Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proud to be an American?

If you haven’t noticed from the pictures, I’m kinda in the minority here.  The time spent away from other Americans has given me a chance to reflect on my own country and culture, and truth be told, I haven’t always liked what I’ve seen.

I first noticed it with the kids on the beach. I was so shocked to hear them yelling the f word and singing along to American rap songs. These kids walk along the beach selling bracelets off a hanger, sunglasses and good ‘ol leg and armpit hair threading. They aren’t shy and will sit right on the beach chair next to, point out all your wayward hairs, and strike up a conversation in good English. Clearly, they have a lot of contact with foreigners and I think a lot of it is negative.

My sunblock was used up in about ten minutes after word spread that it keeps you from getting darker. 

On our last trip to the beach, the girl in the above picture started braiding my hair and chatting. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She told me she wanted to marry a rich American and move to Florida. Then she started singing a 50 Cent that was quite explicit. It kinda killed me.

Sadly, I’ve noticed similar things in my classroom.  Just this week we finished a unit on honesty, loyalty and integrity.  I asked them to pick role models and who did the boys choose? ...

John Cena

Tom Cruise- Not Oprah. I would be ok with Oprah.
Hmm yeah, this guy needs no introduction. 
Even at such a young age, many of my students are completely enthralled by the idea of making it rich in America. They think America and they think all the things they see on tv. The SUVs, fancy homes and nice cell phones is what it’s all about. A few of my kids even get HBO.  I’ve been asked, more than once, what “Spring break boobies” are. No joke.

I guess my thought it that we Americans can live in our own cesspool of moral filth, but why must we broadcast it to the rest of the world? Can’t we just leave Cambodia out of it? I rather like the traditional Khmer music videos where the women are wearing skirts down to their ankles.  It’s nice to live in a place where life is simpler and it’s not all about “Keeping up with the Jones’” … but I guess it’s already too late. It's less about life pure and simple and more about playing catch up. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bokor Mountain

This Fourth of July weekend wasn't my typical one at the lake with family, but it turned out pretty sweet. I got to hike Bokor Mountain with a few friends. We hiked a bit through the jungle and then got to explore the ghost town at the top. 

These guys kept freaking me out- we all know how much I like lizards. 

The Hotel- The buildings were built by the French, abandoned in the 40's and destroyed by time and the Khmer Rouge. 900 people died in the nine months it took to build the Hotel/Casino in such a remote location.

Weathering at its best

A broken view 

People have decorated the walls over time. Things like, "Turn around... I'm watching you" were  etched in the walls. Creepy.

The romantic part of me was imagining what this terrace looked like in its glory days. All  light up, with French people dancing waltzes in the crisp mountain air. 

Moss & Brick

An old church. We wanted to check it out buuut these guys decided they were going to  live there so we didn't want to be rude and traipse through their "home."

Good Friends

Up in the clouds. Ahhh.