Strategic Sunburn?

Today I underestimated the amount of time I’d be out. So, now you can clearly see the shape of the shirts I wear, outlined in the sunburn..

It doesn’t hurt too much.  Yet. But maybe it’ll settle into a tan and prevent more damage.  Here’s hoping.

While I was out getting sunburned, I passed a brush and broom sales-lady, sleeping on the job:

alseeponthejob1

Also, I found a portion of town with knick-knack shops, massage parlors — and a book store!  Mostly they just sell bilingual learn-English books, but they did have one learn-Khmer book.  It’s unfortunately very much in the “learn a bunch of phrases” tradition, BUT there’s a section on grammar, and it does cover the hellaciously complicated writing system.

(At a restaurant-grocery store where I hang out, yesterday I told some guys sitting across the way, “Right now I am thanking God for the Phonecians.”

They couldn’t quite place it.  The Phonecians, as you probably know, were the pre-Roman civilization of seagoing traders who first worked out and popularized, by their extensive travel, the alphabet as we now have it.  Thus, phonetic.

When I was a kid, I always wished we had a complicated and ornate writing system, like heiroglyphics, or Chinese.  Now, trying to learn Khmer, I’m grateful for the Phonecians’ practical adherence to 20-odd fairly simple characters.  A very businesslike alphabet.

Then, in English, we ruin that simplicity with our batshit spelling rules.

Although, on the other hand, if I had learned something complicated, like the Khmer alphabet, as a kid, maybe I’d be able to learn new alphabets without trouble.)

Out of the bookshop, a 9-year-old girl closed on me.  She wanted to sell me a bracelet for a dollar, and wasn’t taking no for an answer.  I had already escaped a boy selling identical bracelets around the corner.  Similar strategy — must work for the same adult.

“Where do you come from?  Ah, USA.  Washington D.C. is the captial.  Barak Obama is the President.  One dollar, you buy a bracelet.  Buy it for your girlfriend.”

The boy was stymied when I told him I didn’t have a girlfriend.  The kids are cute, but I’m remembering the phantom orphanage and I’m trying to hold on to my money.  Especially when I don’t have a job.

I tried telling the 9 year old I didn’t have a girlfriend, and instantly she said, “Oh, I be your friend.”  Then she saw my expression and went back to pushing the bracelets.

I still didn’t buy one, though.

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Published in: on August 24, 2009 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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