I went for a morning run with Mike: we did 5 miles at 9 minutes per mile. It was pretty fast for me, but super slow for him. Thanks Mike for slowing down for me!
We waited for the others to be ready and then went downtown for breakfast at Ellie’s, a vegan-friendly restaurant. We also met up with Mike’s friend, Andrei, who he had met in Vietnam. I was STARVING.
I ordered a cous cous veggie salad, which was amazing and huge and really filling.
As I was finishing my meal, I looked across the room and spotted Kristen, a girl I had met at my hostel in Phnom Penh. We chatted for a bit before I left to go to Bokor National Park with the others.
Bokor is a huge national park in a mountain with lots of view points, trails, and historical buildings.
We first rode to a huge buddha, which was ok but nothing amazing, then to a waterfall, which didn’t have enough water since it’s dry season, and then to a new casino, which was actually pretty cool.
It’s this HUGE building with dozens of employees but no customers.
We walked through the lobby.
We went upstairs to the casino.
We went through crazy security— they searched through all of our bags, then led us through a metal detector before we could enter.
Mike played a couple rounds of Black Jack and promptly lost all six dollars he put in.
I’m pretty sure the casino is just a front for some type of illegal business.We stopped by an old cathedral before riding back to Kampot in time to go to a neighborhood school to teach English to the kids.
There were about 8 of us there, and we all went one-by-one to the front of the classroom.
We started off with some physical exercises— waving, jumping around, turning around— just to get them alert and awake before sitting them down. We’d call on one student, bring them to the front, and then have them tell us their name and write it down on the board. We’d then tell the classroom our name and where we’re from.
The next activity was superlatives— teaching concepts like small, smaller, smallest. It was a bit of a fail, though. We didn’t really come in with a solid lesson plan, so none of us knew the proper way to teach it. We tried our best, though, and at the very least they learned a few new words.
We ended with a couple group games. We sang head-shoulders-knees-toes, put your right hand in, and duck-duck-goose.
It was so nice to spend an hour with them, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we were actually helping them and if this will have any lasting impact on them at all.
Once we were back at the hostel, I had Mike teach me how to ride a motorbike. I figured it was a good time and place since our hostel is on a pretty quite road.
I had tried on two separate occasions before but had failed both times. The first time was in Hpa An, Myanmar, when Arno had tried to teach me for a few minutes. However, the road was too busy and I got flustered.
The second time was with Hannah in Bagan, Myanmar, but that was at like 5 am and we only had a few minutes to learn before we had to leave to catch the sunrise. I again got flustered and gave up pretty quickly.
However, this time there were no time limits and no other cars or people around to make me nervous, so I was more relaxed and actually able to learn.
I rode around for 10 minutes or so, and by the end I felt comfortable enough that I think I would actually be able to rent one and ride one myself if the opportunity presented itself.
Some of us were hungry so we went downtown to get a snack before our family dinner started at 8 pm.
I got a veggie banh mi, which was really delicious and SPICY.
We then went to the hostel’s new cafe for the family dinner: for me, there was sweet potato soup, falafel, broccoli salad, and pesto pasta. Ivan, the hostel owner, had made me a special vegan version of the pesto pasta but didn’t know I’m allergic to nuts— I ate a few pieces before I realized there were nuts and stopped eating it. I felt too bad so I just didn’t say anything and gave the rest to the others.
I don’t know why I always do things like this— not speaking up when I really should. I always do it so arbitrarily, too. Like not telling people the WiFi password when I know what it is, telling people I’ve seen a movie when I really haven’t, or not saying anything when someone makes something with nuts for me…
After dinner we all played some drinking games: thumper, C&S, and fuck the dealer, to name a few.
We were all a bit tipsy and made our way to Mad Monkey and hung out on their rooftop for a bit.
We all ordered kamikaze shots, which were not what I was thinking they were. Kamikaze shots in Tokyo are a very different, much more mild, type of shot than they are here.
Let me explain: you get a glass of Red Bull, a shot of tequila, and another shot of mystery alcohol. The two shots are placed side by side on top of the glass of Red Bull, so that when you lift the tequila shot to drink it, the other shot falls into the cup. You then take the tequila shot, then chug the Red Bull/mystery shot mixture.
And promptly die. Jk, but it was nasty.
We went to another bar, had another beer, and then headed to a river boat bar.
We danced for a few hours and it was really fun. I’m always reminded how much I prefer dancing with girls to boys. They’re just so much more fun to dance with! They actually get into it and I’m not afraid of them reading too much into it and thinking I want to hook up or something.
I was talking with one guy who wanted to jump in the river. He jumped in first, and then called on me from the water, heckling me to come in. I hesitated, unsure if I should do it, but eventually I decided that I should just do it because how often do things like this happen in life. I jumped in with my shorts and sports bra on.
As soon as I was in, 3 more followed. We all swam around for a bit— it was really nice and refreshing, but also a bit gross since I knew that water was not clean (and it didn’t particularly smell clean).
The manager got PISSED and turned off all the music and lights and ushered everyone out of the bar.
We got out of the water and I approached the manager, who was on the dock. I apologized to her. With a look of anger and resentment, she said, “It’s ok.” There was a guy, presumably her boyfriend, standing next to her. He was less passive aggressive. He said, “You’re an asshole. You can fuck off.”
I was NOT expecting that and was a bit shocked. I started to walk away, not saying anything in response, before realizing I only had one flip flop with me.
I headed back toward the boat to find my other shoe, but then Jack (one of the hostel guys) was coming toward me with a whole bunch of shoes in his hand. I found mine and was just pulling it out of his pile when the same asshole from before walked up from behind me and said, “Oh, this is your shoe?” And chucked it back in to the water. We were all kind of stood in silence for a bit, all thinking about what a dickhead he was, but then I just went back into the river, grabbed it, and climbed back out. I don’t know what he was trying to accomplish by doing that. It’s not like he threw it that far away that I wouldn’t be able to just go back down and get it.
We tuk-tuked back home, half of us completely soaked from the water.
It was a hilarious, fun, weird, frightening, and memorable night.