Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Our House

I’ll always remember the moment I sat down to compose this blog post. I have set up my new laptop on our gorgeous wooden balcony and am enjoying the tropical view into the canopy of boganvillea, palm, mango and banana trees. We also have a custard apple tree but I’m not sure which one it is yet. It would be pure paradise if I were lying in the hammock but then it would be too hard to type. I never thought I ‘needed’ a laptop before but now I love it. I am addicted to ‘geeking it up’, as Belinda, one of my housemates calls it! The other thing I have become addicted to since being in Phnom Penh is riding my bicycle. I ride everywhere. I thought I would be too chicken to brave the PP traffic but it turns out I’m not. A huge revelation! The experience has also improved since I stopped trying to wear skirts to work. There’s too much to concentrate on without having to worry about the whole of PP seeing my undies. Besides being better for the wallet, environment, legs etc, it’s also surprisingly quick – and I ride slowly – I have beaten people on moto taxis to places before!

Our house is great and the best thing about it is that it came with dogs! The previous tenants had 2 dogs they couldn’t take with them and fortunately all 4 of us agreed to keep the dogs. They are really sweet. Except when we open the gate to get out and they escape and get into fights with other dogs and run through mud and eat rubbish and ignore us when we call them to come back in. I also don’t find them endearing when they get overexcited after parties and break through the doggie barrier at the top of the stairs and run around on the verandah being noisy all night.... or when they push open the fly screen door downstairs and head straight for the rubbish bin or jump up onto the dining room table. Naughty!

The dogs are sisters and one of them may be pregnant! We had an eventful trip in a tuk tuk to the vet to get all the animals* rabies vaccinations and Meika has a big uterus which means we might have puppies soon which is sooo exciting but then we would need to find them all good homes. Meika's the one with black around her eyes. The other, more blond one is Lara. It's been fun seeing their personalities emerge. I think Lara is more intelligent and she's my favourite but she's can also be a real bully to Meika and to the cat. The dogs actually have two names. They also get called 'bread and butter' in Italian (panini and bourini??) by our Italian neighbour.

*We have a cat too. Her name's Nobel (Bel). She’s nice as far as cats go and there’s a remote chance that during the course of the year Bel may help me slide along the scale away from being a pure dog person... but for the moment I like her being around because it’s fun spraying her with water when she does naughty things like jump up on the kitchen bench or come into my room. I can’t deny that in our case the cat is more “useful” than the dogs. Bel caught four mice one night – or maybe it was 2 then the same 2 dead ones retrieved from the rubbish – we’re not sure. So we let her inside regularly to catch mice but mostly she just lies around and cleans herself so maybe they were just a one-off housewarming present. I hope not because Belinda had a mouse in her bed and mouse poo (Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise poo as a word. It also doesn’t recognise recognise – I’ll have to change it out of American spelling) has been spotted in the kitchen...

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