I moved house recently, safe in the knowledge that my bonkers quotient was going to be upped in the process.
What I didn’t quite realise though was the extent to which that would be the case.
Mama and papa are indeed lovingly bonkers which I hope I’ve managed to portray in my recent ramblings. Since writing those blogs, papa has had two more post work p*ss ups resulting in noisy, laughter filled evenings and him spending a night spent in the hammock he collapsed into and failed to be roused from. Here’s a little snippet of him attempting to harvest mangoes post party
This bonkersness pales into insignificance however, when it’s compared to that of my fellow residents.
Tom, a big lumbering Texan guy with a dodgy shoulder, selective deafness and a penchant for loud but fairly decent music, is mama’s favourite, so much so that they share a house together. Tom’s a bit of a game player. With mama wrapped around his little finger (and papa wrapped around hers) what Tom says goes. Mama ministers to his every need illustrated in all its glory when Tom was recently struck down with a serious, life threatening (according to Tom & mama) illness, better known as man flu.
The first I knew about it was when my neighbour, Gary, was called in to the sick bay to assist mama in her ministrations. He reappeared a few minutes later laughing uproariously having been required to hold a torch whilst mama ‘coined’ Tom to within an inch of his life. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Wikipedia describe it as:
“…a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Practitioners believe coining releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing”
Coining complete, mama emerged and screeched for papa. He was sent off in the dark on herb sourcing missions as mama noisily cooked up ‘Bo Bo’ (the rice porridge which cures all ills here) for her terminal patient. She fussed and clucked as Tom coughed & barked and moaned & groaned like a good old bloke with man flu, emerging periodically to display her ‘very worried’ face and mutter ‘Tom, Tom, ot l’or (not good)’.
Mama’s nursing of Tom continued unceasingly and miraculously, after a day of bed rest and copious servings of Bo bo, Tom was back to his blundering, blustering self despite once more declaring that he had been “at death’s door”. Mama on the other hand was coughing and spluttering like an old geezer, sweating like a moose and generally looking like shit on a stick, but still carrying on as normal despite mine and Gary’s pleas for her to rest.
And all the while this episode of carry on sick person is playing out, our resident Scandinavian lunatic (let’s just call him P) and his long suffering, malnourished, slightly feral looking Cambodian girlfriend/wife ‘The Grinch’ wreak havoc about the place with the development of ‘Flashpacers’.
For those of you who are wondering, Flashpacers is the name the wonderful P has given to the restaurant at the front of the property. It should actually be Flashpackers, but in his hurry to spray paint anything that stays still long enough (a termite hill has been transformed into a spewing volcano thanks to this art) he missed out a critical K and so Flashpacers was born.
P is well known within the Kampot community. On beginning to describe him to my friend Freya I had barely uttered ‘Danish bloke, feral girlfriend’ and she loudly declared “Oh my god it’s not P is it?” and then regaled me tales of his previous failed ventures around town – a Kampot Magical Mystery Tour complete with Beatles themed advertising being one of the better ones (healing tours to the mud of the salt flats being towards the other end of the spectrum). P has run various eating establishments in the town, all of them failing miserably after a short time ranging from two weeks to six months and has now set up camp in the only place dumb enough to let him, AKA mama and papa’s.
When he first arrived he declared that he was opening an Atkins themed restaurant as it was unique and there was a need for this in the area??? And to this end he has lovingly spray painted Meat Feast $4 on a random cabinet in the seating area. However, on presenting his marketing material to me this week he appears to have had a change of heart and is instead marketing his premises based on the strap line ‘shy girl is shy’??? which stems from his hate of the dust masks worn by many in Asia. According to P, the women of Cambodia (and Korea where his passionate dislike of this attire was originally nurtured) are not wearing these masks to protect themselves from pollution but are in fact making a fashion statement. His long monologue on the subject also made reference to the use of mobile phones and wearing of sun visors and the fact that his restaurant was a protest against all of this. P’s Christmas Day unveiling of the western menu for Flashpacers (which uses the Kiss Unmasked image to add weight to his argument as does its Khmer counterpart) revealed that this protest also extends to Facebook (but not Instagram or Twitter (I checked)) because “when a chef like him has lovingly cooked a delicious béchamel sauce for 24 hours his customers should be prepared to listen to his wonderful stories that take hours in the telling (those were seriously his words) and not think Facebook is more interesting!”
Satisfied that he had his marketing in the bag, P proceeded to celebrate Christmas Day by getting sh*t faced. On returning from her work in some god forsaken factory where she earns next to nothing (but far more than P ever earns from his failed ventures judging the fact that he’s had zero customers in the week he’s been open here) The Grinch was suitably unimpressed as she tried (and failed) to get him to go to sleep rather than staggering around generally being a nutter. He finally collapsed in a heap on his terrace only to wake a couple of hours later and stagger around in his boxer shorts in the pouring rain muttering about his poor wife who was having to sleep in a puddle.
P is convinced that his development of Flashpacers is a real asset to our homes, which he insists are part of the Flashpacers Resort of which he is the self-appointed manager.
This title apparently gives P the right to move things around the property as he sees fit (nicking gravel and plants from outside our houses to put in his restaurant), give random stuff away (papa’s garden hose and Tom’s potting compost being two recent examples of stuff going missing which has laterly been attributed to Ps gifting) and play music and have disco lights flashing all through the night. The latter are thankfully not audible/visible from my little abode at the other end of the row but a constant source of irritation to another recently returned resident loony, Jersey Jack, who proudly unloaded a freakish life sized Santa from his truck when he arrived on Saturday and shared his stories of being Cambodia’s Father Christmas!!!!
But Jack’s irritation will be of no concern to P who has on two occasions now told me that he is “big in politics” here in Cambodia (apparently, this is going to help him with his protest marketing campaign) and proudly displays a photo of himself with his arm around Hun Sen in the restaurant when he’s not sticking it in people’s faces that is. And what’s more, I’ve this morning learned that musician P (he told me early on that he was reforming his band and going on tour at some point in the future and more spray painting at the restaurant claims that there will be live bands and Junge (sic) music) regularly plays violin for the king and Queen of Cambodia no less.
One is honoured and humbled to be in the company of such an important nutter and waits in hope for the day they visit our humble abode here at the asylum that is Flashpacers Resort!