The Shay Rebellion | Christopher Shay

A Phnom Penh Post

Flying into Phnom Penh, the official Cambodian arrival form had a spelling error. I politely informed the officials that my “lenght of stay” would be ten months. After I’d grabbed my luggage, Adam, my new flatemate, picked me up from the airport bearing bbqed bananas on a stick. On the short ride to my new home, cars were driving on the wrong side of the road, and we saw members of the “Professional” Security Company rough-housing in front of their own office.

When we reached home, I was wowed. Our apartment has crown molding and incandescent lights. The land-lady used to run an Irish pub with her husband, and our apartment is decked out with furniture and decorations from her old bar. We also have four bathrooms. Four.

But after a bit more than a week in Cambodia, Cambodia is seeming more normal and my apartment a bit less impressive. These days, I barely notice someone driving the wrong way on a busy street, and my apartment, though still quite nice, has revealed some flaws. We have ant armies, and a possum-sized rat we’ve named him Splinter. It turns out only one bathroom has hot water, and Splinter has chosen that bathroom’s drain for his home. We can hear every word that’s said in the apartments above and below us, and within the apartment, I can hear Adam turn pages in his bedroom.

Oh, and the person living above us was shot in the leg last week for dancing with the wrong girl.

Phnom Penh is not the seedy city it once was, but it’s clear that even these days, just beneath the surface lies remains of its sketchy past—even if that surface has crown molding.

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5 Responses

  1. Alex says:

    so fucking cool! I really hope I can make it down there. Should I come packing in case I dance with the wrong girl or opossum-sized rat?

  2. chezshay says:

    Sounds like you’re settling in…sounds amazing too. Pictures? I want pictures. ;-)

  3. Loretta says:

    I used to feed this rat near my school bus stop every day. I forget what I named him, but then one day I found out it was a her when she trooped out to meet me with her babies.

    Ah, youth.

  4. Larry Freeborg says:

    Chris, the pictures are really cool of the Chinese country areas and your stationing in Phnom Penh really sounds fun. Your dad and I this weekend made the finishing touches and bottling on 10 gallons of beer we made two weeks ago. I have almost finished a total remodel on my basement, two months of weekends. I took my camara to the beach today and shot a few. Best to you, Larry

  5. Tara says:

    Sounds like a good adventure. Keep it up! And have a happy birthday on Sunday! All the best from DC!

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