It was a standard Friday night in Phnom Penh- my friends and I were so fucking happy that the weekend was upon us because that meant not having to deal with kids for a solid two days. It also meant that for those two days a heavy amount of drinking, smoking and debauchery would ensue. To get it started we decided that we were going to go to st.51. Now for those who have never been to Phnom Penh, st.51 is filled with bars, a couple dance clubs, a finite number of girly bars with an infinite number of prostitutes, weird men, beggars of all ages and just all around craziness, imagine Vegas in a developing 3rd world country and you have st.51. People go to 51 to get fucked up, to fuck and if you are “really lucky”, both. Whenever my friends and I would go to 51 we knew we were going to be blacking out and pretty much dead the next day, with evidence of Katy Peri’s pizza to be found in our rooms, kitchens, or balconies.
So this Friday was no exception to the others. My two gal pals and I hit 51 hard and before I knew it I was blacked out. Now part of this story I don’t remember so what I tell you has been relayed to me from my housemate and teacha-friend that I was with. So this is what I am told- we all agree that we are ready to go home and we start scanning for a tuk-tuk. I find one and say let’s take this one. My housemate tells me the next day, that she could tell how drunk this guy was and thought that we shouldn’t take him. She didn’t say anything because she didn’t realize how drunk I was. I was so drunk I didn’t even notice how drunk he was, which tells me him and I were on the same level.
(story still being relayed to me) So we get in this super drunk Cambodian man’s tuk-tuk and tell him where we live and we are off. My place is about a 3-minute ride from st.51 which equates to a $2 ride TOTAL. We arrive on our street and my housemate gives him $3 or $4 which is more than fair. Our driver starts talking shit to us saying that we owe him more money and that we cheated him. My housemate just walks away, I on the other hand tell them it’s ok I’ll talk to him and get it figured out and make the peace. So I started talking to him.
All of a sudden I am on my street and am stumbling back because our tuk-tuk driver just pushed me. I am now out of black out and kind of realize what is going on and instincts are to push him back so I do. As he stumbles back and then forward I realize that I am “fighting” the only Cambodian man in the country who is taller than me and on top of that he is hefty. After pushing him I look to my left and see my teacher friend staring baffled at this hot mess of a situation going down. I look back just in time to see a fist coming towards my face. I manage to dodge it and then I swing back. This all happened in a matter of a 30 second span…I think. After swinging back everything starts to sink in and I do the only thing that a not-so-much-blacked-out-teacher does, I start crying, a drunken heavy cry. I tell Katie that I am going to try and run around him and that we are going to run to my house. When I tell her this I say it quick banking that this tuk-tuk isn’t fluent in English and won’t be able to understand. I try to make a move and he blocks me. Then I pull out some fancy footwork from my blacktop days and manage to get around him and we book it for my house. We make it upstairs, I am heavily sobbing and she is still confused.
I wake up the next morning feeling like the ring-leader of some shit-show circus with some serious self-loathing and start to reflect on my poor life decisions, which is the best thing to do when you can barely see straight.I decided that best thing to do was order some delivery, smoke some weed, and watch movies. All I could think was how lucky I was that I didn’t have to explain a black eye to my students and principal come Monday because that would have been the actual worst.
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