Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello from Kampon Chhnang, Cambodia!

Hello all!

Well, I'm finally here! It's raining here in Kampong Chhnang. It does that alot. But it's cool coz I'm already soaked through with sweat anyway. It's been an amazing experience so far! Our accomodations have been relatively posh (reminds me a bit of the ol Noble Hotel in Lander) but we will be moving out to host families in two days. The language training is going nicely and I'm learning quite a bit. I can order food, ask where the bathroom is, introduce myself and tell folks where I'm from and talk about my family. The food is one of the best parts here. I can eat like a king for 5000 riel...about $1.25. We got a bit of a tourist markup from one restaurant but when we considered that it amounted to around a quarter, it was hard to get upset. Only one bummer so far. I had my nice leatherman tool out to repair a fellow trainee's jacket zipper and left it on my table. This was an error in judgement as the next day after returning from class it was gone. Chalk it up to a learning experience!

Today we did a practice run to the market here in KC. I'll have to take some pictures of a market someplace because words won't do it proper justice. Try to picture Blade Runner without all the skyscrapers and flying cars and you'll get an idea.

Speaking of flying cars, the traffic here is something else. Most people get around on scooters called Motos and there are apparently only suggested rules for driving. While there are plenty of accidents to be had, mostly this chaotic ballet of busses, trucks cars, motos, Tuk Tuks (little motorcycle drawn carriages) and bicyclists is managed quite normally by everyone. This may be the only place I've ever been that the horn was used to simply announce that you were approaching instead of an attack on a fellow motorist.

I'll try to get my crap together and post some photos soon. Right now I'm still living out of a suitcase and have no room to set up the computer and what not. Besides, packing and unpacking things is a pain in the ass!

I'll get into some of the people stuff on my next couple of posts. There are some really fine people here with me ás well as those helping us to learn the languages and the customs.

All in I said, it's a crazy, awesome overload of the senses!

When next you hear from me I'll have transitioned to my host family where I'll stay for the remainder of the training period.

Good times!!


Friday, July 18, 2008

11th hour and all's well...mostly

Hello all!

Well, this is it. Tomorrow I take off to San Francisco and begin my twenty seven month odyssey to southeast Asia.

The car is sold (got a good price too!)

The bags are packed (They are 1.3 lbs under the weight limit!)

I've tied up all the loose ends I could think of...I hope...

I got to see The Dark Knight today (you owe it to yourself to see one of the finest performances in a movie. Heath Ledger is disturbingly brilliant.)

I ate a great big ol steak at Outback with my Mom. (served to us by freaking Rain Man)

And now I lay comfortably chilling out in bed. The noisy barking dogs erasing any anxiety I may have had about the trip (Makes me look forward to being in Cambodia!)

I hope to keep on posting, hopefully with value added, entertaining posts.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Five days to Go!

Hello all! Five days to go and I'm getting down to the final stages of packing. The only item of unfinished business seems to be selling the car. Who would've thought that it would be this tough to sell a car in Bristol. It has all the new technology like radial tires, FM radio, even that new fangled unleaded gas. Oh well, in a couple of days, if it still hasn't been sold, I'll be driving down to Carmax to turn it into some quick cash. Beyond that, it's all about trying to keep the bag weights down and making it easy for things to be shipped to me after the fact. Haven't been doing much language study in the past several weeks. I guess I'll be hitting the flashcards pretty hard on the plane!

Next post will be from San Francisco!

Chat at ya soon!


Quick Hit #5: Effing Cigars

If you've ever found yourself out in public, and you've thought "you know, I'm just not being enough of an A-hole." simply light up a cigar. Problem solved.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

From Fine Wine to the Firing Line...

Hello friends (especially any new friends from my Cambodia PC group)!

I have just returned from a whirlwind tour of Northern VA and Maryland. It was nice to get together with Rick and Jenny once more before I took off on the great adventure! This was a long weekend of great food, great wine (so they tell me), five round bursts and narrow escapes!

Everything started with a afternoon tour of the Maryland wine country. Both Rick and Jenny embrace wine as a hobby. Their near religious appreciation for the excellent vintages was offset nicely by my heathen ignorance as we sauntered from vineyard to vineyard bringing a little madness to the haute couture. As we tasted the grapes, some sour, some sweet, a disturbing pattern began to emerge. Apparently, young ladies that pour wine at tastings (R and J would know some nifty wine-person title for them) are especially susceptible to ill fortune. One poor girl told the story of the runaway fiance that left her with semi-fond memories and a nice ring. At a later stop, another known only as Sweet Katherine told us, in her super-hyper manner, that her fiance (I think the Maryland word for boyfriend) was interested only in her "benefits". Sweet K went on to say that she was available to come with me to Cambodia (R and J loved sharing my plans, especially to Sweek K) and that she could keep the shop open until 9 if we wanted to stay. R and J snickered and turned the knife by suggesting a group photo with Katherine. After, there were many comments along the lines of "Sweet Katherine wants to give you her benefits" which to be fair, seemed none too benevolent. One got the impression that while she was tending the shop, somewhere nearby three goats were crossing her bridge unmolested.

The other highlight of this awesome trip was a trip with R and J to their gun club. There I was introduced to the finer points of the Glock 19, the H&K .45 and 9mm. I really thought I was doing pretty well. Most of my shots were grouped in a nice little six inch circle at 25 feet. After about fifty rounds I stood back to appreciate my handiwork and quickly had my baloon deflated as I watched Jenny put round after round nearly on top of each other. Freaking Lethal Weapon man! Give this girl a few more months and she'll be on the damn Olympic team!

All in all, it was a great weekend. It really was great food, great drink (does PBR make a Merlot?) and especially great friends. Now, it's time for me to put the finishing touches on my packing and get accquainted with my new friends in Cambodia group #2!!

Till next time!