March 12, 2015

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feelin' Twenty-Two

Today was a good day, despite being largely alone in a foreign country on my birthday. It's okay, really. I had some ice cream, which I've heard is almost as good as human company. Sometimes better.

Anyway, I was pretty tried from last night, and hadn't really slept very well at all, so I ended up staying in bed possibly until noon, and then finally left because the cleaning crew was coming through. I'm finding it very hard to keep active and actually do things while I'm here...and I've yet to find a place where I actually want to just sit around and feel the breeze, read a book, and maybe sleep in the shade or something.

If sometime I find a bungalow on a beach or something (Sihanookville?), I might stay there for...I hate to say a week when I've got just a bit over three left, but I'd like to relax that long. Maybe I could finish Crime and Punishment. And not blog for a whole week.

It's kind of an accomplishment, finding yourself blogging so constantly that you just want a break. Not a break given to you simply for your laziness and thus lack of content, but a proper break...

And all this in the context of a two-month vacation in Southeast Asia, which has been, in general, either slightly chilly (which comes to just fine for a Minnesotan such as myself) or rather hot. In other words, pretty spectacular vacationing weather. Beaches? Go. Eating ice cream? Great idea!

But that's part of why I went on this whole thing; for a chance to relax and be absurdly lazy for a week or so. I think at some point I'd get some idea for photography, and it'd be more exciting and energizing for the lethargy surrounding it. I guess.

Anyway, when I got out of the hostel this afternoon, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I looked at my phone and decided to check ou tthe Royal Palace and Wat Ounalom, a temple near the river. I took a few photos there, but I wasn't sure if entering into the temple was one of those occasions they prefer you remove your shoes for. It's pretty typical, here in Southeast Asia, for shoes to be left at the doorstep, even of houses. I guess the logic behind this could be that even your house acts as a temple (Hung might know a few things about this), which is an idea almost translatable to Christianity.

I wandered around, lost my way a bit, but finally found about a thousand pigeons on a lawn. There were the occasional child or old lady trying to sell corn to tourists, but I would not budge. A young fellow followed me around for a good few minutes trying to get me to buy his stuff, even using one of the small bags up to attract the pigeons, but I remained stoic.

I managed to take some good photos of the pigeons, stationary and sometimes flying, which was quite satisfying. The afternoon sunlight allowed me to keep my shutter speed very high, and thus freeze the fast-moving birds in the frame. I'm having ideas of what to do in darker situations even now, but I don't know if the pigeons are out on the lawn after the sun goes down.

One thing that was particularly fun was dramatically taking off my hat while close to a large crowd of pigeons. Without fail, the nearest hundred or so pigeons would flutter into the air and find safer pastures.

I'm just too stylish for the suckers.

Unfortunately, I'd been a bit overconfident in my batteries' state, thinking at least one of them was still mostly charged. My battery died, preventing me from taking spectacular shots of the nearby palace (and maybe some more pigeons) while the sun set. I headed back to the hostel, took a shower, and charged up a couple batteries partially before heading back out for supper.

I wanted to do something sort of special, at least for the desert part of today's last meal, so after I ate at yet another restaurant helping impoverished street children gain skills and knowledge for a better life...I headed back into town, checking out the restaurants' dessert menus as I went. Unfortunately, I wasn't really impressed. A quality banana pancake would have sufficed, but being that it was so hot, I eventually settled for a homemade ice cream parlour rather close to the hostel.

Toto is its name, and most of the flavors are completely unfamiliar to me, so when I tasted five of the flavors, I felt a little bit less like a jerk for trying them out. I settled eventually on blueberry muffin-ish one, and one called M & M, which was actually made out of fresh cream and then M & Ms were sparsely placed on top. The M & M was the better of the two, but I enjoyed the lot regardless. The staff there were very welcoming and kind, and the price for two (medium-ish) scoops was $2.40.

I headed back for the night, and called it an okay birthday. I hope I'll be able to Hangout with my family tomorrow morning, but I'm also hoping to take advantage of the sunset on the lawn in front of the palace.

I don't think I've ever been in the same country with a legitimate, honest-to-goodness palace before. Didn't give much thought to it at the time, but that's pretty heavy.

I'm well...perhaps a bit over full, and I have yet to show signs of food poisoning. Thanks for reading and praying. Good night!



Gabriel Bertilson said...

Hmm, I should get bowls like that.

Noah Bertilson said...

Like what? I might be able to get you some before I come back. :D