Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monsoons and Muggings, Revisited

via Deka Ray (found via Search Party)

I once had a slight obsession with monsoons and muggings in Cambodia, a fear that influenced nearly all of my packing decisions for my move. Let me tell you that what they say about torrential rain is true, all true. I realized this a few weeks ago, as Rachel, Thida, and I waded through the knee-high waters that consumed the streets of the city. On more than one ocassion, I have been held captive by the strong winds and the rain raging outside. And the other day, I purchased a "raincoat," a thin coat of clear plastic with a spray of bright yellow polkadots on it. (Becki and Cherlou, it is truly pictureworthy.) Clearly, I am adapting.

On the topic of muggings, people warned me not to bring any "nice" jewelry, not to carry a purse at night, and not to draw attention to myself otherwise. Earlier this month, Rachel and I laughed about this proffered advice (apparently, it reached those coming from the UK, as well), commenting on how silly it was.

This week, Rachel was mugged. They took her purse, her cell phone, and all the money she had on her, approximately $60 USD. This was a pity for obvious reasons, but moreso because Rachel has spent nearly 8 months of crime-free existence in Phnom Penh. She returns to London in less than two months.

Over time, this city can lull you into a false sense of safety. Just when you let your guard down . . .

That said, however, I will take my chances. Sure, I will take precautions when galavanting in the evenings, but I miss jewelry. That simple: I miss piling it on. I feel bare. It is one of the small things that reminds me of "me," though I admit that these days I look in the mirror, at the brown skin and the once-prominent freckles that now nearly blend in, and wonder who exactly that is.

Sorry, mum.

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