My heart went out to a cat with her litter of three

Begging for food outside the café, Brownie,before she was able to gain weight.

Begging me for food outside Brown , “my” cat before she gained weight.

If I didn’t travel so much, perhaps I would have invited home the stray and her two tiny surviving offspring.

I spotted the mom perhaps two months ago at the Brown café I frequent.  A calico, she was painfully thin and suffered from diarrhea.

From the employees and parking attendants who have come to know me because I am at the coffee place so often, I learned that she had given birth.  But the kitties were nowhere to be seen in the cluttered staff room in which she had taken up residence.  Nor was she always around.

I named her — what else? — Brownie, began purchasing food for her and enlisted the Brown staff to look after her during my absences.  But I was worried that the waif, who was nursing until a couple of weeks ago, would soon become pregnant again.

Thus began a saga that pretty much ended before dawn Sunday morning Continue reading

Most expats face disadvantage when living in Cambodia

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This randomly photographed clinic is larger than most. Such clinics can be found all over Phnom Penh.

Not even Cambodians defend the quality of medical care in Cambodia.  The king routinely jets off to China for checkups, and top government officials also head to other countries for the best care.

Ailments that otherwise are treated routinely elsewhere in Asia demand quick flights to Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore.  Examples might include a sinus infection, certain bone fractures and diseases that internists in other nations can easily diagnose.

A related issued is that no one knows how reliable are drugs with foreign labels, and they fill the shelves of numerous pharmacies.

For me, the issue relates to Continue reading

Rice, sugar cane abound, but barely a drop to drink

Perhaps the time is ripe for ‘Cambodia’s Best Bounty’

rum 3This post originated a couple of months ago when I strolled down an alley off a street that amounts to another alley on my way to do an errand.  There, on a wooden gate that was ajar, a small sign arrested my progress.  It was on a fence shielding what had been one of Phnom Penh’s numerous villas.

The words lured me inside to see what was going on.

I thereby found myself at the beginning of a journalistic journey, Continue reading

Phnom Penh, I’ve grown accustomed to your place

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Monks on morning rounds seeking alms and chanting harmoniously when receiving them.

We had walked for the exercise for approximately an hour to the Riverside neighborhood, much favored by tourists and other expats, early one morning.

Our reward was atypically complete breakfasts of eggs benedict with smoked salmon for one of us and a Spanish omelette for the other at a total cost of $8 including juice, fruit and a portion of a baguette.

We were enjoying our food in a small restaurant that has its open front facing the river called Tonle Sap when my friend Amanda idly spoke of Continue reading

Two wedding celebrations reveal strength of tradition

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Some weddings are richer than others, as the photo below makes clear.

Although it was only last month that I wrote about the prevalence of streets closed to accommodate weddings and other special events, I couldn’t resist demonstrating again the gap between the wealthy and the wanting.

On an hour’s walk between two Phnom Penh neighborhoods, I was struck by Continue reading

Emmanuele Phuon is on her way to doing it once more

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My little camera doesn’t have a very fast shutter, so apologies for the blurry images in this post.

A comprehensive story in the Phnom Penh Post last week referred to an open rehearsal of a new dance, but it coyly mentioned only a time and no place.  Of course, I had to go, and I have to say that the work is transformative.

Tracking down the location wasn’t all the hard: I simply e-mailed the reporter and got this speedy reply:  Continue reading

Battambang provides relief from Phnom Penh bustle

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Wat Sampeou lies approximately 12 kilometers from Battambang at the top of a high hill and well worth the long, hot and steep climb.  (The temple has various spellings.) 

Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia, yet it feels much like a one-horse town.

As Wikipedia puts it (why write when others have done it for me?):

Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is well known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country. For nearly 100 years, it was a major commercial hub and provincial capital of Siamese province of Inner Cambodia (1795-1907), though it was always populated by Khmer with a mix of ethnic Vietnamese, Lao, Thai and Chinese. Still today Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest connecting the entire region with Phnom Penh and Thailand, and as such it’s a vital link to Cambodia.

The city is situated by the Sangkae River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province providing its nice picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French Colonial architecture is an attractive bonus of the city. It is home to some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country.

Walking along the street doesn’t Continue reading