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Monday, September 11, 2006


Living like Steve

Since I moved into my house I rarely watch TV. However, two friends emailed me with news of the death of Steve Irwin. Teaching English in a non-English-speaking country I become quite aware of the English that I use. When I would occasionally watch Steve on Discovery Channel I would think that he speaks real 'Australian'. If my students asked me about Australian language I would tell them to watch Steve but the response would come back: Discovery Channel? Cable TV? It is completely outside their world.

The other thing I used to think when I watched Steve was that he is a risk taker. I don't think it is sad that he died. He lived an amazing life. Most of us don't get to have a small percentage of the adventures he lived almost every day. He achieved much in his short life. He knew he was taking risks. He knew that this could kill him one day but he didn't let that stop him from living. How many people can say that? Those who are alive but afraid to live are much sadder than the dead Steve.


I was flossing my teeth a few nights ago and a piece of filling came out. So now what do I do, I wondered.

The next time I ate it became obvious that I needed to get it replaced. The gap was holding food in a major way and I figured it would only lead to more decay.

Sarun's advice was to go to the lower market. There are dentists there who only charge $5 a tooth. In Phnom Penh, he told me, they charge almost $100.

Now there are times when it is good to economize and times when it's not. I think dentistry is one of the latter. I tossed up on waiting until I got to Thailand. But my friend Ursula had a crown replaced when she was in Phnom Penh and her report was positive.

Only I didn't know where to find her dentist.

I decided to stay overnight in Phnom Penh on my weekly visit. I went on Sunday so that I could visit the dentist on the Monday morning. But as I walked around on Sunday afternoon I noticed that there were several dentists open. There are several rather up-market ones in the Sorya area that look like they might charge close to $100. I don't think that is where Ursula went.

I was also having difficulty deciding where to stay. The place I usually stay is in the Sorya area but last time I went there the room had a strange smell about it. I decided to go to the place I first went to when I came here last year, the International Guesthouse.

It is a bit of a walk from Sorya but the walk took me past a few dentists. Some looked a bit grubby but there were a couple that looked OK and were open. After I got my room I went back.

I was taken in and treated immediately. He was quite professional. The equipment and procedures were much as I am used to in Australia and so far I have no complaints.

One tooth has been filled. There was a crack in the filling. And he will put a ceramic crown on the one where the gap is. He took an x-ray to make sure that would be possible. I go back this morning for the mould to be made for the crown. And the cost? The filling, $10; the ceramic crown, $100; and the x-ray, $2. (prices are $US)

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