Sunday, February 24, 2013

Construction, Cambodian Style

There was never a dull moment while we were in Cambodia. Even if we were just hanging out at the apartment, reading, visiting or whatever, there was always something going on.

Last year we were fascinated by construction projects in the neighborhood, but this year we got a very up close and personal look. Immediately west of Jimmy Joe and Nine's apartment building a house had been demolished, and work was beginning on what will be a seven-story office building. That doesn't bode well for the view from their dining room and JJ's study, but it certainly entertained us.  Here's what the site looks like from street level.

And from the dining room window.

Notice that most repair and adjustment work is done by hand with simple tools and little, if any, protective gear.

Some of the laborers take a break.  Instead of steel-toe boots, many of them wear flip-flops. Floppy sun hats rather than hard hats are the norm. 

The workers set up this small, improvised shrine to ask the spirits to bless the project, or perhaps to ensure their safety. All such offerings contain two of each item.

And here is what the kitchen for the job site cafeteria looks like.

For this initial phase of the project, the workers either arrive each morning on motos, or sleep on site under the blue tarp in the left of the picture. After work, they shower in a corner of the lot using a garden hose. 

Judging from other projects, later on workers will bring their families.  This woman and her child live with other worker families in a street-side shanty a couple of blocks away.

As work on the office building progresses, bamboo scaffolding will be used for access to the exterior of the building. The large villa below, where had just begun when we visited last year, shows some of this scaffolding in place.

In another year, perhaps it will be completed and the small shrine in the foreground will have a permanent home.

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