Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just one kiss!

I was in a little village in Prey Veng last week checking out a local event, the only barang there at the time. As I stood at the edge of the crowd somebody started pawing lightly at my back, gurgling "barang…barang…" I turned and was confronted with one of the witches from Macbeth - a gnarled old lunatic of a farmer woman right in my face, ripe of palm wine, shit-faced drunk and lust in her eyes. "Barang, kiss…kiss barang" she said coming at me arms outstretched. I stepped back, but not fast enough. She latched on and scissored my leg like a horny bulldog. "Kiss!" she burped in wine-scented Khmer, holding on tight. The crowd slowly turned toward us, staring. A bystander tried to help, gently urging her off my leg, but she swung a stick at him. My driver stood a couple of meters back and tried to lure her away with money, but she wouldn't take the bait. She just kept insisting "one kiss, maybe two." Clearly trapped, I decided to take a different tack. Leaning in, I spoke to her softly, "I'm married and my wife would be very angry," I said. She puckered her lips, "one kiss, perhaps two." I smiled uncomfortably and pled, "my wife is a very jealous woman, everyone will see us," motioning to the crowd (and in fact everyone was looking at us.) I continued, "My wife will be very angry if I kiss a different woman. She will make a big problem for me." That seemed to connect. She gave me a broad, toothless smile, let go of my leg and stumbled off.

On the way back to Phnom Penh, my driver told the story about 14 times.