When last Friday afternoon rolled around I had so many options it was ridiculous. Cocktails at the Ambassador’s house, beers at the Embassy, drinks with fellow workers, live music at Talking or pumping up the jam at Pontoon while Paul spun the discs. In the end, I went home at 4pm (via Russian Market to score the 7th season of The Shield) and announced to my wife that I would not be going out but rather I would be staying in to baby-sit Grace. I was bloody tired and as I knew Leakhana was going out with Tee and as Veasna was sick as a dog with a 48 hour bug, I really wanted to just couch surf with my little girl. Good choice. After a nosh of delicious home made soup and with a few cold Zorok tins at hand, I settled in to see how deep Vic’s shit was this season. As it turns out – pretty deep. Gotta love The Shield !
Saturday Morning I bounced out of bed all sprightly (Leakhana sound asleep after a 4am arrival )and about 10 minutes after I hit the ground floor, Phalla arrived with Vichea and a bag of bottles etc and before I could say ” ahhhh time for a relaxing cup of Nescafe…” I was left looking after two one year olds. Shite man. This is not how I envisaged my relaxing Saturday morning. Vichea has had a snappy new haircut which makes him look like a little man instead of Pumpkin head Junior but he is still not really even standing up ! Grace meanwhile is now running around like a child in training for the Olympics. It is times like this when I really understand and appreciate what Leakhana and the mothers of the world go through on a daily basis and I have accepted that I do NOT have the patience that my wife does. After about 15 minutes of Vichea’s howling (he is a bit of a sooky sooky la la ) I was over it. Thankfully Leakhana arrived and I then passed the two kids on to her whilst I went to Russian market for take-out breakfast noodles and cleaning supplies. I intended on doing a Spring cleaning number on the kitchen as it had been a long time since it had been PROPERLY done and as I stepped into the steaming Phnom Penh morning, I could tell it was going to be a long sweaty morning.
I unzipped the bag and was met by what seemed like a thousand beady eyes glaring back at me.”OI ! Shut the door you big boofhead!” they all squeaked in unison….
After devouring the noodles, I stripped down to the boxer shorts and away I went. First stop was the storage space under the stairs. A little while age we caught some mice and as we have seen no evidence of them since, we assumed we had rid the house of pestilence. As I removed the empty flat screen box, I could see piles of cardboard and foam at the rear of the space and alarm bells started going. Faecal matter only fuelled this alarm and next to come out was the large suitcase containing last years Christmas tree (made of plastic foliage) and tinsel decorations. Sounds like perfect mouse nesting material right? MMMMMMMMMMM. I unzipped the bag and was met by what seemed like a thousand beady eyes glaring back at me.”OI ! Shut the door you big boofhead!” they all squeaked in unison. Ok maybe not a thousand but the case was definitely populated. I quickly zipped it up and considered my options. Spray the whole thing with mortein? Leave it to the street for the Acha ( not an option as i had visions of them opening it to see what was in only to have stream of mice head straight back into our house !), take it over to Ang and Paul’s and let Sabor into the case etc.As I pondered the best way to commit mouse-icide the loud air horn of the Cintri Garbage truck sounded and the problem was solved. The mouse house was last seen being thrown into the compacting truck and off they went on their Merry Way – probably to a better life at the new landfill site.
Several hours later I was absolutely exhausted but the kitchen was spotless and I was 2kg lighter. A job well done and I figured I deserved a reward so I decided to go play the Red Fox poker tournament which I have not done in some time. After some fried rice at the bar, we all headed upstairs to find Brett has knocked out the walls and put both the oval tables up there and the walls are lined with Vegas inspired photo montages. With conical lights over the tables, new girls dealing and music piped, the room was awash with expectancy and rambling chitter chatter . I sat down with some regulars ; Brett,BJ and the ever-impressive Gary ( a smooth dude who know his cards and works in Afghanistan as a Post-Conflict advisor) and some guys I didn’t ; French Mike, French E and French-ie the absent minded pothead ( confusing I know ). Then at the end of the table is a guy who I can only describe as Dipshitus Maximus. This American dude was around 30 I guess and sat down with his short unbuttoned to the navel revealing a pale, unimpressive chest. He had ray ban sunglasses on ( The Joe Hacham style ) and to top it all off he has ONE of his MP3 earpieces in his ear.Brett and I both look at this guy like ” is he for fucking real ?” and I am dying to take a photo with my phone for this blog entry but cannot stop shaking my head in sheer amusement. Dipshit is smoking weed and can’t actually see a bloody thing out of his glasses so every time his turn comes he has to slide the glasses down to his nose or ask out loud “what’s happening?”. Not only that, but when he wins his one pot he can hardly contain himself and stands up to rake it all in and some time later I unceremoniously close him down with an all-in call; my trips to his unsuited AK sees him thankfully out the door. WANKER!
Gary then absolutely annihilates me head to head with a real sneaky play. After the final turn card I am holding trip Jacks and the only other card of note in the community cards apart from the two Jacks that completes my trips ( I am holding J/10 ) is a king. Gary has to match my heavy bet and ums and ahs and ums and ahs and then says ” well……you MIGHT have that jack but I’ll have a go anyway” and all-ins me. That single comment starts alarm bells because Gary does not bluff usually and he rarely talks out loud when he goes through the possible scenarios in his head. I am left with two outcomes; either he is holding ?/K and has a pair of Kings to my JJJ (and I have thus beaten him) OR he is suckering me in with that innocuous comment about the Jack and he has KK which gives him trip KKK. I shake my head and exhale and actually announce to Gary “I hope you aren’t suckering me in” and after some hesitation I call his all in. We show our cards and yes…the bastard has KKK to my JJJ! SWINE! Gary is a great sport though and as I said to him, I will treat that as a lesson to trust my instincts. At least the alarm bell did actually sound which means I am coming along as a card player and most agreed I had to play the hand the way I did. Gary bought me a beer and I was on my merry way. A quick trip over to Naga Casino to see if the new Hold Em tables were open proved fruitless as they weren’t “we shut already ! ” and by 9p.m I was home watching more of Vic and his gang’s antics.
Sunday rolled around and I was again in fine form so after a visit with the family to Pho 24 for breakfast, I donned the riding gear, filled up the Camelbak, turned on the iPod full bore , juiced up the XR and rode out south for a few hours in the mud. I crossed the Vietnamese Bridge and turned right along the eastern edge of the Tonle Bassac and was soon hitting Kandal Province. A sneaky little right turn saw me onto a tight single track that follow the river through small, livestock saturated hamlets and after an hour or so of exhaustively avoiding near misses with chooks,cows,dogs,ducks,kids and grandmas I arrived at a small ferry that took me back over to the Takmeo side. As rain threatened I rode back in to Phnom Penh and was soon stripping of my boots and helmet and sucking on a cold tinny. It was great to be riding again and I really must remember to take my camera next time because there are some really lovely areas down that way. Mark then called from the Taxi having just flown back in from Bangkok ” Beers at Liquid ?” and we were soon enjoying a few with Pascal, Kip and Steve as the rain pitter pattered on the street outside.
It was then off home with a bottle of Chilean Red to go with the Shrimp pasta and we sat down and watched Hangover on DVD which gets a 6.5/10 for the main movie and 10/10 for the photos as the movie credits roll. And then to bed sunburnt and exhausted after a fun filled weekend in The Penh.
The dreams I had about surfing in South Africa are for another post altogether!