Sunday, November 20, 2011



I had decided to push on to Phnom Penh for three reasons:

1. Despite what I had read on the internet, I'd gotten a pretty short visa for Cambodia. I had asked about the business visa but the guy who was doing it for the border crossing managed to convince me that I couldn't check the 'business' box unless I had letters from the company and things like that. Later, this turned out to be a load of rubbish. The business visas are the ones that can be indefinitely extended - for money. So I will need to travel to another country - like Thailand - to re-enter this country because you can't just get that sort of thing done at a local government office. I had figured that such a government office would be in Phnom Penh. I am still planning on swinging by one to see what is up with this visa and get it straight from the horses mouth, so to speak, rather than from a border flunkie who may or may not have a clue. Word that I've thus far gotten from an expat is for a year long visa it is $273.

2. I figured teaching jobs would be easier to find there. Thus far, this does not seem to be the case but I'll have to keep working at it.

3. Hopefully they'll have better places to stay than the shithole I'd stayed at the first night here. Fortunately, they do. I found a room that is $14 per night. I'm sure that if I ever get a job I will be able to rent an apartment somewhere substantially cheaper but this place is nicely meeting my needs for now. Aside from the insect problem but it is just a minor annoyance. Ants, lots and lots of ants.


I am looking for a pretty low pay nothing special job of teaching in Cambodia. Other teachers have told me that I should dress nice when I am turning in applications as I normally dress like a backpacker. I should probably go get a nice button up shirt but honestly, I am sweating like a pig out in the heat. Also, the people I have been turning in the applications to seem to be the grunts rather than the bosses of the organizations. Given the small and fleeting amount of money I have, I am cautious about spending more money.

The only lady who seemed really excited to see me wanted me to teach basic computers. She seemed disappointed I couldn't teach the more advanced stuff. I told her as long as she had course outlines and such I could indeed probably muddle my way through them. She asked if I would be available for thirty hours a week of teaching and seemed ready to hire me on the spot. The only snag came when I asked her how much I'd be paid for this. Well, she explained, this was for the poor people of the outlying villages. Somehow they all made their way deep into the middle of the capital city to her school and could I do it for $40? A day? No - per month. Well, I have bills to pay as well I told her. That would last me for two days and after that, I would join the ranks of the poor. Since I didn't enjoy living on the street either I couldn't see my way clear to accepting her 'generous' offer.

I'm not sure why it has proven so difficult thus far to get a job at crappy pay in even a non-air conditioned school. I am saving a minimal amount of money up every day but I was hoping to make enough to support myself so that I could collect up some money to revive my shattered finances faster. Getting robbed twice (and western Europe) really kicked the shit out of my money. I appreciate the two offers of financial assistance I've had but - lets face it - none of my friends is in any way 'rich'. If I had a multi-millionare friend who wanted to send me around the world looking for interesting stuff and blogging about it (or collecting stuff they could stock their homes with, or checking out interesting stuff) I'd be delighted to collect a stipend from it. Since none of my friends is that well off, it would be quite a low thing to collect any money from them.

I wonder if I should have lied more creatively on my resume, claiming teaching experience. If I had enough to have a clue as to what to do I could have claimed lots - but frankly, I don't. I've never put together a lesson plan or anything like that.

So, I'm struggling forward as best I can. I may go to an orphanage to teach - this was recommended. I would also be more convinced that it is actually a charitable institution rather than the place offering me $40 per month which I am not at all convinced was.

A special notes for those saying 'why don't you just look on the internet?'. Try it. 80% of the stuff you find are the courses you can take and spend money on, afterward they claim they can get you a teaching job. The other 20% is rubbish. I got better results going through a phone book (they have them here - yea!) and making notes on all of the teaching places I could get to. About a third of them were closed or appear to have never existed. The rest took my C.V. (resume). Oddly, several asked for a picture. I'd suggest getting several pictures of yourself to pass out to these strange people. They don't seem to mind if they are black and white photocopies. I found that very odd. Especially since they don't have any cameras to take them. If I wanted a picture of applicants, I'd just take it with a camera. Maybe that is a cultural thing I am unaware of.

Overall, I am extremely concerned about my financial situation and am working on remedying it. If I was more clever I'd find a way to have my own business rather than suck cock elsewhere. Sadly, I am dim.


It's all right. It has a few interesting examples of the art and spikey bits that are pretty common all over Southeast Asia. I haven't really found the 'soul of the city' though. It doesn't have a unifying personality that - were I dropped in without it being identified I could say 'oh, I must be in Phnom Penh!'

Aside from the litter and chaotic driving which seem to mar every city in Asia, the only real downside is the dreaded tuk tuk drivers who are everywhere. You will either say 'no' to or ignore about twenty of fifty of these annoying bottom feeders as they believe you are indeed their personal ATM. You can be walking down the street minding your own business when they slow down next to you or try to flag you down from a half block away. Usually a small head shake gets rid of them or a 'no thank you' but some of them cling to you like a jellyfish. Fortunately, they don't grab you. Everything is fine until someone grabs me. I usually ignore them by appearing to be half blind and listening to an MP3 player. Sometimes they like to scream obscenities after me. That's fine, I don't think much of them either. Given that the more interesting parts of the city are fairly close together I don't really see a need to ever take a tuk tuk unless I am making a rare long journey somewhere.

Interesting thing, they use USD here. That is good and bad. Good in that it is easier to see just how fast your money is slipping away and bad for the same reason.


Window lickers definition: So I smoke on the balcony. I don't want to take the cigarette butts into the hotel room when I am done and throw them in the trash because it would make the room smell rancid - and the hotels are pretty firm in Cambodia about not smoking in them. My other choices for the cigarette butts are either throwing them into the street or into the potted plant area. I decided instead to just leave them on the windowsill. I'd come up with something later for them or get a bag to put them in and leave them in the hallway. Today, I came back to my room and found the maid had come and gone as usual. When I went out onto the balcony, I found she'd lined up the cigarette butts as well - on the windowsill. Clearly, the maid is a 'window licker'.


I was just sitting around thinking about laws in various countries. I'm not talking about laws for the 'big stuff' - murder, rape, etc. These are pretty universal. I'm talking about the little laws. Like if you have to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. If you have to have flags on stuff sticking past the end of your vehicle. If you can toss garbage in the street. I remember when I was in the US, a lot of people would bitch about the little laws. Bitching in many cases is probably justifiable. It seems that many of the little laws are made just because someone feels like bitching to someone who can churn a law for it. After going to fifteen plus countries recently, I have noticed that with laws, it seems to go like this:

Big laws - everyone has them. On off switch as to 'very harsh' punishment.
Little laws - some folks have them, others don't. Few countries actually enforce them unless the police would like a little bribe or something.

Personally, I'm not sure which is better. A lot of people I've spoken with have left their mother country in order to get away from such strict controls and are happy in a more 'rough' area. The downside of going to a country without the plethora of 'little laws' is that if your neighbor wants to play loud music all day and night, you get to deal with it. You can't call up the cops on a 'noise complaint'.

So it all comes down to what kind of BS you want to deal with.


Cow Family

Laos, Pakse

Middle of Nowhere

Side car tuk tuks


  1. The masses demand a report on how you celebrated your Americanism in your first Thanksgiving since you left America, and if anybody in the country you currently occupy knew it was a holiday.

  2. Well, nobody had any clue that it was Thanksgiving that I saw - much like in Canada. Though Canada has made up their own in order to compete with the US. But we know they're just faking it.

    As for my actions, I went looking for a good (decent - only got mildly sick from the food) restaurant I'd gone to before but I proved that if you don't take a business card from a place you want to find again you may not find it again. Unless you are Pete - then it is obvious where you are.

    I think my main celebration was posting on Facebook and being jealous of Bert's Thanksgiving day feast.



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