Friday, October 25, 2013

Back in the Tuk Tuk Again

I thought of my return to Cambodia in big term: fate and destiny being two of them.  This new chapter of my life felt different in that I was not just falling into the next faze but choosing a new path.  I was to begin this first post of my second year of my not so accurate blog title A Year in Cambodia  "And thus begins................", but then I am here on the streets of Phnom Penh in the heat and the mess and looking for an apartment and missing home and all my musings seem to have disappeared.  Maybe it is Buddhism that has stopped me from thinking in such pretenious ways, thinking that I can control my destiny or alter my fate.  I don't know exactly why I am back or what I will find.  My more immediate concerns, like finding a cool spot or a good place to eat has changed my point of view from global to more street level; in short I am back in the tuk tuk again.

Views from my balcony
I found an apartment in the same neighborhood I lived before, close to school and this one is bigger.  The ceilings are maybe 14 feet high and I could set up a basketball court in my living room.  I went by school to talk with Sandra and was there at 2:30 when it let out.  Many of the staff have changed but the kids were mostly the same.  I got such a nice reception from them, made me feel good about coming back.  I also met a guy named John Brown who has been in Cambodia for many years, he is hooked into the expat community and invited me to a resturant on Sunday to meet a couple.  I have to say they are all characters, they all have stories to tell but I think most of what they say is not true .  Anyway, I had planned to go to Kampot for a could of days and sit out by the river and then start teaching on the 28th.  They all love Kampot and gave me a name and number to contact.  In Kampot Stan says sure come on down to O'Neils, there is a quiz game tonight and our team needs members.  So at 5:30 I am at O'Neil and meet Stan and shortly the whole crowd.  There was Neil, the owner, from Ireland, Blair, a photographer who splits his time between Canada and Nepal and Kampot.  Douglas runs a tree farm, Karen, an Aussie, not sure but knows everything about the area, Jack from the US who has lived in SE Asia for 25 years and is now using Kampot as his "base of operation" but was reluctant to say what his operation was.  Collin, an Aussie, who is blind but surprisingly owns a boat, after a number of beers announces that he will take us all for a ride tomorrow. 

So off we went up the Kampot River to the Chinese Dam.  Neil brought a cooler with a lot of beer and that put us all in jolly mood.  Douglas, the tree farmer, was quite an expert and lover of the trees of Cambodia.  Collin, although blind(we had a Khmer boat driver), knew every turn in the river.  Up the river and into the mountains until we get to the rapids before the Chinese Dam.  Karen says that there are 100 (1000?) Chinese workers who run the dam and that the little Khmer town can get pretty roudy on Saturday night because "for the Chinese, drinking is a contact sport".  Well anyway Collin now announces that the trip up the river was free but if we would like to come back with him it will be $30, then he breaks out a bottle of scotch and soon revises the price to $1 each that will go to the driver.  Some of the homes along the river are quite large and Neil or someone called the owners the idle rich in contrast with them who are the idle poor.  They all agreed rich or poor, the important thing is to be idle. I get the feeling that this group of expats is quite different from the teachers and NGO workers I have fallen in with.  In many ways they embrace the culture more in that they like the slow pace, lack of regulations and expectations.  They have come here to avoid the west not to bring the west to Cambodia.  We make a pit stop on the way back to visit another expat who owns a resort and finally back to Kampot after dark.  Quite an unexpected day.

Back in Phnom Penh now and from the back of the tuk tuk things are not just right.  I can't find Samol, the Bodhi Tree is closed, my camera (actually Violet's) broke (so no pictures of my trip) and the AK does not do wine tasting on Friday nights anymore.  And maybe worst of all SuperCheap does not sell Becks.  How can one control destiny when so many things change?  My expat friends invited me to an all you can eat shrimp fest on Sunday at some resturant by the riverside, I wonder what that might lead to.


  1. Hey, Mike,
    This is great. Yes, life changes constantly, doesn't it? But that means you'll have new experiences, right? Keep going. I enjoyed reading this.

  2. Recap of the duo trucks ‘Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon’
    One of the biggest American multinational automakers, GM, has unveiled the genuine midsize duo trucks with the exact features and specs, Delivered by car for sale in Phnom Penh Mg Cambodia.

    Both hauling models consist of a 2.5-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder along with the power of 200hp at 6,300 rpm and 191 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. The standard transmission for the trucks is a six-speed manual, but the Work Truck trim has a six-speed automatic for optional use. Hauling for the four-cylinder is at 3,500 pounds.

    The trucks also have other features include camera in the rear, four-way power adjustable driver's seat and 4.2-inch infotainment system. In addition, operational systems are added such as automatic climate control, an off-road suspension, locking rear differential, hill descent control and some styling improvements.

    Both vehicles are 2015 models.

  3. Macro-drain collection from Galassia

    As furniture shop in Phnom Penh construction materials showed, the standard drain of sinks and basins has been molded into a mega circular shape by the Italian bathroom ware maker, Galassia.
    The designer, Romano Adolini, was implied to have the concept inspired by his childhood entertainment time of revolving around shape blocks that resembled this collection geometrical figure.
    Called Orbis, the weird geometry of this collection can easily allow users to clean up since its large moon-like shape drain can be remove and leaving a huge space enough for two or three hands. The collection includes wall-mounted, pedestal, and semi-pedestal pieces coated in white or bronze color.

  4. The Dramatic Project

    Leading to furniture shop in Phnom Penh construction materials highlighted, the project is designed as internalized single storey extension and the clients brief.
    One more thing the project is designed with a dramatic double height space with a central courtyard.
    By this way it is used the large stacked concrete pipes for the street façade of the addition a good combination for many reasons.
    In this case it has a depth and can be interactive, has a dramatic, sculptural, quality, reference existing internal circular motifs and it suggested stacked kegs.
    Moreover much of the steel structure is exposed and the concrete finish of the pipes and precast form the base of the indoor palette of materials

  5. Year-round warmth

    According to reliable furniture shop in Phnom Penh
    construction materials information, with high demands of comfortable and warming temperature for haven-like bathrooms nowadays, Warmup Heating Systems has introduced its underfloor heating system that help achieving those sensations.
    "Comparable to the feel of smooth, sun-warmed river stones, under tile heating offers even, radiant heat for bathroom floors," director Paul Fielding said. "The Warmup Heating system is easily installed and an economical heating option."
    The system offers fast evaporating of moisture and reduces draughts and condensation that help keeping bathroom fills with fresh and radiant warmth. Regarding to adeptness, the system heat remains warm with its direct input under tiles and work best with the company’s lining boards.
    The Warmup Heating system has a ten-year back-factory guarantee.