The water is receding, we are now on a dry road (yay!) but the neighborhood is in the process of trying to rebuild the road, so it is a MESS. Last night I came home in a rainstorm in the dark (very dark here) soaked to the skin, and the new dirt on the road had turned to deep, treacherous mud in the rain. There was a man ahead of me so I stopped to see how he would handle the situation. He got off his moto and walked it through, keeping the throttle on. Picture this all seen by the light of his headlight and mine through the deluge of rain, thunder and lightening. I gave it a try but as soon as my bike left the paved road the front wheel sunk in the mud nearly up to the hub, it took all my strength to pull it out. One of my Keens was sucked off my foot and buried. So there I was in the driving rain trying to wrestle a heavy motorbike back up onto the paved road, keep my eye on the spot where my sandal was buried, and not dump my non-waterproof bag full of precious papers into the mess.
When I managed to get to safety I called Michael at the house and he came out and helped me get the moto in. My paperwork had not melted, I retrieved my Keen and all was well. There are these very Khmer moments that I will miss when I leave here- like the scene that followed when we got to the gate. We must have looked pathetic, like two muddy, straggling children, me carrying one shoe. Inside the gate we met our landlords standing outside their door in the shelter of the overhang watching for us. The lightening was flashing and on top of that, the power was going on and off, so it was hard to tell what was really happening. They were laughing at us and showing genuine Khmer concern – which involves laughing at people, we were laughing along because it was hilarious. I do enjoy those moments, even the being soaked to the skin.
People on our block are no longer living on the road, the cattle and cooking fires have disappeared back under the houses. But, our town is diked and the outlying villages (most of Prey Veng province) are mostly still flooded. The water is slowly receding. The problems of hunger and hygiene will continue for months, probably until next June or so when the wet season has started again and reliable weather will make the next harvest possible. Rice prices are rising daily, food prices in general are, too.