Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Little Girl Time in Phnom Penh

Today started out questionably, but ended beautifully.
First I went to church. Here's a fun fact for you- Cambodians can't read maps, and rarely know a street address. They operate off of neighborhoods and landmarks instead. So armed with nothing but a street address and a map today, I attempted to find the LDS Church in town (English speaking branch). For a full visual effect, please picture me in a knee length skirt, carrying my big bag I tote all over, with long wet hair hanging out under my helmet, as my moto-driver takes me on a very roundabout tour of Phnom Penh. I don't know where he thought he was going, but I do know it wasn't where I wanted to go. It took nearly 30 minutes to go what Google maps told me would be 2km. And when we finally did find the street the chapel was on, he just dumped me off and said, "have fun!" Another fun fact, street numbers mean NOTHING here. House #288 may be next to #51. You have no way of knowing. I really don't know why they even bother. (Also, no postal delivery to homes, so it isn't that.) So there I was dumped off next to some night clubs numbered #51, and I am headed for #267. I had to walk about 6 more blocks before, lo and behold, there it was. A completely normal looking LDS Chapel (with a few cultural architectural details changed). I had been expecting to find just any old building with a plaque on the door. But nope, there it was- a totally identifiable chapel, complete with minivans and SUVs in the parking lot.
It was great to get to go to 1 hour of church and hear American accents for a bit. The Khmer speaking (which is to say Cambodian speaking) branch was meeting at the same time in a different room. Throughout the meeting I could hear a group of little Khmer girls in the hallway singing (and dancing to), "All the Single Ladies!" There were periodic outbursts of "putcher hands up!" followed by incessant giggling, until a missionary went out into the hall and silenced them.
My trip getting back to my apartment house was just as eventful, but this time with a tuk tuk driver who insisted he could read a map. Trust me, he could not. If he went where he thought we went, I'd be in Vietnam right now.
After church and lunch back at the house, the day took a very different turn. A few of the girls and I decided to go out for pedicures and massages. Sounds like a luxury, no? Just wait for the pictures!

Dr Fish Massage!! In the States you may very well pay $40 for a "fish pedicure." But here on the streets on PP, we bargained our way into a 10 minute "fish pedicure" for a "dollar half." ($1.50 USD)

 (if the embed doesn't work, you can see the video of it here-

The inevitable questions- what does it feel like to have a zillion tiny fish chew on your feet? Well, something like a cat tongue licking you and little electrical shocks over and over again. I'm not a ticklish person, but this freaking tickles. There was a great deal of screaming from all of us.
Did it work? Well, in spite of the "Dr Fish Massage" name, there was a serious lack of massaging. And apparently fish aren't into lotioning, polishing, or buffing either. But I can tell you that when a few tried to wiggle between my toes to nibble I kicked them. Worst.sensation.ever! But they did get a lot of dead skin off. I don't think I'll be going back to do this ever again. But hey, at least I can say I have done it!

My toes would be the pink ones, with the awesome flip flop tan line. 

Just another awesome "Engrish" example. I have no idea what the "daily test" is. I should add we were over at "Riverside" which is where all the tourists congregate. Plenty of white people to be seen in Riverside. And as a result, the food prices are ridiculous!

So then it was time to get our massages from the "blind clinic."

I chose to get a Khmer massage for 1 hr for $6. The story goes that there is an NGO behind all of these blind clinics. They supposedly take the blind men to Japan and train them in massage. I'm quite skeptical about the legitimacy of their lack of sight! For the record, we were clothed, so it wasn't anything like that. There were times in this massage where I truly yelled out in pain. Note to self- you like Swedish massages! Stick with Swedish and hot stone in the future! This was some sort of evil form of torture where a blind man rams nails into your pressure point and then says, "soft?" NO! NOT SOFT!! PAIN!! Also, there were no oils or lotions involved in this either. Just baby powder.
But in the end, after the torture session ended, I felt good. Maybe I was just happy to escape the grip of death, but I did feel somewhat relaxed after it was all over!
And in a footnote to the day, I have to add this-
It is customary here for people to remove their shoes when entering a home or even a place of business. You don't have to take them off in most stores though. But at the orphanage I do remove them. I'm not a germ freak by any means. But I do have to say this- have you ever tried to walk into a public third world bathroom barefoot? It doesn't even have to be a public toilet. Even at the apartment I find it difficult to do! I've yet to actually go into a public toilet barefoot. I just can't do it! 

1 comment:

  1. I grew up going to Grandpa's house and visiting the Gulley. Minnows nibbling feet is hilarious!


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