Young Cambodians swarm 4-month-old night market

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The main parking area. Vehicles jam the intersection outside one corner as they jockey for a space.

Night markets are an enduring feature of countries in Asia.  The one in Phnom Penh’s Riverside neighborhood leaves me cold, but I remember being enamored of the first one I visited.  It was in Hong Kong in the mid 90s.

Well, there’s a new night market in Phnom Penh across from a distant corner of the Russian Embassy and virtually within sight of the modern Aeon mall.  As I walked there Saturday night for a look, a steady streams of motos doubtless had no other destination in that direction. Indeed, I discovered that is where they were going.

When I threaded my way through one of the parking areas to what is dubbed Jet’s Container market, Continue reading

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Month in Bangkok drives a decision on moving there

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Somewhat dated and romanticized view of “downtown” Phnom Penh with Central (or, in Khmer, “New”) Market in foreground. Source: Cambodia Hotels and Travel Guide

Part 2 of 2

In the first of two parts regarding whether moving to Bangkok from Phnom Penh was a good idea, I listed a number of pluses.

If you read Part 1, it will not surprise you to learn that Continue reading

Bangkok would be a mixed blessing for this expat

Flower delivery for Lunar New Year in Bangkok

Part 1 of 2

After three and a half years living Phnom Penh, I have developed itchy feet, a symptom of which is my increasingly frequent travel to other countries.

One country I have visited several times over the years is Thailand, next door, and I have much appreciated the contrasts between Bangkok’s, size, food and diversions to Phnom Penh’s.  Smaller cities in Thailand have their winning characteristics, but I don’t find that they enjoy the same vitality or energy for me as the capital while they certainly provide significantly more opportunities for all that nature offers.

I have been wondering whether we should make our home there.  We still own almost nothing more than can fit in two large suitcases each, so it is no problem in that respect to pick up and go.

But does it make sense?

To approach a decision, Continue reading

An expat’s perspective on health care and immigration

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BNH, the hospital in central Bangkok where I have received annual check-ups.

Technically, I am not an immigrant, though I make my home in Cambodia.  I have only a mailing address in the United States.

What I am is a retired expat whose year-to-year visa allows him to reside in Phnom Penh, where my savings go far indeed.  It is a good life, but it is one without a citizen’s rights (such as they are in Cambodia) and without dependable medical care.

Fortunately, I am an expat in excellent health now into his 70s.  Should I develop problems, the quality of my medical care here generally is suspect and its cost would be prohibitive for anything serious.

You see, I am uninsured outside the United States.  Even if coverage were obtainable from a reputable firm at my age Continue reading

Bangkok building takes architecture to new heights

Meandering around central Bangkok recently, I kept seeing from different angles a startling building nearing completion.  It arrested me from every point of view, and it is as memorable to me as the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

I looked up the nearly completed skyscraper online, and dezeen architecture and design magazine provided me with background that I have shamelessly extracted here in part.

At 314 meters, or 1,030 feet, the MahaNakhon tower was intended to be Continue reading

Festival in Bangkok central park sets splendid standard

img_3990Having reported on and attended in other capacities an incalculable number of parades, festivals, street fairs and similar special events, I have become rather jaded about them.

But the 2017 Thailand Tourist Festival —  which this year apparently replaced a celebrations of the Lunar New Year in Bangkok’s Chinatown in tribute to the memory of the late king — blew me away.  By changing the focus, the government felt able to respect the year-long mourning period since his death last fall.

img_3886The event in the city’s centrally situated Lumphini Park took place from last Wednesday through Sunday.  It was a triumph of organization, diversions and civilized crowds of almost impenetrable size on the weekend, somewhat less thronged before then.  I was there on three days.

The organizers had divided the space according to five of the country’s regions, plus a section devoted to China.

I very much enjoyed 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