Friday, March 28, 2008

Big Box Deliveries in Cambodia

As you know, I’m over here to work on Aki Ra’s demining program. We need a place to keep all of his equipment so we bought a container. You know, the kind you see being hauled down the street behind a truck. The ones that get delivered on container ships to the harbors.

In the US you can buy these things for a few hundred bucks. That’s because we import a whole bunch more than we export. So the number of containers in the US just grows and grows. Over here they have an export surplus, vis a vis containers, and they cost a bit more. We paid a goodly amount for one, had it outfitted with lockers and a steel crate weighing several hundred kilos for storage of valuable items and had it shipped from Phnom Penh.

Building the crate was pretty neat. The company that did it is called DTW, and they employ a lot of handicapped workers, some of them landmine victims. Very nice.

The container got shipped from Phnom Penh up here the other day. The trucker left around 8am. Now a bus, as you know if you’ve read my earlier postings, can take anywhere from 4-6 hours, 8 at the most to reach to Siem Reap.

It arrived at 5pm. Ah - Khmer time. The temperature was about 90 degrees (30c) and the humidity was at 75%.

Don’t know what took the guy so long, but at least it was still light out when he got there.

The gate of the compound where we store the container is 3 meters wide. The bus was 3 meters wide. Who was gonna win that battle? A brick fence or a 2 ton truck? I have to give it to the driver though, he was really good. The bus made it through the gate with about 2 cm (less than an inch) on either side. That was after we cut the branch off a tree that was hanging into the road.

Well, we missed the buildings by less than ½ meter, only ran over one real small palm tree (don’t worry, there are plenty left), and delivered the prize next door to Aki Ra and Hourt’s house.

There was a crane on the truck and they got the container ‘planted’ with no problem. It was on the ground maybe 30 seconds when Chet and Boreak, both landmine victims, had scaled the sides and were jumping up and down on the roof. Hey, I was impressed.

Once they got down, they asked me what it was for. I told them it was for boys who didn’t follow the rules. Both gave me sideways look until I started to laugh.

We got back to Siem Reap a bit after dark and that in itself is a story to tell. The road we were is, let’s say, less than adequate. That’s in the daytime. After dark it is simply scary. People drive on either side, cut across opposing traffic, and blow their freakin’ horns every time they pass you. Sort of like Boston.

We made it back in one piece so I took our Tuk Tuk driver, general fix-it man, and good friend, Sim Sau to dinner. We eat off the menu. Sau goes to the kitchen and orders special. It’s also twice the size we get. Hmmmm…………

Today Aki Ra and I worked some more on the registration and certification process. It takes a lot longer over here to get things done than it does at home.

I don’t think I’ll have the certs done before my visa runs out, so it looks like I will be back here in a couple of months.

I hope you all got a chance to see the ‘Bomber and Roy” story. I’ve been in close contact with them both and it is really hoppin’ ‘Down Under’. They are getting a lot of emails, as are we. The show is being shown again tonite and Sunday, I believe. I have not been able to watch it yet, although it is on-line. The internet connections here are just too slow. I did read the transcript though. These guys are truly amazing.

All for now. More later


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