"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Cambodia (kind of)

Posted in Day-To-Day, Travel by matt on Sunday, September 7, 2008

My boss: Matthew, I’m afraid the man just told me that you need to leave the country within the next 7 days or you could be arrested… or at least fined.

Me: Oh, well that’s definitely not good. Any advice for me on that?

My boss: No, but you should ask many other people for their advice.

3 days later I’m waiting at 5:30am for a van to pick me up to take me to the border of Cambodia where my visa will be renewed and I’ll once again be ‘legal’. You might think 6am was early (I mean, I sure did), but that’s the time I was told to be there. I obviously forgot that we’re on Thai time and that actually means be there around 8 o’clock. I lay hobo-style on one of the little benches for two solid hours and the conversations were…interesting. The first man I met was totally plastered. I don’t ever mind a chance to work on my Thai, though, and I figured a drunk person would be easier to understand since he’d speak more slowly. He declared his intent to buy a couple prostitutes and some more Thai whisky. Then (with such tact and grace) he asked if he could borrow some money from me.

Thankfully the dude was cut off mid sentence by a flamboyant little man who pointed his finger at me and said, Here for modelling?! Here to see Amy?! You waiting for modelling? Never mind, come with me.

Overwhelmed with curiosity and thankful to get away from my drunk friend, I followed him into a McDonald’s and sat down. The little man handed me a card and began telling me wages and modelling schedules in broken English. I finally started laughing and told him in Thai, “I have no idea what the hell you’re saying.”

It didn’t have the intended effect.

Usually, Thais find this funny and try harder to relay info to me. This little guy just got ticked and put me on the phone with “Amy”. She explained that I was supposed to meet on that bench at that time if I wanted to model for her, and that I needed to take her card in case I was interested. Her “card” turned out to be a piece of scratch paper with her number scribbled on it. I left the restaurant feeling a mixture of confused and highly entertained. Right after trashing Amy’s card the van arrived and we loaded up.

As though the day hadn’t been…cultural…enough, the van was full of (hyperactive) female Filipino migrant workers who were making their monthly border run, and, also not to my surprise, they didn’t speak any English. I’ll tell you upfront: I really liked these ladies because they all decided to adopt me for the day as their white son. It was quite a trip. I don’t know where I got this innate ability for being adopted by random, middle-aged women, but I’m definitely not complaining. They kept feeding me (“You a too skinny boy!”) and attempting to communicate.

So, 6.5 hours of hideous cackling and sappy Filipino romantic comedies later, I arrived at the border and my visa was renewed – Yay! On the ride home I was so excited to have 3 more months in BKK that I decided to actually attempt to communicate back with the ladies and ‘enjoy’ their movies. I made friends with a couple of them and learned never to watch a Filipino-produced movie again, so all-in-all it was a productive day!

We arrived back in BKK around 5:30 and I made it home around 6:20. Now I think I’ll begin getting ready for bed and another full week of school. Love you all.

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  1. Jonathan Gray said, on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Hey Matt! having fun getting… arrested? plz explain :P btw, when are you coming back and have you bet Huey at and good video games lately? :P

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