I Love Being Home

February has flown by in a whirl of trips, runs, meetings, school exams, run-ins with the police, a successful 10k, lots of cupcakes, and finally, arriving back home.

Yes, it's been a busy month.

But we finally circled back around to home, and I am perfectly happy to sit in my little house, wearing stretched out T-shirts and yoga pants, and not go anywhere else. At least for a week or two.

I think I left you all back in Phnom Penh, where I'd traveled to stay with Andrew while he had a week of meetings. I filled my time with studying, eating abnormally unhealthy American food like cupcakes and fries, and going to Khmer lessons every day. 

Panya, one of my Khmer teachers

I used our rented scooter to get around town most days. It was absolutely terrifying. As much as I've complained about the traffic in Poipet, it has nothing on Phnom Penh. I have never prayed or cussed more while driving (still working on increasing the praying and decreasing the cussing!). Motorcycles dashing in front of me, huge Lexus SUVs blaring their horns at me to get out of the lane, cars making left-hand turns on red lights. It was a near-death experience every time I drove. And, of course, being the adrenaline-junky that I am, I secretly loved it. 

Until I got pulled over by the police. You know you are a true world traveler when you've been pulled over by the police in more than one country. My offense? Turning right at a red light and having my headlight on during the day. Apparently, that is against the law here. You can't turn right on red lights, and only big honchos with the government can drive around with their headlights on during the day. Yes, it's a strange country.

So, as baffled as I was, I agreed to pay the fine - a whopping $2. But then the police refused to give me a receipt, saying he didn't have any, and if I wanted to get a receipt, I had to give him my driver's license and go to the police station myself. Well, one of the rules of driving in Cambodia is to never give your license to anyone, including police, ever, period. What ensued was me firmly stating I would in no way give him my license, nor would I pay the fine unless he gave me a receipt, and the police officer at first smiling and cajoling me into just giving him the money, then descending into frowns and arguments and then telling me he didn't want my money anymore, I would just have to give him my license.

Andrew was nearby and came out to help me, although not to much avail. After maybe 20 minutes of arguing, I finally pulled out the money - for some reason, the police officer said he only wanted $1 now - and gave it to him, berating him for not having a receipt. He in turn berated me for turning right on a red, having my light on, and underhandedly accusing him of corruption by asking for a receipt and complaining that he didn't have one. 

I departed on my motorcycle, vowing never to turn right on a red light again (as motorcycles zoomed past me at illegal speeds, cutting in front of oncoming traffic, and I swerved to avoid a rickshaw going the wrong way on my side of the road). The police officer, I'm sure, vowed to himself to never pull over a white girl on a motorcycle again.

Sunset at the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

We've had a lot more adventures in the past few weeks, so look forward to more stories of this crazy girl in Cambodia.