Feline Death March

Battambang is described as a small provincial town. And that it is. A tuk tuk tour takes care of the local sights — temple, fish market, peanuts drying in the sun and chat with my driver, following which, I make the decision to leave the next day.

The geckos in my room chirp in concert. The air outside is hot and dusty and there is renovation work taking place on the rooftop directly above my room. The banging and sediment dropping begins at 7:30 and every day I extend just one more night. One day turns into five and whatever the force begging me not to leave is, I don’t argue. Perhaps it’s because I feel no guilt eating squishy fruits, waiting for the floors to dry.

The girl that works the Front Desk has a peculiar manner of speaking English; it goes beyond normal difficulties with pronunciation. Come to think of it, she may have similar issues with the Cambodian language. Anyway, I was thinking about perhaps pondering a visit to a temple considerably out of the way and shared this with her.

Four of us were sitting on a wooden bench in the lobby, waiting for the freshly mopped tiled floor to dry — myself, and three young girls that keep an eye on me. The young lady with the impediment was peeling me little opaque fruits as she explained that the mountain the temple sits on, is where cats go to die.

With obvious confusion, I repeat her claim with a decisively questioning look. To further punctuate my disbelief I proceed to demonstrate, using my hands as paws, the arduous sport of feline mountain climbing, all the while crooning high-pitched wails of impending cat-death. I end the performance with a pointed expression beckoning re-confirmation.

Yes. This is in fact what she had meant.

The girls, mystified by my ear-tweaking, dramatic display, place an inquiry and the feline death-march assertion is then translated into Cambodian. They both whoop and howl to the tune of you’re crazy. My girl turns back to me and in all seriousness explains this is what her mother told her.

This was one of my more active days.

~ by Christine fowle