Ahhh such is life in Cambodia.
Friday afternoon we made the usual split decision to head over to Mum’s house. It really is a no brainer for us every week with fresh air,space and plenty of activities waiting for us when we go. Having picked up mum’s timber windows the previous week, we needed to get them over the river as they were taking up space at our house. On the way home from work I kept my eyes out for a sturdy looking remorque ( small motorbike with two wheeled flat bed trailer behind it used for carting…..stuff) and i soon spied one being captianed by a fit looking young guy so I stopped him and asked him if he was interested in an easy earn. He followed us home and looked at the cargo and then asked for 50,000KHR or $12.50. I thought this was a bargain so we hired him on the spot, loaded up the windows, threw the kids and the dog oin the car and headed off. We slid through light traffic and straight onto a waiting boat and 2 cold beers and 30 mins later the windows were being unloaded at mum’s house. Walk in the park ! I paid the guy 80,000khr – $20 – which is what I had thought would be a fair price and he was stoked and left with a big smile on is dial. We headed over to our land for a few late sunset beers and then to bed early.
Now….the crawling over glass.
Next day we awoke early with plans to get the fence started over on our land. We went to the local hardware shop who has been supplying us with all our needs and asked her if she had 50×2.2m concrete posts. She has 28 of them so we decide we will wait until she has all of them and start next weekend. We go over to our land to meet the fencing contractor as they were under the impression they were starting the work that morning. We told them we would wait a week and for some reason they are all gung ho to start asap so the plans are changed and they want us to get the 28 posts sent over pronto. We say ok and then the boss man also starts asking me where EXACTLY are the front gates going etc etc and I tell we can worry about that later as he can fence from the rear forwards. Everyone is telling me it is critical they know in advance and I tell them I have fenced more country miles with posts and barbed wire than they have had bowls of rice ( true story ! ) so I WILL TELL YOU WHERE THE GATES GO LATER.
After a busy start to the morning we then have a leisurely lunch and then mid afternoon we head over to At’s house and hang out with her and her family drinking beer and playing with all the local kids. At’s father works on his sidecar and I sit with him and watch. He reminds me so much of my own father and I really enjoy being with him. He can work on anything and is constantly tinkering on things. The house is neat and orderly and the road has been graveled recently ( by the CPP no less ) which is a huge improvement. The kids chase chickens and pick fruit and we all go for a long walk to the lotus ponds which take us across paddies glowing with lime colored rice stalks.
Sunday rolls around and we head back to the shop only to be told the 28 posts actually aren’t ready as they are still curing and so we have to ring the fencing guys and delay till next week.*sigh*. The shop owner wants to take a look at the access road so we take him over there and he says he cant get to the land in a large truck laden with posts,sand,gravel and cement etc. So we take a walk around and find an alternative approach that sees us crossing someone else’s land. We find the owner and request permission and it is granted with nary a thought.So all is set for fencing next weekend ! ( I think ! ) . I can tell my wife is pretty excited as we are actually forging ahead with this land as opposed to the land in Kep which is just sitting there. What she doesn’t know is I have a further surprise for her once it is fenced but we’ll sit on that one shall we ! 😉
Leakhana and I leave the block and the next mission is COCONUT TREES ! Big ones. On the way out I spy a blovk of land with lots of small banana plants shooting up and I ask the owner If i can buy some. He says NO ! ” you can take some for free ! ” . I tell him Ill be back later and we then visit a few wats as we are told they sell coconut trees….which they don’t…… We decide to grab the kids and head north to grass land where we bought the lovely palms for mum’s place some months ago. On arrival we ask around and soon enough we find a family who has a huge patch of lovely land brimming with all sorts of trees for sale. We spy some nice two metre coconut trees and they want $25 per tree. I let Leakhana go to work on them and I pick out some lychee seedlings and some flowering trees seedlings. The coconut tree negotiations get to $20 and then stall, grace finds a duck to play , Angus finds a tiny puppy and I find the icebox. 30 mins of sitting around chatting and we score 6 coconut trees at $17 each. A saving of $54 on the first price. They will also deliver for $20. SWEET !
We return home and whilst Leakhana starts on making her lovely Vietnamese fish soup with lotus stems and pineapple ( this soup is TO DIE FOR ! ), Danay and I head over to the block to plants some more trees. On the way we stop off to dig out the banana trees we were offered for free and we notice the owner and some mates are siting under the house drinking rice wine and getting shit faced. I start digging up some small pants and all of a sudden I hear the owner yelling at me to not dig up the bananas and I hear him crashing through the undergrowth towards me. I grip my machete tightly and the guy comes over and grabs me by the arm and with a huge smile says ” forget those little trees…have I got some trees for you !!!!!!”. He laughs and leads me off down the back where he starts digging out 2-3m banana trees with abandon. I am left in awe at his generosity ( and skills with a machete ) and I give him 6 cans of warm beer in exchange as Danay throws the trees on the Isuzu roof. The lads virtually demand we sit and drink with them and it is all we can do to get out of there politely and in one piece. If we had sat down it would have been game over for a sober Sunday afternoon !. But you know……it was just a really nice gesture from some dirt poor farmers and these moments really leave me glowing . Danay and I plant out the bananas,lychees and flowering trees and we also plant a couple of frangipanis for good measure. All in all we have now planted around 40++ trees with a further 6 large coconut trees coming next week. I might have gone a little overboard as all of the trees are larger species that will explode with the right conditions but I figure we can always move some in a year if needed.
After a cold shower and some steaming bowls of soup and rice we head back to the sity exhausted but happy. Stay tuned folks ! Next week we are fencing !