Friday, December 29, 2006


there's not a hell of a lot going on in senmonorom at the moment.
the orean christans were still here yesterday, i've lost count of how many days they've been here and how many little po pconcerts they've been having at the top of the hill. i considered going to the one last night but thought i'd be much better equiped to cope with it with beer inside me. A couple of days ago i moved into a khmer house on the edge of town so i can't drink at night if i want to drive a moto home. for this reason i stayed at the bar reading instead of joining my god-fearing bretheren.

last night it was hella windy. so windy my window was sucked open half a dozen times. in the night i heard a little cat voice miowing constantly. i decided to go looking for it and discovered a teeny tiny kitten stuck on a joist below my bedroom floor. i tried to prize the critter off but s/he just dug his/her claws into the wood. the kitten was in a difficult to reach place so i could only really rach it with one or the other hadn at a time. i stuggled for a little while and then noticed Sarim's (mabe 15 year old) daughter appear behind me. she quickly scrabbled up a piece of wood, grabbed the kitten and ran off into the house. leaving me feeling like a useless fool. at least it meant i could go back to sleep in peace and not worry about the teeny tiny kitten.

at the moment there's not much happenign with ELIE as we're waiting for paperwork from the government. classic beauracracy. we need signatures on 3 pieces of paper. the guy from the tourist board said we needed someone from the fire dept to sign before he could sign the 3rd paper. he also refused to sign the 2nd piece - which he had no problem with at all- until the 3rd piece was signed by the other guy. utterly pointless.

that's about all my news so far.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


For Xmas we were given 60 or so Moonies - Korean Christians, complete with guitars.
Yesterday they walked up the street from their hotel, singing and clapping, up to the traffic island where they gathered and continued to sing and clap.

No one knows why they came to the far reaches of Cambodia to be christian when they could easily have done it at home one assumes.

In recent news Jack is a ruthless cheat at scrabble using a cambination of illegal words, mis-spellings, and diversionary tactics. oh, and he makes up his own rules.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Weds 20th dec

one thing i have been doing a lot of is reading. last time i was in phnom penh i picked up at least 10 books, i've read most of them. the few i haven't read yet are pretty heavygoing and i can't really face them at the moment (one is about Kirkegaard, one is 'Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw, one is something by Isaac Bashevas Singer), so i picked up a book lying around the bar: The Art Of Travelling by Alain De Botton. Now i probably wouldn't have bothered with such a title, but I'm to some extent acquainted with De Botton's work so i had a look. The book is ace. Each chapter focusses on a place (or places) with 'guides' who have been artists, philosophers, lecturers and so on. And of course all the places feature De Botton's 1st impressions and how his perceptions were altered by considering what other people had said about the same (or similar) places. It is essentially a philosphical guide which can help us see new things and find beauty in what surrounds us every day, or can help to appreciate new things by learning skills which can help us decipher new scenes more efficiently so it is possible to appreciate something different rather than simply being overloaded with information.

I really enjoyed this book, and it actually made me think. De Botton's ideas are separate from those of our 'guides' and he tells us what effect they had on him, if any. one chapter even led me to sketch a picture.

Recently Read:
Pie Any Means Necessary - Biotic Baking Brigade: it's basically about people who have had pies thrown at them, by whom, and why. Also recipies for vegan pies (to eat or throw).

(can't remember the title) - Iain M Banks: short stories, i like iain banks' stuff and jack talked me into some of his sci-fi. he's still a good writer, i might even check out oneof his 'Culture' novels.

American Hardcore: A Tribal History - Steven Blush: i couldn't resist the cover- it had some singer with blood over his face. The writer seemed like a bit of an idiot. he repeated himself, some sentances made no sense, and he just seemed full of shit. I may be guilty of all the above but i don't have a proof-reader and i'm not charging owt. nor am i claiming to know anything about anything. If his version of the truth is anywhere near accurate then there were a lot more nazis in the (US) hardcore scene then I was aware, also homophobia was rampant. Before reading this book i had never considered Misfits a hardcore band... I still don't think they are. Nevertheless it was good to get some insight into the heritage of Hardcore, even if the author did try to playdown the fact that Minor threat were as important as they were. The book did draw my attention to some other bands, and even some documentaries that i may try to track down when i get back to the uk.

A memoir of Iris Murdoch - John Bayley: I'd never heard of this woman who apprently wrote 27 novels. Her husband wrote the book about her and their life together while she was suffering the effects of reasonably advanced Alzheimers. It was a good read, even if i felt by the end of it that neither he nor she were people that i would particularly like. They express some views that I am very much opposed to. still, it's nice to know that some people have interesting and fulfiled lives - even if i don't like those people.

A Drink With Shane MacGowan - Victoria Mary Claker & Shane MacGowan: I never got into the pogues. This book has some interesting stories but the man comes across as a racist, idiot, homophobe, and megolomaniac. She seems deeply inlove with him so i can only assume that she sees something other than these attributes or she has some masochistic mechanism within that leads to her finding the above 'qualities' desireable.

Sex Slaves - by some woman who works at Birmingham (or was it Aston?) Uni: Excellent book about people-trafficking in asia (mostly girls and young women), gives an insight into the inner working of the sex industry in different parts of asia. the lies girls and their families are fed to lead them into the industry, the coniditions their kept in, the debts that are rigged against them, they way they'rre treated by punters, the demographic of the punters. what various goverments are (not) doing about the situations, what various NGOs ae trying to do and some STI statistics. There's interviews with prostitutes, with 'Mama Sans' (who run brothels) and even a couple with punters. It explains the view of women and of prostitutes in the different cultures. At times it does read a little like the author is very angry with men in general so it may be a little difficult for some men to read- some blanket statements which are quite unfair, but at the same time understandable given what the author witnessed, and what millions of young women, and young girls (pre-teen) are forced into. Essential reading no matter what continent you are on, what gender, or sexual preference.

News about the edge of the world when I can bring myself to collate the information.

if anyone comes across a copy of 'Jack Frusciante Has Left The Band' by Enrico Brizzi feel free to send it to ELIE, PO BOX 753, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

connection sucks

It's been a while since i've posted. the internet in Senmonorom has been RUBBISH for the past few weeks. there's only one place to get online. the guy who runs it doesn't bother opening a lot of the time. and when he does open the connection often crashes for long periods of time. right now i am sitting in the only place with a connection and the guy isn't here! so i'm writing this waiting for him to show up so i can get online.

I can't remember what I last posted and i don't want to repeat myself so in this post i'm only going to say one thing that i know i haven'tmentioned in the blog. all my other antics will be included in the next post which should be in a day or two. maybe even later today- who knows?


We've been trying to get money out of the RSPA for a new truck. this might sound a bit swish and perhaps peripheral to the work we do, but without a truck we simply cannot get to the villages where the elephants are. We do havea truck but it is unreliable and relatively high maintenance. Just last week i had to go to Phnom Penh to fetch a part. It was a $28 part and it cost £20 just to get there and back, not to mention a guestguese and motos around the city. also it meant i was away from senmonorom for 2 days. the return journey took ELEVEN HOURS.#
Anwyay, the rspca have been a little reluctant to give us money. 1st they pretty much didn't believe we existed. then they said they'd send a guy from thailand to come and look at what we're doing before they would give us any money - i thought this was great and meant in effect that we were sure to get the money, otherwise they wouldn't bother wasting the money to send an elephant specialist to us. Then we got an email saying this wasn't going to happen.

INSTEAD they want to pay for us to go to thailand and check out an established elephant project their! We can learn from these guys and ask em questions and hints, and explain more fully what we're doing. our travel and accomodation is paid for - i'm not sure if that includes the visas or not, but either way it's a pretty cheap trip! we've been invited- at a time convenient for us- to stay for a week or two. this should be completely awesome. we're very excited about this for a whole host of reasons. it'll be very good for the NGO and it will help us with a number of connections. the more we show our collective face the easier things will become in the future. Also it means that i will beable to add to the0 hours i spent in thailand on the way here. woo.
also, jack has a puppy. his name is Gopher, and he's pretty much a little bastard.

all the dogs in Cambodia have really curly tails.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Quickie in phnom penh

I'm stuck in phnom Penh for qa little while. trying to sort out a new visa. i'm not going to bang on about the beauracracy of it all, though i will say that controlling the movement of people is contradictory to implicit human rights.

so we arrived in phnom penh on... wednesday i think, it was a reasonable journey if hot and dusty. i don't really remember the 1st day or 2- i didn't go out or anything i was just wiped out.

Friday night was the Elsewhwere party, it's a monthly event at some former french colonial mansion. it seemed very much like a place to be seen. i wasn't very comfortable with the atmosphere and decided I had 3 choices a)be anti-social, leave early abandoning my friends b) stick around and try not to let my misewry affect others c) get fucking drunk.... So every time i went to the bar i ordered 2 drinks - Gin and Pineapple juice goes down so very well on a warm evening. Eventually I tagged along with some poeple i barely knew to The Heart Of Darkness- this place is renowned by everyone who has been through Phnom Penh. it was alright but sort of reminded me a of a no-holds barred school disco. I sort of broke up a fight between 2 prostitutes. I told them that if they wanted to beat shit out of each other they should at least wait til i'd gotten my drink from the bar, no need for me to spill booze just cos they want to tear each other apart.

next day i was feeling the burn. severely. FAR TOO MUCH DRINK. i went to visit jack at his guesthouse where i fell asleep on a sofa, the guesthouse has a deck oonto the lake and i was EATEN ALIVE by mosquitos, i', covered in baits and look like i either have severe exzma or a severe smack habbit. either way, not V. attractive.

today i am waiyting for my visa and should hopefully be opff to SenMonorom early tomorrow morning, i'm really not lookinmg forward to the journey packed into a truck with a load of randoms. gah.

on the plus side i bought 2 new shirts today- mainl;y because i have run out of clean shirts and have no time for laundry. thery cost me $1.25 for both. not bad at all.

I was gfoing to send people postcards n shit but i forgot to bring addresses to town with me. and there's no post back in mondulkiri. so no one's getting anything

OH! ODD THING! i was browsing some CD stores in the Sorya Centre (the sole shopping mall in central Phnom Penh) and found a double CD of the new Camera Obscura album! i was dead excited cos i only have it on vinyl and hence couldn't copy it to my laptop. i was extra excited cos there's twice as many tracvks on the cd1 as there are on the vinyl album PLUS a whole other cd. i asked how much and the woman said two dollars. she must've seen the shock on my face cos she went on to explain that the readon it was $2 was because it was 2 cds... she was sorry it was expensive.... double album for a quid???! yes please! then when i listened to the 1st ced, it turns out the 2nd half is a fucking snow patrol album!! fucking snow patrol! i have no idea why. i saw all the song titles i didn't know and thought i had a load of b-sides or something but no, pissing snow patrol. i haven't had the3 heart to try the 2nd cd yet...

right, i'm not sure what i'm doing for the rest of the day but i think i'm going to try to find someone to share the back seat of a car to phnom penh with...