Re-visiting Cambodia

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, c1956

September 30th will mark one year since my precipitous move from Washington State. With 13 cats in tow, it was never going to be easy but I did not envision quite as many projects once I arrived.

Not that I disliked or wished to change anything about my “internet house”. It was simply that a small problem cropped up which led to another and then another etc.

The last project involved cats and carpets. Cats can be awkward little creatures, set in their ways, intolerant, demanding and apt to punish non-compliance.

When you live with 13 of these little darlings, no longer separated by stairs, as they used to be, well, having carpet not such a good idea. We think it had already been anointed, giving our guys the benefit of the doubt. When one cat smells another’s “message”, he is most likely going to add his own remarks.

In any case, the carpet was a rather sombre shade of green, so I was happy to see it go. Once it was out, the ugly baseboard heaters were an eyesore, so out they went as well. Grant once more donned his contractor’s hat and with a bit of mumbling and grumbling…

It will be lovely when it’s done and then I will move my computer and my office one more time and finally, I hope, I’ll get it all together.

So I haven’t had time to write, but I did find a few old pictures of Cambodia and as the next chapter of my journey will be taking us back there, I thought I would share some with you.

Our flat overlooked the Tonle Sap river, where boats were loaded and unloaded all day, rain or shine.

When I was not at school, I spent a lot of time hanging over the veranda, watching. I had never seen animals mistreated before. When I witnessed these ponies being beaten because their load was too heavy, I wanted to rush to their defense, but of course, I could not. I felt heartsick and useless but my mother told me “don’t look darling”.

Those long-gone ponies stayed in my heart.

Our maid, Sai See, introduced me to street food. It looks as if these ladies were deep frying the bananas in batter that were so delicious. But there were lots of things I enjoyed; noodle soup, bananas and rice, steamed in the banana leaf, shaved ice with sirup, so good on a hot day. Other things I could not identify! I never got sick!

Visiting villages involved some precarious road trips. This one was only a bit damp.

The cyclo-pousse was a great way to get around. If you had to transport a large item, provided it could be tied in, it was accepted. Often the owner would have to travel in a separate cyclo. The only time it was a problem was when the driver’s wheel came off the ground. Cyclo-pousse drivers were tough but very lean, so offered no weight as a counter-balance.

Would you fancy a ride on the ferry?

A young man conducts his ablutions.

 Water buffalo were used to pull plows in the paddy fields, where they also lazed when the work was done. I was always very wary of them, and for good reason.
Our view across the Tonle Sap. Monsoon clouds brought torrential rain

One thought on “Re-visiting Cambodia

  1. I’m glad things are coming together at your new residence and the cats are all settling in. I enjoyed the photos of Cambodia very much!

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