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Posted by on Feb 9, 2013

Random Thoughts by Dave – Volunteering and Finding the French Influence in Cambodia


  • After one week working for my volunteer program in Phnom Penh I can say I’m very proud to be a part of the organization and to hopefully play a small role assisting the group with its mission. I’m working with a non-governmental organization that helps empower youth to have more of a role in Cambodia society and to elicit change. It is very inspiring work and the people I work with are very dedicated to their cause and extremely friendly and helpful. It should be an exciting three months.
  • I’ve definitely been drinking less since we’ve been in Southeast Asia. I’ve also lost weight. I don’t really want to know if the two are related.
  • I thought I finally had the evidence I needed to prove Jill is not human (I was leaning toward Robot over Alien). Our apartment in Phnom Penh is on a side street and our bedroom faces the street. There’s a dog somewhere nearby who howls at all hours of the night. She would sleep right through it. Then one night, it appeared as though someone was dragging an aluminum roof through the street and to their house. Just when I thought this also didn’t bother her she said, “Maybe we should sleep in the other bedroom.”
  • Another un-human trait Jill has — she can speed type on an iPhone using both of her thumbs. She tells me that plenty of “people” can do this, but I’ve never seen anyone. She also has an amazing ability to read maps. She was given a map of Phnom Penh a couple of days before we arrived. After looking at it for a while I asked her if she had the city down yet. She said, “about 40%” and would need a day of actually being there to figure it out. This is the same person who asked for a road atlas for our drive across the U.S. because it provides more detail than Google Maps. What’s next, a set of Encyclopedia Britannica?
Jill's iPhone typing in action

Jill’s iPhone typing in action

  • Not having hot water for a shower isn’t so terrible when it’s 90-plus degrees out. (Update – we’re the idiots here. There has been hot water all along if we had turned on the right light switch to activate the hot water box in our shower. Doh!)
  • Wine is much more prevalent in Cambodia than Thailand, in part because tariffs are much lower and perhaps because of the French influence here. I’ve been able to find wine in the grocery stores for less than $10 a bottle, but the quality has just been OK. Jill has laid out an exhaustive sightseeing itinerary for today (Saturday), while my only request was to visit a real wine shop.
We found one!!

We found one!!

  • By the way, thank you France for occupying Cambodia so I can still enjoy a baguette here.
  • Ever since my first trip to France I’ve wanted one of those tea pots that you just plug in and place on the base and the water heats up in about a minute. I finally have one!!! And love it!!! Shouldn’t more people have these in the States. On a related note, I’ve been eating more ramen lately.
Our main source of food and drink intake lately

Our main source of food and drink intake lately

  • I got the first massage of my life last night ($6 plus 50% tip). Best way to describe it is that I got manhandled, but not in the way you might think. It also confirmed I’m the most unflexible person on the planet. 





  1. Dave and Jill,
    So nice to know Jill is super human..not news to me.
    Dave, please write more…love your sense of humor.
    Keep doing the good work and love the teapot. We all have one
    Back here in the mountains. Hugs and love to you and Jill.

  2. Dave, She IS A BOT. The real Jill was swapped out sometime during high school. I don’t think Babs and the Big Guy ever realized it. Now that you know her secret to seemingly super human feats you better keep an eye open while sleeping. She’s always amazed me, but I never let on.

    On another note-you can’t afford to lose much more weight can you?

    Really enjoy the Post’s

    • There’s a beer belly hiding underneath all that muscle Jerry.

  3. Dave – I totally agree she is a robot when it comes to maps…that was why I became her friend – she could navigate Worcester!!! (Okay, maybe not the only reason, but perk for sure.)

  4. Love your random thoughts! Glad that you get wine once in a while. Of course Jill is an awesome gal!