After a happy two years in the little house in Russian Market, we are now looking for a new villa . A couple of reasons are driving this . Firstly, the contract has expired and surprise surprise, the landlords have jacked the rent 25%. This despite the fact that between Rob and I , the house has been totally transformed. The rent was rather low but the place was a shit hole when Rob signed the original lease and now of course, everyone wants to live there. It is a great little place BUT it can be noisy with the ever-industrious yuon mini sweatshop next door making moto seats ( non-stop staple gun going ching ching ), the Khmer language school across the road ( a teacher that teaches at the top of her voice from 0630am and a bunch of screaming kids ) a cement statue shop over the back wall ( more tools going ching ching all day and night ) and all manner of other inner-city things happening.The other driver is that we are very soon to move to our new work premises and they are on the way out to the Airport near Northbridge School. Not a lot further than where we are now in the grand scheme of things but Tuol Kork , a nice leafy enclave West of the city would be much closer .We thought about Takmeo as we love it down there but it is just WAYYY to far for me to drive there and back every day.
So last Saturday Leakhana and I drove out to to Toul Kork and criss-crossed the back streets. We found and inspected quite a few villas and all were in the $1200 – $1500 range but many were very nice including one that was just insanely nice at $1400 and I almost thought HANG THE COST ! Most had huge gardens and were in very quiet tree lined streets. The great thing about TK is everything you need is out there within 2 minutes of your door. Beer gardens, schools, cafes etc. Once you are over the bar scene here ( as I was years ago ) and have kids, TK becomes very attractive. So that visit opened our eyes but we know we will have to be vigilant to find one in our price range. I mean – we could afford the $1400 but we want to save some money for the ever looming school fees etc.
Then Leakhana meets a couple of “agents” at Psar Kandal who happen to have their finger on the pulse of every rental property in every location in town. We head with them yesterday and the first place they take us to in Toul Kork sucks fat ones . Right price, horrible house and horrible street. Then they take us to Borey Attwood which is a gated community off the main road to the airport and the location is killer as it is about 5 mins from the new office. I have never really liked the Borey concept as they are usually horribly identical, big houses on small blocks with narrow gaps between them but as I drive into this one my interest was peaked. The road in is huge and smooth, the gate secure and the Borey itself is quite small with about 8 streets running parallel access roads at either end.The villas are all very nice Tuscan style numbers and it is dead quiet with no through traffic. A few cars are parked on the street and as we drive down the streets at drive-by shooting speed, it becomes evident there are many houses for rent. Our ladies take us to a house that some relative of theirs owns and I know before I even go inside that it is not going to be for us. They have built annexes into every nook and cranny of the yard and when we go inside FARRRRRRRRRK me dead the interior is just foul. I cannot get out of there quick enough but make a polite ” no thank you….we have to keep moving” to the owner and I can see the look of pain on the “agents” faces as they realise they are not getting a commission on this one. I then decide to criss cross all the streets and we ring several numbers and are told $1500,$2000,$1200 etc etc and then we find one for $700 at the back side of the Borey which we cannot visit till later in the week. One more phone call for a lovely looking 2 story villa with huge walk around yard and we hear “$500 a month” !!! We get access via the Borey staff and the place is beautiful inside. Western lay out, huge windows and doors everywhere, nice set of stairs going up to 3 bedrooms with en-suites upstairs. I can barely contain my glee. Then we are shown the pool area with huge clean kidney shaped pool for everyone to use and by now I am slathering. We made a call to the owner and whilst I could have signed on the spot , Leakhana needs to think about it as it is a bit far from her favorite haunts and the market is not close and that is bloody important to a Khmer woman.
Then we head back over to TK and are shown a clapped out old villa very similar to where we live now except it is on HUGE block of land with HUGE lawn. It needs a lot of work and seems to suffer from some flooding if it rains heavily as I can see they have built lip walls around the patios and the owner confirms this to be the case. It has huge potential though and really only needs a coat of paint and some gardening to shine. They are asking $1000. I make quite a deal out of the amount of ” the huge amount of work it needs ” and tell them we have just done a reno on a rental and could do it again but not at that price. I offer them $500 a month and tell them if they want to give us a 3 year contract but then hike the rent after we have improved the place to $1000 then that’s up to them totally and we wold harbor no ill will..They counter with $800. I say thanks but we are firm at $500 and we bid them farewell. We are then shown a couple of shockers at $1000++ and then on the way home we are shown quite a large one in Psar Tamkov that is $700. The owners cannot show us that day but I look over the fence and from the outside it has potential. Inside will probably be a rabbit warren.
So stay tuned folks !.