Monday, June 11, 2007

more kampot

kampot is dead, dead hot.

i decided that when i return people will take a look at my lack of tan and ask what i've been doing for the past 8 months (cos of course all there is to do here is sun-bathe). So now that i am OFFICIALLY on holiday i decided to take myself and my book (a pilfered cop of 'Guns, Germs and Steel: a history of everyone for the past 13,000 years' by Jared Diamond) down to the riverside, to sit in the grass and bake myself.

i was put out somewhat by the appearance of an aging local man who felt the need to tell me it was hot (he pointed at the sun and his head and said 'g'dal' - 'hot') so i nodded and replied 'g'dal na!' (very hot) and returned to my book. Then he kept trying to get my attention and repeating that it was hot. So, when I tired of agreeing with him, i tried to ignore him and continued to read my book. I was again put of by him spitting in the ground near me. this spitting seemed to pick up in regularity, and i noticed chatter, but i tried not to look up as i didn;'t want to get involved in a conversation about the weather (or possibly my wife/girlfriend/prospects thereof). Eventually temptation was too much and 8 or 9 Khmer guys were just sitting around watching me. I tried to continue reading but found it difficult knowing so many eyes were on me. eventually they left.

I got back into reading my book when I heard 'hello,sir!' which is the commonest war cry of the motodop. Eyes down to continue reading. 'hello, sir!' again, but this time from a lesser distance. I'd decided that i couldn't ignore this guy so I looked up and said hello. He had a book with him and asked if he could talk with me. This is almost certainly the sign of an English student. I decided to indulge him, it turns out he was reading a book for his class called 'Cry Freedom' Which I've never read but seemed to be about an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa who (i think) was beaten to death in the cells. I asked the young Khmer Guy - named Vanna- if he knew about South Africa. He didn't even know where it was. so I gave him a vague background and tried to explain apartheid. He asked me to help explain some of the words in the book and I tried, but explaining what a 'Liberal' is to someone over here is pretty difficult. These guys exist in a quasi-anrachist, ultra-conservative, pseudo-democracy.

So to explain to him the conventional meaning of a Liberal when he live sin a society where you can do anything you want, even though elected officials, and officially oppointed judges have made laws which you may glady break, unless a police officer decides they want to arrest you either for breaking a law or not breaking a law, but only so they can exploit you for money and without your possesions until you pay up, and in a country where many things which are not against the law are big taboos.. well.. i found it difficult.

He told me about a pop concert that was happening in the town that very night. So i sais I'd go along and maybe I'd see him there. The concert was a free promotional thing dubbed the "Anchor Rave Tour" (Anchor is one of the most popular beers here, along with Angkor..) featuring singer from Phnom Penh! Wow!

The venue was one side of the main round-a-bout in town, they just took over one side of the street. When I turned up a typically dull khmer pop singer was onstage with the bargain bin choreographed dancers behind her. The scene itself was far more engaging. Dozens of food stalls had appeared, even an ice cream van! there were people with some sort of ballooon-bursting competition stalls, and there was a general carnival atmosphere. Though in a reserved khmer way. After one pop performer the compéres got some people out of the crowd (some boys, some girls, though of course the girls took a lot of coaxing on to the stage, being considerably more shy than the males) to do 'western-style disco-dancing' in a competition. the winners (or maybe all competitors- i couldn't identify any winners) received 2 anchor glasses and an anchor t-shirt. each!

I left the pop concert early as I was so tired i could barely stand up.

and now I am staying on a spare bad at a bar called Comfortably Numb.
See you soon kiddy winks!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home