I have yet to acquire the gift of prophecy. However, should the future choose to become more evident to me, so will this itinerary become longer and more detailed.
8: Departed from Los Angeles.
10: Arrived in Phnom Penh, mentally delirious and physically groggy.
12: Visited clan of family in Phnom Oudong and basked in hospitality.
15: Bummed around a Chinese apple farm and perused the market stalls at Kien Svay. Stopped at the first memorial of the project at Wat Champuh Ka’ek.
16: Drove long way south with family to feast on fresh water lobsters in Koh Tom.
17: Took a walk around the old neighborhood at St. 112 and Jawaharlal where mother’s family used to live.
18: Practiced patience on the drive to Kampong Thom to meet up with Cambodian guide Sokhom Im. Wandered around the exquisitely quiet temple mountain at Phnom Stung Sen. Visited the memorial at Wat Baray Choan Dek. Survived the horrifyingly long ride back to Phnom Penh.
19: Had a most excellent conversation about genocide memorials and life in Cambodia with Andy Brouwer
20: Haggling for dried fish and shrimp at the market at Ourussey, Central, and Olympic. Smelling like dried fish and dried shrimp afterwards.
21: Read and wrote all day. Rained all night.
22: Family bid farewell to Aunt Daly on her flight back to California. On my own in Cambodia now.
23: Constitution Day in Cambodia. I spy Cambodian flags on random corners throughout the city.
24: Meeting at Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) with Kok-Thay Eng.
5: Watched the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney at Meta House (and endured drunken commentary from the audience).
14-16: Pchum Ben holiday all the rage in Cambodia. Made it to Kampong Som on the 14th for my first dose of the Cambodian coast.
15: Death of the king father Norodom Sihanouk
17: People fill the city streets to see the body of the king father taken from the Phnom Penh International Airport to the Royal Palace.
20-23: Made the maiden voyage to Bangkok, Thailand.
23: Crossed the wet, fish-smelling border from Thailand to Cambodia.
11-12: Participated in a van ride that I thought would never end, on the way to Kampot and the mountain life of Phnom Bokor.
15: Made my second visit to the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes with Sarah Lischer, professor of political science at Wake Forest University.
22: Celebrated American Thanksgiving Day over High Tea. Concluded it was fun, but it was not a substitute for the real thing.
1: Completed a joint-crippling half-marathon around the Angkor temples in Siem Reap.
9: Clumped up Phnom Oudong and saw the memorial at the foot of the mountain.
25: Did Christmas in Cambodia.
30: Aunt Sumpha suddenly passed away a little after 12 in the morning. Mourning began.
31: In Bangkok.
6: Met the keeper of the keys at Wat Kampong Tralach located between Kampot and Kep.
20: Moving Day. Relocated my residency in Phnom Penh from the Independence Monument neighborhood to the sights and sounds of Tuol Tompong Market (aka Russian Market).
1-4: Funeral ceremonies took place for the king father Norodom Sihanouk. Road blocks galore.
3-4: Hitched a ride to Takeo to see a stupa dedication ceremony.
10: Lunar New Year. Welcomed the Year of the Snake. Said goodbye to the Year of the Dragon.
23: Tagged along as “Spontaneous American Journalist,” with cousin and Khmer filmmaker Tom Som for the Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club and Union for Youth Federation of Cambodia Charity Tournament. And saw the “Phnom Penh of Tomorrow” that I never new existed.
24-28: Made my first trip to Battambang, Cambodia’s “Second City,” but a long way down from the first.
24: Bused it to Battambang, with friend and HelpAge Cambodia staff member Angela Lim.
25: Met guide and historical preservationist afficionade Sanvasak Som in Battambang and it was a full-on motorbike day to Wat Samrong Knong, Wat Samdech Mony, and Phnom Sampeou. (Post to be written in Catching Up series)
26: Case study fieldwork with HelpAge Cambodia staff in Moung Russei. (Post to be written in Catching Up series)
27: Enjoyed morning coffee and baguette with a bunch of Khmer politiciens. Dommenced on another full-on motorbike day with Sampov Men to collaborate on fieldwork for HelpAge Cambodia and for my research in Moung Russei, the district where my mother’s family was located during the genocide. (Post to be written in Catching Up series)
2: Left Phnom Penh for Los Angeles and spend one night in beloved (never thought I’d say that) Corona.
3-5: Ill-prepared for the relatively colder climate in Baltimore for a visit John Hopkins University.
7-8: Back in Bangkok for the 5th Annual Mid-Year Enrichment Workshop for American Fulbright Students.
9-15: Sojourn in Nepal. Fell in love with an old, magical land and encountered the highly-craved silence.
16: Warmly welcomed back to Cambodia.
23-27: Explored Kampong Som and Koh Rong. News flash: Nature in pristine form does exist here.
5: Preliminary new year gallivanting at the United States Embassy.
13-15 (Although that’s a loose, rough window of time): Happy Khmer New Year. I made the decision to start a doctorate program in history at John Hopkins University starting this fall 2013. And I am happy about it.
14-16: New year mental meditative retreating in Kep.
14: Revisited the purple memorial at Kampong Tralach.
17: 38th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge entrance into Phnom Penh on 17 April 1975. Tried to find the house where my mother’s family was on that day, near Wat Preah Peout and Olympic Stadium. Doesn’t help when you don’t really know what it looked like before…
22: Earth Day. Appreciate the land that is here.
1: International Labour Day.
13: King’s Birthday. Cambodia goes on holiday again, sort of like New Year, except a notch lower, at least that’s what I’m told.
17: Back to Siem Reap? We shall see. (Yeah, it happened)
20: Nerdy debut at Nerd Night, Phnom Penh
22-27: Off to the west, in Koh Kong, where rivers meet mountains meet surprisingly large Chinese population
16: Phnom Penh Marathon. 10k or 21k? Stay tuned. (Yeah, that didn’t happen.)
18-19: In Kampong Chhnang, working at the main office of People in Need, managing to make nachos with Czech people, and visiting the 13th memorial at Wat Khsam
25: Meeting with Sopheap Chea, audiovisual archivist and research analyst at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center
26: Play and learn in the pastry and chocolate kitchens of The Shop and Chocolate, by The Shop
27: Chat with writer and Phnom Penh resident Gabrielle Yetter
29: Return to visiting family in Phnom Oudong. 10 months later.
1/2: City photoshoot for Cambodian Narrative
8: Scheduled take-off from Phnom Penh.
9: Scheduled touchdown in Los Angeles.