at the ungodly rude hour of 2:00am. I had company on this trip, however, as my friend Jack came along with me. A couple months earlier I had introduced Jack to one of my fiance's girlfriends and they hit it off really well. So well in fact that Jack decided to fly to Cambodia and get engaged. :) Hey, life is short, right? I admire Jack for making his decision- like me, he's not the kind of guy to dither around endlessly deciding what to do, how to do it, when to do it, etc etc. He sees an opportunity, makes a "go/no go" decision and proceeds accordingly. His fiance is a genuinely sweet young lady, and when I say "young" I mean about half his age. Errrr, almost half his age, that is. Also half his height and weight. More on his enagement adventure later. :)


I should mention that this was a 'back-to-back' trip for me, as I had just been to Cambodia a few weeks earlier. I returned sooner than normal because my fiance, Sakha, was *finally* having her visa interview and I wanted to be there for it. (I was going to be there for it no matter what, even if I had to swim to Cambodia.)

We're Baaaaaaaaaaaaack!
Jack and I got in to Phnom Penh just before noon on the 18th and both of our fiances were waiting outside the baggage claim area, verrrrrrrrry happy to see us. Both Jack and I were pretty hammered from the long trip, so we grabbed our fiances and went to the New York Hotel in separate tuk-tuks.

My fiance's interview was scheduled to take place in two days, on the 20th at 7:00am, and we spent the next couple of days putting the final touches on the paperwork. Immigration paperwork is monstrous, complex, and involves a LOT of different documents:  police reports, tax records, schooling records, personal history, passports, pictures, medical exams, affidavits of support, etc etc etc.

A Few Fun Pics
Before anything else, here are a few pics of things that we saw along the way....

Transporting Explosive Gas
Here's a guy transporting a load of Liquid Propane gas. Looks safe, doesn't it? What could possibly go wrong? Notice the fancy safety straps made from only the highest quality bungee cords.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/transportinglpg1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/transportinglpg1.jpg)

Transporting Gasoline The Easy Way
Again, what could go wrong? Yeah, this fellow is transporting about 20 gallons of gasoline in plastic jugs. He's basically sandwiched between giant bottles of flammable liquid. Wooo!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/transportgas01.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/transportgas01.jpg)

(http:///cambodia/transportgas02.jpg) (http:///cambodia/transportgas02.jpg)
I admit, I always wondered what would happen if the Propane Gas guy and the Liquid Gas guy collided...just one spark and I bet you'd be able to see the fireball from 100 miles away.


You Know You Want It - Scary Mannequins!
What trip would be complete without an installment of Scary Mannequins? Here you go...try not to look directly at them.

Is this Sinead O'Connor??
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequi20.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequi20.jpg)
"Calling the Zombie Squad, cleanup on aisle 2..."


Ummm, wait a second....the last time this one was a BOY...and now he's wearing a dress? Hello gender confusion....
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin21.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin21.jpg)

OMFG!!!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin22.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin22.jpg)


A matched pair of what I like to call "screamers"
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin23.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin23.jpg)


This is what we call "Chocolate Hair" Disease
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin24.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/smannequin24.jpg)


On The Job
Electrical workers in Phnom Penh have really, really big balls.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/electricalworker.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/electricalworker.jpg)
Life Expectancy: 2 to 4 minutes.


For Whee Drive? ???
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/forwheedrive.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/forwheedrive.jpg)
I have no idea how this happened, what it means, or anything else.


Walky Shoes
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/walkyshoes.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/walkyshoes.jpg)
Lets go walkies! I don't know why this was funny, it may have been exhaustion. *cough*
 


Okay, enough fooling around....let's get to the real deal...........the interview story!


First Of All, The Paperwork From Hell
All the paperwork for immigration has to be perfect, 100% complete, and it has to be presented in the right order or it's an automatic "fail". Yes, they even specify the order that the papers have to be in when you hand them in at the interview. The passport has to be on top, followed by two color passport-style photos, followed by a DS-156 form, then a DS-156K Supplemental Form, then a current police report no less than 90 days old, then the sealed medical report, and so on.

The passport-style photos have to meet some very exacting specifications- for example, the
eye height has to be between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches (28 mm and 35 mm) from bottom of photo. The distance from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head has to be between 25 and 35 millimeters in height. The background has to be a neutral grey or off-white color. The picture has to have a matte finish, not glossy. No smiling is permitted- if you turn in a pic with a smile it's rejected and so is all of the other paperwork. I'm not making this up. There are a bunch of other requirements too, so if you think you can just be-bop into Rite-Aid and get this kind of picture from them for $1.99, you're mistaken.

Anyway, we also got a current Cambodian police report for Sakha that went all the way back to 1981. Now, she was only 2 years old in 1981 (!!) so I'm not sure just what sort of criminal enterprise she could have been involved in as a toddler, but they dutifully noted that she had "no criminal offenses listed" from age 3 up to the present. We amended the rest of the stuff, including "evidence of the relationship".

Regarding "evidence of the relationship", let me just say, "Oh. My. God." We had more friggen evidence than we could carry, I mean just tons of stuff collected over the past 18 months. Thousands of papers, receipts, pictures, chat logs, calls, hotel bills, plane tickets, etc etc etc. Plus ten, count 'em, ten trips to Cambodia. It would have been twice as much work to fake all of this stuff than it was to just fly back and forth to Cambodia ten times and spend time with my fiance. :)

We had created a small packet for each trip for Sakha to carry in along with the official paperwork. It had the plane tickets for that trip, hotel bills, and other receipts specific to that trip. Since I wasn’t allowed in to the interview the plan was for me to wait outside with all the other additional stuff we had (about 50 pounds of paper, no lie). I also gave Sakha my passport to take in to show the Visa Officer that I'd been to Cambodia a bazillion times. The passport carried a lot of weight, as it turned out. After perusing my passport the Visa Officer noted that I'd basically been ‘living on the plane’, lol.


The Interview - It's Showtime!
The people waiting to be interviewed sit outside the embassy near one of the 'sally ports', which is basically an armored entrance with guards and a mantrap-style entrance complete with metal detectors and x-ray machines. The doors are about 8 inches thick and built to withstand a serious assault (which is probably a damn good idea for any US Embassy in southeast Asia, considering our track record there...).

We were the first people in line, having gotten there at 6:00am. At 7:00 they let Sakha in through the sally port and I went to wait across the street.

The Visa Officer sent Sakha out to me for additional paperwork twice. She wanted to see a few additional items like my 2007 tax return. I had all my tax returns from 2000 to 2006, but 2007 is still in process so I didn't have it. Doh. I asked Sakha to tell the Visa Officer that my taxes were still being done and that 2006 was the latest we had. I mean, hell, I hand carried nearly 10 years of tax returns from the US to Cambodia, and they wanted the one friggen' year I didn't have? Shit! So yeah, I started worrying...

After about an hour in the embassy, Sakha came back out through the sally port with a huge and I do mean huge smile on her face. She nailed it and had passed the interview. Eighteen months of preparation, 100,000 air miles and 90 katrillion dollars spent on plane tickets had paid off. :)

According to Sakha, the interview was practically a non-event- the Visa Officer asked Sakha just 3 questions, which she answered perfectly. The questions were:

1) "How did you meet your fiance?"
This was an easy one to answer, we met through a friend and we had some docs to support that.

2) "Why do you love an old(er) man?"
Ouch. I'm 24 years older than Sakha. She says the interviewer said "old man" but I think she actually said "older man". At least my fragile male ego hopes so. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)
Sakha answered this very simply; I'll put her response here more or less verbatim. She said, "Young man no care about my heart, no care about love, just want to play, have 2nd wife, no good to my heart. No love me for real. Older man, he love my heart, take care of me, really love me, no want to play or hurt my heart."

I asked Sakha how the interviewer liked that answer and the conversation went something like this:

Fiance: "She said I am a lady and must leave."
Me: "What?"
Fiance: "I saw her thumb. I am the leaving lady."
Me: (confused) "What?"
Fiance: "She show me her thumb, she said I am a girl!"
Me: (really confused) "I don't understand..."
Fiance: (exasperated with my denseness) "Her thumb! I am a going girl, she said it!"
Me: (head explodes) "What the ?!?!"
Fiance: "Yes, that I am to go as a girl. With her thumb, she make a thumb to me!"
Me: (writhing on ground) "What the...Oh god, I give up!!!"

After a little more head exploding and writhing and whatnot, I finally determined what happened. Sakha gave her answer, and the interviewer gave her the "thumbs up" and said "You go, Girl!"


3) The third question was whether or not Sakha had children. She said "No", but that we will probably have a child once she's in the USA and we're married.

The interviewer said "Okay", and that was it- she had successfully passed. The end result of the interview was then given to Sakha: it's a "visa voucher", a small blue square of cardboard with a case number and a date printed on it:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/visavoucher.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/visavoucher.jpg)
That's it- the result of 18 months of hard work!

The number referenced her particular immigration record and the date was when we were to come back and pick up the actual visa itself. My fiance did her interview on the 20th and was told to come back on the 23rd to get the visa.

This worked out perfectly, becaue my friend Jack (remember him?) was supposed to get engaged on the 22nd in a little place called Kompong Cham. So we could zoom up to Kompong Cham, watch the engagement, zoom back, and pick up the visa the next day. As soon as we had the visa in hand we could get plane tickets.


Jack Gets Engaged, Orange Pants Visible From Low Earth Orbit
So, Thursday the 22nd we went to Kompong Cham, but "zoom" is not the word I'd use to describe getting there or back. We went by bus and at a *cough* leisurely pace. Now, I don't want to say that Kompong Cham is out in the boonies, because it's not. It's nowhere NEAR the boonies. I mean you'd have to backtrack quite a ways to get to the boonies. Lets just say that Kompong Cham is so far out that they have to truck the sunlight in. You can hardly get there from here, you almost have to go around. And by "around", I mean around the world and sneak up on it from behind. It's waaaaaay out there.

So we get there and watch my friend Jack put on a succession of ceremonial costumes, including the famous Orange Pants. These are the "King Of Cambodia" pants, and they're a really, really bright orange color. Think "Search And Rescue Orange". They also look funny- they're these baggy pantaloon kind of things that are absolutely hilarious as long as someone else is wearing them. If you're wearing them, well, it's not nearly as funny. It's embarassing. Navy jets will use your pants to line up their vectors for a carrier landing, that's how friggin' bright they are.

I would post pics of Jack in the Orange Pants but he threatened to kill me if I did (actually it was more of a promise than a threat). They really are pretty embarassing. I know this for a fact because I wore the same Orange Pants costume during my engagement, and I threatened to kill anyone who published pics of me in them. So, I can't post them here (but if you write me privately and offer me money, I might send you copies. Damn, I hope Jack doesn't read this.).

I will however post a pic or two of them from the ceremony. Jack's fiance (I'll call her "Pam") is waaaaaaaay to cute for him, the lucky bastard. And the best part is that Pam is really, really nice, too. I don't know, maybe Jack was very very good in a past life or something and this is his reward.

"She used to do the pony, she used to do the stroll...I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll!"
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/engagement23.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/engagement23.jpg)
Isn't she lovely? (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/3.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/3.gif)


The happy couple..........
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/engagement22.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/engagement22.jpg)


Skulls...Lots And Lots Of Skulls (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/10.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/10.gif)
On the way back frm Kompong Cham we stopped off at some sort of park. It had a small building that was a shrine to honor the people who were murdered by Pol Pot's regime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot).
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/skullmemorial.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/skullmemorial.jpg)

Insde the shrine building was a large "bowl", about 8 or 9 feet across...and inside the bowl was a mound of skulls, victims of Pol Pot's insane attempt to "cleanse" the country. Each one of those skulls belonged to a living, breathng person who was rounded up and executed simply because they had some knowledge.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bowlofskulls.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/bowlofskulls.jpg)

If you knew anything, you were marked for death
. For example, if you were a doctor, lawyer, plumber, electrician, librarian, or office worker, you were deemed incompatible with the "new society" that Pol Pot was trying to build, and you were executed. If you wore glasses, you were killed. If you could read, you were killed. If you spoke ANY foreign language, you were killed. Anyone with any knowledge above the level of a farmer was put to death.

By the time Pol Pot was forced to flee Cambodia there were only 40 doctors left alive in the entire country. (And they were in hiding, which was the only reason they survived.) Anyone who had knowledge was killed, period. Sakha's parents were put in one of Pol Pots death camps, but they managed to escape. That's another story, but the fact is they barely made it out alive and that's no exaggeration. Everyone her parents knew ended up being put to death or dying from malnutrition in the death camps. What Pol Pot did is one of the worst examples of a leader gone insane while the rest of the world just sat by and watched the horror unfold.


---------------------------

The 23rd we went back to the embassy at 3:00 and got the visa. They also gave us a sealed packet of papers that were to be hand-carried and given to the receiving immigration officer in Seattle. On the 24th we went to EVA Air and booked the first available set of seats back to the US. The first available seats were on May 25th, which also happened to be the same flight that Jack was going back to the US on.


Dude, Where's My Dress?
We also went to pick up Sakha's wedding dress, which was finally ready. Wow, what a dream dress. It's made from this beautiful electric blue silk with an intricate pattern printed through it and the top part (the blouse) has this amazing silk lace material over it with little beads and things woven into it. It's truly stunning, and it was all hand-cut and hand-sewn. It took almost a month for them to do it and the dress is just incredible. This is the dress shop early in the morning before anyone arrives for work:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreesshop1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/dreesshop1.jpg)

When we got back to the hotel we realized they'd actually given us someone else's dress, a red dress that was nice, but it wasn't ours. Time was getting really short so we turned around and blasted back to the sewing shop. We asked for *our* dress and we all had a good nervous laugh over the idea of flying back to Seattle with the wrong wedding dress in our luggage. Ha ha! Too funny. Waaaaaaaay too &amp;#%^*! funny. We could imagine the owner of the red dress pulling it out on her wedding day and going "WHAT THE ****!".


Tearful Goodbyes
Sakha's entire family had gathered at the airport to say goodbye. The only person missing was her father, who had passed away very suddenly a couple of months ago. I didn't mention that in the last trip log because it was just too sad to write about. He had a stroke, passed away very suddenly, and was buried in Vietnam. "Sambat" was truly a great man and a wonderful father. He was loved by everyone who knew him, and we miss him every day. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/10.gif) (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/10.gif)

As we got ready to go into the terminal Sakha's sisters started crying- I think it finally hit home that she was actually leaving and wouldn't be back for a long time, possibly several years. After a year and a half of getting ready, the actual leaving only took seconds...and I think it was kind of a shock to them. But it was time to go....

This was Sakha's first plane trip ever and she got a real kick out of it. The initial flight from Phnom Penh to Taipei was only 4 hours, so it was fun and new and didn't drag on forever (like the flight from Taipei to Seattle did, lol).



Let's Have Us A Plane Crash, Woo Hoo!
To make a long story short, we flew back uneventfully, passing through Taipei and then on to Seattle. Actually there is one thing worth mentioning- on our final approach to Seattle we got lower and lower and lower, and then about 30 feet from touchdown the pilot suddenly rammed the throttles to max and we shot back up into the sky like a rocket. I gotta tell you- when you max out the engines on a Boeing 777, that f*cking plane MOVES like a demon. It's really peppy, with 220,000 pounds of thrust from a pair of General Electric GE90-115B turbofans cranking at full power. It felt like we were climbing straight up. The pilot came on a few minutes later and said that due to a "mis-vectoring", a Mexican Airlines plane was in the "wrong position" relative to us and so we had to do a go-around. Ooopsie.

In other words, we almost landed on top of another f*cking jumbo jet because some dumb ass put them on our runway too early. I can imagine the enormous goddamn fireball that would have resulted from that little boo-boo. That would have been a pretty f*cked up ending to an otherwise perfect trip. Oy.

The Last Obstacle: US Customs &amp; Immigration
When we finally landed in Seattle we went to the Visitor Immigration section and handed in our sealed packet. Fifteen minutes later we were cleared through and went to Customs. The Customs officer just waived us through. That was a big surprise; I figured they'd tear our stuff apart for sure since it was Sakha's first visit. I had even cleverly "declared" Sakha by listing her on the customs declaration form as "28 year old Fiance" with a street value of $1,000,000 (one million dollars). But no, they just waived us through. Damn. Another good opportunity to mess with a Customs Officer's head wasted.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/customsdec1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/customsdec1.jpg)
Notice how I cleverly hid her real value by putting it in the middle of a bunch of lower-priced stuff? And it worked- I didn't have to pay any Customs or Import fees on my fiance!



The Finish Line
My friend Chris had driven my truck down to meet us at the airport. We loaded up our luggage, drove up I5 and dropped off Jack, then backtracked a bit and dropped off Chris and headed for home. We made it to our place at about 9:00pm, and I walked Sakha in the front door of our place for the first time. We were finally home!

We had done it. We had successfully fought our way through the State Department, the California Immigration Service Center, the National Visa Center in Vermont, the Department of Homeland Security investigators, the Phnom Penh Police Department and Cambodian Records Center, the Cambodian Emmigration Authority, the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh, US Immigration Services, and finally the US Customs &amp; Border Protection.

Are we done? Not quite. Once we're married we'll need to file for an "Adjustment Of Status" so Sakha can become a permanent resident, but basically the hard part is over and we're finally  together at last in the same time zone, hemisphere, and country. :)



I hope you all have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing (and experiencing) it.

Last but not least, Sakha and I would like to send out a big "thank you" to all of the folks who supported us in various ways throughout this one-and-a-half year long journey. We couldn't have done it without you!

Waylon & Sakha




         
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on May 29 08 06:10
Congratulations and Welcome Home!  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on May 29 08 06:33
OMG.....sniff sniff....slobber....honk.  More tissues please.

  TB....this is just so incredibly wonderful.  What a ride !!!!!!!!!  I have enjoyed every word, of every story, of this amazing journey.

A million thank-yous for sharing it with us.  

  *one teeny detail.  I can't stand the suspense......what did Sakha think of your world ?    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on May 29 08 06:36
I just LOVE this......

  Sakha answered this very simply; I'll put her response here more or less verbatim. She said, "Young man no care about my heart, no care about love, just want to play, have 2nd wife, no good to my heart. No love me for real. Older man, he love my heart, take care of me, really love me, no want to play or hurt my heart." 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on May 29 08 08:34
awwwwwwwwwwww.... I feel all mushy inside...

I'm soooooooo happy for you both.  You two came a long way.  :)

  I hope that you will share with us pics of your wedding.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: syrdahlia on May 29 08 09:27
P.C. wrote:
 I just LOVE this......

  Sakha answered this very simply; I'll put her response here more or less verbatim. She said, "Young man no care about my heart, no care about love, just want to play, have 2nd wife, no good to my heart. No love me for real. Older man, he love my heart, take care of me, really love me, no want to play or hurt my heart."

     
Me too... This is just the sweetest, most heart warming story.  I love it!  Congrats, TB, ya did good and you sure worked hard enough for it.  I'm so happy for you!  I hope you will still update us periodically. I'd love to hear Sakha's reaction to U.S. culture.  And please send / post lots of pics!  BTW you did say you'd post some pics of Jack's engagement - can you post them for us? (And send me the orange pants one via email - I won't tell anyone!) 

Love,

Susan in SyracuseXOXOXOXOXO to TB and Sakha ! (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Love/25.gif)

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Michel on May 29 08 09:27
     
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on May 29 08 10:48
Syrdahlia....I don't know you too well....(ok...not at all)....but in no way will stand in the way of me offering you large sums of money should you come into possession of a picture of TehBorken in his orange pants. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on May 29 08 12:16
Congrats!  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 30 08 02:31
P.C. wrote:  TB....this is just so incredibly wonderful.  What a ride !!!!!!!!!  I have enjoyed every word, of every story, of this amazing journey. A million thank-yous for sharing it with us.

It was my pleasure, and that's the truth. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)



*one teeny detail.  I can't stand the suspense......what did Sakha think of your world ?

Well, so far she seems to like it a lot. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)  She says it's "too quiet", lol, but I imagine she'll get used to that. Cambodia is a bit noisy, day in and day out. Lots of traffic, street noise, voices, etc etc.
 

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 30 08 02:34
 purelife wrote:
awwwwwwwwwwww.... I feel all mushy inside... I'm soooooooo happy for you both.  You two came a long way.  :)

Thanks. It was a long way, lol, and we'll have the whole experience to look back on. No more Skype, no tearful goodbyes at the airport, no counting days until the next trip...can't say as we'll miss any of that! (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)

 


I hope that you will share with us pics of your wedding.

I'll post something here when it happens. It'll likely be a pretty small affair (but there'll be a big party afterwards!)
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 30 08 02:37
 syrdahlia wrote:  I hope you will still update us periodically. I'd love to hear Sakha's reaction to U.S. culture.

Well, we'll see how it goes. Maybe there will be a continuing saga, lol.



And please send / post lots of pics!  BTW you did say you'd post some pics of Jack's engagement - can you post them for us?

Done. I posted a couple of pictures- one of just her and one of the two of them.


(And send me the orange pants one via email - I won't tell anyone!) 

 
Lol, yes you will. :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on May 30 08 04:47
Wow!!! Congrats TB and Sakha. Now you guys can get busy making little ones in the near future. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/2.gif)    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: YourMixedUpFriend on May 31 08 12:59
Awesome, simply AWESOME!!!!

  Looking forward to wedding pictures!  
Title: Re: The Final Frontier
Post by: van_guy on Jun 01 08 07:01
TB, congratulations - gad zooks - I'm a little curious about you lovely wife to be's reaction to traffic (without EVERYONE HONKING!!!!!) or to a quiet suburban street - or having a guy in uniform that doesn't accept bribes, and lack of litter all over the streets etc... US must be as shocking to her as Asia is to us.  Best wishes to you both.
VG



       
 
Title: Re: The Final Frontier
Post by: van_guy on Jun 01 08 07:07
TB,
I forgot to mention - i was crossing the bridge into Hanoi from the airport (the one that US bombed EVERY day and the Vietnamese rebuilt every night) anyway I saw the CRAZIEST thing.  It was a moped with about a 5 ton truck load of syrofoam netted to the back - my Vietnamese driver was shocked!!!  It looked like an ant carrying a huge leaf.  Unfortunately he was going the opposite way and i didn't have time to go for my camera.
VG



       
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: 49er on Jun 01 08 09:54
Congratulations TB!

  saw this film on Cambodia/American family on PBS television last evenning, thought I share......

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/newyearbaby/index.html (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/newyearbaby/index.html)
Title: Re: The Final Frontier
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 03 08 03:31
 van_guy wrote:
TB, congratulations - gad zooks -

Thanks VG!


I'm a little curious about you lovely wife to be's reaction to traffic (without EVERYONE HONKING!!!!!) or to a quiet suburban street -


She's mentioned that it's "too quiet" here, lol, but I think she'll get used to it. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)  She hasn't really commented on traffic much. I have been taking her out to a nearby parking lot in the mornings and letting her drive the Jeep around a little bit to get a feel for it. We'll get her a Learner's Permit soon and start teaching her to drive.


or having a guy in uniform that doesn't accept bribes, and lack of litter all over the streets etc... US must be as shocking to her as Asia is to us.

Fortunately we haven't had to deal with any police yet so I don't know how that will go. She's impressed with the greenery here (all the trees and bushes and stuff) and she's asked me why we grow so many pine trees in Washington, lol.

Some of the malls have been eye-openers, mainly because they're so damn big. And we went downtown yesterday to meet up with our attorney and get some paperwork started. We also went to the King County Courthouse and got our marriage license, so we're cleared for takeoff so to speak. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)

She's been a little surprised at how rude some American women are- an awful lot of them really are quite snobby and, well, RUDE. The clerks in the stores, for example, are often quite short with her and sometimes downright jerky. Sakha says they would never be like that in Cambodia or they'd be let go. The worst part is that it's true- I've noticed how many of the store employees here will barely give us the time of day, let alone actually help us with anything.

So yeah, there's been some adjusting to stuff. We did find a couple of Asian food stores (Ranch 99 and Pacific Fresh Seafood) that carry a lot of the stuff she's used to, various kinds of veggies and condiments and other foods, so she's all set for being able to cook the kind of things she likes.


Best wishes to you both.

Thank You!

       
 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jun 03 08 04:55
I hope she won't feel too homesick. It was really tough being away from family for the first two years for me.

  Do come to Vancouver some time because we do have a strong Vietnamese community here and the Vietnamese food here is soooo good.

  Anyways, looking forward to hearing wee little feet in the future.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 03 08 09:40
 Trees. lol Reminds me of the first time I came to WA and then BC.    
Title: Re: The Final Frontier
Post by: van_guy on Jun 10 08 10:30
She's mentioned that it's "too quiet" here, lol, but I think she'll get used to it.
 
 Probably much like you would say "it's too noisy" in Cambodia ??

Fortunately we haven't had to deal with any police yet so I don't know how that will go. She's impressed with the greenery here (all the trees and bushes and stuff) and she's asked me why we grow so many pine trees in Washington, lol.

Why do you grow so many pine trees? - we will sell you all hte softwood you need at reasonable prices lo

Some of the malls have been eye-openers, mainly because they're so damn big. And we went downtown yesterday to meet up with our attorney and get some paperwork started. We also went to the King County Courthouse and got our marriage license, so we're cleared for takeoff so to speak[/span]. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/14.gif)
 
So when is the big day?
 LM and I went to Vegas - it was fast efficient and romantic  ... we got out of the car and everything ..

She's been a little surprised at how rude some American women are- an awful lot of them really are quite snobby and, well, RUDE. The clerks in the stores, for example, are often quite short with her and sometimes downright jerky. Sakha says they would never be like that in Cambodia or they'd be let go. The worst part is that it's true- I've noticed how many of the store employees here will barely give us the time of day, let alone actually help us with anything.
 
 Well that's unfortunate. I don't mean to be a master of the obvious - but some women are just down right catty to any woman they percieve as being prettier - slimmer - sexier ....  I'm hoping (in a weird way) that what this is.  Do you think it's a race thing?  I can honestly say that LM and I have never had anything untoward happen when we are together.

So yeah, there's been some adjusting to stuff. We did find a couple of Asian food stores (Ranch 99 and Pacific Fresh Seafood) that carry a lot of the stuff she's used to, various kinds of veggies and condiments and other foods, so she's all set for being able to cook the kind of things she likes.
 
 Not sure about your neck of the woods - but we can find almost anything in Vancouver that you can get in SE asia. Roghly 1/3 of the population of Vancouver is Asian - so there are stores that cater to most  any asian ethnicity.  Haven't specifically looked for Cambodian foods - but there are neighborhhods where you can't throw a rock without hitting at least one pho restraunt.
Title: Re: The Final Frontier
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 10 08 02:58
Americans generally don't like foreigners because they don't know how to react. Then you've got to understand some people, they've got a small world view, and when somebody serving them food can't speak very good English they'll get mad and don't understand why you don't speak English. No patience.

Then when you've become accustomed here as an immigrant, 20 years from now you'll complain about the foreigners / immigrants etc. Its a cycle. Oma talks about the Puerto Ricans in how they are everywhere and then uses media examples of Puerto Ricans in the Sarasota area killing elderly ladies. Now you've got a stereotype, Puerto Ricans are bad, they kill people and anti-immigrant sentiment rising. Then 60 years ago people complained about her because she didn't know any English and people were Suspecious Cat on her because she just sounded different, cooked funny food, spoke a language of the enemy.


You guys went to Vegas? lol Elvis wasn't the pastor was he?


 
 
 
 
Title: Re: The Final Frontier
Post by: van_guy on Jun 11 08 02:14
 Sportsdude wrote:
Americans generally don't like foreigners because they don't know how to react.
.
well there are parts of canada that are very much like the america you speak of - fortunately vancouver is better than most places i've been

Now you've got a stereotype, Puerto Ricans are bad, they kill people and anti-immigrant sentiment rising.

part of that is the media's fear mongering.  they have to sell news papers somehow.

You guys went to Vegas? lol Elvis wasn't the pastor was he?

yeah we eloped  (I highly recomend it btw) - everybody knows elvis has left the building ...


 
 
 
 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 11 08 04:23
haha eloping. Sweet.
Yeah seriously I don't 'get' weddings. Waste of money for what's basically a show. The bigger the wedding = the bride and groom have some sort of ego, and or one is a hot head who wants everything translation : they get a divorce within 5 years. lol

I've been to 15 weddings. None of the couples who had the 'big one' lasted 5 years.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 11 08 07:20
I love weddings.  But I agree some people get a little carried away.  If people invested as much thought, time, planning etc into the marriage as they do the wedding, there would probably be far less divorce.  

  We got married in our yard. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 11 08 07:29
I always liked the back yard idea or even cheaper, go to the government building, get married and then have a party at somebody's house. simple.    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: van_guy on Jun 11 08 07:46
I've been to 15 weddings. None of the couples who had the 'big one' lasted 5 years.

Well SD that bodes well for us - we had LM, me, minister and the photographer.  It doesn't get too much smaller than that.  We've lasted just over ten years now.
 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 11 08 07:53
 From a message board, you guys have a very sound (strong) relationship wise. :)

I don't know I just caught on the whole smaller weddings the couple has humility, bigger weddings the couple is looking for some kind of approval seeking. Caught on to this when I was 10. Ever since then I've judged couples by pre wedding party's and how the wedding day went. So far the people I thought would stay together are still together, the ones I thought wouldn't last, aren't married anymore.

For example, a friend of the family had a wedding a couple weeks ago. They just had a baby, it's been stressful on them, the father isn't acting like a father (still wants to be a 30 something) and in her words "he's not my favourite person right now" and yet they got married. She wasn't happy the whole time, and you could feel this tension in the air like it's some sort of shotgun wedding. I don't see that going anywhere.

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Jun 11 08 08:00
I was once married and it was a quick wedding.  Me, the Groom, the Commissioner and his wife (aka the "witness").  No ring.  Pics were kindly taken by the Commissioner and sent to us free of charge.  Oh, and no dress.    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: van_guy on Jun 11 08 08:12
 purelife wrote:
I was once married and it was a quick wedding.  Me, the Groom, the Commissioner and his wife (aka the "witness").  No ring.  Pics were kindly taken by the Commissioner and sent to us free of charge.  Oh, and no dress.    

a nudist affair or pants??
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jun 11 08 08:29
Wow!! That was a quickie wedding!!! If I had done that, my parents will NEVER forgive me.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 12 08 02:41
 P.C. wrote:
I love weddings.  But I agree some people get a little carried away.  If people invested as much thought, time, planning etc into the marriage as they do the wedding, there would probably be far less divorce.

Agree 100%.

We got married in our yard.  :)

 We'll be getting married here at home, maybe in the yard or possibly at a small park nearby depending on the weather. We're only going to have about 5 or 6 close friends and the judge, and that's it. We hope to have a little party in July to celebrate where we'll invite some more friends, but that'll just be for fun.

Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Jun 12 08 07:27
I would LOVE to have a small wedding.. both myself and the Starfishie would be happier.

  My parents eloped.. and Starfishies parents had only like 20 at theirs.

  Both of our families decided they want a wedding. The list for us is something like 180 right now.

I floated the idea of KFC (as a joke.. i swear I swear!) and I thought the future father in law was going to kill me.

  If we tried the eloping thing both of our families would pretty near disown us.    
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 12 08 07:34
KFC is pretty classy, as long as you get the KFC packaged finger wipes.  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 12 08 09:20
....and you could put Bic Mac coupons in these lovely holders.  They won't care if they can't figure out where to sit.

  (http://www.hotref.com/category/22/silver-plated-heart-design-place-card-holders_2237_r.jpg)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 12 08 03:30
My friends recently went to a wedding- indoors, in a rented hall.  It could've been Ricky's wedding on the Trailer Park Boys.  Bride and groom (and most of the guests) were dressed in a curious assortment of dirty work clothes, bathing suits, sweat pants.  It was BYOB and my friends feared for the safety of their extra beer- left it locked in the car.
 
 Mr and Mrs Friend were overdressed for the occasion.  He wore jeans with a clean t-shirt.  She wore a $20 sundress from the StupidStore.
 
 
   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jun 12 08 07:45
Ye gods, Russ!!! 180!!! Wow. Talk about taking out a small fortune to feed them.(http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Shocked/5.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 12 08 08:20
Maybe a GIANT hot pot ?   You could make it BYOB.....bring your own Bok Choy.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lise on Jun 12 08 08:22
LOL. Why not? Disposable chopsticks for party favors? (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/21.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 12 08 08:28
or Bring Your Own Beef.
 
   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: purelife on Jun 13 08 08:02
Or Bring Your Own Bed/Bin for your own Booze.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Jun 13 08 08:04
Bring Your Own Bulgogi Beef!  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jun 13 08 08:20
....and don't forget......BAG.  

  Bring A Gift. (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Sportsdude on Jun 13 08 10:27
lots a names I can think of for BYOB. lol

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: MixedUpFriend on Aug 08 08 10:48
Well, it's me, checking up on you.....finally got AOL to sign me in again, so I could find this bookmarked thread to see how things are going.

  The summer is almost over....yep, we're into August -- and I was hoping to come here to find that all went well and some PICTURES!!!

  Best wishes to the two of you!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: mischa.porter on Jun 02 09 05:39
  I love Cambodia! If given the chance I'd like to visit the Ankor Wat! has anyone been in this place? Care to share your travel experience with me?

   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Jun 05 09 03:44
 mischa.porter wrote:
 I love Cambodia! If given the chance I'd like to visit the Ankor Wat! has anyone been in this place? Care to share your travel experience with me?

I'm sorry to say I never made it to Angkor Wat. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Sad/11.gif)  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: van_guy on Jun 06 09 03:59
mischa.porter wrote:
  I love Cambodia! If given the chance I'd like to visit the Ankor Wat! has anyone been in this place? Care to share your travel experience with me?

Nope - spent most of a year in Vietnam but never made it to Ankor Wat. I was hoping to go this summer with LM and the LM-ettes.  

Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Orik on Jun 23 10 08:45
Van_guy You have not posted in like forever man.. Did you get lost in the back woods somewhere ? Is the Misses keeping you tied up? How about a update on where in the planet you are now. I know you are active and reading the forums but you just do not seem to be posting as Van_guy anymore...


 
Title: Trip Number 11 - Fun and Games
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 04 10 01:27
We went to the "Beefsteak" place last night. ('Beefsteak' is a relative term, as it turns out.) About 2 minutes after we sat down we heard this *tremendous* ROARING noise, like a giant freight train- the whole building shook and the noise didn't stop. At the same time all the people outside started screaming and yelling and they all jumped up, turning over tables and scrambling and yelling trying to get inside (where we were). I thought a friggin bomb had gone off or something....but nooooo, it was just rain.

The rain turned on like it was on a switch, and it rained so hard that you literally couldn't talk, it was so loud it drowned out everything. It was just this intense roaring, hissing, hammering noise that flicked on- *boom* -and in 15 seconds the streets were 3 inches deep in water. After one minute they were about 6 inches deep. After ten minutes there was 1 to 2 feet of water in the streets. We took a tuk-tuk home and I swear to god- it was *exactly* like a boat ride. I'm not kidding, you'd have thought you were on a river boat; the water was almost up to the floor of the tuk-tuk. PhnomPenh really needs a sewer system.

Then my son called here at ~1am on skype. I forgot to mute the sound (doh) and so we all woke up to the doodle-doodle-doodle skype calling noise. As soon as I saw it was my son I thought Oh shit, major emergency because I told him not to call me unless he "was bleeding or the house was on fire"....but no, he said he twisted his neck and it hurt and he wanted to know where the aspirin was. I can't wait till he joins the Marines. ;)

What else...I succumbed to the allure of The Buy Phone Here Store (that's its name, pretty creative, eh?) and bought this Chinese phone that may or may not turn out to be a brick. It works and it's way cool, but the manual is in Chinese and so we couldn't figure out how to get the #%@$! cover off to insert the SIM or extra battery. We had to go back and have the 12 year-old girl that runs the booth show me how to open it up. She rolled her eyes and everything. How embarrassing, lol. But it's really really really cool. I hope it works for more than a week, but what can you expect for $600, right? (I'm kidding, it was $100).

I managed to find some cheap t-shirts and bought 5 or 6. I got both of the black ones in stock, so Led Zeppelin is shit out of luck if they ever come to do a concert here.

We're also going out to the famous "777 Cafe" for breakfast. Truthfully, it's not actually famous and it most definitely isn't a cafe. And it may not even be 'breakfast' if our last meal there is indicative of the "menu", but it is what it is.

I brought our Garmin GPS along for fun. Before we left I managed to load a map of Cambodia (after an enormous amount of screwing around, I should add). I tried to get it to show the map before we left but it wouldn't do it, even though it showed the map was present and loaded. So I figured I'd just wait until we got to Cambodia and try it.

So, after arriving I went outside and turned it on. It flashed the "Acquiring Satellites" message on and off (which is normal when you first turn it on), but it kept flashing for a looooooong time. I mean a really long time, like 5 minutes. It looked like it may have reset itself a couple of times too but I'm not sure. Then the screen went dark, and I swear to god I saw a little frowny-face icon for just a second before it did that:   (

When it finally lit up, there we were in Phnom Penh just like we should be, right on the exact street and everything! Pretty damn impressive.

I figure the GPS turned off the day before, all happy in Seattle and the next time it woke up a few hours later it was on the other side of the world. Its tiny little brain probably went, "*ERROR ERROR WTF?*" and couldn't believe it.

I'm guessing it thought, "Whoah, damn, this isn't right..." and kept trying to figure out what the hell was wrong and why everything was soooooooo far away from its last computed location. Then it finally gave up (frowny face) and said "Screw it, I'm just gonna go with wherever those stupid satellites say I am."

So now I can get as lost as I want here and still find my way back to where we're staying (at my wife's mom's apartment) so I don't end up sleeping in the street. ;D   
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Orik on Oct 04 10 02:11
LOL Teh Borken... Have a great time.. Send some more fantastic pictures of your travels if you can.. Did I mention I am so jealous at your ability to travel to places I can only dream of being.. The rain storm sounds like a perfect opportunity to break out a bar of soap and take a shower under the clouds but the streets sound pretty disgusting afterwards. Anyway you slice it have a safe journey a excellent time with your extended family relatives and most of all a safe trekking about..

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 10 10 03:39
 The rain continues to be...intense. Fortunately it rains mostly at night, but dayummm, when it rains here it really rains. I went downstairs a few minutes ago and shot some movies of the street traffic in the rain; I'll post them when I get the chance.

Tomorrow we're supposed to go to the machine gun range (!!!) and shoot some different kinds of guns. I'm told it's a hoot, so we'll see. Then we're planning to go to the Killing Fields Museum (http://www.killingfieldsmuseum.com/) (AKA the Holocaust Museum) and have a look at that.

I'll post pics when I get back, most likely.
 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Oct 10 10 05:37
Look forward to them, TB  
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 16 10 06:45
  I'll post about the trip and include some pictures, but before I do I wanted to post what may be the funniest one-sided conversation I've ever heard. We were sitting in the EVA Evergreen Lounge in Taipei on our layover (about 6 hours), and I heard this very patient gentleman talking to someone on his cellphone. He had a nice, deep voice with just a bit of English/British accent.

I've tried to reproduce the conversation here as accurately as I can  remember- I really kick myself for not sneaking up behind him and  turning on something that would record the audio, because it was just so  damn funny. It went on for about 20 minutes (!!) and it just got funnier and funnier.

He was talking to this person about his flight time and, well, you'll see.  He was very patient, but you could hear the mild frustration in his voice as he went over and over this whole thing with his phone partner. I've no idea who he was on the phone with, but I give him props for his perseverance. Here you go...

"...It'll make a long day for me...I'll be taking off at 11pm and getting in at 10pm. <pause> Your 10pm. <pause> Because my 11pm is your 10am. <pause> No. <pause> No. It's the time difference. No. <pause> It'll be 11pm here but after flying, when I arrive it'll be 10pm your time. No, I don't actually gain an hour. <pause> No, it's not like traveling in time...no..no, <pause> it's the difference in time zones. <pause> No. <pause> No, I won't get younger, it's just the way it works because of the time difference. <pause> The time zones. <pause> See, it's night here but morning where you are. <pause> No. <pause>  No. It's always night somewhere. <pause> No, I won't arrive yesterday, it's just the difference in time zones. <pause> No. <pause> There are 24 of them. No. <pause> No, see, I take off here at 11pm, which is your 10am, I fly for about 12 hours and arrive where you are at your 10pm. <pause> How could I arrive yesterday? <pause> No.  <pause> Right, I'll be in the air for about 12 hours. <pause> NO, I won't get a day younger, I'll... <pause> No. <pause> No. <pause> No. Look, the flight takes 12 hours and it's 10am where you are, so it'll be about 10PM your time when I get in. No.  <pause> It's because if the time difference. <pause> No. No, my clock moves forward too. <pause> BOTH our clocks move forward. <pause> No, I don't really arrive before I leave, I... <pause> No, it's... <pause> No.<long pause> It's kind of complicated."

He went on like this for a bit longer, but you could tell that his enthusiasm for the conversation was wearing a bit thin.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Natasha on Oct 16 10 06:45
"How could I arrive yesterday?"  LOL that's so funny. Did you laugh, giggle or even smile?  Was the time issue ever situated?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Orik on Oct 17 10 01:57
LMFAO. Now that I am done laughing..For about 5 minutes, as soon as I'd stop laughing, I would imagine the look on the guys face as he is explaining things and  then I would start up laughing all over again, my sides hurt my face has a gigantic grin on it and I feel much better..

The poor fellow.. What a great conversation to have overheard... It is so impolite to eavesdrop, but that is just TFF, (To F*****k Funny)...

Thanks for sharing that with us TehBorken... I can imagine your face now and what it probably looked like...You must have had a horrible case of the I must not laugh out loud syndrom going on when you heard all that...I know I would of..


 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 18 10 03:01
 Natasha wrote:
"How could I arrive yesterday?"  LOL that's so funny. Did you laugh, giggle or even smile? 

I thought the funniest line was the "It's always night somewhere" line.
I was hitting myself on the leg trying not to laugh and snorting through my nose trying to keep quiet.


Was the time issue ever situated?

Nope. He just kind of gave up.
 
Title: Trip #11
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 18 10 03:56
       Notes from the the latest trip (#11)....

We went back to Cambodia for a two-week trip; basically to visit Sakha's family and to have some fun. The trip over went fine, no snags, and we landed in Phnom Penh about noon. I'm sure you'll find this hard to believe, but it was hot there, about 5,000 degrees or so and the humidity was roughly 350%. It did rain a lot and that knocked out some of the stuff we were going to do. Other than that, it was nice. There's a LOT of construction going on all over the place. The central market is all torn up because they're redoing the interior. But everywhere else there is massive building and construction going on too. Lots of empty lots we saw now have buildings on them and many others are in various stages of construction. My plan to retire there may end up with me being priced out of the market. :(

Instead of staying in a hotel, we opted to stay at Sakha's old home this time (mom's home, basically). Normally this wouldn't have been an option because in order to keep the wheel turning financially, I gotta have frequent, reliable internet access. And in Cambodia I want/need occasional exposure to an air-conditioned room (especially for sleeping).

Over the last several months my wife sent her mom enough money to do  two things: install air-conditioning and sign up for internet service.  This is like coming of age in Phnom Penh, frankly, and sets them apart  from a lot of people. Few have air-conditioning and fewer still have  in-home internet. The number of families that have both is vanishingly  small compared to the overall population. My guess? Maybe 5% have  air-conditioning *and* in-home internet, but that's just a guess. I  doubt it's more than that.

So,  with those two items available the need to stay at a hotel was  essentially eliminated. The only downside was that we didn't get to  gorge at the all-you-can-eat bacon bar at the Phnom Penh Hotel, but then  my arteries were probably better off for it. :)

My Mega-Cute Nephew
I got to finally meet my nephew, Bu Quan. He's very active and very smart, and he already speaks Khmer, Vietnamese and Chinese. Frickin' amazing. He pegs the Cute-O-Meter.

Sakha and my adorable little nephew Bu Quan
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sakha_and_buquan.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sakha_and_buquan.jpg)
[...................../.]
Cute-O-Meter


This trip was a lot more relaxed- no frantic running around and dashing here and there...it was just a "do whatever we feel like" kind of trip. I spent a lot of time just talking with everyone I met, hearing about what they do and stuff. At one place we ran across this police officer who had just gotten issued his fancy new motorcycle a few days ago. He was really proud of it so I took a picture of him. Pretty spiffy looking if ya ask me. This is one of the guys that guards or patrols the tourist spots and monuments.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/proud_cop.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/proud_cop.jpg)


Sakha and I took the whole crew out to "Tonle Bassac" (http://tonlebassac.com/) buffet the first night- me, Sakha, mom, Smey, Thida, Ti (her husband), Bu Quan (my cute-as-a-bug nephew), and Ti's mom. Tonle Bassac was as good as ever. I think I mentioned that I avoided the sampling the Goat Balls this time. Among many other things, I ate some strips of "crocodile fried in a garlic sauce" and it wasn't bad.

We did a little bit of shopping, stocking up on a load of T-shirts for gifts and I did get my son a fancy new MP3 player. It's actually a whole lot more than just an MP3 player- it reads ebooks, takes pictures, shoots video (!!), has a full English dictionary, built-in games, and plays movies. It also has a voice recorder, picture gallery, and takes up to a 4G chip for storage. It's a hell of a lot of hardware packed into a business-card sized gadget, and it was a whopping $20. I should have bought two, lol. It says it's made by Sony, but I doubt it. (A *lot* of stuff over there carries the Sony logo that's probably never seen the inside of an actual Sony factory.)

Loss Prevention, Cambodian Style
This is a security guard at the Hot Market. He's about 19 years old. They really frown on shoplifting at
the Hot Market. Despite the machine gun, he was very friendly and was quite willing to let me take a picture
of him.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/loss_prevention.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/loss_prevention.jpg)

Browsing around in the Soryea Mall I saw a cool phone, which I mentioned earlier. Yes, I am a sucker for a cool phone, even if I already have one. Or two. :) But this phone was too cool to pass up...it's a Chinese brand phone, which most people over there regard as junk but I liked it enough to plunk down $100 for it. It's like an iPhone on steroids, sort of. It's a touch-screen phone with the usual buttons at the bottom, but it also has a tiny little trackball that is pretty handy to use. It takes 2 SIM cards, so you can have two different numbers in the phone (from two different carriers if you want). Cool, no?

It has a load of apps and stuff, plus it also receives TV and plays it rather nicely. Not much use here since everything is cable now, but it worked well over there. Unfortunately the manual is in Chinese and we couldn't figure out how to get the f*cking cover off to insert the SIM or extra battery. We had to go back and have the 12 year-old girl that ran the booth show me how to open it up. She rolled her eyes and everything. How embarrassing, lol. Sakha explained that I couldn't figure out how to open it (despite over 3,000 hours of electronics training). The girl took the phone, popped the cover off in like 2 seconds, and handed it back. I felt really really thmart right about then yessiree...

I like it, but it's big compared to my old phone and I'm still not convinced that the whole touch-screen thing is worth it. I've carried it for a week now, and I still don't know if I'll stick with it. If not, look for it on Craigslist. :)

We hit a supplies store and got mom a ton of staple goods- 100 lbs of rice, plus sugar, oil, laundry detergent, etc etc...about enough stuff to last her roughly 2 full years.

We also went out and got Sakha's mom a new TV (one made in this century), a big ol' flat screen job- was $900 normally but since it was the last one in stock and someone knew someone who knew the store owner's  neighbor's dentist's cousin, we got it for $400. For $20 we got someone to come out and hang it on the wall and hook it up and stuff. Friggin thing has a menu like the Space Shuttle but once it's all setup you can blink at it and it'll change channels and adjust the volume.

The AC unit and the TV, both wall-mounted.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ac_and_tv.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/ac_and_tv.jpg)

The TV Terrorizer - Mwuahahahaha!
Before I left I bought a tiny little gadget called a "TV Terrorizer" that works like a secret universal TV remote control. You can find them online for about $5 or so and it's very small- about the size of a pack of matches.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tvterrorizer.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tvterrorizer.jpg)
You point it at a TV and hold down a button on it and it scans through a huge list of TV command signals trying to to find a setting that matches the TV. When you see the "Mute" indicator appear you let go of the button. Once you do that it can completely control the TV. :) It's a lot of fun in bars and other public places. Well, let me tell ya- it works! Mwuahahaha! I tried it on every TV I saw from Seattle to Taipei to Phnom Penh and I couldn't find one it didn't work on. :)

For example, the airport in Taipei has a great big wall of 8 *huge* TVs that run promos and junk, and while we were there I went and changed them to different channels. Five minutes later some airport staff guy would come out, do a double-take, and then unlock a litle box on the wall where they keep the remote. He'd change them all back, one by one. I'd stand back about 20 feet and *click* change them all at once back to something else. It's so small you can hide it in your hand and no one can see it. I had a lot of fun with this little gadget in the malls, stores, resturants, airports, etc etc. Suggested use: find a sports game on TV somewhere, wait until some winning play is just about to be made, and then change the channel. Listen to the screams. Rinse, lather, repeat. :)

Last but not least I got my one of my friends a bunch of meds- some Glucophage and some Prednisone. No prescription required, just go in and tell them what you need and how many boxes you want. I got him a 700 Glucophage pills for ~$50 and a boatload of Prednisone for about the same amount. Tho$e med$ would co$t $everal hundred buck$ here and that'$ not including the mandatory doctor vi$it$ to authorize the refill$. If you can buy it that cheaply there, why does it cost so much here? Yeah, you have to wonder, don't you? It's the same exact stuff, just at 1/10th the cost.

Tourist Cops
They have a LOT of different kinds of police in Cambodia, all responsible for different things like traffic, water, drugs, business, security, etc etc. I saw this police motorcycle on the way back from Kompong Som:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tourist_police1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tourist_police1.jpg)

Look closer at the decal on the front:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tourist_police2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/tourist_police2.jpg)
"Tourist Police". Yes, a dedicated group of police just for people like me. I feel so....special.


I mentioned earlier that we went out to the famous "777" cafe for breakfast. We went there several times, but then there was a 3-day holiday and the whole city shut down. Almost all the businesses, restaurants, everything closes for 3 days. The streets were damn near empty; it was kind of creepy. And tragically, the 777 was closed, Oh Noes! I looked across the street and there was another little sidewalk breakfast place that was open, so we went there. It was named the "778". No, really. It turns out that the names they use are the street address, but the 777 is far more famous because the three numbers are the same (which apparently is a big deal). So, we ate at the 778 and I could hardly tell the difference.

The grill at the "777 Cafe", an open-air breakfast joint.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/777cafe.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/777cafe.jpg)
Okaaaaaaaay, lets see....
Boiling oil in a big dish with no lid- CHECK
An open flame directly below the boiling oil- CHECK.
Wobbly broken wheel on the grill table- CHECK.

What could possibly go wrong??
(http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Shocked/5.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Shocked/5.gif)
Well, for one thing, if it tipped over a nice big flood of flaming oil would pour right across where we were sitting, killing us all. This made me kind of nervous so we relocated to a table on the other side.

Another thing about the holiday is that the police take those three days off. I'm not kidding, I didn't see a cop anywhere and we drove all over. They're not on duty anywhere. No cops meant we didn't have to wear helmets, yay! I mention this because the Phnom Penh Police have now begun enforcing the helmet law there and anyone without a helmet gets waived over and fined instantly. They also require mirrors to be mounted on the motos now (another offense that they'll fine you for). And when I say "fine", I mean they put the money in their pocket and tell you to move on. It's the purest form of corruption I've ever seen- there isn't even a pretense that the money will find its way back to the government, and everyone knows it.

The Value Of a Realistic-Looking International Drivers License
Now, I've been dinged (caught and fined) by the cops in Phnom Penh before, several times in fact. I decided this time was gonna be different. So, being the [span style="text-decoration: line-through;"]criminal[/span] resourceful guy that I am, I made myself an "International Drivers License" before I left the US. :) An hour in Photoshop, a laminator, and *boom*, I was licensed to drive almost anywhere in the world, as well as on the Lunar surface. It looks very official, better than the real thing if I do say so myself. (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)  (Note: the 'seal' at the top is actually the seal from the American Cattlemen's Association, but it looked good so I used it. The lower seal is from the Department of Defense, lol.)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/INTDL_4.png) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/INTDL_4.png)
I look appropriately stern in this official picture, don't I?

To make a long story longer, it worked like a f*cking charm. I got waived over for "jumping the light" (also known as "driving while white") and they wanted to fine me an additional amount for not having a Cambodian Drivers License.

Not so fast, my good man, look here- and I handed him my "license". See, it says right there that I'm "licensed" to drive in Germany, the Republic of China, The Kingdom of Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, Namibia, Norway, Canada, Thailand, and South America. My brother-in-law translated this to him and pointed out the part that said "Kingdom of Cambodia", which of course the cop couldn't read cuz it was in English and was in very, very small letters (6-point type, ha ha!)

The cop was disappointed but still wanted money. No way Jose. I was firm as hell. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? I was committed at this point and couldn't back down. I told him (with my brother-in-law translating) that I wasn't giving him a dime and that he could call the US Embassy if he wanted. Either way I wasn't paying him anything, period, end of story. And I just sat on my moto as defiant as could be, but secretly I was worried as hell that he wouldn't back down. I have no idea what the US Embassy would do to me if they caught me forging an International Drivers License but I was pretty sure they wouldn't laugh and say, "Jolly good show! How creative!"

After quite a bit of arguing I started raising my voice a bit. "NO,  I'M NOT GIVING YOU ANY MONEY. CALL THE US EMBASSY." The thing is that cops in Phnom Penh who screw up can get in trouble. If he messed up, he'd be sweeping the streets in Angkor Wat by the end of the week cuz pissing off tourists without a good cause is frowned upon. In the end he accepted my "license" (YESSSSSS!) and off we went, without paying anything. Thank you Photoshop! (I'll admit, I was worried there for a bit. But having big balls and false documents carried the day.)

Later we went to the Hot Market for some rings and shirts and stuff but couldn't find what we wanted (some dried fish), so we went to the Hotter Market. I didn't know there was a Hotter Market, but sure as hell there is. It was about 150 degrees inside and roughly 720% humidity. The humidity was so high that I could have used SCUBA gear to walk around. Sakha bought ten kilos of the dried fish she wanted, which they wrapped very securely (it's rather pungent).



Black Panther Beer
I saw this while out shopping...
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/black_panther_beer.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/black_panther_beer.jpg)
Hey, who knew that the Black Panthers had their own brand of beer? And I thought they were just revolutionaries.


Buying Chicken at the Orussey Market
Sanitation is not a big concern at the Orussey Market, as you can see. Everything is just left out in the open where the flies can get to it. Notice the lack of shoes on the vendor. We don't need no stinkin' shoes.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buying_chicken.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buying_chicken.jpg)


Seriously, I couldn't bring myself to buy meat here. My workshop is cleaner than this.
No shoes on this vendor either (kind of hard to see).
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/meat_market.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/meat_market.jpg)

Sakha and Smey buying dried fish. Most of the vendors sit up on these little platforms with the food at
their feet, or sometimes in open bins, baskets, etc. Again, no shoes worn, so if her feet touch your food
you'll just have to deal with it.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buying_fish.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/buying_fish.jpg)


Cashews. Lots of Cashews.
I love cashews. While we were at the Orussey Market I saw some nifty little vacuum packed blocks of cashews, about 3" x 3" x 1". I thought they'd make nice gifts and so I pointed to them, held up 5 fingers and told the lady "five please". She didn't speak English, but she bustled around and started bagging stuff up. I *really* should have been paying closer attention...it turns out she thought I meant 5 [span style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;"]kilos[/span]. So yes, I am the proud owner of 11 pounds of cashews- practically a lifetime supply for me. We gave a bunch away before we left but we still came home with 8 or 9 pounds of cashews, lol.

I did get a kick-ass cowboy hat for under $10 and several pairs of camouflage pants for $5 dollars each. The hat is actually really nice- it'd be $50 in the US at least (and what better place to buy a cowboy hat than Cambodia?). I also accidentally squashed my camera and broke it, so we bought another one at Fuji Film, very similar to what I had.

The rain prevented us from going to the Machine Gun Range, where you can shoot a variety of machine guns (M16s, AK47s, and even a .50 cal Ma Deuce!) and (apparently) even throw hand grenades. I don't know what it all would have cost but it would have been worth it, whatever it was. Wah. I was really looking forward to that. We also got rained out of going to the Genocide Museum (also called the Holocaust Museum), a place that documents Pol Pots insane reign of terror. It's actually the feared "S-21 Prison" (http://www.killingfieldsmuseum.com/s21-victims.html), remade into a museum. "Of the 14,000 people known to have entered, only seven survived."

I couldn't resist the next couple of pictures. The first is some more typical street wiring. Holy *#&amp;%!.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/more_wiring.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/more_wiring.jpg)
You just gotta love the free-form nature of the electrical hookups in Phnom Penh.

And you didn't think you were going to get away without some mannequin pics, did you? (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif) (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)
I might have shot this one before, but I can't remember (and I'm too lazy to check):
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/screamer2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/screamer2.jpg)
A classic SCREAMER-style mannequin with rainbow hair!

I just don't know what to make of this one. Is it Kurt Cobain? A serious case of Chocolate Hair syndrome.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin5.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/mannequin5.jpg)


Welcome, Neighbor!
A lot of the private homes in Phnom Penh have measures designed to keep the riffraff out, like this one below:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire1.jpg)
Yep, that's razor wire, also known as "[a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concertina_wire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concertina_wire)"]concertina wire[/a]", a type of barbed wire that's especially nasty to get hung up on. Here's a closer shot:
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire2.jpg)
Remember, nothin' says, "Welcome, neighbor!" like concertina wire.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire3.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire3.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire4.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire4.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire5.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/welcome_wire5.jpg)
Believe me, you don't want to try getting through that stuff. It was used to great effect in WWI and WW2 to keep enemy combatants from storming the battle lines, so it'll probably keep you out without too much trouble. The tops of the walls also have jagged bits of glass emb edded into the mortar for that extra special "cut yo' ass real bad" touch. Concertina wire isn't usually seen in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine photo shoots, but it's a common feature here.



When It Rains, it POURS. I Mean, It REALLY Pours.
When it rains in Phnom Penh, you're pretty much stuck wherever you happen to be at the moment. If you're outside you take refuge under the closest awning. If you're inside, you just stay there. Only the hardiest/craziest folks will try to go anywhere in the rain. My brother-in-law and I got caught in the rain on the way back from the "VIP Sports Club" (basically a pool) and toughed it out, but it was pretty bad. It's almost impossible to drive because the rain comes down so hard. Problem is, you never know if the rain will last 10 minutes or 6 hours. We eventually pulled over into a gas station and bought some cheapo rain ponchos so we could keep going, but that was a mistake. We should have just stayed there. By the time we got the ponchos on we were as wet as if we'd gone swimming in our clothes. :(

Shopping With Reaksmey
Sakha and I took her sister, "Smey" shopping. Smey is a lovely lady, very sweet and funny and one in a million. Pure of heart and beautiful enough to take your breath away. She also just doesn't want anything, she's not materialistic in the slightest. We took her out to several stores and I told her to just get whatever she wanted. You know, go nuts, get whatever you want and I'll buy it. Most women (guys too) when presented with an opportunity like this would get some things for themselves, but not Smey. She got some baby formula for her other sister's baby, some feminine products for her and her mom to share, and some other little things (shampoo, antiperspirant). I was like, no, no, something fun, just for you. How about some shoes? She looked at Sakha and then back to me. "No...have shoes already." Well, maybe a dress or some shirts or pants or something? "No, have dress. No need shirts. (giggle)" She looked genuinely puzzled as to why she should buy more. I was like, c'mon, get something for yourself, whatever you want. Music? A hat? A new purse? A phone? Nope, she didn't want anything for herself. She's such a sweetheart and we couldn't buy her anything.

A Quick Trip To Kompong Som
We went up to [a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sihanoukville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sihanoukville)"]Kompong Som[/a], swam in the ocean and ate massive amounts of freshly cooked crab. Spent the night there and then came back. The rest of the time we just spent goofing around, visiting some of Sakha's friends and relaxing.

The beautiful beach at Kompong Som

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/kompongsom2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/kompongsom2.jpg)


Check in with the local cops??
I saw this in the hotel room in Kompong Som. Despite the order to report to the "Commune Police" as we came and went, we opted not to. It was kind of creepy, actually.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/policecheck.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/policecheck.jpg)


Homeward Bound
On the way back we landed in Taipei and we went up to the Evergreen Lounge. But they claimed they were remodeling and since my EVA Air card had been downgraded to only the "Silver" card, they said they only had room for Gold card members and we couldn't come in. WTF? There was NO friggin way we were going to wait out in the &amp;$%#@ airport for 6 hours, so I decided that I wasn't going to take "no" for an answer. I argued politely with the lady for quite a while, then got her to get her supervisor, and I argued politely with her for a while too.

They kept saying they hoped we understood and they were sorry, and I kept saying that no, I didn't understand and that this wasn't what we'd paid for (which is true). I just stood there while other people streamed in and out and wouldn't budge. I was polite but totally, 100% immovable. I figured I had 6 full hours to argue my way in (lol) and that sooner or later they'd give up. And they did. Not knowing how to deal with someone like me who didn't understand the word "no", they finally let us in. Yay. I like the EVA Air Evergreen Lounge in Taipei, so let me show it to you.

EVA Air Lounge in Taipei. As you can see, it's plush and comfortable. It's also nice and quiet.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge1.jpg)

They have nice comfy chairs and free wifi.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge2.jpg)


They also have some good free food for weary travelers in the buffet area, as well as juice, milk,
Cokes, etc. This lady is
one of the lounge attendants. They're very shy about being photographed.
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge3.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge3.jpg)

Another shot of the buffet area. But wait, what's that in the corner? Lets have a closer look at
that, shall we?

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge4.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge4.jpg)

OMFG, free booze!! Did I mention how much I like the EVA Air Evergreen Lounge? :)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge5.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/eva_lounge5.jpg)

I made myself a few good strong drinks and we settled in to wait. By the time we left I didn't give a sh*t if the plane was on time or not if it even had wings, lol. The flight back was uneventful, but damn, 13 hours in the air just about wrecked me. I was never, EVER so glad to set foot on the ground.

Immigration cleared us pretty quickly, US Customs waved us through, and off we went. We got home at 8pm, went to bed at 9pm, and woke up 3 hours later at midnight ready to go. Yeah, our body clocks are whacked. The next day we went to bed at 8pm and slept until 1030 the next morning (12 hours!) and we were still tired. Ack. It'll be days before we're back to normal, lol.

So there ya go, the latest trip over and done with. :)

                 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Oct 18 10 09:31
Free booze???? And a limitless quantity??????
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 18 10 09:51
 Gopher wrote:
Free booze???? And a limitless quantity??????

In a word, YES!!!

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Oct 18 10 10:18
Incredible!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Orik on Oct 18 10 06:34
Wow, well welcome home safely once more TehBorken. Yegads it sounds like a great trip... maybe some of us will get there one day... for now I live through other peoples photos &amp; thanks for sharing some of them, with us.                                                                                                                
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 19 10 07:26
 I've got a few more things (plus some pictures) to add over the next couple of days....some fun stuff as well as some other things. :)                
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: DDD on Oct 19 10 10:41
TehBorken wrote:
Gopher wrote:
 [SPAN style="FONT-STYLE: italic"]Free booze???? And a limitless quantity??????[/SPAN]

In a word, [FONT size=5][SPAN style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"]YES!!![/SPAN][/FONT]
[/DIV]

 What no BEER!
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 19 10 11:02
 DDD wrote:
What no BEER!

Oh yeah, there was beer in the cooler/refrigerator thing. Mostly Angkor beer but one or two other brands as well (Heineken and something else, I forget). They also had soy milk, juice, and some other stuff.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: DDD on Oct 19 10 03:58
Cool now me likes alot more...............free beer...............
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Natasha on Oct 20 10 01:05
^ spoken like a true alcoholic   ;)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: DDD on Oct 21 10 04:03
Natasha wrote:
 ^ spoken like a true alcoholic   ;)

 Hey what can i say i love my beers
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Lil Me on Oct 21 10 09:02
Great trip.  Thanks for sharing your stories and photos,
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Nov 05 10 09:56
I've got a few more things (plus some pictures) to add over the next couple of days....some fun stuff as well as some other things. :)

Please GET ON IT.  (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)

TehBorken....I've told you before and I'll tell you again, you NEED TO WRITE A BOOK !  Please ?
Your stories and how you present them are priceless. 
I'll be first on the list to purchase your first edition.
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 07 10 08:17
 P.C. wrote:
Please GET ON IT. 

As I often tell my wife, "Yes ma'am!" (http:///forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)  lol

Okay, I added a short bit on some of the, err, "home protection" features with a few pics.

Also, a Special Bonus feature: Great Bars In Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/bars/).
These aren't necessarily the fanciest bars or the most well-known, but  each has a distinctive appeal all its own. We deliberately didn't cover  the "famous" Cambodian bars here, instead we wanted to visit and  experience the kind of places you might not normally go into or even be  aware of. Many of these bars cater to a more local audience rather than  tourists or foreigners.

Enjoy! Great Bars In Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/bars/)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Nov 07 10 09:42
I'm surprised to see so much English signage. I like the Corruption Bar and the Happy Man Bar.  Is it a drive-thru ? LOL

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Nov 07 10 10:22
I like the way you've done this tehborken. Like the pictures too.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 07 10 03:05
 P.C. wrote:
I'm surprised to see so much English signage. I like the Corruption Bar and the Happy Man Bar.  Is it a drive-thru ? LOL

It is if you go fast enough! :)

 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 07 10 03:05
 Gopher wrote:
I like the way you've done this tehborken. Like the pictures too.

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it!

 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: DDD on Nov 09 10 05:33
TehBorken wrote:P.C. wrote:Please GET ON IT. As I often tell my wife, "Yes ma'am!" ;D lol

Okay, I added a short bit on some of the, err, "home protection" features with a few pics. Also, a Special Bonus feature: Great Bars (http://discoverseattle.net/bars/) In Cambodia. These aren't necessarily the fanciest bars or the most well-known, but  each has a distinctive appeal all its own. We deliberately didn't cover  the "famous" Cambodian bars here, instead we wanted to visit and  experience the kind of places you might not normally go into or even be  aware of. Many of these bars cater to a more local audience rather than  tourists or foreigners.Enjoy! Great Bars In Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/bars/)

       Thats just way to cool.....great job now I want to go to a few of those bars...LAS VEGAS  ;)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 23 11 11:26
Raging Poodle! wrote:
First I scratched my head also, then I figured you accidentally clicked Edit, instead of Reply, and ended up responding that way.
Yeah, that's probably what I did. Doh!!

Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 23 11 11:29
TehBorken wrote:
P.C. wrote:
Please GET ON IT. 

As I often tell my wife, "Yes ma'am!" (http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)
lol

Okay, I added a short bit on some of the, err, "home protection" features with a few pics.

Also, a Special Bonus feature: Great Bars In Cambodia (http://discoverseattle.net/bars/).
These aren't necessarily the fanciest bars or the most well-known, but  each has a distinctive appeal all its own. We deliberately didn't cover  the "famous" Cambodian bars here, instead we wanted to visit and  experience the kind of places you might not normally go into or even be  aware of. Many of these bars cater to a more local audience rather than  tourists or foreigners.

(http://discoverseattle.net/forums/richedit/smileys/Happy/12.gif)

That's just way to cool.....great job now I want to go to a few of those bars...LAS VEGAS  ;)
Title: America's newest United States Citizen
Post by: TehBorken on Apr 30 12 06:37
I'm very proud to announce America's newest United States Citizen.
 
 Sakha passed her US Citizenship Exam this morning, April 30th 2012, and was sworn in a few hours later around 12:30pm.  :)
 
 
(http://discoverseattle.net/image/sahka_citizenship.jpg)
 
 To get to this point we fought our way through the State Department, the California Immigration Service Center, the National Visa Center in Vermont, the Department of Homeland Security investigators, the Phnom Penh Police Department, the Cambodian Records Center, the Cambodian Emigration Authority, the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh, US Customs & Immigration Services, and finally the US Customs & Border Protection. We turned in over 1,000 pages of documentation, had her fingerprints taken 4 times (at $680 a shot), sat through multiple interviews and jumped through numerous other hoops. After almost 4 years of this sort of thing, she is now a full-fledged United States Citizen.
 
 And believe me, we are soooooooooo done.
 
 
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on May 01 12 06:00
Wow, what a lot of BS. However, my congratulations to both of you.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 01 12 07:11
And by the way, here's what you get for  ~$5000 in USCIS application fees:

(http://discoverseattle.net/image/uscis_flag.jpg)
 
They spared no expense, this thing had to cost at least 10 cents.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 01 12 07:11
However, my congratulations to both of you.

Thank you. :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on May 01 12 01:07
10c flag,  $4999.90  BS
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on May 07 12 01:24
We spent the morning running around getting Sakha's name changed on all sorts of stuff...her birth name was "Visakha",but she wanted to shorten it, take my last name, and adopt a middle name (most Khmer people don't have middle names, and most Khmer women don't take their husband's name when they get married).
 
 When she became a US citizen they changed her last name to mine. We went to court this morning to file a full name change and it all went pretty smoothly.
 
 She is now officially "Sakha Lee <my_last_name>". We both liked the way "Sakha Lee" sounded and as you know, "Nobody Doesn't Like Sakha Lee (http://discoverseattle.net/image/sara_lee.jpg)". :)
 
 *cough*
 
 Anyway, we slid through court pretty easily, then went to the Social Security Office and put in the name change there successfully, and then went to the bank and successfully got her name changed on all our accounts.
 
 It turns out that a US Naturalization Certificate is a pretty compelling bit of paper and trumps damn near any knee-jerk bureaucratic objections about needing some other bit of paper to make things happen. Wave that sucker in their face and voila, you're good to go.
 
 "Well, we need a photo ID and a paper that says you ...<wave, wave>.. oooh, ah, okay, sign here."
 
 Next step, the Department Of Motor Vehicles (shudder). :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: DDD on May 07 12 02:50
She has my last name  ???
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 11 12 03:32
We just got back from another trip to Cambodia (I'll do a write-up with some pictures in the next few days).  :)

Here's some video I shot
just before we left...this is a short trip from my buddy's home, going down Highway 5* into Phnom Penh, ending up at my mother-in-law's home. Traffic was light and it was a beautiful day for a ride. Enjoy. :)
 
 PS: Please note that everything you see in the video is absolutely legal under the "rules of the road" in Cambodia.
 
 
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GLCVg5H9XE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GLCVg5H9XE)
 
 
 *Also known as the "Highway of Death".
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Oct 11 12 01:34
Horrific! What's the fatality rate for drivers?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Oct 12 12 01:35
Horrific! What's the fatality rate for drivers?

About 100%, give or take. ;)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Oct 12 12 09:09
No more than that?
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 02 12 11:50
Another trip. :)

We got back on October 9th, and rather than write up an after-action report, I thought I'd string together some of the emails I sent to folks while we were there.

I do have some more video clips that I'll upload to youtube once I get a chance, just street scenes and stuff.


September 25
Greetings from Cambodia, where it's hotter than hell and more humid than words can describe. It's sooooooo f*cking humid, you step outside and you're instantly drenched in a torrent of sweat. The heat I can take, but the humidity is just f*cking brutal. :(

We went to the Hot Market (there's a reason it's named that, FFS) and got some odds and ends.

We also went and got a brand-new moto to replace the one that died a few months ago. If you enjoy buying/shopping for a car, you can really up the pleasure by doing it in 110-degree heat and 100% humidity. Holy shit. :(

Evening....we went to LUCKY FOOT MASSAGE "For You Its Much GOOD For Body" and the 1-hour foot massage was good...intense, but good. For part of it they jab their fingers into the soles of your feet very fricking hard, and I was twitching around like an epileptic at a strobe-light convention. But it felt good after the pain stopped.

The full body massage was another story that I'll cover later, but suffice it to say that these two tiny Chinese women beat me nearly to death. They beat me like a bad dog. They couldn't have weighed more than about 90lbs, but they just plain whomped the crap out of me until we tipped them enough to go away. I swear, I've been in car accidents that didn't hurt so much. :(

I hobbled out of there like a concentration camp survivor, no lie. It took me two days to recover.

The  LUCKY FOOT MASSAGE is next to a hospital, and I don't think that's by accident. The hospital is named "HOSPITAL" so you don't confuse it with, like, a moto dealer or something.



September 27 - Dental Work For Cheap

I took Sakha, myself, SIL and BIL to the dentist. A teeth cleaning for all four of us *PLUS* a minor surgery on my sister in-law.

After we're all done, I ask how much was the total.

Receptionist (translated) "$40 total."
Me: "Holy f*cking shit."

Doc said that my sister in-law, Smey, needs a minor bit of surgery to remove an old bit of tooth left in from the wisdom teeth she had taken out a while ago. Doc said it should definitely come out to prevent problems later.

Me: "How long will this take?"
Doc (translated) "Scheduling, gum preparation, surgery, stitching...4 minutes."
Me: "Holy f*cking shit. How much will it cost?"
Doc (consults with assistant, turns to us): "Is 4 dollar. Maybe almost 5 dollar."
Me: "Holy f*cking shit."

I stepped to the reception desk and took a few minutes to pay for it (paperwork and whatnot). When it was done I turned around and told Sakha to tell the doc to go ahead.

Sakha said something, doc said something back, Sakha turns to me, says "All done, while you were paiding it."
Me: "Holy f*cking shit."

Such is the high cost of dental care in Cambodia. :)



September 29th/30th

Holy crap, there's a huge celebration or something going on in the whole city tonight, it's like a freakin' madhouse. All the kids are setting off massive loads of fireworks, everyone is selling these tasty little "mooncakes" on every square inch of the street, and these weird crooners are running around with megaphones chanting and singing and stuff.

All the streets are lit up like christmas eve on steroids, flashing lights are everywhere (even on baby carriages!!) and the whole damn country is going batshit insane. Kids are running up and down the streets yelling and hooting, every horn on every moto and car is beeping non-stop and there's smoke everywhere.

It's either a celebration or the revolution has started, lol. :)


October 1st (morning)
Turns out all the commotion last night was the run-up to the Mooncake Festival (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival), which is tonight. It's supposed to be "very exciting" this evening so I think we'll just stay inside, lol.

The Mooncake festival is held on the "15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar", which is in September or early October.

October 1st (evening)
Oh my, the Mooncake Festival is starting and we're almost out the door but I thought I'd send you a few quick pics of the scene outside our door. Click on 'em to enlarge. :)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1113-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1113-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1107-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1107-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1109-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1109-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1112-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1112-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1121-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1121-800.jpg)


Mooncakes!!
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1126-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1126-800.jpg)

The whole city is like this. Horns are honking, fireworks are going off everywhere, and there are 150,000 lovely, almond-eyed young ladies laughing and dancing in the street. They're all just heart-breakingly beautiful, and they wink and smile at you as they glide by...their eyes grab you like industrial-strength magnets, and I predict a million hearts will be broken tonight. If I wasn't already married, I would be by morning, lol. :)

There are tons of good things to eat and drink, little kids are running around playing and shouting...life is good in Phnom Penh tonight! I wish you all could be here, feeling the thrill of a city running full-tilt on this crazy, happy, joyous energy. If you were here, I'd buy you a mooncake and a drink or three.


October 2nd

Lol. :) There was more than a bit of flirting going on last night for sure. I don't think the Mamma Brigade had a hope in hell of keeping a lid on things. :)

Yeesh, 0800 and it's already hot and humid. The very idea of anti-perspirant is a f*cking joke here. At 100 degrees and 95% humidity, nothing will stop you from sweating except maybe rigor mortis. Or spray glue. But noooooo amount of Arid or Right Guard or whatever is gonna do a goddamn thing. Ask me how I know....

Due to a flooding-and-moto mishap, I'm off to the Sorya Mall to buy the cheapest pair of tennis shoes I can find. If I spend more than $5 then I'll know I'm being taken for a ride like a rube from the sticks. Actually few people wear shoes here, it's 80% flip-flops or bare feet (ewwwww). I may also be one of the few people in the whole city who wears socks, too.

Honestly, I am so so so so so white, it's dreadfully apparent. For all the looks I get walking down the street I may as well be a 10-foot tall, green-skinned alien with bug eyes on stalks. Not unfriendly looks (quite the opposite) but still, it's like the whole damn city has me under close personal surveillance.

And another thing- if I have to eat another &^%$#@ bowl of noodles served with a "meatball" made up of 20 different kinds of animals that have been run through a wood chipper and squeezed into a ball, I'm gonna go on a f*cking rampage. Which means it's time to go to Lucky Burger and start pointing at the menu- "This, this, 2 of those, this, that, and the Deathstar-sized Coca-Cola."

Sakha was wiped out yesterday from an epic shopping assault on the Central Market, the Sorya Mall, and 16,547 street vendors. "Many good sale on Mooncake Day!!!"


October 3rd - Buying Another Phone

I had decided it was time to see about maybe getting a new phone...so, we went to one of the many "phone streets" where they have a row of tiny shops selling a bazillion kinds of phones, new and used. BTW, a new iPhone here costs almost $1000, about double what it costs in the US. I'm not sure why that is, but any other phone costs way less than in the US. I'm not sure why that is either.

I saw a bunch of good phones, many that were "pre-owned"and very affordable. My BIL, "Ravi" went with me to scope out the phones and haggle with the salesgirls. Just so you know, when I say "girl", I mean it- a lot of the salesgirls are between 12 and 15 years old. They sit in the little booth or stall and sell phones, all day long. The one in our "store" was wearing a "Hello Kitty" t-shirt, little pink sneakers and barely came up to the counter. I'd bet $100 she wasn't a day over 13.

But make no mistake- these kids aren't stupid. They've spent most their lives getting the better of people like you and me (AKA "suckers"). THEY are the predator, YOU are the prey. Trust me- you won't take advantage of them, oh no no noooo. In fact, if they had Truth In Advertising* laws here, these little girls would all be wearing eye-patches and waving cutlasses.

I picked out a phone and asked how much it was. Now the salesgirls don't usually speak English (a few do) but they do understand the phrase "How much?" in English. What they do is grab a calculator and punch in the numbers and then turn it to face you so you can see the number.

The number on the calculator was 175 (dollars), and when Ravi saw it he started laughing and slapping the counter and looking at me as if he'd just heard the funniest joke in the world. Then he stopped abruptly and said something to the Hello Kitty girl; she pouted and punched a lower number into the calculator: 160 dollars. Ravi started speaking very seriously to the girl and the number went down again. And again. And again.

To make a long story short, we settled on $120 and Ravi told me not to worry- "they still make big big profit" at that price. He said Hello Kitty girl's parents (who own the booth) would be more than happy with the outcome of the sale.

So I examined the phone casually, looking like I knew all about it, desperately trying to figure out how to open the f*cker up so I could put in the battery. Could not f*cking do it, I had to ask how.

NOTE: This might sound familiar, as this is almost exactly what happened last time. :(
There is NOTHING more embarrassing than having to ask a 12-year old girl wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt shirt to show you how to open your own damn phone and put the battery in. Without even looking she popped the cover off with one hand and gave it back to me. And she rolled her eyes when she did it, too. FML :(

One of the lovely phone-girls, waiting for her prey customers.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/phone_girl1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/phone_girl1.jpg)

 * LOL, like THAT'S ever going to f*cking happen here, lololololol!!!!!




October 4th

Pardon me if I'm uhhh, over sharing...but some things must be said.

Cambodians and Southeast Asians are, in general, of somewhat slighter stature than Europeans/Caucasians (aka "white devils"). This means their plumbing and ummm associated fixtures* are also built to accommodate  slightly smaller diameter ummm waste products. *cough*

See where this is going? :(

Sooooooooo....lets just say that if we ever invaded Cambodia, half our soldiers would be tasked 24/7 with unclogging certain pipes that are ummm essential to ummm handling said waste products. Ask me how I know. :(

Also, it's tough getting used to the "you-don't-need-toilet-paper" thing. (The vast majority of bathrooms here contain no toilet paper whatsoever.) The usual alternative** is a little hose with a spray nozzle. And the water pressure in these things is quite ummm robust, to say the least.

So, yeah, if you aren't careful, VERY VERY careful, you may end up spray-painting the walls with ummm *stuff* and/or taking a refreshing*** drink through your butt.

This concludes our "Cross-Cultural Learning Moment For The Day". :(


* toilets, FFS :(

** The word "alternative" implies that you have other choices. You do not.

*** "Refreshing" isn't really the word that I'd use.




October 4th/5th

(A looooong discussion of the sprayer-versus-toilet-paper thing followed.) Someone asked about bringing toilet paper, and a also asked for a bit more detail on the use of a sprayer. These are some excerpts...


Toilet Paper: I'm not sure you could bring enough toilet paper to last 2 or 3 weeks, especially if you eat something that disagrees with your digestion (and you WILL, I guarantee it).

To be honest, I'm on the cusp of preferring the sprayer-thingy over toilet paper. One you get the hang of it, it's actually very good. It works better than TP, no doubt about it. Pretty soon I'll be like, "Wipe my butt with paper? Really??"

We just got back from the Hot Market. I got a boxed set of all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad for $15, and Sakha says I overpaid, "way way too much", but I figure it's not that big a deal. I don't want to screw these people to the wall over a couple of bucks. Trust me, $3 means a hell of a lot more to them than it does to us.

I got 20 t-shirts with various Cambodia motifs for $38 (1.90 a shirt) and that *was* overpaying, but what the hell. I got some with the Cambodian flag, some of the "Danger - Mines!" shirts, some "No Money, No Honey" shirts, some "Heart Of Darkness" shirts, "Hard Rock Cafe Phnom Penh*" shirts, etc etc etc. They make fun gifts and I wear them myself, too. At our wedding reception we gave all the guests shirts for coming. :)

I got my tactical vest tailored to fit, two hats brimmed, and 5 pairs of jeans that I brought tailored as well. Total cost, about 36,000 rials (~9 bucks). To tailor a single pair of jeans in Seattle is $20 dollars.

They did some of while I waited, and I danced in the little tailor booth with no pants on (and people walking by) singing "I'm Sexy And I Know It" by LMFAO. Poor Sakha, she was soooooooo embarrassed. Ha, wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle! (Watch the video, lol)

Anyway, I'm beat and going to go take my 3rd shower of the day. Cheers.


... a little later ...


Question: I'm almost scared to ask but the spray thing has me puzzled.  I tried not to think about it or figure it out but alas, I can't shake the confusion.  So if you're spraying yourself with water to clean yourself . . .  what do you use to dry yourself?

Well...a lot of times you don't use anything, but 1) the amount of water left behind (ha ha!) is very small, and 2) things dry pretty damn quickly in 100-degree heat. Sometimes there's a small towel that's available, but you really don't need it. And I wouldn't say that if it wasn't true.

Really, it's not as bad as it sounds. And frankly, I'm actually starting to prefer the sprayer. It does a better job than TP, hands down.


A few more pictures of the Mooncake Festival....

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1101-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1101-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1103-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1103-800.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1124-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1124-800.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1118-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1118-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1114-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1114-800.jpg)





Holy cow, I've been here just over a week and I've lost over 4 lbs, so I thought I'd share my Secret Cambodian Weight Loss Diet with you all.

STEP 1: Go to Cambodia.


That's it, there is no Step 2. Between the heat, the food, and the dysentery, those pounds and inches just melt away. Usually through your ass, similar to venting rocket fuel.




Another store where I wasn't allowed to bring my hand grenades in.
(Note that this is *not* the same picture as seen in a previous post, but it's similar.)
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1216-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1216-800.jpg)

From left to right:
No hand grenades (dang!)
No smoking (almost never saw this before, just started in the last year or two)
No taking pictures (rarely enforced because it's hard to do)
No  street vendors (yeah they often carry stuff in baskets on shoulder poles)
No dogs (and no cats, birds, etc)
No roller skates or skateboards



WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
This is not an uncommon sight in Cambodia...you see this kind of thing all over the place.

I like to call this, "What could possibly go wrong?"

Notice how the nozzle is already a little bent? Yep, if this guy tipped over, you'd see the explosion from Thailand. This was in heavy, stop-and-go traffic, BTW.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/moto_tank1.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/moto_tank1.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/moto_tank2.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/moto_tank2.jpg)




Special BONUS Section:
Your First Time In Cambodia - A Traveler's Primer


Day 1: Wow, what a beautiful country! Kinda hot, though.
Day 2: Man, it really is hot. Still a lovely place. Wish I could find something to eat.
Day 3: Hmmm, haven't gone to the bathroom since I got here. That's odd. Hard to sleep cuz it's so hot.
Day 4: Went to the market for more antiperspirant, ate noodles with some kind of meat in it.
Day 5: Stomach feels kinda funny. Ack. Antiperspirant doesn't seem to work here? Too damn hot to sleep.
Day 6: HOLYMOTHEROFGOD, I DON'T THINK THIS TOILET CAN TAKE ANY MORE (sobbing)
Day 7: Wow, I lost 5 lbs, but I look like I gained 5 years. :(
Day 8: I hate this place. Can't eat, can't sleep, and I sweat like a pig ALL THE TIME.
Day 9: All the food has eyeballs in it, ewwww. So damn hot. I didn't know poop could be that color.
Day 10: Bought a t-shirt that says, "I Survived Cambodia" for only $25, all the street vendors laughed.
Day 11: Found a place that serves beer. YAY!!! After 6 beers I ate something with an eyeball in it. Wasn't bad.
Day 12: Almost time to leave this hellhole, thank god!!!
Day 13: (as plane lifts off runway) What a beautiful country! Kinda hot, though.



Cambodian Music

Another thing...Khmer music (Cambodian music) is arguably the worst on the planet. Even my wife says, "Khmer people don't know music." And she's right.

Most of it sounds like underage Ukrainian hobos having a knife fight in a dumpster. It's really that dreadful. But they make up for the awful sound by playing it really REALLY LOUD.  It's so bad it makes the food seem good. Think about that for a moment. 

1) Take 2 cats.
2) Set them on fire.
3) Throw them into a washing machine with some glass bottles.
4) Instant Cambodian pop-hit!!


1) Find a bunch of special education students.
2) Throw various musical instruments at them and lock them in a room.
3) Instant Cambodian boy-band!!


1) Record burn-ward victims being denied pain medication.
2) Add random musical score (make sure it's the wrong tempo and key).
3) Instant Cambodian musical sensation!!



Miscellaneous Pictures....


Is this not the cutest little sewing machine you've ever seen? This was in one of the shops where I had some clothes tailored. It's just so damn cute. My wife wanted one but couldn't find a place where they were sold. I think the manufacturer must have gone out of business in the mid-1800's, but this one is still purring away....
(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sewingmachine.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/sewingmachine.jpg)



Man, you can't do ANYTHING in this store!!
Oh, wait....that's where all those signs come from. Never mind...

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1160-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1160-800.jpg)


Road Repair in Phnom Penh
This is a pretty common sight...this is how a lot of road work and infrastructure placement is done (traffic lights, electrical mains wiring, etc). By hand, in 100-degree heat and 90% humidity.
I got tired just walking up the street to take this photo- I can't imagine doing heavy labor in this kind of weather.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1161-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1161-800.jpg)


The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly....Oh, Wait, This Is Phnom Penh
When it rains, it pours, and the sewer system (such as it is) simply can't cope with the instant deluge of water.

Believe it or not, what's shown in the pictures below isn't really too bad- it only rained for about 10 minutes or so and then it stopped, but look at the water level. The first pic is near the Central Market, the second one is not far from my mother in-law's apartment.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1039-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1039-800.jpg)

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1042-800) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1042-800)

Yeah, it gets kinda hairy to moto around when it rains. :(



Kids and Motos
Kids learn to hang on at an early age. Helmets are optional at best for them. Yuo'll often see kids who are 1 year old or so, standing up holding the handlebars or sitting in the driver's lap.

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1148-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1148-800.jpg)





October 8th - Pre-return

Sakha bought some ginormous bundles of dried fish, balut, and other horrible, horrible things to bring back.

Balut is a duck egg with the baby duck inside. Ewwww. You open it and there's the beak, eyes, etc. EWWWWW. It's supposed to be a delicacy, but I can't eat it. I can't even look at it. Ewww, ewww, ewww.

"Prohoc" is another Cambodian food that is so repulsive it may actually be regulated by the Department Of Shit You'd Never Eat. It smells like raw sewage mixed with diesel fuel and monkey piss. Fortunately Sakha doesn't buy or eat it. If anyone offers you prohoc, say "No thank you" and then leave before they open the container.

Because of the smell some hotels prohibit prohoc and Durian fruit from being brought in. Durian doesn't smell bad to me (it tastes delicious) but some people find the smell objectionable. A lot of hotels put up a picture in the lobby of the Durian fruit with the international "NO" slash across it.

So, a million billion t-shirts, a couple of phones, a metric buttload of dried fish, some keychains and fridge magnets (by request)...that's about it.

They closed the machine gun range so we can't go there like we were planning to. :( :(

Instead, I'm meeting my buddy at high noon at the Heart Of Darkness bar on Pasteur street for a couple of drinks. It's supposed to be a badass gangster bar, a hangout for Khmer mafia, smugglers, forgers, pimps, dope dealers, republicans, etc etc. We'll see. :)



The Heart Of Darkness bar

The &%$# bar was closed. Well, not actually. It was "open", but they don't let people in until the nighttime. Seriously, that's what the security guard at the front door told us. We could only come in after 6 or 7 pm (it wasn't totally clear).  EDIT: 9pm

So we sat outside at another bar across the street (20 feet away, lol) and drank beer and ate french fries (err, "chips"). The girl that served us drinks and chips at this other bar was maybe 9 or 10 and was obviously the owner's daughter. She ran the tabs, delivered food and drink, tallied receipts, etc etc. She couldn't understand why they don't let children work in bars in the US.

We sat and drank and watched the Heart Of Darkness and no one went in or out the whole time. So color me confused. They were open, but not for people, or they were closed, but with the doors fully manned. Hmmmmm.

The bar where we sat was frequented by roving pairs of some extraordinarily lovely ladies looking for barung (foreigners) and happy to sit and chat. They were "open for business" if you know what I mean and I think you do. And truly, they were breathtakingly beautiful. If I was young and single, or even just single....

So we killed some time there, wiped away the tears, and went to have my sister in-law's first-ever birthday party at Tonle Bassac. She was radiant in a beautiful black dress and we all had a great time. I'll try to post some pics of her and the party.  When we brought out the cake (purchased from a specialty shop) we were almost too full to have any. But we persevered and choked some down. :)


Smey's birthday party....

My sister in-law turned 30 and we had her first birthday party ever. We all met up at Tonle Bassoc (http://tonlebassac.com/), a huge buffet that is one of the best places to eat in the entire country.

First pic: my step-mom, my nephew "Bun Quan", the birthday girl "Smey", my brother-in-law "Ravi"

And yes, I was the one who brought the Groucho glasses to Cambodia. They were a huge hit (I brought 5 pairs, lol) We wore them all over the place and it was a hoot. I can imagine some of the people that only caught a glance of us; they probably got home and went, "Honey, ohmygod, you would NOT believe the size of the nose I saw on this foreigner today!! It was THIS BIG!!"

(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1365-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1365-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1374-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1374-800.jpg)


(http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1352-800.jpg) (http://discoverseattle.net/cambodia/IMG_1352-800.jpg)




Girl Shirts EVERYWHERE
There's a huge deal here with what are called "girl shirts", which are, not surprisingly, shirts that young women wear. They all have slogans on them, which is what makes them "girl shirts" (guys almost never wear these shirts). I've been noting some of the slogans and list a few of them here for your edification. These are just a few, there are hundreds and hundreds that I've seen.

Single On Fridays
Better Than Your Girl
Sleep With Me Before Morning
So Lovely, So Lonely
Pretty Pretty Pretty
Lick Below This Line (with a horizontal line at the midriff)
Low Hourly Rates
Yes I Do / Yes I Will
Hardware (lettered across the breastline)
Good Bad Girl
Bad Good Girl
Good Kiss
Bounce Time Best Time
CHEATER
Excitement Make Me Faint
Front Back Top Bottom
This Side Down
Cannot Bear To Love
Waiting And Waiting
Many Fantastics
0 to 60 At Night
No Need Ring
No Money, No Honey (classic shirt)


*cough* So, I think you get the idea. I'm guessing that these girls' parents don't speak/read English or NO WAY could they leave the house wearing these.


Home Again, Home Again....

The flight back was great. The plane was only about half-full and it was easy to find full rows of seats 3 or 4-across that you could lay down and sleep in. And that's exactly what we did. I slept for about 7~8 hours of the 12-hour flight, Sakha slept for almost 10. She woke up and saw there were only about 2 hours left and she practically did a happy-dance right there in the aisle.

When the plane is only half-full the meal service goes much faster, the flight attendants are happier, and you don't have that packed-in-a-sardine-can feeling.

So...........there ya have it. All in all a fun trip. :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Gopher on Nov 06 12 02:40
Any equivalent boy shirts? Thanks for all the above - glad to have you back.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 06 12 05:38
Any equivalent boy shirts? Thanks for all the above - glad to have you back.

Thanks, it's good to be back. :)

No, there aren't really any equivalent shirts for guys that I saw.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: Russ on Dec 12 12 12:05
Was a good read TB. Some of the comments made me laugh, and some of the things you mentioned made me smile at similar memories.


I got fined, well my company did I guess, when I was in China at a hotel.. and decided to try durian fruit in my room.


Glad you had a good trip. And a big congrats on the name changes and documents for your wife.
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: P.C. on Jan 18 13 08:39
Priceless.  As always.


Hi everyone.  :)
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 15 16 09:43
A few boring vids from my most recent trip.

https://youtu.be/2Q82mNzGDqM

https://youtu.be/4APD1MSXbpU

https://youtu.be/fPufoQxqF7U
Title: Re: My Trip To Cambodia
Post by: TehBorken on Nov 15 16 09:45
You know, it's been almost 10 years since my first trip, and I have to say things couldn't have worked out better. Sakha and I are as happy as I can be, her sister is now here and happily married, and mom is here as well.