It seems like most weekly post start with, “It’s been a busy week!”. Last week was an exception since I worked only three days. They were busy days, but a three-day work week is something I can get used to. :)
After heading into the field on Sunday, I enjoyed having Monday as a holiday. The holiday was for the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which marked the end of the Cambodian-Vietnamese War. As I’ve learned, there wasn’t much to celebrate about the UN peacekeeping mission. The Vietnamese-backed government of Hun Sen was in power before the peacekeeping mission, and the Hun Sen government was in power after the peacekeeping mission.
On Monday, in typical weekend fashion, Tasha and I ran some errands and spent time working away on various things in a coffee shop.
Since Sovanntha and I were unable to install the second solar pump on Sunday, I spent the day on Tuesday trying to figure out how and where to install the second pump. Sovanntha has basically been my guide (driver, translator, accommodation arranger) thus far, but he was in Siem Reap province the whole week. I had to figure out how to fend for myself. With much help from the Cambodian staff, I arrange for a taxi to drive me from the iDE office in Phnom Penh to the Lors Thmey branch office in Takeo province. The branch manager then helpped me find a farm and conduct the installation.
At 6:10 am I arrived at the iDE office and arranged everything to load into the taxi. The driver was supposed to arrive at 6 am and still hadn’t showed up, but I wasn’t too worried.
By 7 am, I started to get more frustrated and sent off a few texts and emails to get the phone number of the person who arranged the taxi. By 7:20 am, the driver arrived. I was pretty frustrated since I could have slept-in another hour, but in hindsight, it was a good exercise in patience. Few things go as planned in Cambodia and a healthy dose of patience is required. I didn’t succeed in maintaining my cool; everything takes practice.
I took a video of some retail stalls along the road. The frog-kebab from last week’s post was purchased from one of these stalls.
Once I got to the branch office in Takeo province, I went with the branch manager and commercial agronomist to run a few errands. Our first stop was dropping off some fertilizer at a farm growing eggplants, cucumbers, and rice.
After checking out the crops, we went to get lunch. I really like the Takeo branch, but they like to go to this place for lunch that serves the same thing: soup with cow brain, instestines, tripe, lung, and blood. They also serve pork skeweres, so I basicaly take a bite of the soup with rice, swallow, and then take a bite of the pork skewer. I’m hoping that eventually I get used to it and maybe start liking it. We can only hope!
After lunch, we headed to the farm to install the solar pump. The plot was 1,200 square meters, which was a little big for the trial, so we decided to split it into two halves and have one side irrigated with the solar pump and the second side irrigated with an electrical pump. This is a really cool opportunity to see how the pump performs.
We weren’t able to finish the installation of the pump, but the farmer isn’t ready to plant yet, so we will finish it next week.
After loading up the cucumbers, the branch manager and commercial agronomist dropped me off at a taxi stand, and after grabbing a quick bite, I headed back into Phnom Penh.
On Thursday, I applied for my real passport and did a few errands to prep for Tasha and I heading back to the island Koh Ron Samleum for a long weekend. It is our 6-month anniversary, so we thought we would celebrate on the beach. :)
It was a 5 hours mini-bus ride to Sihanoukville, which is where the ferry departs to the island. This was better than our 8-hour journey a few weeks before.
We arrived Friday night and spent Saturday and Sunday and then let on Monday. As desired, it was a fairly low-key couple days. We lounged in hammocks, read, splashed around in the ocean, played cards, and walked along the beach. Before our trip a few weeks ago, I’ve never had a beach holiday. It is something I could get used to. :)
On Monday morning, we hopped on the ferry, grabbed some lunch and ice coffee in Sihanoukville, and then hopped on a bus home. It was a lovely weekend get-away.