80 years old and a new experience

I’m not much of a cook. Going to the seminary at age 14 put a real crimp in my culinary skills. For lunch every day I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple. For dinner, once a week I buy four or five servings of some dish at a rice street stall and eat the same thing every night for a week.

Occasionally, though, I might get curious and try something–if it’s simple enough. I love macaroni and cheese and heard that it was simple so I gave it a try this evening. My big problem: I don’t have a stove, just a microwave and a hot water kettle. I just heated some water, dropped the macaroni in for 8 or 9 minutes (not really cooking it like the box calls for), and it all turned out well and added a little fillip to my nightly offering from the rice stall.

Musica Felice #12

Ms. Miwako Fujiwara is a professional pianist, composer, and musical organizer, and last weekend she presented her 12th charity concert at the Sofitel Hotel.

The theme for this concert was Europe Day and each of the selections came from one of the countries of the European Union.

Miwako always invites the staff of DDP to attend the concerts and usually some of our deaf staff are part of our group. They don’t always receive and appreciate the full musical experience but they enjoy meeting others and here they were enjoying some croissants and pastries at the break.

Sad farewell

This evening we had a farewell reception for U.S. Ambassador Patrick Murphy and his wife Kathleen. He has been an exceptional ambassador–his terms was extended twice–and the Khmer press is crediting his tenure for real improvements in Khmer-American relations.

After greeting everyone individually, the ambassador gave his prepared remarks and they were one of the best speeches I have heard in my entire life. He was so positive and affirming and came across as so sincere.

Fr. Kevin and I have known the ambassador through our contacts at mass and were invited to the reception. Standing next to me is the Ambassador to Timor Leste who was recently appointed as dean of the ambassadors. He too comes to our weekend masses.

Panthip Plaza

In the past, a must-do on every trip to Bangkok was a visit to Panthip Plaza, a large multi-storey mall filled with computer vendors. Covid basically wiped out Panthip Plaza, though, and like so many other businesses, it has not seen a return of all the former vendors nor the former customers.

Previously five floors of computer, printers, and every imaginable accessory attracted customers like me looking for gadgets. On my trip to Bangkok last week, I made a trip to Panthip Plaza where now the top two floors are partially refilled with computer shops while the bottom three floors are vacant.

Before, many of the shops were just open areas with cardboard boxes full of all sorts of accessories spread over the total floor area. Now more of the shops are more formally arranged and there is not nearly the foot traffic there used to be. I was able to find what I was looking for, though–an extra power supply for an Asus laptop.

First rain

This is Street 53BT in Boeung Tum Pun where I live and this is the flood I stepped out of my house into when we got the first rain of the season a few days ago. April and May are the two hottest months in Cambodia and they were REALLY hot this year. This overnight rain helped to bring the temperature under 100ºF.

Back in Bangkok

I’m sorry for the week-long hiatus! The first part of this month has been crazy. Last Sunday I flew to Bangkok for my annual physical exam on Monday. They saw a spot on my lung and that required going back for more tests on Tuesday, but in the end the lung specialist said it’s probably an old infection and just check on it in a year.

Adding more complexity to the week was my seeming to have the flu while there and feeling miserable. That finally started turning around Wednesday morning and today (Thursday) I feel just about normal.

At BNH Hospital, I had to take the elevator to the 4th floor several times and noticed this admonishment on the elevator button panel, telling people not to bring durian fruit into the hospital. For those who don’t know, durian is a large Asian fruit with a thick prickly hull. It is noted for “Tastes like heaven, smells like hell,” and is also banned from all Asian airlines because of the sharp pungent odor.

Some differences….

Many things in Cambodia are different from what you would find in the United States.

These workmen are finishing up the front of a new housing block. Notice there are four houses side-by-side. Each is one room wide and goes up three floors. Notice also that the workmen have added ramps to three of the houses so the owner can bring his motorcycle into the living room at night.