Friday, August 03, 2007


Driving While Foreign.

Yep, yours truly got picked up by the police today at lunch. I was rolling along in a pack of motos on my way to lunch when a police officer stuck out his orange baton and waved me to the side of the road. "Stop sir. You pay money."

Before this becomes a tirade against the police, it's important to mention:

Cambodian police are perhaps the most underpaid and least appreciated police force in the world. They get 30 bucks a month with no medical, dental, retirement or other benefits. They have to buy their own uniforms and equipment. Training's a joke, and nearly none of them have had formal education as to what the laws they're enforcing mean; and law in Cambodia is fluid enough that the laws they were taught are likely no longer in effect. So they supplement their income where they can.

Like shaking foreigners down for cash.

Despite my best efforts to play dumb, my constant smile and my willingness to participate in whatever Kafkaesque procedures they had on offer, Phnom Penh's Finest's final demand was clear and unavoidable. "5 dollars."



On the upside, work's been great. I'm preparing reports, I've finished up most my assignments, and there's very little between me and a completed summer internship.

I hit the airport on the 14th- almost no time now.

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