The Devil’s in the Details

Well, the end of summer has kind of snuck up on me! I’ve been too busy playing in national parks, going to weddings, and catching up with everyone to even realize it’s almost over! I only have 20 more days before I make my way back into the sweet as land of Kiwis, flat whites, All Blacks, Hell Pizza and the naked pie man (oh he exists. I’ve had his pies. I’m usually drunk but I have to say they are quite good..). Needless to say, I am beyond excited to be heading out again and reuniting with everyone!

That being said, I will only be in New Zealand for a couple of weeks before I fly out to Cambodia on a reckless and mostly unorganized whim. I’m going to try to teach English over there, but at the moment the farthest I’ve planned is stepping off the plane in Phnom Penh. Oh Lord don’t fail me now. Since deciding that SE Asia sounds inviting I have had to book all sorts of last minute appointments, the most recent being dentist and immunizations.

I hate annual cleanings; I dread sitting in that chair because I know what comes next- a lecture on how I need to floss more and a lot of jabbing at my gums with a metal hook. Never fun. I haven’t noticed, but apparently the last time I was in for a cleaning was nearly three years ago. Good news: no cavities! Healthy teeth, rejoice! Bad news: my teeth are quite plaquey (yeah, I made that a word) and my gums are a little more swollen than usual, but it’s easily manageable. As I sit down my dental assistant, Jenny, hands me some dark glasses. Apparently they are for ‘protection’ and to ‘make it easier on the patient’s eyes’. This is so false; they created those glasses so they could work on your teeth without having to see the pain they’re causing reflected back at them through you. Along with glasses, they now that this new thing that is meant to be more comfortable for you and your teeth than all the scraping, and it sounds nice enough- just a little tool that shoots out water and vibrates on the end to clean some of the plaque. Comfort in the dentist’s office is a lie. Always. That thing hurt!! I began to despise Jenny by the end of it all, which is a little unfair since she really is a nice person. I guess it’s my own fault for not coming in for three years. After about an hour of work, I was finished…for now. I had to schedule round two for the end of the month to finish off the polishing. I guess it beats trying to find good dental work in a third world country though.

Today I went in to get my immunizations and vaccinations. I was expecting the torture of 3 to 5 shots, but I got away with only one!! Score! Since I haven’t been to a country with a high risk for yellow fever (and won’t be going to one) I didn’t need that one. And rabies vaccine was just waaaayyy too expensive (and it’s a series of 3 doses over 28 days, I don’t have that kind of time left!) so I opted out. I’ll just stay away from monkeys and dogs and hope a bat doesn’t dive bomb me. I have had the first two doses of twinrix for hepatitis A and B, so the third dose was the only shot I needed as I settled for the typhoid pills instead of injection.

As the nurse was setting up the for the shot she started asking me questions about New Zealand. She swabbed my arm with a disinfectant and asked why I was there before. “Oh you know, studied there a couple of years ago and went back after I graduated to work at this-” BAM! “Whaaaa???!” Without warning, that nurse jabbed that needle into my arm like she was trying to break through a brick wall. I understand the element of surprise, but really? Woman…people are not made out of stone. Figure it out. I wasn’t exactly giving off needle phobia vibes, I’m pretty sure she could have nicely eased it in and we would have been just fine. “There you go,” she said as she wiped away the blood and put the bandage an inch below the injection site, “now you may develop a little soreness or redness so take some Tylenol if you need to.” I’ll need the whole bottle of Tylenol after that. There is no redness, just black and blueness. A bruise started developing before I even walked out of the office.

But hey, immunizations are done (for the most part..unless I change my mind about one or two of them) and I am over the worst of the dental torture. All I need to do is arm myself with mosquito repellent and I’m ready to rock and roll! Basically.

Also, if any of you know of some great cheap places to stay, eat, and see/do in Phnom Penh, I’m all ears.

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