Today is one of 26 public holiday days here in Cambodia. The reason for this particular holiday is the celebration of the birthday of the current king. In honour of this we get two days off, and when I say we I mean anyone who works for a Cambodian government organisation or a private business which currently includes me in my temporary capacity as a primary school teacher of English as a Second Language.
Every Cambodian with a job in a Cambodian institution and access to a vehicle or a space in/on one has been on the move. The road outside has been bumper to bumper for most of the day and news from social media reports traffic jams across town and on the main routes in and out of town too.
Each group of travellers following the same rituals. Set off early having packed every available space in/on the vehicle with food, then stop at a popular spot for breakfast before heading to the chosen beauty spots via stops at various snack stalls en route. Those heading on the road out past my house are on their way to the waterfall. Their journey through town to this spot will most likely have included a visit to the main market and a stop at the railway track to take pictures as well as the breakfast break and snack pickups. Some families do buck the trend and stop for a picnic on the way. The criteria for selecting a spot to sit and munch appears to include being as close to the open rubbish heap as possible and potentially edged out into the actual road itself.
Whilst all of this makes for entertaining observation it’s actually not much fun to be a part of – name me one person who enjoys a bank holiday traffic jam back home.
And so, In honour of such an auspicious day, I rose early and engaged in a period of meditation followed by 20 minutes of gorgeous stretchy yoga. I ate a ripe juicy human head sized mango with natural yoghurt, drank good strong Cambodian coffee and spent a few hours reading my latest book (Gone Girl in case you’re interested). A lunchtime wander down to the spa was timed impeccably to avoid the huge storm that rolled in this afternoon, disturbing my Netflix binge viewing thanks to the din of the rain on the roof.
Nothing much else has occurred in my day apart from the eating of pickles straight from the jar and brewing up a second batch of Kombucha, the first being absolutely delicious once flavoured with ginger and served over ice.
That and listening to the increasing impatience o those on the traffic lined road and thanking my lucky stars I’m not part of it.