I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

12/23: Day 3, Cambodia

(1) Lessons in Khmer (Cambodia's language):
***As a disclaimer, this is only how I heard the words and wrote them myself after listening to them said by native speakers. I don't know how to correctly spell these words***

-A urum sous se reiya = good morning
-cho-moi = cheers
-aw (g)kum = thank you
-koah tonsai = Rabbit Island
-badh = yes
-ag dih = no
-li hai = goodbye
-so moi ited = one more

Later the same day...

(2) 4/23 (I have no idea why I dated this journal as April; I promise it is still December 23rd)

"Yesterday we went to the Dragon Cave (Ganpun Traich?). My guide, Nieb, lead me through the caves, showing me the animal shapes hidden in the rocks (the elephant, the snake, the tiger), Buddhas carved into niches, and hollow stalactites that you could play the drums on. The stalactites felt like dinosaur bones trapped in the rock that you could ring back to a primitive age before the bikes and even temples.

"Nieb is 17 and is studying English at school. He like football (soccer) and plays everyday at school. After that he comes to the Dragon Cave to give tours. His head is box-shaped and he curls his upper-lip to make a seemingly irritated expression when he doesn't understand what I say. Mau(h), his partner took Katie by the hand with a mischievous smile. Mau's pandemonium is teaching us reversed Khmer words and laughing hysterically whenever she succeeded in turning out tongues.

"After the caves Nieb and Mau invited us up onto the mountain above the caves. I say caves, but the area we were exploring actually was a replica of the lagoons Katie and I saw in near Phang Na, Thailand two years ago. In the doughnut hole of the mountain was a mangrove tree sanctuary. Vines tumbled down the walls of the lagoon inside like whisker of a dragon. A resting Buddha laid nestled under a hanging stone wall. Back to the top...
Nieb and Mau scampered straight up the jagged rock in only sandals. At the top Katie drew a picture of the countryside and I talked to the kids. The plains were water-filled paddies with bunches of palm trees jumping out at the to give their coconut offerings. Mountains circled close showing tall limestone faces. Atop the Dragon Cave hills were cacti--what was once the ocean has now become almost desert. Is this the conclusion of the warming trend?"

(3) 12/23/2007

"On the road from Kampot to Phnom Pehn I added lyrics to my 'Merry-go-round' song:

(to help explain the song's theme, here are the lyrics leading up to my recent addition: Merry-go-round My father was a Merry-go-round driver, he took the same path every day, and now I'm out to claim 1,000 lives, to make up for his lack of mistakes)

'If you're waiting for an anchor don't cast your lines here,
if you're looking for gravity ask the sun,
cause I'm the kinda guy who won't be here when breakfast comes.

I'm gonna take you high,
I'm gonna take you low,
take your body leave your soul.'
(sing this chorus with jumping high to low bluesy voice)."


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