I normally wrap up a country by posting about my experience of being a ginger in said country. So here it is for Cambodia.
The main observation about gingerness in Cambodia is that the women, quite frankly could care less. The stories and the detail lie in the men.
1. Your Average Cambodian Man
Your average Cambodian man finds me particularly attractive for some reason. I would like to think it’s my wining personality or stunning good looks, but let’s be frank here people, it’s neither. It is rather what Mr. Lucky (who of course didn’t get lucky) termed “Cambodian men, they like your very white skin”. I can safely say this was the response I got from several tuktuk drivers and the gas station owners where we stopped to fill up. So if my future love life fails me entirely, I can always head back to Cambodia and get myself one of those nice Cambodian ‘boyfriends’ that some Western women seem particularly fond of. I just hope I don’t get one like the fellow who so kindly told me at the top of Phnom Banan in Battambang that I was “very, very red”. Thank you sir, but I’m afraid gingers just come in this colour.
2. The Lady Boy
The second sub-section of Cambodian men who found me appealing were lady boys. Well, one lady boy in particular, and not in a coming-onto-me-kind-of-way but more of a I-want-your-skin-kind-of-way. My friend and I were indulging in the last remnants of Western culture (in the form of potato chips and various chocolate bars), and we were just checking out at one of the multitude of convenience stores that litter Siem Reap, when the ‘woman’ behind the counter starts to offer comments on how lovely my skin is. I try to deflect the compliments (not because they are coming from a lady boy, but because I just suck at taking compliments) by saying that in North America her tan skin is much better. She doesn’t buy this (even though it is entirely true, please refer to current obsession with Jersey Shore), and continues to insist that my skin is much nicer. I finally decided that I wasn’t going to win this battle, so I give up, say thank and wander off to enjoy North American junk food.
Nothing too monumental in Cambodia in terms of ginger-ness, I’m afraid. But each country always offers a unique spin on the mundane.