Water Meter

This is a corner of the front yard of the present Maryknoll office we are renting. It’s an unpaved corner where our guards grow aloe vera, bananas, pineapples, jack fruit, or whatever else strikes their fancy. The circle draws your attention to the water meter for our house, just sticking up out of the ground, a little bit near the fence, but not really trying to be out of the way.

There are no Cambodian wiring and plumbing codes–at least none that are enforced–so everything like installing water to a house is done by your brother-in-law and he puts the meter wherever he feels like it. Or wherever the plastic pipe that he brought extends to.

This is a close-up of the water meter. It’s set and half buried in a mound of concrete, out in the open where anyone can fool with it. Note that, oddly, there is a cut-off valve on either side of the meter!

I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas….

The English community had a 6:30 PM Christmas Eve mass, and when we came out at 7:30 PM, it started pouring rain. The Khmer community were supposed to have a 10:30 PM mass on this stage tonight. Will they make it? It’s still raining at 9:00 PM!
This is some of the traffic caught in the rain at 7:45 PM. Most of the moto drivers on the street have cheap plastic ponchos you can buy for 37ยข. But notice all the moto drivers up under the gas station shelter. That’s the custom here…if you’re out and it starts raining, you park under the shelter to wait it out, dozens of such riders effectively shutting down the station because no one can get near the pumps. It’s OK, though…the gas stations don’t complain!

Progress….but a bit slow

Back in October I took this picture of construction of a foundation pillar for an elevated walkway crossing two major streets at an intersection by a large school. I’m sure the ABA bank wasn’t too happy with the obstruction even though their sign says they’re open.
Nine weeks later this is what it looks like with the construction fencing removed. It’s still a long way from completion but now the construction has moved to two of the other corners. A pedestrian overpass is a big deal here. There’s only one other in the kingdom. When it opens, people will crowd on to it to take pictures. And the government will probably give it a name like they have for the three vehicle overpasses they have put up.

When you need a drink,…

When Cambodians want something to quench their thirst, their go-to drink is a fresh coconut. It’s refreshing, not overly sweet, and really healthy–and cheap. Not long ago I posted a photo of a man selling coconuts from his cart. There you can see the big, thick husks of the coconuts as they come from the trees. The one above has been chopped with a machete to remove most of the husk and then rounded off with an electric grinder to make it even more attractive and easier to drink. Not a bad deal!

Strip Market

In the United States, strip malls are not uncommon–a long line of individual businesses set side-by-side along a block of busy street or highway, with room for parking left between the street and the stores.

Cambodia doesn’t have strip malls, but we have strip markets. Here is one section of street along the wall of a Buddhist wat (pagoda). It’s a narrow street and there is no sidewalk, but fruit and vegetable sellers managed to squeeze in boxes of their wares.

Service Area

You know those service areas on the Interstate highways in the United States, the areas where you can get gas, get something to eat, take a break? Well, right here in Phnom Penh….look at this–gasoline in soft drink bottles on the left, rice and some topping in the pan on the right. No bathroom, though….

Do Not Enter

In the first officially recorded community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in Cambodia, 40 infected persons have been identified by contact tracing. Two or three new infections are discovered every day during the past two weeks, and that has frightened Phnom Penh-ers. More people are wearing masks now and more shops have blocked access to their establishments.