After being used to so much travel, I was a bit concerned about giving that up when we moved to Cambodia. I was quickly reassured, however, that even the simple, everyday tasks here would be plenty of adventure. Case in point, the commute to school each day.
Leaving the apartment each morning, the first thing I often notice is the smell of fresh bread from the bakery across the street. I think it smells like cinnamon bread, although they only bake baguettes. Lining our street for a couple houses are pork rinds. One of the houses nearby cooks them and dries them on tarps on both sides. Today, taking up the entire street, there was large white tent with black decorations – a funeral. You can hear the announcer for the funeral several blocks away. It’s impressive how long he can talk, at some funerals for several days straight! The sound of music fills the air in addition to the funeral. There is always music in Cambodia, day and night, something I love!
We have a couple busy roads to cross to get to school. Along the first road are twisted car frames. I still have no clue why they are there or who the belong to. Maybe they have just been abandoned there? The roads wind around the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital. The hospital is a great landmark for telling tuk tuk drivers how to get near our apartment. There aren’t really any sidewalks, but there are patios in front of each business. Sometimes I feel like I’m hopping along in my mad dash to keep up behind Ian, not the easiest thing to do in flipflops! It’s a bit dicey to get around the corners because both roads and patios are fair game for driving on by motos! “Tuk tuk” is yelled at us along the road by hopeful drivers. Nearby is a ‘”hangby” (street vendor) that sells deep fried bananas.
On the road outside our school in my favorite coconut guy. He has by far the best coconuts, so now we only buy from him. He wears a straw hat and always looks happy as he sells coconuts from his cart. It’s fun to get one and take it to class. Often beside him is the guy I call the “coconut tuk tuk”. He’s one of my favorite tuk tuk drivers and the two guys are often playing cards. One of my goals next week is to have a conversation in Khmer with them and learn their names. Just before we get to school is the fresh market with vendors hawking their fruits and veggies. Sometimes we stop there before school and then Ian runs home (literally) during a break to drop them off. Outside the school the street is choked with tuk tuks and motorbikes dropping off students. A smart Khmer family has a coffee cart directly outside the school where the international students often crowded around.
Just getting to school is often quite the adventure and a great way to start the day!