Postcard from Cambodia: December 2015

20151114_131900There’s been a reduction in the amount of barang (westerners) complaining about Phnom Penh. Everyone’s gone abroad to celebrate Christmas with family except the bad kids, which meant Christmas was more like New Year’s Eve.

Most people who move to Cambodia start whinging after about three months but personally it’s going to take me another year to get over the fact a slab of beer costs $8. Considering my primary functions are writing and drinking, I can at least do one effectively.

This month has seen a 100% decrease in the amount of times I’ve ridden a motorbike into a stationary object. This follows the 200% decrease I enjoyed during November. It’s a very encouraging trend. If you don’t hear from me again, you can assume the trend has been reversed.

I briefly converted to Hinduism during November so I searched for the ancient ruins of Hindu and Buddhist temples to the north of the country. I’ve called it Angkor Wat (working title). Seriously, if it isn’t on your bucket list, add it, and throw in Bayon (pictured).

Cambodia continues to do its best to reduce the life expectancy of expatriates. Cigarettes are 50c a pack and beer is sometimes free. Driving with your lights on during the day is illegal but driving without your lights on at night isn’t. Traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are ignored. No one wears a helmet after dark because all the cops go home.

But it’s gloriously lawless. You end up having to use an old concept I learnt when I was a kid. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it’s called ‘common sense’. It also makes traveling by road in Cambodia like a video game in which you cannot respawn.

It’s been a big year. I’ve written three books, made Amazon Best Sellers lists, represented Cambodia playing Aussie Rules, met incredible friends, and of course continued my mantra of ‘wine, women and song’. Of course, wine can be substituted by any other liquor and music doesn’t include trance. Anyone who wears a glow stick in my general vicinity is not long for this world.

Live hard, stay hungry, memento mori.

See you in 2016 if I survive NYE.

GHM

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