And So It Was Thurday

And So It Was Thursday

In the Kingdom it was Thursday. While the western world was gorging on turkey with all the trimmings – and wondering how they were going to cover off their maxed out credit cards – life carried on as usual.

Being of a bah-humbug nature I didn’t want to do anything Christmasy. The Nurse was working because it was Thursday. Andrew – her partner – Constance – a friend who was born in Singapore – and I decided visit the people who live under a tree and get them some food with Down in the Dumps money. So off we tuk-tuked.

Street 108 was almost deserted. The police had done a raid and the homeless had scattered in all directions. IMG_6929IMG_6930


We learned Lin had gone back to the provinces with her kids. Jive was already there with her sister, as she had sent him shortly after Tran died.

Having been to the family shack – — there was no question that she was desperate.

There were a couple of older girls and a bunch of kids, about ten in total. Andrew went off to get the rice and egg while Constance and I went to the market to buy apples and oranges, which are exotic here. Bananas and passion fruit and durian are readily available, but this was imported and exotic, which was ideal for the occasion, even though nobody knew what it was.IMG_6923

Then a woman came up with her baby and said he couldn’t sit down as he had an infected bum. We went to the pharmacy down the street and I rang the Nurse. She couldn’t say much without seeing him so we got some anti-fungal cream and wet wipes.

Back at the tree the mother wiped his bum and I got in up-close-and-personal to get photos to show the Nurse. Then it was time for lunch, but not before a good hand scrub. Kid's ass

Christmas Lunch

We ended up at Fish & Co. on the riverfront, a place that specializes in sea food. Across from us I noticed tanks of what looked like guppies on the floor. I asked Constance about it and she said the garra rufa eat the dead skin off your feet.

In a leap and a bound I kicked off my shoes and plunged my feet into the water. The sensation was unusual, rather like being slightly tickled or having an army of ants crawling on my feet. Constance joined me, but Andrew and Nick weren’t prepared to take off their shoes.

fish feetLater I read about it. At spas people in the UK pay $55 to have their feet nibbled. Other reports said it has been banned in some states as it isn’t considered hygienic. The jury is out, but it is one of those glad-I-did-it-but-won’t-repeat-the-experience.

The Dump

Then we called Vichika and told her we were on our way to the dump. Alex – a guy sitting next to us who was born in New Zealand, but lived in Switzerland – was on his own so we invited him to join us. Andrew decided he would pass on the dump as every time he went there people tried to give him their babies to take back to Australia.

It was quiet at the dump as the kids were in school and the adults were sleeping so they could go out and scavenge at night. We left the fruit we’d brought with Vichika and wandered around. There is more construction going on and the houses seemed to have improved slightly as there are more people with flowers and decorations. There are also more carts and small motorcycles.

It was a pleasant way to spend Thursday with people who didn’t know it was Christmas. But that is going to change. Commercialization is creeping in and there are artificial Christmas trees and decorations all over the place. Having to listen to Jingle Bells and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas at the supermarket is an endurance test.IMG_6972

Down in the Dumps Update

Since I have decided to move to Cuba at the end of January – Headed for Havana blog to follow – I will get things organized with the Nurse about the finances. I will write a report about the work we have done with the $7241. people have donated.

Neil and Emma have put us on automatic payment and Andrew covered the Christmas lunch under the tree. The total now sits at $479.06. The next project is that Nick has arranged a bus and we are going to take 37 kids to the water park next Saturday.

I hope you had a merry and that a happy is coming up. Then it is on to the Year of the Sheep.




Back in the Freelance Life Again

So – a puff of ju-ju smoke, a my Buddha and an Insha’Allah to cover off my atheist beliefs –  and my life is back to normal. Or as close to it as I ever get.

After five months, 11 days and one hour at the Khmer Times – no regrets there as it was a steep learning curve – I have reestablished my freelance self and found the “perfect” online editing site.

At I can pick and choose the assignments I want. Further, I can make enough money to live exceedingly well in the Kingdom. And spending March to May in Madrid with a follow-on trip to Canada for the first two weeks in June is looking more feasible all the time.

The first two weeks with the training wheels on were a touch daunting, but I figure I have it sussed. Or so I hope. Remember I don’t mistakes, instead I have “good learning experiences” and there were numerous ones as I fumbled through learning how to use the system. Andy – the co-founder and contact person at DocoMate who lives in Phnom Penh – deserves a medal for coping with the slowest technical learner ever.

Confession Time

I have become the most boring woman on the face of the earth. After the 12 to 14 hour days, 07:13 Sunday morning phone calls and deadlines at the Khmer Times, the control freak in me came to the fore-front. It was time to quit talking about it and actually get a life.

My new – yawn, yawn – schedule is:

06:00 – wake up and do stretching exercises, study K’mai and have breakfast. As an aside, my somewhat prissy K’mai teacher despairs that Rory down at Sundance taught me how to swear and that my pronunciation is perfect. For regular speech, however, it is so-so.

08:00 – turn on the computer, check emails and go to work.

12:30-ish – have lunch.

Somewhere in the afternoon – when there is space –listen to a 20-minute track of power-napping music. It doesn’t make me sleep, but at least it is timeout and I am working at getting some zzzzzes.

18:00 – happy hour with The Nurse – who now lives in the apartment above me – and/or whoever else happens to be around. But only if the work for the day is finished.

23:00 – go to bed – or fall asleep on the yoga mat while doing the stretches that are marked in my diary.

Sleep through the night and do it all over again the following day.

Dull though I may be, I don’t miss the waking up at 02:00 and working until 05:00.

That said, I am going to do a weekly column for the Khmer Times on Talk Real Polotik – links to follow. The reason? All editing and no writing will make me even more dreary than I already am and we can’t have that.

Then again, in the last week I have also cleaned up a couple of letters for a guy from Switzerland that I met briefly in Buenos Aires, corrected some notes for a Japanese guy who privately pays me so that his writing looks good to his supervisors – but, shhhhh, don’t tell anyone as it is a secret – and written two travel articles.

My DocoMate will be my bread and butter – even though I don’t eat much of either – but I will continue to send out pitches. Variety is, after all, about choices and options.

For my next blog, I do hope to be more exciting. But, frankly, I am relishing being boring. That said, it doesn’t mean I have given up attending openings, dining out, spending time with friends or catching up on Skype.

Actually I do more of all of the above since I have became Ms. Dull. Now I just have to listen to other people’s conversations more as nobody – but nobody – wants to hear about the latest CV I edited. Or how I had to fix-up a letter of reference. Glazed over eyes, blank stares. Forget it.

Such is life in the freelance lane, — even though having my payroll managed by HR is appealing — I am thriving on being dull.

Enough already, if you got this far you are already bored.

I hope all goes well in your world.