Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This kid came up to me after I stopped on my bicycle. Yeh, I ride a bicycle to and from the hospital. I bought a good bicycle with shocks. Anyway this kid was fascinated by me. Maybe my extremely white skin does stand out. I quickly pulled out my camera and got this shot.
These and 15 other kids in a village I visit go crazy over picture taking. It is easy to have fun with these people. I have played soccor and volley ball with the kids and laugh until my stomach (really the abdomen) hurts. Everything these kids do, be it soccor, volley ball or dodge ball (I taught this one to them) they play with passion and determination. I also have taught them soccor baseball.
This poor little girl was asking for money (known as Loi in Khmer or Cambodian). If you ever want to see a Cambodian child's eyes open widely say the word 'Loi' as in 'boy'. Anyway I gave her 2000 reals (Cambodian money). 4000 reals = one dollar. By the way Cambodia uses 2 currencies: reals and dollars. This little boy's face is just too much.
The long wrapped objects are called 'onsom'. They are banana leafs wrapped around powered rice, coconut, a little sugar and either banana or pork. Once wrapped and tied they are steamed and later eaten. A third version has beans. I like all three. If you ever come here do not ask for 'onsom mango' (here mango is called swi). I frequently joke with anyone who presents me with 'onsom' by complaining that "but no onsom swi!". These people laugh outloud with this comment. Maybe I should try stand-up comedy here.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
At the swimming area many people sold food. Here are small, cooked crabs and tortilla-like chips topped with small, tastey shrimp. By the way the swimming was a blast with fast white water pushing many people around like fishing bobs. The temperature was in the high 80's and the water pleasant. As Arnold would say, "I'll be back".
Here I am enjoying swimming in a favorite manmade waterfall area deep in the country of Cambodia. Many people wanted to talk to me. Many people approached my friend and asked him how do I stay so white. "I want to be like him" they said. If they only knew what I go through living in Syracuse, NY they would stay dark skinned. The Cambodians, like the Vietnamese, admire and want white skin. Many of us Americans want darker skin. It seems to me that people just want things they can't have.
Every weekend I get out of the city and explore the villages with my 2 Cambodian friends/guides. Here I am biting into a freshly picked sugarcane. The outside cane is similar to the bamboo although not hollow like the latter. The Cambodians peel the skin of the cane with their teeth and then bite off a mouthful of the juicy, sweet and hard interior. There were many vendors throughout the villages that sold the juice after squeezing the hard core. Who needs candy?
Here I am with the pediatric ED staff at the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Many of the patients are brought to the hosptial by private vehicles. There is not an EMS system in this city. After a month here in this hospital I am convinced that the Cambodain parents are the most patient people I have ever worked with. Also the respect they have for the medical staff here is unbelievable.
For those of you familiar with my egg-shaped moving dinosaur toy you'll understand why this young Cambodian patient is totally distracted and no longer afraid. I have used this type of toy for nearly 14 years in Syracuse, NY to calm scared kids with great success. I knew it would work in Cambodia.