When I first moved to Cambodia, I wanted to see and experience everything. So when I saw the group aerobics classes that take place at dawn and dusk all over Phnom Penh, I was eager to get involved. The aerobics at Olympic Stadium are particularly good–there are hundreds of middle-aged women, dressed mostly in matching pajamas swinging their arms in time to Chinese techno. Each group of twenty to fifty ladies is led by an instructor who gets 500 riel from each of them for his efforts.
So I showed up with two of my friends and tried to keep up with the low-impact aerobics, which were surprisingly difficult to follow because I didn’t speak a word of Khmer. A group of teenage Cambodian girls gathered behind us, giggling, watching the barang make fools of themselves. It was one of the more embarrassing (and uniquely Cambodian) experiences I’ve had here.