Farewell to Sami

Sami Scott, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner, is finishing her term in Cambodia and moving to a new mission in Haiti.  Today was her last time to be with the Cambodia Mission Team for their weekly Wednesday gathering, and at the end of mass we presented a small gift to Sami.

Bob Wynne and James Havey listen as Sami says goodbye to group after 10 1/2 years in Cambodia.

Topics: Motorcycles #1

Motorcycles are the number one mode of transportation in Cambodia.  They are not only cheap and reliable, but they can also go places, e.g., along the dikes between rice paddies, where cars and tuk-tuks can’t venture.  This is the first of a series of photos about the development of motorcycles in Cambodia.  Click here to see the first generation.

Take that grass away!

A truck full of sod is not a really unusual sight in many countries, but it is a bit of an oddity in Phnom Penh.  There is very little grass in the cities and grass is not appreciated in itself.  The last house where I lived, I watched with interest from my third-floor window as the family who lived on the large lot next door would go out with big knives and meat cleavers and assiduously scrape away any grass that dared to grow up.  They wanted the bare mud!  I do see more grass appearing in various places now, but it is rare enough that it is noticed.

Cambodia Elections 2018

Cambodia will hold national elections on July 29th for the prime minister.  The elections are basically a farce since the ruling party had the opposition party ruled illegal.  There is a two-week campaigning period before the elections and that started last Saturday when there was great chaos throughout the city as the ruling party and eleven minor parties took to the streets with great fanfare and noise.

A campaign demonstration truck pulls out into traffic to start their route through the city.
Organizers from another political party trying to put together a caravan of vehicles filled with supporters.
This enterprising party has its workers in the intersection at the red lights to display their banners to the vehicles waiting for the green light.

PassApp Cheat

Cambodia has realized a new transportation mode in the last year and a half or so.  Phnom Penh is really weak on public transportation and so getting around has generally depended on motorcycle taxis (motordupes) or tuk-tuks.  But now a new vehicle has appeared, what is called an autorickshaw in India where I first used them.  It is a small three-wheeled vehicle mostly enclosed.  What has made them so attractive since their introduction has been the hailing system–a smartphone app that usually brings a PassApp within two minutes–and their cheap prices.  They are cheaper even than a motorcycle taxi and what is so great, the fare is calculated on the smartphone so that you know exactly what you need to pay and there is no need to haggle with the driver.

That’s the good part.  Generally I have found the drivers exceptionally polite and efficient, but last Friday when I was returning home, I engaged a driver who seems to be a real cheat and who took me way out of the way.  What is so weird is that the journey is recorded on a map which is sent to the telephone of the customer so I can easily show how he cheated me.

I left Point A and should have traveled east before turning south to the Maryknoll office. Instead the driver turned north, clearly shown on the map, and added approximately 25% to the fare.  I had ridden the same route three times previously in a two-day period so I knew what the fare should be.

I contacted the PassApp company and they promised to deal with the driver, implicated by the receipt with map that his phone sent to me!