Monday, February 19, 2007

Cambodia (Llama)

I've returned from Cambodia. Some of you might not have even known I was going... if so, you need to sign up for my new "telepathic" blog. I was thinking about the trip for weeks beforehand; those of you who can read my mind would have known this...

Anyway, it was a busy, busy time. I was originally scheduled to be there for four days, but it kept getting pushed back so that I actually stayed for 11... working 12 hours each day. It was very busy and quite stressful, at times. I'm glad to be back here in Bangkok.

I was in Pnohm Phen. Very interesting place. It was the land of So... just a bunch of So's everywhere... writing bicycles and motorbikes, cooking meals, fixing computers. It was sort of surreal. None of them had a hick Louisiana accent though. At least not that I could tell. Oddly, though, I think the original So would be a giant in this land. So's a pretty big guy; even before he joined the army he was sizable. Broad. Not small. These Cambodians? Pretty tiny. Decades of poverty and malnutrition will do that to you, I guess.

Cambodia, for the most part, uses the US dollar as it's currency. I didn't expect that. The official currency is the rien. The conversion rate is 1 dollar = 4,000 rien. The rien is pretty much just used for transactions smaller than 1 dollar. ATM's dispense dollars, not rien. There are no coins, it's all bills. The smallest I saw was 100 rien. Though I only stayed in the capital city, others report to me that this dollar usage is prevalent even in the more rural areas.

The government is pretty much worthless. The entire system is corrupt. Even the police are for sale; if you are approached by the police, they'll ask for a bribe. Pay them and they'll leave you alone. Pay them more and they'll arrest the guy that accused you. A couple of policemen were charged with murder. Their trial was scheduled for a couple of weeks ago. There was a story in the newspaper that they didn't show up to the trial. The reason? They were too busy to attend a trial. Another story... a fellow was driving his motorbike the wrong way down the street ( a common event, btw... there are no stop signs, very few traffic lights, and people just drive wherever they can... even on the wrong side of the road). This fellow has an accident and falls off his bike. The police start to come, presumably to give him a ticket for driving on the wrong side of the road. A mob of people then proceed to surround the guy and chase the police off. The idea that police intervention might be a good thing never crossed their minds, apparently.

Dogs... lots of dogs. Couldn't tell if they were stray or not. What was odd was that most of them were mutts... street dogs. But not mutts like I am used to seeing... that shepherd/labrador based mix of short hair, brown or black, long snouts, maybe 18 to 24 inches tall. These mutts looked like a pack of horny pickanese had run rampant through the city. Probably half of them had those short snouts, long hair, and fangy teeth that stick out from their lips, and nearly all were short and long like a hot dog. It was odd.

I had many observations to write about, but that's all I remember for now. Hopefully it'll suffice.



pacatrue said...

Ummm... so what'd you do while there?

-E said...

a whole land of Sos??? little tiny minature Sos?
i think that might have freaked me out a little bit.

Killer Llama said...

Wake up between 7:00 and 7:30, eat breakfast, walk to work, arriving between 8 and 9, stay till about 8:00 each night, come back to the hotel, eat dinner, work till about 11:00, go to sleep, repeat...

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