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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

You know you've been in Cambodia too long when...

Inspired by my friends Oly and Kelsey, I've decided to create my own list of Cambodian conversions too!


You know you've been in Cambodia too long when:
  • You are no longer concerned by the presence of a mouse in your bedroom at 3am. As long as there's a mosquito net between you and it, you're fine.
  • The highlight of your evening is that 'Mamma Mia' is showing on HBO. Again.
  • Doing the laundry involves chucking all your stuff in a bucket, adding water, wash powder and stamping on it for a few minutes.
  • You hang around in the ATM, purely because it has air-con.
  • You start to appreciate ants for the job they do.
  • It's perfectly okay to drive on the wrong side of the road. In fact, sometimes its safer.
  • Spending 5 minutes deciding exactly which seat you want on the bus is an acceptable thing to do. Afterall, seats 6 and 7 are over the wheel and for some reason 16 and 17 don't have as much leg space as the others. And don't forget - it's best not to be too far back or you'll be last in the toilet queue at the service stop.
  • You've forgotten how to use a knife.
  • Happiness is a cup of iced ovaltine coffee in a market, under a fan a little too near the hanging cows heads.
  • You have to hold all your clothes up with a belt.
  • You start to speak to your fellow foreigners in broken English: "We go your house what time?"...
  • Seeing another white person is the most interesting part of your day.
  • Striking a match and setting light to your rubbish is as a good a waste disposal system as any other.
  • Your three main topics of conversation include: work, food and what DVD series your watching at the moment.
  • It's perfectly normal to discuss your bodily functions with complete strangers.
  • 9pm is a late night.
  • You no longer accidentally wee down your leg when using a squat toilet. You've got that technique mastered.
  • $2 for an item of clothing is an absolute rip off.
  • A trip to the supermarket is akin to seeing Angkor Wat or some other wonder of the world.
  • You dust your balcony.
  • All of a sudden your bright pink pair of joke purchase shorts are the most favourite thing you own. And did you just buy a fake diamante hair clip?
  • You will argue about $1 for at least ten minutes. It's important to have principles.
  • Your daily perfume is deet with a hint of bodily odor.
  • Sitting in a hammock is too much effort.
  • You prefer practical durable cotton underwear over anything else.
  • It's ok to eat rice for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.
  • The concept of 'sharing skills' means that you request 'The Macarena' at every opportunity, just so you can teach people the dance moves.
  • A five hour journey is a 'short hop'.
  • You're appalled at the sight of someone wearing a skirt or shorts that do not cover the knee. When did it become okay to start showing so much skin?
  • A car is not considered full unless there are at least 10 people in it.
  • You can't sleep at night because it's too quiet, where did all the weddings go?
  • You know the words to: "You know you want me" and actually get excited when it comes on over a speaker.
  • A day below 30 degrees is considered cold.
  • You get excited about rain.

To see Oly and Kelsey's lists, feel free to check out their blogs:


  1. Great blog....glad you're enjoying your time out there and I must talk to you about organising the traditional sibling-in-interesting-place visit (the sequel to my support-a-sibling scheme)! What's happened to all those mails you used to send me from your hotmail account?! Lol. Take care, Dave.

  2. Oh Jen this was the best post yet! I actually LOL when I read the bit about weeing down your leg, I can just imagine you shouting "oh crap! Not again!" haha! You seem in really good spirits, I'm so pleased! It sounds like you're on another planet but appreciating it for what it is. Take care! Loads of love, Jo xxx

  3. 'You start to speak to your fellow foreigners in broken English: "We go your house what time?"...'

    Love it! :D


  4. I love these too long somewhere stories, they sort of give you a feel for a place.

  5. Let me add a few ...
    ... visits to Tuol Sleng Prison or the Killing Fields no longer horrify you
    ... you are personal friends with more than one tuk-tuk driver
    ... you are personal friends with three or more monks
    ... you think the riverside in Phnom Penh is romantic
    ... you think Siem Reap has a riverside
    ... you have visited or know someone who has visited an underage prostitute
    ... you are friends with an underage prostitute
    ... you agree that Thailand and Vietnam are vicious aggressors that are trying to steal Cambodia's land
    ... you trash "Off the Rails in Phnom Penh" but recognize many of the characters in the book
    ... you have lived at the Capitol Guesthouse at least once