Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Fourth


I am playing hide-and-seek with the rain. I am hiding in what is fast becoming a constant in my Sunday routine: Java Cafe, where I can savor a proper Italian, but wholly American-priced, cappuccino, reliable internet, and a fennel and poppy seed baguette.

Today is July 4th, a day usually spent watching fireworks displays with a barbecued-something in hand. And, in various parts of Phnom Penh and in equally varied ways, celebrations are slated. Despite the comical allure of a very American celebration at the US Embassy (think: grilling hot dogs and hamburgers on the US Embassy lawn with an American quartet singing in the background, or so I've been promised), I passed, opting instead to attend a small get-together, thrown, incidentally, by non-American expats (Canadians or British maybe, I'm not so sure)-- that is, if I can get everything sorted out in time to attend.

Early tomorrow morning, I leave with two colleagues for the Prey Lang forest, via a six hour bumpy bus ride north, a two hour speedboat up the Mekong River, and then another hour or two journey into the deep jungle. My ikat sarong is packed -- I will need it to bathe in a pond -- as is a very safari-looking hat that makes me wince, two bottles of mosquito repellent, a can of sunscreen spray, and my anti-malaria pills. I still have to pack, thoughtfully: I've been cautioned not to wear anything that will "distract" the locals. I will be there for a week to meet, and work with, indigenous communities who have been trained on relevant aspects of Cambodian land law. This should be interesting.

Happy Fourth! See you next week.

5 comments:

  1. I also went to a very comfy and over-priced coffee shop today in Nouakchott! Although I am envious of the fennel and poppy baguette and the internet access... I hope you have a brilliant week ahead- sounds like a challenge as well as a perfect reminder of the reason you gave up everything you left behind!

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  2. Looking forward to your stories from the upcoming week...

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  3. beautiful, you are such an amazing writer

    home business

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  4. so glad to hear you've found a reliable cappucino :)

    i hope you enjoyed your 4th...i remember feeling extra homesick the first time i missed an america-only holiday while abroad. glad you had some expat friends to celebrate with!! miss you.

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  5. Delia: I go back and forth about how much to write about my work, but, yes, last week was a big exclamation point in this experience. The villagers were kind. They took us into their homes. I felt very lucky.

    Stela: Thanks.

    Becki: My 4th was spent packing and preparing, so there wasn't as much celebration as I had wished. Miss you too, dear friend!

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