Friday, March 29, 2013

2 noises in Phnom Penh

Construction is happening everywhere and can be very noisy. Weddings and other functions are also very noisy and can start early and finish late. Sometimes we can end up with both noises going at once!!


So we were already having power cuts for about 8 hours a day, and never knowing when it would be, was so hot and frustrating.....then we didn't find the power bill until it was a few days overdue...then our usual method of paying didn't work (phone broke)... so went to a few atms to get money out to buy a new one.. but spent half a day riding around in hot sun trying to find an atm that worked... later on found one, bought a new phone, paid the bill. But by then it was a week late and they cut us off, so we have had no power since  Tuesday. Thats 3 nights of no fan!!!! Not an ideal situation in hot season while pregnant!!!

we have two ice boxes, and ice is easy to buy, so we have kept some thing cool, but all the meat and bread i had in the freezer ready to eat over the next few weeks defrosted- gave some away, ate some, threw some out. not knowing when the power would come back on made it hard to know how mcuh time and effort to put into trying to save some of the food.
Local breakfast cafe, ready for business- mornings are a  nice time to be out in hot season!
For the last half hour or so I've been trying to open my email account. I'm at a cafe, and the internet is a bit slow! I haven't emailed since monday I think, we have no power at home, my phone broke, and I did try some internet cafes but the power kept going on and off, as it takes 20 min or so to open up email I needed the power to stay on continuously for longer that that to read any emails, let alone reply!

Unlike internet cafes, this cafe has air con, I feel much less frustrated here!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

ice cream in the fridge

I just saw the ice cream was put back in the fridge rather than the freezer...a Khmer friend  was over and I guess as she didn't grow up with a fridge or dairy products its not surprising.

In Aust I often feel a bit out of it as I do things in the kitchen differently to many Aussies... but in Cambodia my kitchen and kitchen habits are completely different from our Khmer friend and family. Most of the people who are in and out of our house each week grew up in a village, so our brick house with plumbing and power is quite different.

When I asked one of my language helpers for the word "sink" and "tap" she didn't seem to have one. "Place to wash dishes" seem to be sink, and she just talked about opening the water/ turning the water on. Later I found out there is a loan word from French for tap, but I guess she had never used it as she didn't grow up with taps.

As we get ready to have a baby I'm trying to teach others to use our kitchen. Today we had someone over and we made a pasta salad for lunch. Usually when groups of Khmer people stay, they use the kitchen differently to me, and eat quite different food. Being pregnant, and not having had my typhoid shot I'm not very adventurous at this stage of life, and I guess with a baby I won't be either. 

I'm trying to encourage people not to open the freezer (too much) during power cuts, and only open the fridge once and take out everything you need. Trying to keep the meat frozen and stop the milk from going off too fast, a foreign concept to the others who use our house.

We also have started washing up raw meat knives/boards etc with hot water, Soeun has been explaining to others who use our kitchen. 

And after today I realise we'll need to explain the difference between the fridge and freezer and how we use them.

In the long run life may be easier if i learnt to eat preserved meat (Soeun has beef out in the sun and flies as week speak), and shellfish that I think gets cooked by sitting in the sun all day- but health is the big priority at the moment!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

adjusting to new pattern of power cuts- its like a guessing game

At first they took us by surprise, but now its more like a guessing game. First few months of the year the power was off here and there throughout the day, recently it changed pattern, and now now that we know it much less stressful. We still never know when it will happen, but we can be pretty sure that the power will be out 5 - 10 or thereabouts in each 24 hours. Thankfully so far its been on at night - going to sleep without the fan on would be hard.

Sometimes before people move to a new area in PP they ask the neigbours what the power supply is like, as we are new to this one, we really have no idea. But it turns out this week, the other who live near us have also been taken by surprise, from the way ppl are talking it sounds like its unusual- which we didn't know before as hot season usually has more cuts than other months.

People who live on the same street as important government officials are known to have less power cuts.

Today the power was on in the morning, and off from noon til almost 6pm...maybe tomorrow it will be off in the morning instead.....?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

side effects of growing a person

Too tired to eat at dinner time, then too hungry to sleep at bed time!

I dropped and broke a mug while i was washing up, and dropped some packets of liquid food in the supermarket, spilled everywhere.

2 products looked the same at the supermarket- Johnson's baby powder with all english writing, and the same, but with mostly thai writing- BUT the one for english speakers was made from cornstarch and the one for thai people made from talc.

Friday, March 15, 2013

it has started- first hot season back in khmer, coinciding with pregnancy

A few years ago I was talking to an American girl who was in her final trimester of pregnancy during the hottest part of the year here in Cambodia. The rest of us were feeling excessively hot, so you can imagine it must have been quite hard for her.

So I have been dreading late March- early April this year- its the hottest time of the year and here I am in the hottest part of pregnancy! (The Amercian's baby was actually born on (one of) the dates I'm due.)

Until recently our power went off every now and then. It seems to have changed pattern recently- now it more off than on during the day- and you never know when it going to be. It was on yesterday morning, so I wrongly guessed it may be on this morning too, rushed to put washing on as soon as I woke up- oops! no power.

I seem to  have a few more aches and pains now, getting a bit harder to sleep. It hard to know if achy back from motos/bumpy road or from pregnancy, probably both I guess. Thankful no accidents so far! Recently we heard a friend broke her pelvis bone in moto accident, I'm not a doctor but I'm pretty sure pelvis injuries don't mix well with pregnancy. I've never liked being in traffic here, and I still don't.

Can still ride my bike places not too far away, its the least painful way of getting around (in terms of sore backness), but getting harder in the heat and as my tummy gets bigger.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

phnom penh power cut

It can happen any time, and for any length of time.

We never know where it will happen,

and as they usually only last up to 1.5 hours thats what we've come to expect.

But over the last few weeks we had 2 that went for around 5 hours. Pretty annoying, hard for Soeun to get work done if its a sit-at-computer work day. As we're expecting it to come back on we just stay home and wait, if we'd know yesterdays was going to be so long, he could have taken laptop to a cafe in another part of town.

Most of Cambodia doesnt have mains power at all. Often people have a car battery at home to recharge their phone and power fans. But as we have mains power we rely on it so much- we have a fridge, washing machine etc etc.

When we lived next to the girls dorm a few years ago, I used to get annoyed when the power went off esp if i had been about to put on a load of washing. The girls next door however weren't worried, they didn't have a washing machine, I saw them squatting out the back just hand washing their clothes as normal, while I was waiting for the power to come back on before I could do mine.

My mother in law was laughing at me last week when she visited. For lunch I had been planning to take some leftover out of the freezer and defrost them in the microwave.....lunch plan thwarted due to power cut! Her preserved Chinese radish ("white carrot" and fermented fish paste, and freshwater shells from a cart on the street were all ready for her to eat, no microwave needed.

Friday, March 08, 2013

peaceful inside house and outside, after noisy week!

Well tonight its just the 2 of us at home, after another week of people staying over.
It also seems pretty quite outside, after a loud party near our house one night, and police and army chasing a drug dealer another night.

And we are still getting used to the heat and mossie so sleeping is a bit hard anyway- hopefully tonight we can sleep well!

A friend of mine has a baby who has had a fever for a few days, and today they found out its cos she's got typhoid (they thought it was dengue before), and their power was off all last night, so it was really hot. Hope they have power on tonight and the fever goes down.