Random Memories

There was this one time my girlfriends and I went to New Orleans. By my charming ways, I got us into the House of Blues to see Future for free. [Voila! Magic!] And by charming I mean I went up to a group of dudes in front of a tour bus and asked, “So, who’s performing tonight?” I wonder if Future’s manager still has my number, and if so, what does he has my name listed as?? Probably something amazing.

-x0v

Not all sunshine and rainbows: Part 1

As starry-eyed as I was about being in Cambodia, there was no denying the in-your-face poverty, prostitution, child labor, heavily armed military presence, shady foreign business and CPP’s puffed-out chest after a rigged election.

My first bitter taste of filth happened when I arrived and went through customs. I gave the security my passport/visa.

Security: “How many days are you visiting?”

Me: “14 days”

Security: “Are you Khmer? Where are your parents from?”

Me: “Mom’s from Battambong, dad’s from Phnom Penh. I was born in the States.”

Security: “You speak Khmer very well. Can you spare $5 for coffee? my partners and I are thirsty. We don’t have much money. Please help us out.”

Me: “uh…. I don’t have cash.”

Security: “You’re American, you can spare $5. We just want coffee. We’ve been working long days.”

After the 3rd time he asked and I said, “no,” my mental light bulb turned on.  I remembered my dad advising me to slip in a few US dollars in my passport to make the process go faster and easier. I played stupid – shrugging my shoulders, giggling, apologizing. He got frustrated with me and just shooed me away.  SCAMMERS. I got this a few other times throughout the trip and back at the airport as I was leaving. “Coffee money”? FUCK YOU! I wonder how much they make a day with that bullshit.

Have any of you experienced this?

Vitya Goes To Cambodia

I did it, guys. I fricken did it.

I WENT TO CAMBODIA!!!

Kam & I in front of Angkor Wat

I give all credit to my beloved, Kamron. He planned the entire trip and did a fantastic job. Though this was a vacation for the two of us, it turned out to be a very personal journey for me.

It was my first time visiting Cambodia. This trip was more than just a getaway; it was an chance to get in touch with my roots. It was an opportunity to see, smell, hear, taste and touch my motherland. For 27 years, my memories of Cambodia have been based on media, home cooked meals, visits to temples, personal stories (both happy and horrific) of Cambodia’s past, and lullabies that put me to sleep as a child. It’s a place so familiar to me in a sense, yet was completely foreign. There was nothing that could have prepared me for what Cambodia had in store for me.

It’s surreal and hard to explain. I was smack dab in the middle of everything that I’ve ever known.  I was completely immersed- people, language, culture, food, etc. Yes, yes, and more yes. I kept thinking, “Holy shit! I’m here. I AM HERE.” 

We flew into Phnom Penh then took buses to Siem Reap, Kompong Som (Sihanoukville), Kampot and Kep.

map

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap . Siem Reap to Kompong Som . Kompong Som to Kampot/Kep . Kampot to Phnom Penh

The Khmers we encountered were really friendly. The only curse words we heard were from fellow foreigners.  The beers were lighter than anything I’ve ever had – AND THEY DRINK THEIR BEER WITH ICE! I didn’t dare go behind the wheel – traffic is horrible and no one follows the traffic rules.   The weather was sunny, hot and humid. Given that it was the end of the wet season, there wasn’t a single drop of rain that fell. During the day, there was barley a cloud in the sky; at night, the sky was stippled with an infinite number of stars. 

We did so much in the time we were there; we were constantly on the go. I soaked it all up like a French baguette in a bowl of curry. Uggh now I want Cambodian curry.

I’m really grateful that I waited to go as an adult. I would not have appreciated it as much, had I gone as a child or adolescent – because I was a miserable brat.

If my heart and soul could smile, it’d have the biggest, cheesiest, Totoro grins. This trip was one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. I fricken love my country.

For pictures of my vacation on Instagram, look up #kamandvityadocambodia #kamandvityadidcambodia