…finaly i get to write again, it has been a while. Things have not been too easy in our jungle outpost. As conveniences go hereabouts during the last few months: we are supposed to get hydropower here anytime soon. –anywhere between now and November or whatever. Not too bad? Well; we used to have some kind of power, sometimes. Of course the people who owned the cumbersome diesel generator(s) that powered our little forgotten mountain town will be without a lucrative- speak highway robbery- source of income soon. Soo: whenever we paid the extortive amounts of our monthly bills, instead of going and getting diesel, they went to the karaoke parlor, and did the karaoke things and gambled, and there would be no money for diesel left. So we got less and less electricity, until even the town generator got repossessed and we had: yeah. No electricity. So we used our generators which are even more expensive…. Provided they were not broken down and there was diesel to have had had at all. That worked for a while, kinda. Until, my darling neighbors put salt in my dynamo, the repairs were too much to shoulder- police, threats etc, etc, not that my neighbors changed their ways; I just found out that they stole about sixty meters of my electric cable…. …
So well, we all find ourselves without any electricity, more or less, so, no internet, no cable TV or any TV for that matter, and forget about internet or lights at night. Not to mention running water... It has been like that for three month now…and we wait for the hydro power and wait and wait. And it is boring like hell.
When i have customers and the generator is out of order- which is most of the time- I have to cook by candle light.
In three weeks bhp will arrive and I will cook myself silly for the next six month. Also; I just made it into the new lonely planet with my little restaurant, so it will be busy, very busy. And that all by candlelight. I sure hope not, I begin to feel like a bat!
Last month I went back to Snooky for a few days: it was great seeing my friends and catching up on gossip, although I had to think of an old joke: a little old lady says to the priest: ‘...and when i die and go to heaven, I will see all my beloved ones, won’t i?’- And the priest says ‘yes, madam, but ya’ll see the others too. ….’
Here goes Snooky: Pim and Wilma have a new restaurant, down near Otcheteel beach. Very beautiful, big too. Pim whines that it is hard to get staff, good staff. Nothing new there.
Kimberly and her dad are back in Snooky and live around the corner from Pim’s. Bob has his own little restaurant near the lion’s roundabout. He does not want to invest (unfortunately that shows, but he has a point
: rents are going crazy in Snooky, and the rental contracts? you never know wither you have a business the next day, as the contracts are not worth the paper they are written on.
Bob has now about 30sq/meters, which he will have for at most another year, and then the landlord will move the rent up from $300 to $ 3000!
Bob of course owns land near my house; he will move there as soon as there is a road built. Not anytime soon by the looks of it.
The monkeys at monkey republic guesthouse are going strong as ever.
Big Mark is still trying to sell the corner bar: he and his wife Thieda have a little guesthouse on the beach road near serendipity beach now. The hill isn’t the old place where we used to have so much fun anymore: now the hood -and we all knew this would happen- is one big brothel- but with one twist: loads of girlie bars, but no customers. ( hehehe): that idiot who bought my places is doing just as bad as the rest, the old melting pot is closed- i wonder what he’s gonna do with the real estate ?i do not know... the other place is moldering away. (I for one kept away, self-preservation wins from curiosity here; the guy is looking for me as is).
Meanwhile big Mark says he might just walk away from the place altogether and just live down by the beach and do his guesthouse.
That French chef-Lionel -who used to rent the melting pot, has a new- well? Restaurant just a few doors down from Mark’s new place. Well a hovel, shack would be too good a word. Looks very retro medieval, though not in a nice way. He did not put in anything like ornaments, or some such, except for stuff he stole from my old place. As he stole them from the new owner and not from me, I got a laugh out of that one. Still, wanting to invest in a place or not there is no excuse to let one’s restaurant look that bad, worse than the dirtiest Khmer places in snuol. Anyways not much more has changed Lionel still gets beaten up by someone at least once a month. (Plus ca change…)
And there are the usual Snooky stories: an Englishman rents a restaurant. Fixes it up and is in business. His landlord sells the building to the Vietnamese wife of some westerner. And she promptly kicks out the poor Englishman, etc
Crab racing is getting to be a full blown sport in Snooky: although, when the tourists mark their crabs with stickers the crabs keel over during the races more often than not, as those backpackers tend to glue over the breathing holes of the poor crustaceans.
Backpackers, yeah… looking them over while in Snooky, I begin to feel sorry for my friends: Jesus what a motley lot those dreadlocked ‘travelers’ are! -I can’t be sad that I do not have to deal with those anymore! Look at Pim and the others with restaurants for example: their prices are ways to low for what they serve. Quality notwithstanding they can’t charge more, the cheapos will just go to the next place that is cheaper.
The sum of my musings after looking at Snooky: sure I miss the good cheer and my friends and all that, and life sure has its pitfalls here in the wilderness... but: at least i can wake up in the morning without wondering if i still have a business. I can invest all i want as i own the land and all on it, my costs are low, my prices if not very high at least fair, and i can throw out any cheapos that i do not like. (That is always great fun!) plus our tourists are a lot nicer than that stuff they get in Snooky.
My restaurant is beginning to look really good. As is the garden- getting there, getting there. Of course there is much more to do: but as usual, one has either the time or the money…. So, next month I will build an outdoor fireplace/ bbq, as it does get so cold here in the winter month. What am I saying the winter month? It is cold now: it rains and storms and is grey and misty, clammy, and muddy and the river looks worrisomely swollen. Aww, Another week and I are due for a major shopping spree in pp: mark my words then i will cuss that it is too hot there… As bhp will arrive in October and not have any holiday until the water festival- the boat races- in November, I have to ship up all their food for them until then. Loads of it and their wine also. Dave, one of the bosses:’ tanja, you buy the booze, we drink it. (That means lots of it)’-music in my ears, of course.
To get back to mondulkiri I will have to rent a whole truck… several days of heavy marketing, super marketing and whole sellering will go before that, it will be hard work but fun. (Nursing a truck over the jungle trails at this muddy time of the year is much less so).
In the evenings in PP I plan on partying just as hard and enjoy civilization… Just imagine newspapers with my hangover and my coffee in the mornings!!!!-
That will be soo nice: up here we don’t have any and do not even know what happened at the border with Thailand at Preah Vihar, where the Thaïs decided to invade us against the verdict of the UN. the Thaïs still insist the temple complex there is theirs... for all we know we might be at war!!!!
Bill just came back from pp with some newspapers. No, we are not at war (yet).-the Thaïs being too busy waiting for the next coup.
Bill brought the new pp post with him; now a daily-and the good ol’ new ppp has a definite tabloid feel to it. In a nice way. Hey let’s face it; this is a great country for a tabloid: they don’t even have to invent stuff, this country has enough surreal news to put the national enquirer to shame…– I kinda like the new style, though I hate to get caught with that one by the more politically correct individuals, though coming to think of it who cares about those ngo types anyways!!!
And I do get along famously with the new publisher, the one who bought it of Micle (Hayes): Ross (Dunkley), we came across each other at Snowie’s’ in pp, somehow managed to flee together from a psychotic Frenchwoman who was sitting at Snowie’s bar, fled together and got gloriously legless at Sharky’s; as we both are afflicted with thee same kind of pragmatic bluntness, we did have a great time… (Snowie later told me that we got out just in time, later that night the Frenchwoman seems to have scratched up one of the paper’s reporters quite badly)