Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a boy!

Just kidding.  Seriously, I’m totally kidding!  I’m not having a baby!  And definitely not in Cambodia!  I mean, people do that, but the line above (the part about a BOY) kinda terrifies me.  I mean, I’ve got two super cute, sweet kids, but that’s only a fraction of the time.  The rest of the time...

Anyway... no, it was titled “Names” and that sounded boring so the title change was a last minute switch.  I’m laughing now as I picture my mom and dad speedreading as fast as they can to see what in the world I’m talking about. 
Let’s get to the real story:

I met this new tuk tuk driver outside my apartment about two weeks ago and that’s pretty strange. See, they have some sort of system that I think I’ve figured out parts of but still don’t quite understand. Two guys park in one place, the rest park up on top of the sidewalk in another, and as you take one, the others systematically move up in the line. They all seem to be friends and if one says he’ll pick me up at a certain time at a certain place, it’s not unusual at all for one of the others to show up instead. I guess that’s what they do. I don’t know. Well, after we went to Siem Reap for the holiday, we came home to find a couple new drivers out there in shiny new tuk tuks. One of them pulled up one day as I walked out, so the kids and I did what we always do and climbed in.

He was an okay driver. He spoke a little English and he got us to our destination with only minimal confusion, which is normal for most drivers, so I let him wait and bring us home, too. Before we walked back inside the apartment he gave me his phone number in case I wanted to call him for a ride again. This is also completely normal. I asked him what his name was and he said Nimnal. 

I’ve been riding in his tuk tuk for a couple weeks and calling him Nimnal. 

Today I found out that is not his name.  One of the other drivers was telling me a little more about their system and instructing me not to use the new guys because they are not their friends and I am a friend of all the other guys. That’s another story of tuk tuk politics.

What caught my attention was that he said the guy’s name is Nal.

Not Nimnal.  

I guess he was saying Name, Nal.  And I’ve been calling him Nimnal!  I feel so silly!  I mean shouldn’t I have known that wasn’t a normal name... Nimnal?!?!   

Maybe not.  

Here are some names I’ve heard in Cambodia.  These are names of people I’ve actually met.  Some I do know how to spell correctly I will but others I’ll just spell phonetically for you.

Sok Jia
Oon Dra
Sam Meut
Sok Heng
and my favorite – Kim (yes, it’s a boys name here)


Now, was I so crazy to think Nimnal was his name?
I’m sure he thinks so, but he’ll never tell me. 

I know his name now.  Nal.  All I have left to do is figure out how to play this game of tuk tuk politics!

Should be an adventure for sure!

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