Siem Reap, Cambodia
8pm Tuesday, 20 January 2009
All day long I've been meeting Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Aussies and Khmers who want to know where they can watch the inauguration of 'our new president'. Last night I had dinner with some new friends from Brisbane and they told me about hope they have that Mr. Obama can lead America and the rest of the world to better times.
It's 4 hours until the inauguration. Several of the pubs in town are having Inauguration Parties. They start at 10. The inauguration is at midnight here and the parties will go until we all need to go home and get ready for work tomorrow. Several people I know rested up this evening for the parties.
I haven't met a person here who doesn't know who Obama is. One bar is selling kramas (the traditional Khmer scarfe) with Obamas likeness on it. T-shirts that say Obama are plentiful, and not just on Americans.
And I'm in Cambodia. Imagine.
It's been a long time since I've been able to say I'm an American and not have to defend my country. Everyone is so excited. Even with the problems the world faces. (It's pretty brutal here. Last January it was shoulder to shoulder tourists inside Angkor Wat. Today it's deserted. The tourists aren't coming and people are starting to get worrried.)
But as I said, even with the problems the world faces, economic woes, wars, etc., people are hopeful again and optimistic that maybe the worlds greatest democracy has found itself - at last.
Off to the Party of the Century
I'll let ya know how the inauguration was over here later.