Some food places require the driver to come on to their property and approach the restaurant at the drive-thru window. These juice shops–only set up in the morning rush hour–take another approach and bring their products to the edge of the road, even into the road.
Earlier I showed a picture of the first drive-thru lane at a modern hamburger fast food place in Phnom Penh. Actually drive-thru lanes have been a part of Phnom Penh life for a long time as this photo shows.
“Progress” keeps occurring in Cambodia—if that’s what it is. Now we have a Carl’s Jr hamburger place. I think they are a California chain. We still don’t have McDonald’s but Carl’s Jr joins Burger King in the burger wars. What makes Carl’s Jr different is that it has Cambodia’s first drive-through lane. Notice the order station in front of the man and the pick up point at the right. I have never seen a car go through the lane yet and have been wondering if they will serve the much more numerous motorcycles.
This is an unusual shop near my house in Phnom Penh. A huge sign advertises all kinds of meat and fish and some fowl, but there’s basically no store. There’s just an open area with a small refrigerated display case and a desk–and room to park a couple motorcycles. What do they sell and how do they do it? Do they have a catalog or list that people select meats from? And does this shop deliver the order? Or do people come back and pick up their selections? I have no idea.
Life is lived on the streets–in the streets–in Cambodia. I’ll have to do a section on that, but here’s an example of the idea. This is some kind of meat, cut into strips, and then laid out in the sun to dry. I’m on the back of a motorcycle six or seven feet away, on a very busy street. This meat will stay there all day, collecting the sun’s rays and also all the fumes and street dust and dirt that a busy road generates. Is that a concern to local people? Not a bit.
I was tempted to go down to the river on this last day of the Water Festival but I ended up doing several tasks that took longer than I thought, and I passed on mingling with the crowds watching the finals of the boat races and the presentation of the trophies. I did get a picture of the flags flown on our street for the holiday. People in the United States are maybe the most flag-waving population in the world, displaying the flag everywhere and in any way possible. Cambodians come a close second when it comes to their flag.
Today is the second day of the three-day Water Festival, the biggest holiday of the Khmer year after the New Year in April. It’s had a rough recent history, due in large part to the paranoia of the ruling party which is terrified of any gathering of people it can’t control. And this year about a million or so people from the provinces have descended on Phnom Penh to race their village boats in the Tonle Sap River. I didn’t get too close to the crowds this year but passed these crews taking a break from paddling and waiting for the next heat to begin.
A not-too-uncommon sight in Cambodia is seeing one car towing another using an improvised wooden towbar. If you don’t have a chain or a strong rope, it’s the next best thing, although usually bamboo is the wood of choice because it’s so readily available.
A lot of the business in the informal sector in Cambodia is on wheels, like this food serving cart. It’s kept in the living room during the night but in the morning is rolled out on to the sidewalk and hooked up to the propane tank. The large bowls behind the glass will contain several different pre-prepared offerings which can be served on demand. The prices list at $1.50 or $1.75 for bowl of rice with your selected topping.