Thailand: Week 17


Tasha and I headed to Bangkok on Thursday of this week, and we just had a week-long holiday, so I wanted to make sure I could visit both solar pumps. Luckily, I was able to squeeze both of them in.

On Monday, I headed into the office, made a few phone call to colleagues, and within 2 hours was on a bus to meet Sovanntha, the research agronomist I work with, at a town outside of Phnom Penh. He had some things to do in Kandal province in the morning, and we then visited the solar pump in Takeo in the afternoon.

The family was charging their solar flashlight when we arrived.
I couldn’t resist taking more pictures of this rice field.

One of the o-rings that creates a seal around the piston rod was broken, so we spent a few hours trying to fix it. I was worried that we couldn’t get it to work, but Sovanntha is clever at fixing things.

We came back to Phnom Penh that evening. Tasha was in Kampong Thom province from Sunday – Tuesday, so I headed to the market to pick up some things to make myself dinner. I decided to take a pocket-video of the street market.

On Tuesday afternoon, we headed to Prey Veng province to visit the other solar pump.

We made a pitstop at the greenhouse. The shoots of kailan are looking good! This was the same greenhouse where our kailan transplants went to die before.
Farmers harvesting rice.

We spent the night in Krong Prey Veng and visited the solar pump on Wednesday morning. The soil has been so wet that the farmer hasn’t used the solar pump at all. We were going to reassess the circumstances of the trial to see if we should move the pump.

Despite stunting from too much moisture, the cucumber plants look good.
A view from the other side of the field.
I learned that some flowers bear fruit…
…and other do not.

Apparently, the farmer can apply a particular fertilizer to increase the number of flowers that produce fruit. For those familiar with agriculture, this is nothing new, but it was new to me!

A view of the rice fields behind the cucumber field.

The field has still be too wet to use the pump, but moving it didn’t seem like an option because most farms in the region will suffer from the same problem. We decided to leave it and place and do the trial during the next growing cycle.

The hairline crack on the right side of the piston housing.

While checking out the pump, we noticed two cracks in the top of the housing. You can see one of them in the picture above. The other crack is on the left side.

The soil never dried out enough for these cucumber plants.
The farmer was weaving a basket.
The contrast isn’t great on this picture, but you can see the farmer’s grandson climbing on the shelf in the top right side of the photo.
Drying out the rice.
Wood-burning cookstove. I think they may have a LPG cookstove as well, but this is their main cookstove.
Sickles for the rice harvest. The long wooden side is used to collect the rice stalks and the blade cuts them.

I couldn’t resist taking a few videos of the rice fields. They are just so pretty!

I really like this photo. It’s similar to one a few weeks ago. Instead of a buffalo, there is a cow.

By Wednesday afternoon, I was back in Phnom Penh. Around 6 pm on Wednesday, the power went out in our apartment. One of the people we share the house with likely tripped a breaker.  Since we had a 12 hours bus ride to Bangkok the next day, Tasha and I were interested in charging our computers, so we woke up early to arrive at the bus company an hour before our departure to charge up.

Dazed, but we made it on the bus.
A “gas station” where we fueled up
The border between Cambodia and Thailand

Here is a video of the border.

Nithya and I had schemed to surprise Tasha with a visit from Nithya, her best friend. Nithya flew in from Myanmar the night before and we met up in Bangkok when Tasha and I got off the bus.

Reunited and it feels so good.
Relishing the green curry.

On Friday morning, we headed into downtown Bangkok. I started feeling ill on Wednesday night, which made Thursday’s 12-hour bus ride extra fun. After taking the bus into the city, I decided that a day of walking wasn’t going to be good for me. Sadly, I had forgotten to get the keys to the apartment from Tasha and Nithya before they left to go sight seeing, so I spent the afternoon hanging out at Starbucks. The pictures below are from their trip to an area around the royal palace.

A flower market
So many flowers


Big Buddha




We met up later in the evening and had dinner. Tasha and Nithya then headed off to a night market, while I went back to the apartment with the keys.


While walking around the city to find a place to eat, we inadvertently stumbled upon the red light district.


On Saturday morning, we went to a floating market outside of the city.

A roundabout near our airbnb. I like the colors.
The floating market was across the river, so we took a ferry.


A view from the ferry.

I also took a video while on the ferry.

The market had a mix of clothes, tourist knick-knacks, and yummy food. We tried some taro puree with coconut milk on top, coconut ice cream, and some barbecued fish balls.


The end of the “floating” market.

The market was supposed to be floating, meaning all the wares are on boats, but  the concrete structures are just situated above the river. At some point, it may have been a floating market.


Tasha and Nithya clowning.
Solar pump!
Such cuties.
A fruit seller on the way back to the ferry.
Unsure what this is.
A view from the return ferry.
Another view on the river.

After visiting the floating market, we decided to head to a night market. Visit markets is one of the main things to do in SE Asia. The night market was similar to night markets I visited in Taiwan. It had really yummy food. :) We first started with some green curry. We ate the cury before I could take a picture. The rest of the food is below.

Then, we had Papaya salad .
Charcoal paratha with condensed milk drizzle.


So fab; not food.



The night market had a strong hipster vibe. The bar in a bus is just one example.
An antique shop is another example.
My second round of chicken fingers covered in mayo and chili sauce. #heaven


After walking around the market and having our fill of snacks, the bars started looking more appealing, though the prices did not. We stumbled across what seemed to be a gold mine: cases of mini liquor bottles. They were only $1.30 for 1.5 shots, which was a good deal. We had bought watermelon and coconut slushies before, so we figured we should just spike them. We settled on rum for the coconut and gin for the watermelon, and I bought some scotch for fun. dsc_1351

We bought the booze and slushies and headed over to some benches to mix our concoction. I added one bottle of rum to the coconut, mixed it, tasted it, didn’t taste a strong taste, and added the second bottle. Tasha added the first bottom of gin, but was struggling to open the second bottle. I tried opening it, so did Nithya. After passing it around once more, we decided to just pierce a whole through it with a pen. I made the hole and decided to try the gin just in case. Stale water. We were stunned. We had just spent the last 30 minutes and $8 executing this grand plan. We first thought we were sold fake alcohol…. then we remembered the case that contained the bottles. They didn’t have handles on them. You would want a handle to open the case, unless that alcohol was just for display…. Why would anyone buy little bottles of alcohol for display??  (Answer: We were at a hipster market, and hipsters buy all kinds of nonsensical things.) We decided to have Nithya go and ask shopkeeper if it was real alcohol before we made a fool of ourselves storming up to the shop and demanding our money back.

As Nithya was investigating our predicament, Tasha and I were slowly finding the situation a lot funnier than we had initially. Nithya returned and informed us that we had just mixed display alcohol into our fruit slushies. We alughed.

It feels better knowing we made a mistake than getting scammed. I’d rather be stupid, than be scammed.


A picture to remember.


We tossed the drinks and bottles in the garbage. The stale water definitely wasn’t potable. That was enough “fun” for one evening, so we took a taxi back to our airbnb.

The first taxi we took didn’t have time to take us to our destination because he needed to drive a friend to the airport. In a stroke of good fortune, he did take us to the hotel where he would pick his friend up for free.  The free ride helped us feel better about the evening. :)

And that was the week. I should probably start ending these posts with a summarizing phrase….




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