Sunday, December 05, 2004

Happier day 

It's a new day, as far as I can tell. After blogging yesterday I returned to the hotel and R and I had a pretty quiet dinner. Lost in our thoughts. A few games of double solitaire started to draw us out of our melancholy, but when someone threw in "Super Size Me", well, I was back to giggling. I finished myself off by putting "Anchorman" in after and I made it into bed in a relatively decent mood. Unfortunately, there was some commotion in the hallway around 4am (our walls keep out no sounds. We can hear the rats outside trying to find out who moved their cheese). I asked R what time it was. She probably said 4, but I heard "12:20". Odd. Rolling over in the stereotypical method of returning to sleep, paranoia set in. I became convinced that fighting was erupting again and that our hotel (set way off the beaten path, stuck at the end of an alley hidden away) was being over run with Khmer Rouge soldiers. Sweating profusely I wisely said nary a word to R, but instead lay awake in terror until either the sounds subsided or I went back to sleep. Either way, not a lot of fun.

Maybe all that shlup combined is what prodded me into waking up in a cranky mood. Walking around the city didn't really improve that foul mood. It didn't make it worse, but, you know. You don't? Oh. The main issue is more having too many options I want to take right now and not knowing which is the front runner/best. I know, my life is hard. But this time it kinda is.

Here's a quick rundown of this city and some things we noticed today:

Most of Asia seems preoccupied with glossing over the bad/dirty with a veneer of nice. Efforts aren't always sufficient, but cleanliness is abundant. Walking toward our sights for the day, R commented that she doesn't feel as safe here as she did elsewhere, and not as safe as she did earlier in our time here (yesterday's killing field stories and the possibility of ex-KR's walking around unknown are definitely a part of that). A part of that is that it seems the need for that clean veneer is not needed here. Garbage lies strewn about all over, its scent wafting around in the heat. The buildings are rundown; although places we saw in China were pretty hard-up, it's not the same here. It seems worse.

There are homeless/poor all over. Many are missing limbs. There are a lot of kids. I have gotten pretty good at ignoring beggars, but when one guy comes up to you on crutches missing his left leg smiling at you and proferring muffled pleas, while behind him on a ratty old food cart looking thing a guy with no legs and almost no torso (is that the right word? it sounds wrong) tries to arm-push his way over to you.....it's hard as shit to look away and not stop.

Then you remember-2 in 7 Cambodians were killed in a 4-year period....

oof. Ok, the chills and despair from yesterday are not gone yet.

The streets are chaos. I think they are more chaotic than even China was. The irony is, I feel that crossing major streets here is easier than back home (though I am used to playing 'frogger').

There seems to be more repressed rage or despair or negativity here than there was in Siem Reap. But then it all started here, and many people after the 'end' came here to get out of the unpopulated places for a bit of an increase in security.

Enough. Too many whirling thoughts still. The sun is about to set, and they are stunning here. Last night's was the best sunset I've seen in a long time.

Peace out

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com