We were originally going to fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. We had booked our flight, but Nicci told me she wanted to see more of the countryside, and suggested that we take the bus instead. Tickets were $15, and they picked us up from directly from our hotel and took us to the bus depot.

The condition of the road on which we traveled. These children took it to and from school.

The vehicles, part of the Giant Ibis transport fleet, were newer (“We just got them from Korea,” someone explained), supposedly air- conditioned and outfitted with WiFi, though I can’t properly endorse either claim. Our seats were at the very back of the bus, where the cold air did not reach. From my vantage point I could see a sea of heads in front of me, all of them bent in frustration over their handheld devices, in hopes of being able to check their email or send a single tweet.

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I think it was Nicci who found out about the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, and suggested that we go there. I would like to take credit, though. I think that it’s on par with discovering fire, or inventing the wheel, or figuring out that Junior Mints should be stored in the fridge. These are important developments in humanity’s history. I really want to be the one who made the whole petting-an-elephant thing possible for me and Nicci.

But getting credit is not the important part (she said to herself, unconvincingly). Nor was it petting the elephant (she said this even less convincingly. Seriously, who the fuck was she kidding?) No. The important part was that we got to support an international organization that is trying to make Southeast Asia a safer place for both animals and humans. (Yes.)

But also? I got to pet an elephant. (YES.)

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Hi!

Remember me? I know, I know – I promised I’d write two or three times a week and then I disappeared for two. In my defense, I had to go to Australia and eat Tim Tams and snorkel. This was not optional. This was something I had to do, out of moral obligation to … the cookie industry? (Okay, fine. I haven’t totally figured all of this out. Also? Seriously jet lagged. Still.)

The good news: I am getting lots of work done on other projects (mainly the book), and I’ve written four chapters in the time it would normally take me to write ZERO chapters, so that’s something.

But I have really let the blog fall to wayside, as many of you have let me know via email, tweet, and missives written on the wall of my home in frosting (props to those of you who realize that your message would get across far better using that instead of blood).


(Oh, Petra, dearest, I know. Trust me, I know. I think about it anytime I do anything that isn’t working on the book.)

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I’m afraid of many things. I blame my mother.

Lucky girl.

 

She was utterly convinced, from the time I was born, that the entire world was out to get me (it didn’t help that I was named after a relative who had died tragically young). She concluded that the best way to keep me alive would be to instill in me an irrational fear of EVERYTHING. I consequently grew up sheltered and loved and utterly terrified.

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