House Cars

Some families have "house dogs" or "house cats," pets that are well behaved and sufficiently trained to allow them to live in the house with the people while their more rambunctious counterparts are kept in the backyard. The Cambodian middle class who have managed to include a car in their lifestyle often have "house cars," vehicles (motorcycles, too) which are brought into the living room at night. Part of the reason is security. A car left outside overnight would likely not be in the same place in the morning. Part of the reason is utility. They have no other place to put the car. Phnom Penh was never designed as a city for vehicles and there are no parking lots and garages so the living room is the next best option. One visitor to Cambodia noted: "You have to love a country where you have to take off your shoes to enter the house but you can bring in your car and motorcycle!"

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This type of house--one room wide and two or more stories high--is called a "shop house." The front ground-floor room opens right onto the street where it is assumed the family will have a small business because practically every family has a small business in Cambodia!

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