Recent Development(s)

1 09 2012

In the short week of being away from site to help with K6 training, we came back to find a lot of changes in town. First, as I rode my bike in search of “chocolate” cookies, I saw that the old English school was now a Cambo-posh restaurant, complete with a menu. A menu! A menu on the wall and a menu on each table. This is exciting, as it will cut out the inevitable, “What do you have?” conversation, which invariably leaves me reluctantly settling for the fried rice. In addition to the menus, the restaurant even has a refrigerator for beverages. With some of the highest electricity prices in the country, this is a huge status symbol.

Besides these amazing amenities, the new place seems to have overheard my constant pleading that someone take advantage of the tourist traffic near the Angkorian bridge and open a business to serve the hoards of Vietnamese tourists that stop for 15-20 minutes. The sign in front of the restaurant has a picture of Vietnamese coffee and a few menu items in Vietnamese. This is just brilliant.

Lastly, and perhaps most amazingly for us, in the corner of the wall board menu sat a familiar black and white symbol:

“No way!” Katie exclaimed. As we debated the remote possibility that this place actually had WiFi, I spotted the telltale wireless router in the corner. It was true! WiFi has come to the countryside, where only 42% of families even have electricity. (Fun fact: while 42% have electricity, 57% of families have TVs. Think about that for a second.)

With all the excitement going on in town, we almost missed the small things: The new cement slab where the mud pit used to be at our favorite soda stop. The several new houses being built. The new guesthouse going up next door to the nicest guesthouse in town. The health center director’s new four story house towering over town. The new shops opening around the market. The gas station being constructed at breakneck speed (please be a Tela, please be a Tela, please be a Tela).

If we had been oblivious to the rapid changes happening around town so far, we couldn’t help but notice the new blue PVC pipes strewn in front of our house this week. After days without water, I heard a strange sound coming from the bathroom and saw water spraying the bathroom with fire hose-like intensity. We had water, and it was clear, crisp and regular. No more hoping to flip the valve during the golden 30 minutes of the day when the pump was running. No more debating if we’re cleaner after showering than before. This is going to completely change our bucket showering experience. No more rationing ourselves to a couple of buckets.

But, of course, with development comes struggle. With regular water, I no longer have an excuse not to do laundry.

-Tim

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18 01 2013
Under Construction « TimKat's Travels

[…] over the past year and a half. Roads have been paved, power lines put up, water pipes laid. New restaurants have opened, new houses have been built, new ways to travel to Siem Reap are now […]

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