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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Amnesia and Annoyance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I leaned back in the bamboo chair and took in the half spectacular and half disgusting view of Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The orange sun, huge and fierce and setting slowly over the horizon, was beautiful.  The small mountains of garbage and debris on the banks were less so.  I was less conflicted about the heaving mass of pale flesh and babbling idiocy next to me.

"So, where you guys from anyway?"

We looked at each other.  There was a collective sigh.

"We already told you.  He's from Alaska.  We're from California."

She nodded with what appeared to be an attempt at brevity, and then wobbled a bit, not an easy feat to accomplish while sitting, and came dangerously close to falling on me.  She caught herself at the last moment.

"Thank Christ," I muttered.

"Well, I'm from England," she exclaimed proudly.

"We know.  You told us, remember?"  Bryan offered helpfully.

"I did?"

"You did."

The guest house balcony was playing "Buffalo Soldier" from Bob Marley's greatest hits album.  It was probably the 4th or 5th time we had heard it that day.  I think it may have been the only CD they had.  I wished desperately for something louder, angrier, less conducive to conversation.

The bottle of Black Cat whiskey was passed around again.  I couldn't quite put my finger on whether it tasted like formaldehyde or vinegar.  The answer may have been both.  According to local street wisdom, Black Cat could sometimes provide hallucinogenic visions.  From what we could understand, this was less by design, and more due to a standard of quality control that could be best described as...lax.  In short, each bottle was different, even if it originated from the same lot.  Whatever the case, the visions weren't coming fast enough to make her entertaining.  Or cute.

"So, where you guys from?"

Bryan couldn't help himself.  "Oh, Jesus Christ!"

She looked taken aback.  Leaning her bulk towards Travis and I, close enough to smell the reek of alcohol and sweat, she gave a stage whisper.  "Your friend isn't very nice!"

Travis and I nodded with some sympathy.  "Yeah, he's from the Ukraine.  People aren't very nice there."

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11 comments:

Jen said...

Not all English people are crazy...just saying :)

also, do you often drink formaldehyde?

Alison said...

Thanks. Nice bit of anglophobic sentiment there. can't wait for my visit now. How do you know she kept asking you the same thing 20 times? You probably just couldn't understand what she was saying, you do speak Americanese after all.

And yes jen it would seem he does drink formaldehyde on a regular basis, or at least when in Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

How cheeky of you to leave out the rest of the story. Here you go: "After a few more generous swigs of Black Cat, however, her bulges slowly transformed into alluring curves, her alcoholic scent became deliciously intoxicating, and her wobble morphed into a seductive sway. In short, she became my vision.

The next morning I awoke face down on a strange floor to a relentless ache raging a massive assault on my head and liver. A sharp pain was shooting through my calf and my mouth tasted like I had drank a gallon of the filthy river water. I heard my name.

"Martin. MARTIN. Rise and shine!" Travis was kicking my leg. "The
"Ukraine" and I got you some coffee. Although, you're probably gonna need some more of that Black Cat when we fill you in on how we were unable to prevent the uhhh, "tango," you and your new "friend" did last night. Sorry bro."

Venom said...

Hahahah, holy crap, I hope that Anonymous' hasn't let the cat out of the bag there. Not to worry, it's happened to plenty of guys who drink formaldehyde, I'm sure.

Cambodia - hmmm, don't they have extensive "herbal alternatives" to bad tasting liquor which might make you blind?

Yukon Brooks said...

Remember when we convinced her that if she ran fast enough that she would be able to pass through the fridge and that owner of the place got all pissed because she almost knocked the fucking thing over? THAT was priceless.

Bryan Schatz said...

LOL, I had totally forgotten all of this. She tried to literally run THROUGH the refrigerator. This brings me back Martin, thanks. To venom: Cat's still in the bag, no sloppy formaldehyde sex on that evening.

Lady of The Manor said...

Ah...the joys of an inebriated British girl. Try dancing in a sweaty club packed to the walls with them. That was my weekend. Eugh.

Alison said...

As a frequently inebriated British girl I apologise - to Lady of the Manner, and the world at large, I'm sorry.
Though to my knowledge I have not tried to run through a fridge.

Kat Argonza said...

Fatties trying to hit on the Schatz-man, eh? haha.

She should have gotten you tequila instead.

MKL said...

Oh, Ukraine is huge and there are so many friendly people. Maybe not in Kiev, but definitely in the small towns and villages around the country. Just sayin' ;)

Martin said...

Jen - Often? No. But sometimes.

Alison - Believe me. She asked the same questions non-stop. She must not have liked our answers...

Clara - Thanks for that. *shivers*

Venom - I believe that may...and no, "Anonymous" is talking crazy here.

Bryan/Yukon - I had completely forgotten about that. But it was awesome.

LOTM - Sorry to hear.

Alison - Your apology is noted and remembered for future blackmail.

Riley - Not even tequila would have worked.

MKL - Disagree. Everyone in the Ukraine is unfriendly. EVERYONE.

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