Monday, July 28, 2014


Driver pushes his tuk-tuk through flood waters in downtown Phnom Penh
It's night time downtown, and I'm getting an evening view of the riverfront. It's not late, so its safe enough to walk. There aren’t many people about, just an occasional passing tuk-tuk, a 3 wheeled taxi. While walking past a parked van, I see an unexpected sight. There in the shadows behind the van, a Khmer woman was bathing. Illuminated by a streetlight, she was squatting down, taking a bucket shower, wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts! 

Although momentarily stunned, I continue walking, hoping not to embarrass her. Seeing me, the lady bather turns away, pulling further back into the shadows to finish her ablutions. 

In the remote countryside some Khmer women bathe in this manner, since they lack plumbing. But I certainly did not expect to see a woman bathing nearly nude right in front of me in downtown Phnom Penh. 

Cambodia is just full of surprises. 

* * * * *

Flooding happens every year during the rainy season
It's another day in downtown Phnom Penh, and walking out my hotel's door I find it's raining. That’s not surprising, since it’s rainy season, but it’s been raining all day long. 

Water everywhere is rising. On both sides of this downtown street it's almost up to the curb, although a strip in the middle of the road hasn’t flooded yet. This isn’t clear rainwater, it’s brown as it flows by. That’s a bad sign; it means it’s flooding in from somewhere else, and I see where. On the street corner, water is flooding up and out of the city sewer!

An occasional motorbike rider drives by, braving the dirty deluge. Even wearing a raincoat, these are days you don’t want to be out riding a motorbike. These streets are already accident prone when dry, when wet, they're far more slippery on two wheels. 

Walking two blocks down, the water is rising even higher, peaking at a busy intersection. In the middle a car has stalled, after it tried to plow through the floodwater. A tuk-tuk driver is pushing his vehicle through the high water on foot. 

Surrounding businesses are faring worse. Floodwater has risen high enough to invade their front doors, flooding their shop floors. I watch as the shopkeepers scramble, putting all their merchandise on tables and shelves above the flood waters. 

Finally, the punishing rain stops. The backed up sewers reverse, and the water level on the street finally drops. This problem isn’t a rare occurrence either. I ask my hotel manager about the flooding, and she says to me, “This happens every year.”

With all the years of war and poverty in Cambodia, it's not surprising that there has been little work done to maintain or improve the city sewers. I learn a major drainage project funded by the Japanese government is underway to stop Phnom Penh's seasonal downtown flooding. This new drainage system may stop the floods, at least that’s what Khmers are hoping. 

1 comment:

  1. The Beautiful Golden Color House

    Here is a house has been designed with golden color, leading to furniture shop in Cambodia
    construction materials said.
    In addition this house has been added the golden color gilt for the final layer of luxury, which make this house more beauty and amazing.
    One more thing the golden gilt trim is very popular for both modern and traditional design, and it shows up everywhere, such as mirror frames, inlaid in mahogany furnishings and inlaid in tiles.
    Indeed the veining in the marble stone also reflects the beauty of glamorous gold, and the other place this golden gilt style shows itself as accessories, and there are many accessories are used in this house.
    Anyway they are made of the highest quality and elegant, and then, in this house you will see the elegant accoutrements are hand-carved of stone, marble, wood and metal.