Contrary to popular rumours, my involvement with the recent civil unrest in Cambodia has been grossly exaggerated. Instead of being taken to a jungle camp by rebels, I was held hostage from getting a chill after being soaked in a monsoon rain. By the time we got to the gate on Tuesday night I was dripping and still had to wade through the knee-deep water running down the street. I empathized with the flooded-out people in Calgary. My grandmother’s warning of “You’ll catch your death of cold” kept running through my mind.
It was a week of openings. The Australian Embassy hosted “Message Stick,” – a touring Aboriginal art exhibit – at Meta House on Tuesday.
Then it was off to the Tamarind for Bruno’s opening on Wednesday night.
And Chhim Sothy’s premiered at the Intercontinental on Thursday.
We took Nick the tuk-tuk driver with us to the Intercon, which was great fun. By the end of the evening he was sauntering up to the touring platters of food and drink like the rest of us.
Darlinggg, sipping wine, nibbling hors dóeuvres and making comments about the art is such fun, but realllyyyy three openings is enough for one week. It would be very easy to get very fat very quickly.
Down in the Dumps (DITD)
By Saturday I was feeling – and looking – like death about to happen. But I’d told Vichika I was coming, so we loaded up 50 kg of rice, 20 tins of fish, a dozen bottles of soy sauce and headed for Steng Meanchy. The budget – thanks to a donation from Rob in Holland – now stands at $703.99.
Todd – the DITD photographer – selected 24 images to be auctioned at the 11 October International Day of the Girl event. Now I have to do the interviews and write the bios to go with them. The next while is going to be very busy as we pull together the details of who is going to do what.
Oh, and one of these days I have to find more paying work.
Current State of the Kingdom
After the recent election, the opposition – which really isn’t much of an opposition – tried to contest the results as they claimed the proceedings were corrupt. No argument there. Hun Sen – some of whom would say in a thug – has been in various stages of power since 1979 and is known for his crushing approach.
If you want to read about the protests and the tense atmosphere in the city, check the Phnom Penh Post. When I went off to a class this morning, one of the main streets was blocked off. So I did the helpless foreigner bit and one of the police helped me lift my bike over the razor wire. I pedaled away without further incident.
In preparation for what could be a three-day siege I stocked up on water, food and wine. The bases are covered even if the shops stay closed. While I don’t feel in any danger I’m going to stay low. Before the election I inadvertently ended up in the middle of a protest rally and it was a claustrophobic experience I’d just as soon not repeat.
Mostly I think it will be a lot of saber ratting, but nothing much is going to significantly change.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates as they unfold.