Living in Phnom Penh: Hectic Khmer New Year
Last week, Cambodia celebrated its Khmer New Year (Year 2554 in Buddhist calendar). Some relatives are asking what’s this about and how come its in April, well, its because the dates are based on the lunar and Buddhist calendar. We had the whole week no classes, no work, and almost everyone leaving Phnom Penh for somewhere else..
This is actually the third time I had my Khmer New Year here and I had been expecting it to be uneventful but alas! I was wrong.. We were planning to go to Ho Chi Minh during the week but a few days before the new year, Ma (my MIL) asked if we could accompany her to her regular pagoda visits and they were also fixing up a place in a pagoda somewhere in Kandal as their family’s burial grounds. So, ok Ma has always been nice to us and seldom asks us to go anywhere or do anything so it wasn’t hard to acquiesce to her request. So we put off going to Vietnam and just stayed here in Phnom Penh.
In one pagoda..
Sunday was spent trudging around a couple of pagodas for their offerings and prayers. I’m not actually required to join these but I always tag along because I find these traditions very interesting and worth observing. During the previous years , we always visited pagodas exactly on the 13th or 14th and its just so crowded and chaotic so this time we went a few days earlier so visiting and offering was a lot easier. Still the heat was a bit too much for me and in the afternoon my head was throbbing and the beginnings of migraine was busy showing itself.. I stayed up all night coz my head was so painful, not even a big dose of Ibuprofen could ward it off and lol! I almost died of fright when I looked at my face the next day! The dark circles around my eyes were bigger than golf balls. Seriously!
I decided not to go out during the day coz I was thinking if somebody saw me they’d think a raccoon got out from the zoo and roaming the streets of Phnom Penh! We were supposed to go to Ma’s house to visit some relatives and eat. I begged off so she sent me some home made noodles and curry and it was super yummy! Maybe I should feign being on bed rest again so I could have a steady supply of that, hmmm? Whatchathink? Haha.. Afternoon I was forced to go out for some shopping coz we didn’t have food in the fridge anymore and since Chinks was making the beeline for the fridge every 15 minutes when she doesn’t have classes, I had to rush off to buy more food.
Tuesday was Chinkee’s 13th birthday and I feel so guilty I had an allergic reaction to the meds I took for my migraine. I was also having a really unbearable toothache so our plans to go to the beach was cancelled since I could barely drag myself away from the bed. But I still manage to drag myself to the kitchen to cook her favorite pasta and since I couldn’t go out on account of my body full of bright red spots added to my big raccoon eyes, it was Hi-ace who went out to buy the birthday cake and some take out food from a resto.. It was an impromptu and small party at home, but we find it funny that we enjoyed it more. Chinks was giddy while blowing her 7 candles, playing with her chocolate cake icing and us eating a lot.. Around 3 pm I had to rush over to the dentist to have tooth checked, he gave me some pain reliever and antibiotics..
I swore I would take some rest when Wednesday came around and I did in the morning. The allergies still won’t let up and my face was so swollen already. I didn’t bother looking at myself in the mirror just in case I faint with what I’ll see. (Come to think of it, I haven’t fainted yet, ever, so maybe I should have looked at the mirror so I’ll know what fainting feels like..hmm). Anway, late afternoon my feet got itchy again, and I decided since Phnom Penh was almost deserted anyway, I’d venture out and so we went on a two-hour river cruise..It was lovely, just lovely..
Thursday morning we got up so early for what was supposed to be a short Phnom Penh drive around which ended up to be a whole day wandering around fest. We had breakfast in the lone restaurant we could find open near our place, then we drove around then met up with friends. We ended up visiting the new bridge along National Road 5 then onwards to Oudong. It was so crowded so we didn’t bother staying around so we just came back to Phnom Penh, and spent sometime looking for someplace to eat since almost all were closed. We ended up eating lunch in Coca Restaurant near Hotel Intercon.
Friday was a repeat of Thursday except for the places we went to.. I was so exhausted I didn’t know the names of the places we went to and as a blogger I slacked off coz I didn’t bother taking photos anymore..
So what did I get out of the whole week? A nice tan.. At least I don’t look so pale anymore, and lots of things to blog about =)