I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t experience it myself, but Cambodia is a great place to celebrate American Independence Day. If you don’t believe me, I have the pictures to prove it!

This weekend was jam packed with, among other things, a fireworks show on the evening of the 4th and a large celebration at the US embassy in the capital city of Phnom Penh. The event included the typical American fare of burgers, hot dogs, donuts and beer, and enough American activities to make me feel like I was at home again.

As soon as I arrived, I began stuffing my face with good old fashioned American food – a hamburger, cake, some soda – and then I found out about the hot dog eating contest! The Kiva fellows made a (strong?) showing, with two [losing] contestants. I’ve always figured that my never-ending appetite would come in handy in an eating contest, but until now I never knew that everything tastes gross in the middle of an eating contest. I guess it didn’t exactly help that I was full of food going in, and couldn’t stop cracking up during the competition.

The contestant on the right was the winner, as you might guess from his concentration... As for the two Kiva Fellow contestants, concentration isn't our forte

An action shot of the competition: The contestant on the right was the winner, as you might guess from his concentration... As for the two Kiva Fellow contestants, concentration isn't our forte

After the hot dog eating contest we watched a hilarious clown show that was put on by Sopana Phom, a traditional Cambodian theater group. It was complete with a healthy dose of slapstick humor, juggling, and fart jokes – sounds American enough for me. Yes, I think I actually enjoyed this one more than the kids. No, I’m not ashamed of myself.

Clown Show by Sovanna Phum

Clown Show by Sovanna Phum

The night came to a close as everyone rocked out to a military band. They played an impressive medley of classic and modern rock and had the whole audience dancing in no time. Everyone’s favorite member of the band was the trombone player, whose performance style could only be described as “agro.”

The Armed Forces meets Rock and Roll

The Armed Forces meets Rock and Roll

All in all, it was a great weekend. I have always taken for granted my Country and all of the wonderful things that it has to offer. And although I do love living and working in Cambodia, now that I am experiencing life in a developing country, thousands of miles away from the place I call home, I finally realize how fortunate I am to be an American.

'Cause nothing says

'Cause nothing says "I love my Country" like Rock Hands and flag cake

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