28.01.2013 - 28.01.2013
MONDAY, January 28th
Today… another day in Paradise. I rode my bicycle to ACODO this morning, knowing there are very few of these days left. I tried to take in this memory so I can relive it in the cold of winter when I get home. I turn right as I leave the hotel, checking to slot in between tuc-tucs, motor bikes and many bicycles also heading in that direction, plus a few going the other way on that side of the road. Today there are cattle: Bulls and water buffalo - I'll get behind rather than in front of them! I must avoid the red dusty clay – it brakes the bicycle. There is the sound of Cambodian music – chimes, soft gongs and singing: a wedding or honoring the dead- I still confuse the two. Once I pass the crocodile farm, there is the smell of roasting bananas and other breakfast food: local people sit at small metal tables beside my riding trail, and eat a simple breakfast before heading to their daily tasks. On the opposite side a backhoe grinds and scoops at the riverbed. The government has ta Mken to widening it to accommodate the devastating yearly flooding. Last year the orphanage and many other places in the area flooded for 4 months. I pass a beer packing plant, which means pulling out onto the road to pass 2 or 3 large trucks that men are loading with cases of beer. Then the blind T junction – I listen for the blaring horn of a car or bike, that announce, “Someone is coming through – Get out of the way!”
Approaching ACODO on the right, there is always a child or two at the gate watching to see who is arriving. “Hello, teacha!” “Good morning, teacha!” is heard many times over as I park my bicycle near the classroom. One small child pulls a plastic chair over to reach the buzzer and a loud electric buzzer announces that the first class is about to begin. My kindergarten class has forgiven me for my serious talk the other day. All stand and chime in, “Good morning, teacha. How are you today?..... And so starts another day.
The day goes smoothly- a joy to teach here! 2 classes, then breakfast at the lovely 2 star hotel (I give it 3 more stars for friendliness.) Back for another 1-hour class, then I bicycle into town- things to be done. I return for 2 more classes with the older students, but I will not be able to stay for the performance this evening.
“Auntie”, as Khemera says, asked me a few days ago: “Do you want to go to Rosana Musical. It is gay show. Many beautiful, beautiful men. Do you know what gay is?” Khemera is going, and Jasmine and the Aussie volunteer, Sonia, as well as another hotel employee, Thom. We get ready, then meet in the lobby. We pile into a tuc-tuc, in high spirits, ready for a fun evening. The venue is very grand. We are given a large glass of drink, and led to the VIP seats in the front of the theatre.
When we descend the long staicase, all the “girls” are there to greet and wave goodbye to the patrons. I am asked if I want my picture with a scary pink-cheeked plumpish dumpling of a ‘girl.’ “Of course!” The picture is taken, then I have to fish in my bag for a U.S. dollar for each. The rest of my group has deserted me! Our tuc-tuc driver has waited for us. We all tumble in and laugh till we cry as we recount the numbers! Home again. Home again. We all have to work early!