Caught in a Rainstorm

29 08 2012

Scribblings from my notebook, written yesterday:

It’s about 2:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon, and I’m once again making the 10 hour journey from Siem Reap to Takeo to help with K6 training. About half an hour ago, I arrived in Phnom Penh, where I’ll have to change buses for the next leg of the trip. However, a sudden downpour has left me trapped in the bus company’s office while torrential rains fill the streets. As I wonder if I’ll be able to make it to Takeo before dark, I take a moment to stop and take in my surroundings.

A local music video is playing on a flat screen Toshiba on the wall. In the video, three different pedestrians are hit by cars before each has a romantic- and bloody- reunion with a lover. Just to my left, a naked boy, no older than three or four, is peeing on the red welcome mat by the door. A women, his mother perhaps, is dressed in a green and white University of Michigan shirt (?!) and is encouraging the boy to aim for the tiled floor instead. Just outside the door, a rat scurries by, looking for something to eat or maybe some shelter from the rain.

Through the door frame, I see a single cyclo driver, his wet shirt plastered to his bony chest, pedaling contentedly through the storm, as if the sun were shining and the birds chirping.  A group of moto drivers are playfully splashing a mangy dog with their bare feet, while smoking cigarettes and asking me – for the fourth time – if I want a ride.

As I sit there waiting for the rain to stop, wearing a shirt covered in the pink projectile vomit of a child who was sitting behind me on the bus from Siem Reap, I marvel at the stark differences between the two worlds I straddle as an American living in Cambodia.

Before I fall too deep into thought though, the rain softens so I roll up my pant legs and begin to wade through the flooded streets toward the next bus station.

Katie

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