Monday, October 17, 2011

October Floods- still here!

  Well I ended my last post with "the rains will pass", hasn't happened.  Perhaps gotten worse.  Out and about today I saw and rode my bike through many roads that had not flooded previously but are now.  On the last stretch of the road to work, now flooded, the main road Rt. 6 on the way to where I play tennis now many parts flooded, the tennis courts under 6 inches of water, never happened before. No I didn't play.  It appears to be getting worse.  I almost lost my shoes in the mud a few times when I had to get off my bike to walk through the muddy water.  How many times can I wash my feet/legs in one day?  Hearing from folks it's the worst in at least a dozen years perhaps much longer.  Countrywide I believe it's approaching 300 dead, almost 15% of rice crop lost maybe more.
flooded streets

  We went to Phnom Penh over the weekend and the ride there was a bit surreal.  It at times felt like we were riding through a lake.  Water on each side of us, vast areas.  Animals and people on the edges of the road, their houses flooded and surrounded by hip deep water or deeper.  Shades of 'Waterworld'.  And just read that PM Hun Sen just cancelled the celebrations for the annual 'Water Festival'.  How ironic.  It's normally a huge national celebration.  He said resources are needed for the flood victims, perhaps he and his cronies could sell off a few of their mansions.  I'm sure they each could let go of a few of the many they have.  Won't happen.  Kinda like in the States where the burden is on the working class and poor.  Only here many people will go hungry, starve and die.  It's not a pretty picture.

  Of course we personally are fortunate, we are not flooded out. Though many ex-pats along with Khmers are in fact flooded out of their abodes.  For us it's just a pain to ride through the flooded streets, minimal inconvenience compared to what some folks have to endure.  Life goes on however, another struggle for the Cambodian people.

 I celebrated my birthday (Oct. 1) by staying overnight with Jess at the fancy hotel where I play tennis.  With tennis membership I got a night's stay, massages and breakfast.  We went the the night of  Sept 30th.  We had a halfway decent dinner, wonderful massages and a great breakfast buffet.  And we just had a relaxing time.  Jess even got to languish in a bathtub.

  And I am continuing the tradition of getting sick on my birthday, started last year with pink eyes and flu type ills.  That lasted the month of Oct.  This year just a stye in one eye and weak/achey for just a week or so.  I should be thankful because otherwise I've been healthy.  Turning 60 I was beginning to feel old, mostly because I was sick.  But then I lost a tennis match badly and thought 'alright I am old.'  The next week I beat handily my most fearsome and talented young (34) opponent.  So after that I felt perhaps I've got a few years and matches in me.  Sad how my emotional state and ego are tied to my tennis matches.

  I do in fact feel I'm in good shape, though I've lost 5-10 pounds in the last year.  It shouldn't be surprising, I ride my bike everywhere, play as much tennis as I can and most likely eat less in general (the heat) and less junk food.  Sixty did however feel like a big b'day year, similar to when I turned 30, which seemed like yesterday in some ways.  For the past year I thought I was 60 anyway but when Oct. 1 rolled around I felt the full impact.  I hope I'm not going anywhere soon and I have another 30 in me.
poolside lunch

  Many schools have not opened because of the floods.  The place I'm at is accessible so we started on Oct 3 with 14 new kids and six returnees.  I was surprised how almost all the kids had a smooth transition to the class.  Only one girl cried the 1st day and by week's end she was comfortable being part of the class.  The teachers are doing a good, a very good job with the new class.  And the teacher training session went well.  There are challenges , quite expected, yet I'm feeling good about my work.
'Ooblick' play, a 1st

  Well the rains have stopped for now, I certainly hope it's the beginning of the end of rainy season.