Day 2 Thoughts
The apartment home I am staying in is about 2 blocks off of a main road. The little street we are on is quiet in comparison, and friendly to foot traffic. The moto-taxis seem to know that there are foreigners living here, and a few are always congregated in front of the gate hoping to pick someone up.
The apartment itself is more like a townhouse by American standards. The front courtyard is gated at the street. You enter through a little cement pad courtyard and remove your shoes before entering the actual house. Downstairs is a small living area and the kitchen. Everyone removes their helmets and tosses them in a stack by the front door.
The kitchen is what I am used to seeing in a foreign home. A small sink, 2 stove top burners (portable), and a refrigerator that I can see over. One different detail about this place is that everything is shorter. The kitchen counters are very low. I have to bend over to place things in the sink. The women do not cook and work at the counters. They sit on the floors and work with pots instead.
There are 5 “apartments” (townhouses). The other 4 homes are through a small alleyway (walking space only). The residents of those houses enter through our house, cross through to the back door, and walk over to their homes. They eat in their own homes. However, the house mothers for each of the houses all come to our main house to do the cooking together.
The bedrooms are all upstairs. The second floor has a balcony area as well. I've never seen anyone sit there though. I'm sure it is too hot, as the hot air rises out of the living room and gets caught right there. The staircases are very narrow and somewhat steep. I've been told this is a typical Cambodian staircase style. There are 2-3 bedrooms on each floor. Each room has a series of locks. My room is quite big and has a very big bathroom attached to it. My room sleeps up to 3 people, but for now I am alone here.
Although we are not on a main road there is still a lot of noise from the traffic. There is a constant hum of motorcycles, and people yelling. I'd love to know what they are always yelling about out there. Just a few feet away is a karaoke restaurant. There aren't enough sleeping pills in the world to drown out the sound of bad karaoke all night long. I have air conditioning in my room, so I have the luxury of sleeping with the windows and balcony closed at night. This doesn't stop the music. Nothing like a little bad Cambodian version of Michael Jackson to keep you up at night.
Just next door to our apartment (so the attached townhouse really) is a business that only distinguishes itself as “KTV.” I've seen this abbreviation on other buildings, and I have no idea what it means. But I've gathered from other volunteers that we all suspect this building is a brothel of sorts. If you sit and watch long enough, a very nice car (a Lexus usually, sometimes a Honda) will pull up in front, a driver hops out, opens the door, and a woman will walk out of the apartment and get in the back. I've never seen anyone actually go inside the apartment. And there are a good 20 motorbikes in their courtyard (in comparison, our building merely has 5 motorbikes). I've never seen any of the women actually return to the building either. It is all very curious. Probably best if I don't think too much more about it!