Friday, January 28, 2011

It's a little too good.

I've been thinking all day about how I'm going to write this post. I've been aching to write something more about Phnom Penh but I'm hesitant because I don't want it to be too showy. I don't want it to be too happy. I know not everyone is as lucky (and ridiculous) as I am, and many people don't have the luxury of this much time to travel. But I can't let that take away from the fact I am on, without a doubt, the most amazing adventure of my lifetime.

I've been so lazy here in Phnom Penh. Today I woke up at 12pm. In all fairness I don't have any time telling devices since I lost my iPod and left the lads. The room was pitch black, I had no chance! So, I didn't do the killing fields today. I think it's really important I do see them before I go to the orphanage. I think it'll give me even more perspective and understanding of the Khmer regime.

I must say this without sounding up myself or arrogant. I would describe myself as of average attractiveness in New Zealand. I do okay, and that's fine by me. But here in Asia, most specifically Cambodia, I am a novelty. When I walk down a street, almost every single guy who notices me will follow me with his eyes as long as he can. Most of them will call out something to get my attention, I just smile and say hello and keep on my merry way. It's very flattering, and it makes me blush. I end up just walking around with a constant smile on my face and acknowledge every single person my path crosses. It makes my tummy nervous in a good way.

Today I went on a little adventure. I finally checked out the Russian markets and bought two pairs of Ray Bans - one red, one black. I spent a few hours wandering around the surrounding side streets, trying to find stores that weren't in English. After making my way to the mall I grabbed a pottle of clear nail polish and a frozen yoghurt. The heat was exhausting and I decided to head home. I walked past an electronics store that was blasting dance music loudly. I saw a bunch of kids dancing so I asked their parents if I could film in some awkward sign language fashion. I showed the kids and the parents the footage and they all burst out into jolly giggles. It was really sweet. I think it was at this point of the day my mouth started to hurt from smiling too much.

On the way home I saw a bunch of young boys playing soccer on a tiny piece of grass nestled in the middle of a busy intersection. I decided to set up base there for a while, and just sat down on the edge of the field watching them. Their ball rushed towards me. Before it went off the edge onto the busy road, I picked it up and threw it back to the kid who was bouncing with the most enthusiasm. From that moment on I was one of the boys. I decided to take some photos of them playing soccer, just casually, sitting down on the ground. I decided specifically not to move, I didn't want to impose on their game. I only had my 85mm with me. Initially I regretted it, and cursed myself for not buying a 24-70. There is something very special about the 85mm lens, and it captured things more beautifully than I could have hoped for.

One of the little boys noticed me taking photos and came over. He started to casually perform for me. I'm not sure he wanted me to know that it was his intention, but it was a little obvious. I think he was showing off. He just spent a solid 10 minutes doing hand stands in front of me. I took lots of photos, and he kept looking over to make sure I was. I ushered him over to look at the photos, he cracked up laughing, then I turned my camera on him and caught the most beautiful laugh/smile I've ever seen.

While I was sitting on the grass on the edge of the road a little walked past with her baby. The little girl was absolutely adorable, I just instinctively reached for my camera, pointed up and hoped for the best. There was no changing settings, no consideration and I absolutely adore the result:

I saw there was a photo processing store across the road, so decided to try to get some of the photos printed for the kids. Unfortunately I had shot all the photos only in RAW format and the store only had old photoshop so there was no way I could edit them on the spot. A bit of a shame. I decided to continue my journey home, making a quick stop in my local stationary store to buy more ridiculously cheap goodies.

I walked a little further and was drawn to this little girl and her dad. They'd just gotten out of a Tuk Tuk and the dad was encouraging the girl to wave at her driver. I am not sure why I stopped and questioned with only hand movements whether I could take a photo. I'm happy I did though, I feel like I really caught a moment between a doting dad and a lovely lass. After I'd taken the photo I showed him and he asked for my email address to get a copy. He was actually amazed with the photo and it was such a great feeling.

I dumped all my baggage at my hotel and then decided to grab some dinner to eat. I've found a local street food restaurant that does amazing fried rice for around $1. It's the second time I've been there. I like it mostly because the menu doesn't have a word of English. The chef doesn't speak English. Thankfully he's got a younger member of staff who speaks better English than I do. This restaurant serves complimentary green tea. When you sit down you get a cup filled almost entirely with ice. There are jugs of warm green tea on the table, you pour it in and the ice melts almost instantly, resulting in a really nice temperature iced tea! It's delicious. Both times I've been I've had two cups and only stopped there because I didn't want to be too greedy. I tipped them, again, as much as the meal cost. I can't begin to describe the genuine appreciation the waitstaff showed for a dollar tip. It really puts things into perspective.

I came home and sat up all cozy in the common area pretending to read some Vietnamese magazine. The sound of drums was pouring in through the open balcony, from what I assume was another wedding celebration. There's been one every night or the same one every night. Sometimes it's hard to believe this is my life. I don't think I'm used to being this happy, this content. My life is really simple: no obligations, no drama, no restrictions. I'm trying to figure out how to capture exactly how I feel; I want to lock it in a little jar, so that the next time I'm restricted or stuck in a rut, I can unscrew the lid and breathe this magic in.

I'm madly and deeply in love with my life. There's so many things I miss, so many places I miss; but I think you're lucky when you miss things. It means you've had something really special that's worth remembering : )

India. I've always wanted to go, but I've always considered it something too dangerous to do by myself. There's this saying I adopted when I couldn't decide whether I should go to Thailand. Whether I had permission from the fun police to go. It was the only thing that gave me any clarity; "Why not?" closely followed by "What better time then now?"

We'll see. I've decided I might postpone the orphanage one more day! I wanna make the most of Phnom Penh. I'm not sure why specifically but I am very smitten with this dirty, busy city and it's beautifu,l smiley people. Very smitten indeed.

Forgive me for this mushy, sickly post, but it had to be said.

Much love xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

ps. This song is rocking my pants off at the moment

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