Thursday, November 27, 2008

Alrighty, I’m writing this from our hotel room in Siem Reap Cambodia listening to the new Kanye CD on my ipod (mediocre the first listen, getting better ever time I listen to it, check out the songs Paranoid, Heartbreak, and Street Lights if you want). Haven’t written in a while (as usual), but things are going pretty solid. I’m pretty sure my mom would have a heart attack if she saw how messy our room is. I mean, 3 dudes in one room usually makes that happen. Anyway, I guess I’ll start where I left off the last one, going to Sha Xi.


The bus ride to Sha Xi was pretty awesome, Noah and Zach and I watched Rambo. The whole thing turned really eventful though when we hit, or rather, were hit by a really drunk Chinese man on a bicycle while driving down the road to Sha Xi. After calling the cops and getting the guy blood tested to make sure he was biking under the influence we continued on to Sha Xi. We got to Sha Xi at around 9 at night and were greeted by our host families. My host parents didn’t speak any English and I can speak about 5 sentences in Mandarin and 0 words in Bai (the native language there) so communication was pretty tough. My first night the communication was limited to them pointing at me at making a motion that said very clearly “you are a freak of nature, do you play in the NBA?” I also think he might have told me that he has two children who go to a different school, but then again, maybe he didn’t. I did find out that my host dad is a butcher and that he slaughters a pig at my house every Friday, which I’ll get back to. Anyway, Sha Xi was a pretty damn cool town/village. Almost all the people there are of the Bai ethnic minority and they don’t usually speak Mandarin at their homes. The town itself was beautiful, there were a couple of times where I would just walk around the winding little alleyways trying to get myself lost so that I could have fun trying to find my way back to my house. I taught at the school for a day and observed classes for a day with Lily, which was interesting and really difficult, because the English level of the kids was much worse than in Kunming. I had a ball though, as usual, and the kids seemed pretty interested in us being there, although not that interested in the material.


The last day in Sha Xi started at 5 in the morning for me with the squealing of a pig being slaughtered right outside my door, which was nice. I was planning on going out there to watch Betsy (what I named her beforehand) become pork, but after the first scream I put my pillow over my head and hoped that I wouldn’t be scarred like Clarice was by the lambs being slaughtered in Silence of the Lambs. I eventually woke up and ventured out of my room when I was sure that the pig was already at the market. I walked to the market and met up with Renee, who took a great pic of me with the host parents and the dead pig which I’ll try to put up later. We walked around for a while then met up with the rest of TBB to go to some Buddhist temples in the hills surrounding Sha xi. The temples were pretty sweet but nothing worth going into detail about (if you want some details of it, check out the girls blogs, they probably spend a paragraph or so on them). Anyway, we got back to Sha Xi, and hung out and worked on media projects until the traditional Bai performances, which were sick. Here are some pics:


After the Bai dancers “taught” us a traditional dance, we felt forced to do a performance of our own. We went with the Macarena and a stunning rendition of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of that… or don’t want pictures of that on the internet…. whatever. Anyway, it was a blast and even though we were only there for a little while I loved my home stay parents there, even if she wasn’t the best cook and we weren’t really able to talk to each other.


We had a nice (less eventful) bus ride back to Kunming where we stayed for a night. Our media group was very on top of the game (check out the Google Earth project, soon to be on the TBB website), so Zach, Liz, Isabel and I decided to celebrate by going out dancing, which was an absolute blast. Zach and I bought matching shirts and I bought some Kanye glasses and we picked out some attire for the girls. Here are the pics:






I’m pretty sure there was only one song that they played the whole time in every club, but we danced hard to it. Some awesome media group bonding. The next day we left for Cambodia via Vietnam, which is where I’m at at the moment.


Cambodia has been awesome so far, very relaxing. We went to Ankor Wat for one day as a group then the next day we had an optional sunrise watch at the main temple, which was pretty spectacular. I’m not exactly a morning person (it’s 2:45 AM right now in fact) so instead of waking up at 4:45 I just stayed up until the sunrise, which worked out great. It ended up being Robin, Sandy, Emily, Liz, Renee, Becca, Ian, Lily, Katie C. and me who went. There were a surprising number of people there for it being 5 o’clock in the morning but it was nice, especially when I got into the temple and there were less people. The last couple days we have just been hanging out, getting cheap massages, shopping at the market, and eating a lot.


Thanksgiving was pretty cool for being in Cambodia. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday without a doubt: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Gravy, Pumpkin Pie, Football, and Family. Does it get any better? No, it doesn’t. Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much from this thanksgiving but it ended up being really fun. We ate at about 3 in the afternoon like we usually do in the Snyder household, and had tons of food. We substituted roasted Chicken for Turkey (there are no Turkey’s in southeast Asia). I ended up eating about 5-6 plates of chicken because most people didn’t finish theirs. Didn’t quite beat my record of last year going back for 14ths, but it was awesome. After eating and sharing our “what we give thanks for” and “I appreciate so-and-so because…” we played 2 games of “Celebrity” which is an awesome game that Beth taught us (game is a blast by the way). This also brought in the longtime thanksgiving tradition of over-competitiveness (most by me) that no family gathering is complete without. After that some of us went to get $7 massages for an hour and came back to the hotel. That’s where I’m at right now.


Anyway, sorry if this is a little incoherent, it’s pretty damn late here, but I wanted to get this bad boy up, so forgive my horrible typos. Thanks for reading and such, keep in touch all of you and for the parents who read this, your kids freaking rock, good work parenting.


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