Visit to shop explains ease of making counterfeit clothes

innumerable plastic bags contain name-brand labels.

innumerable plastic bags contain name-brand labels.

Rare is the enlightened consumer in Cambodia who buys brand names expecting them to be of first quality or to be the designers’ true product.

Stacks upon stacks of labels abound in the shop.

Stacks of labels abound in the shop.

Whether toasters or t-shirts, the goods can be counted on to be fake. In the case of electronics and appliances (and, for that matter, pharmaceuticals), it can be hard to separate the counterfeit from the genuine, the factory supplied or the criminal contrived, seconds from firsts.

Consequently, those who can travel themselves, know international travelers or possess the means to have merchandise shipped in at a cost of approximately $50 per package (naturally depending on the size, weight and carrier) rely on sources outside Cambodia for peace of mind.

We simply don’t trust what we buy here, though Continue reading

Because of construction, there goes my neighborhood

This villa, a block from my apartment, exemplifies what is being lost in my neighborhood.

This villa, a block from my apartment, exemplifies what is being lost in my neighborhood.

Demolition, renovation and new construction in my neighborhood of Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) is transforming an area that many expats favor into one that is becoming hard to recognize.

This former villa, which had become a restaurant, is across the street from the house in the top photo.

This former villa, which had become a restaurant, is across the street from the house in the top photo.  (Warning: Numerous images below.)

What is happening here at a dizzying pace merely reflects a situation in which property development in Phnom Penh has soared and, along with it, prices.

Investors in residential buildings in prime neighborhoods such as mine drove land prices up in the last half of 2014 alone by Continue reading

Only minor dentistry should be trusted in Cambodia

That's mean and Ana.  We faked the photo when her work was completed, so she's not wearing gloves and I lack a bib.

That’s Ana and I.  We faked the photo when her work was completed, so she’s not wearing gloves and I lack a bib.  Incidentally, shorts and t-shirt are my usual attire and not only when the mercury soars.

The European Dental Clinic has a generally good reputation among expats in Phnom Penh, and it is conveniently close to home.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences there on my three visits, two of them for routine cleaning, in the last year or so.

Although the treatment of any serious dental issues such as root canals or tooth implants, like any serious medical ones, is ill-advised in this country, ordinary work can be achieved successfully.

There are many reasons to appreciate the clinic.   Continue reading

Many expats seem to forget that they choose to be here

choices

Home is close to the work of these Cambodians, who pick from garbage anything they can recycle.

You hear the gripes, complaints and sparks of indignation all the time.

Expats regularly find fault with Cambodia in general and Phnom Penh in particular, and I hardly am blameless (as this post arguably demonstrates).

Whether it is about the vast majority of sidewalks that either are nonexistent or made impassable by parked vehicles and vendors’ carts or it is about intractable corruption, we continually voice our various displeasures to each other over restaurant tables and online.

We moan about Continue reading

Mango season arrives, but it doesn’t end soon enough

Several trees on my block are sprouting mangos.

Several trees on my block are sprouting mangos.

Months go by before mango season arrives in Phnom Penh.  Growing larger and slowly changing from bright green to glowing yellow, the ripening mangos now suspend themselves from the limbs of mature trees like so many Christmas ornaments.

Those trees actually thrive Continue reading

16-year-old gym buddy launches me on new adventure

Happy Khmer New Year! See you again after next week.

View of Tang Koh, an island more than four hours from Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand.

View of Koh Tang, an island more than four hours from Cambodia’s Sihanoukville in Gulf of Thailand.

It all started with a conversation about the Great Barrier Reef.

I mentioned to Mike, 16, who works out at my gym, that I had put the reef on my bucket list. He said that the only way to view the natural wonder was by scuba diving.

Quixotically following the teenager’s advice, I immediately deposited $200 with Scuba Nation, a first-rate diving concern that offers PADI certification with half of the underwater instruction at a Phnom Penh swimming pool.  The second half Continue reading

Many items that rich countries discard are used again

RepurposeThe man in photo above is engaged in a task that is routine in buildings large and small: He is pounding metal rods that have been used previously in construction so they can be used again.

Nails are commonly straightened for re-use, and I posted a photo recently of a mother doing just that with a toddler at her back.

Have you ever seen Continue reading