I've recently published a couple of new short stories. To be honest, one isn't exactly new. I wrote it for a small book I did a limited run of when I was living in the Caribbean. It is an account of some real, but fictionalized people in a real, and not particularly fictionalized place--a rum shop.
The other book is based in Hong Kong and tells the tale of a sailor too often trapped in the corporate world, but determined to get out onto the high seas. His story is a little chancy.
It is tempting to think that once you have moved to a tropical location, life becomes simple. All you need to do is sit back, drink wonderful drinks with umbrellas in them (don't eat the umbrellas, as they can reuse those), served by lovely serving girls and enjoy life. Unfortunately, life follows you. There are always domestic chores and the business of life. Some are more onerous than others.
A couple of days ago, my office was perfumed with a familiar and unwelcome odor. Shortly I was surrounded by the noise of work going on. When I investigated, I learned that the sediment filter from the septic tanks was backed up. Our landlord had the staff hard at work, and he joined in. This was important. After all the blockage was from his house. So for three days, the crew hauled out the gravel, cleaned and sorted and put it back together.
In case you were wondering, Mr. Ka, who is smiling on the left, wasn't thrilled by this particular job, or at having his photo taken standing in the tank.... he just smiles a lot. Very nice man. Our landlord is the one in clean clothes. (These guys are good workers!)
The name Phnom Penh literally means "Penh's hill", but the city is rather flat and quite walkable. Our neighbors in Kampot suggested we try a guest house owned by friends of theirs. The name was inauspicious. The Lone Star Saloon does not conjure up images of the pearl of the orient. Still a reference is a reference and these folks are usually pretty good, so we gave it a try. Our regular taxi driver, Mr Mao, took us right to the door in time for lunch.
Our trips to the city are infrequent and usually based around the need for things not available in the provinces. Our favorite way to shop is to hire a tuk tuk for the morning and take advantage of the local knowledge as well as transportation.
Here are some tuk tuks outside the wat that is just at the end of 23rd Street where the Lone Star is located.
They actually seem to do a brisk business ferrying monks back and forth from where ever monks go to when they aren't at the wat.
By the way, The Lone Star was great. Most of the folks working there are Khmer, although the lady who owns it admits to having been to Texas. Her husband is from Texas and the sentiments are his. The rooms were comfortable and quiet and good value. The location is perfect for prowling the city, regardless of what you are prowling for.