Friday, July 2, 2010

Tidbits

Kampot

Cale brought me this drink. On the back it comforts me by saying:

"The appearance of milk particles in this product is natural and does not affect the quality. Contains permitted food additives of non-animal origin."

Ok. First of all, "milk particles?" What the hell is a milk particle? Second, it is called Melon Milk and there are cows pictured on the front, why would I be concerned to find milk inside? Also, why would milk be associated with lower quality? Finally, "non-animal origin?" Can I assume that is the melon portion of the Melon Milk or are we talking about something more sinister here?

Also, I suppose you would not be surprised to discover the above item looked like green milk. It didn't taste too bad. I liked the Winter Melon Tea better.

A constant theme on this trip is that Cale and I are ok-sized white people. People in Lauren's village said we were appropriately sized. A kid in Kampong Trach wanted us to know that he saw Americans when the Navy medical ship came and they were too "long." He said this in comparison to us. We, apparently, are not too long. The waitresses at the Warehouse in Siem Reap were surprised to learn we were Americans. Since we weren't fat they had assumed we were English or Australian. When the learned we were Americans they said that were a good size, not tall or fat like the other ones.

Quote of the day from Cale (in reference to scantily-clad, skinny tourist), "What's nice to look at is not always nice to squeeze." Sara questions which one she is. Answer? "I'll squeeze you with the lights on."

Construction practices in Cambodia are awesome. First you need to create a forest of bamboo to hold up the concrete form for the second floor. Then you need to have a guy on the ground toss bricks one at a time to a guy on the second floor. If you are a particularly good brick tosser you can do it by snagging the brick with a stick and lobbing it up two or three stories. If you have to get a particularly heavy thing up several floors? Try rigging a pulley and having two guys on the ground take off running with the end of the rope.

Winnie the pooh is huge, I mean HUGE, in Thailand and Cambodia. Do you know why?

It seems to be a rule that at a certain age a Cambodian grandma just begins chewing things in her free time. Apparently it is usually
betel nut. Grandma's in Cambodia are old. Really, really old. I have no idea what their actual age is, but time has not been kind to these women. Their faces are worn and wrinkled like crumpled paper. More often then not they have no teeth. One grandma (that's honestly what all old women are called, at a certain age they refer to themselves as grandma) we saw at a bus stop was chewing on something. Because she lacked teeth her entire face would collapse in on itself and shrink in size by more than half as she brought her gums together, it was amazing. However, the best was the grandma at the Phnom Penh bus station who had herself an external chewing device. Because she lacked teeth she would put the item she wanted to chew in her mouth and sort of work it around a bit and then take it out and insert it into some sort of nutcracker-looking item and grind it almost mindlessly while she worked another wad around in her mouth. After a while, she would switch.

Things Cale said about Kampot that I forgot to include in the Kampot blog entry:


"It's been easier to be here I think than anywhere we've ever been."

"How can you not like this. There's a mountain with a cloud toupe and a cow family out for a walk."


Speaking of cows out for a walk. Some cows are free range cows, meaning they seem to just wander all over (including down the middle of national highways). Some cows, on the other hand, need to be taken for walks. You can moto down the road and see people out walking their cows the way people walk their dogs in the States. I doubt they pick up the poop though.

One industrious kid walked the riverfront in Kampot with a scale one night. He was so popular! For 200 riel you could weigh yourself. It was in kilos, but Pat the Aussie's cellphone converter claimed it said I weighed 116. Not only is this kid making bank weighing people, but he is making them happy because his scales are off! There is no way I weigh less than 120 right now, probably 125.

Darren threw a double, double bullseye while we were playing darts. He named it the vampire robin hood.

Kampot

In Cambodia, you can pee anywhere. If you are offended by the sight of men peeing on the sides of roads, buildings, trees, light posts, bushes, or just in the open; you might want to keep your eyes closed all the time.

Another quote from Cale: "This country I will remember as the squeaky toy country." Throughout Cambodia there are people who come around collecting your recyclables (and possibly other useful trash). They all indicate their presence by constantly squeezing a squeaky toy as they walk or moto by. There are lots of them.

A quote from Sara from 8 June: "What's today? July?"

More later

— Sara

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