Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Where do your keep your pangolin?

Saw this (serious) story (The Curious Case of the Monkey in the Underpants) about some guy traveling with a monkey in his underwear and it reminded me of a post I made on the Lonely Planet Cambodia travel forum several years ago. I got several serious replies and a few admonishments. Only a couple got the joke. Someday somebody needs to invent a functioning [sarcasm][/sarcasm] mark-up.
Where do your keep your pangolin?
Like many travelers, I always travel with a pangolin. Last week at a $3 guesthouse in Siem Reap Cambodia, I had to go out just briefly and left my stuff there on the bed in the room, including my pangolin. When I returned, the pangolin and my $3500 camera were gone. The room was locked when I left and when I came back. There are no windows so only the guesthouse staff could have had access to the room through the locked door. When I confronted the manager, he insisted that it was "impossible" that any of his staff would steal my pangolin, and suggested that my pangolin had in fact stolen my camera, even implying that pangolins are prone to this sort of behavior. Well, there's no way. That pangolin has always traveled with me and has had plenty of earlier opportunities to steal my camera and lots more. Besides, how could it open the door to get out? With that prehensile tongue? I don't think so. The manager pled with me not to call the police and offered to give me the whole week in his guesthouse, plus dinners, for free, if I just wouldn't report it. Rattled by the loss of my pangolin, I accepted the offer. Here's my question: I know that Cambodians smile a lot. The country is known for its smiles. But every time they serve me my hamburger in the guesthouse restaurant, they don't just smile, but actually snicker, sometimes even laugh. Sometimes I even get the feeling that they are laughing at me. Am I just being paranoid?

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