Hello again. I thought it might be a good idea to redefine my plans and status in the far east. I am living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia teaching English. I came over to Southeast Asia on July 1, 2004 with the intention of finding a city to settle down in for a while and teach English. I thought I might travel for two or three months before starting work with my original destination as Hanoi, Vietnam (hence the former title of this blog, Good Morning Vietnam). When I arrived in Hanoi after a month and a half of travel, I did not feel quite ready stop moving, plus I still had considerable funds left in my bank account. So I decided to travel down Vietnam and through Cambodia. After spending a month in both Vietnam and Cambodia, I decided that Phnom Penh was the place for me. After I made this decision, I spent another month in Thailand for a final dose of fun in the sun. I am now in Phnom Penh with a job at Regent School of Business.
I have decided to change the title of my blog from “Good Morning Vietnam” (for obvious reasons) and rename it “Motorbike Sir?”. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to have travelled in this part of the world should be familiar with this phrase. The mere sight of a Barang (foriegner) to a local entreprenur causes dollar signs to flash inside of their head. Moto drivers are some of the most aggressive locals in pursuing foriengers. Walking no more than a block in the city, one can expect to hear the question “motorbike sir?” at least once. Though this constant barrage can get tiring (I have almost lost it a few times), I still respect their pursuit of work.
When I was in school and summer rolled around, my dad would immediatly be urging me to get out and find a job. “Hustle” was the word he used. Moto Dops are hustlers. They can provide just about any service, from selling drugs to locating appartments.
In a rapidly changing country like Cambodia, when laws are ignored, corruption is rampant, and the divide between rich and poor, powerful and weak grows ever larger, people have to hustle to make a living. Though some moto dops can be dishonest, tourist-swindling jaba addicts, most are pretty decent guys. And I respect their drive and hustle in this place of unbridled capatalism.
So my plan for now is to teach and live in the city. I don’t know how long I will stay, but I think I will eventually get back on the road. There are many places to see (my next destinations will be Burma and Indonesia) and I have never stayed in one place for very long. Going travelling again requires saving money – something I have never been good at. We’ll see.
In the meantime, if you stop by Phnom Penh give me a shout. I welcome visitors to this fair city.