Well it was another typical Cambodian weekend. A business lunch, a flood, a huge night out, a child’s birthday party, a Khmer festival and a death. Life is never dull here but I will say I am well over the deaths (more on that later).
Friday afternoon ABAC hosted John Nielmes from the International Monetary Fund at the Intercontinental Hotel. John delivered a report on the IMFs findings of the economic state of play in the greater region and then drilled down on Cambodia. No real surprises. 2008 was a shocker on all fronts and recovery into 2010 will be slow. The food was first bloody rate and it was a veritable who’s who of Phnom Penh business leaders. I sat with Steve, Derek, John MCg, Paul, John Nielmes and H.E Margaret Adamson ( The Ambassador ). We all made several unashamed visits to the dessert table after the presentation and the cakes were fantastic.
It was then home to shower and change before heading over to Aoife and Murph’s place to christen their new apartment with a dinner party. The skies opened as I called our trusty tuk tuk driver and within 15 minutes of a blinding deluge, Phnom Penh was knee deep in water. The tuk tuk got stuck in traffic about 100m from Murph’s place so I bailed out with my tiny fold-able umbrella and hopped an skipped from dry spot to dry spot. In the end I made a fatal error of judgement in going up the wrong side of the road and I found myself 40m short of my destination standing on top of two steps avoiding SUV waves and staring at a meter deep of water between me and the other side. In the end I rang Murph and he sent a tuk tuk over to get me ! Luckily their apartment is on the 3rd floor so we watched as the rain came and went and left stranded motos and cars in its wake. A hell of a dinner with big fat Australian Steaks and nice red wine and great company. It was then over to Liquid for a quick drink and on to Pontoon for some of Paul’s music. The place was absolutely heaving as usual.
Saturday was slow to start. After picking Grace up we went over to Kristin and Madu for Lucia’s 1st Birthday. It was a packed event with many friends and babies of friends in attendance and me…with my stenching hangover. At one point I had to lie down inside under the fan to regroup but I was soon joined by a gaggle of screaming one year olds. Bugger. Grace had a wonderful time in the wading pool stealing every toy in sight and Lucia made an absolute piglet of herself on the chocolate cake. She really is a little sweetie. I was soon threatening to heave my stomach contents all over the place and was in bed by 6pm. Unbeknownst to me, apparently the Full Moon Festival ( or some such ) was on and while I was asleep the girls ( Leakhana, Grace, Srey Nek and Srey Pek) were out on the road burning lanterns with the rest of the neighbours. Me ? I was out for the count until 4am………..
SUNDAY… I woke up with a dose of the flu having let the AC run at a mind numbing 17c all night. There is nothing worse then having the flu in Cambodia. I went and had a huge bowl of Pho noodles which helped immensely and then went to Russian Market and bought some DVDs. As I settled on to the couch I received a text from Leanne to say her little dog Wah Wah (The Chihuahua!) had been hit and killed by a car. Unbelievable. Wah Wah had been with us all the day before at Lucia’s party and was in fine spirits as always. The little bloss even came up and sat on my foot while she watched everything go on and Grace was enthralled with Wah’s Wah’s compactness. Always a dog fan but never a Chihuahua fan, this little black midget of a dog won me (and everyone she met) over with herlovely nature and ballsy attitude. Leanne adopted Wah Wah from the previous owners who had her chained up most of the time and for the last 18 months or so, the dog has been Leanne’s closest companion. Always at our parties running around or perched in the basket of Leanne’s scooter, the turn up at Talking To a Stranger last night for Wah Wah’s wake was yet again testament to the strength or our expat circle here. Some 40 people turned up at short notice to pay respects to Wah Wah and offer support to a hugely distressed Leanne. Wah Wah was only a little dog but she was a big part of our group’s events here and will be sadly missed.
An so the weekend came to an end with some tomato soup and a little more rain. Can’t wait to see what next weekend holds……….