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.


  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!

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

  3. beautiful, you are such an amazing writer

    home business

  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.

  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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