Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Phnom Penh Mannix

MannixImage via Wikipedia
After getting back to my hotel from Tuol Sleng, The Killing Fields, and The Grand Palace, I am happy that I was able to accomplish so much on my first day in Cambodia's capital. I lay on my bed and begin to realise that the weird sensations afflicting me are not the product of emotion and sun exposure. Periodically, I have been having odd head rushes, as if the Purple Microdot is about to kick in. Sadly, it never does.

I have a chronic cough, chills, sweats, and my ears are plugged, making communication even more arduous. In addition, every joint in my body aches. Realising that I cannot continue to travel in this state, I confine myself to my bed for a few days, slithering out from the confines of the Jockey Hotel only when necessary.

On one such sojourn I am dining streetside, look out at the very busy Monivong Blvd. As I gnosh away, I am buoyed to see the staff gather for an evening meal. I like places that feed their staff as it says something about the integrity of the ownership, especially in a country this poor.

I request my bill, glance at it and pull out some Riel to settle. Suddenly, an audible gasp rises from the patio. I look up to see a scooter careening off the small median, struggling to regain its balance. About ten feet behind the scooter I see a pedestrian trying to do the same. Clearly she is stunned and injured.

The scooter, having recovered its equilibrium, begins to race off into the night when out of nowhere a Phnom Penh Mannix runs after him and horsetackles driver and scooter, sending both crashing to the ground in a way that puts me in the mind of The Calgary Stampede.

All of this happens in the span of about eight seconds. I commend the young man, his reaction was not considered, but instinctive, reinforcing my notion that most people do the right thing in the unconsidered instance.

A crowd gathers around both involved parties. One women on a scooter has pulled over and appears to have some medical acumen. The women is laid down on the median, and eventually an ambulance arrives. I hope her injuries are no too serious.

Phnom Penh Mannix, you will never read this, and I will never know who you are, but I am humbled by your instinctive decency. Thank you for teaching me.