Rest Stop….I’ll pass

I had to return by myself to Phnom Penh from the DDP annual staff meeting rather than with the group. I took a bus service and we made a stop halfway through the trip. Each company has an arrangement with the restaurant or shop where they stop, to allow the drivers to eat for free, etc.

The place where our bus stopped for a rest break was a real dive. It is out in the middle of nowhere and has nothing attractive. It was late evening when we arrived and the bus driver left the headlights on to shine into the eating area so we could see. (The picture looks lighter but it was really dark inside.
Most such rest stops allow passengers to choose food from a menu, to be cooked on the spot. This place had five or six large pots of food probably cooked early in the morning.
This is the little “convenience store” which all these places have. It was stacked with trash and covered with a layer of dust. The toilets were to the left of this shack and were unlit and absolutely dark when we were there.
There was no selection in this “store” that would entice anyone. Everything there looked like it had been there for months. I had some cookies with me so I just bought a Coke from the orange coolers on the left, figuring that would be safe.

Driving while Distracted?

Driving any vehicle while using a phone is a dangerous no-no although there is little awareness of that in Cambodia where everyone uses phones while driving and no one has a sense that there’s anything wrong with it. Wearing a motorcycle helmet adds another layer of risk to the whole equation.

The right direction…

For 30+ years Maryknoll lay missioners and brothers and sisters and priests have gone to Bangkok for medical treatment that just wasn’t available here in the kingdom. Things are changing now as is evidenced by this sign informing people that now another procedure, blood dialysis, is available at the Russian Hospital.

Always room for one more…

The guiding principle in transporting people and things in Cambodia is that if it’s not dragging on the ground, you’re good to go.

This van is headed out of town to the provinces. Apparently a couple riders decided it was worth a couple bucks to “ship” their motorcycles back to the province rather than ride them in horrendous traffic on horrendous roads for many hours.
This young man’s view of the world is rather limited. Actually, he’s big enough that normally he would be sitting in front of his father but today he was displaced by the large bag of something occupying his place.

It’s good for you…

Cambodians have this unshakeable belief that whatever ails you, you need an IV. You can go into a pediatrics ward and every child will be hooked up to an IV. For many Cambodians, if they don’t get an IV when they’re sick, they might as well get nothing. Here two parents ride home on their moto, with their son in between them, and he has an IV in his arm.

Watch your step!

New sewers are being installed in parts of Phnom Penh and in some respects they are literal life-savers. Open pits and holes along the roads like this are quite common, and when the road is flooded with water, you proceed at great peril. Things are better now but I remember walking along flooded roads with a staff, feeling for holes, pits, uncovered sewers, etc.

Sun Dried

When I was a kid I remember seeing “sun dried” on boxes of raisins. Here in Cambodian culture, sun dried takes on a whole different meaning where there are few processed foods. People buy fish, fillet them, and leave them out on the street to dry–and catch dust and street grime.