Let's start with work
After my first week on the job, I can honestly say I'm excited. Everyone is friendly, smart and capable. Brain function is encouraged, and there is no expectation of being in the office just for the sake of being there. All in all, it's nothing like EY!
Now to the fun stuff
The jetlag was a bit brutal during the week, so I didn't end up doing much else aside from working and sleeping, but I did manage to locate a gym (which I have not yet joined), find my building's pool (which I have yet to swim in), and make some dance contacts (some of which I did actually meet!). Other than that, I basically fought the Water Festival traffic and enjoyed my bed until Friday night when things started to get silly.
A side note on Water Festival - Water Festival is the Cambodian equivalent of Mardi Gras. Millions of people come to Phnom Penh to celebrate the time of the year when the Tonle Sap changes direction, signifying the end of rainy season, and causing massive traffic jams and parks full of sleeping families. and lots of fun. End note.
OK, now to Friday night.
I volunteered to help KNG with a concert she was putting on for work because (A) it's the nice thing to do and (B) Pou Khliang!!! plus Meas Sok Sophea and an American band called Johnny Rogers Band. Pou Khliang and Meas Sok Sophea are kind of like the Cambodian Kanye and Taylor Swift, so it was actually kind of awesome. The crowd was huge, the concert was fun, and there's nothing like being backstage with the bands!
After the concert, KNG, a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), an Air Force guy (AF), some Marine Security Guards (MSGs), and I headed over to Darlin Darlin (DD) at Naga World and then a few other places via a lights-and-sirens Suburban so we could actually make it through the crowded streets. That night, I discovered a few things:
1. The best way to get over jetlag is to stay out late enough to be able to sleep in
2. Cambodian bathroom signs look like this:
KNG and I braved the insanity and went over to Soriya mall so she could find something to wear to Bar JoeEyeng (BJE). If you've never seen large groups of people trying to figure out how to use an escalator, come to Soriya during Water Festival. hilarious. I also bought a super silly super chinese pink cellphone to replace the boring one I got from work. I'd put a link up for it, but I'm pretty sure the model doesn't really exist. seriously. The only non-chinese writing on the box says it's a Nokia ES20, but google says that's a camera...
Anyway, after that, KNG, PCV and I stopped by BJE before meeting up with AF and an MSG at a jazz lounge called Studio 182. That place is cool, but the couches were way way way too comfortable for a night following DD. Someone knew of a great place called Saint Tropez where we could either get a table to be chill or dance inside. Obviously we opted for the dancing where we caught sight of this gem...
PP may just be the best city in the whole world for people-watching.
KNG, PCV and I went over to the super-local market where we were the only expats to buy KNG an outfit for a Khmer wedding in Kampong Cham. so fun! The fabric ladies were so nice and funny! I think when we go back to pick up KNG's outfit, I'll get one made just for funsies.
Of course, we couldn't spend the whole day shopping, so we went over to the Himawari where AF is staying to chill out at the river-front pool. Since the roads around the river were all blocked off, the tuktuk could only take us part way so we got to experience the craziness on the walk over!
After some quality pool/jacuzzi time, we made it back to home base and thought it would be good to have a relaxed evening watching the fireworks with food and beverages on the rooftop. That's how it started. It ended with the MSGs realizing the holiday on Monday meant their curfew was 0500 while we were hanging out with the security, managers, staff and band at DD. That means the only thing I'm doing today (Monday) is getting a great $10 massage at the spa across the street and watching some of the DVDs I got at Soriya...
The moral of this story is that I get to spend the next 2 years living a lifestyle I would never be able to lead back in the States. And I think I'm OK with that.