For months and months I have been arranging my life around buckets. Two 80 litre plastic monsters, one blue and one red. One in the bathroom and one in the kitchen skillfully hidden under my sink and home made curtain. Genius plan. Matching lids, all made in Vietnam. Fairly large vessels containing what remotely resembles H2O in enough quantities to provide for a couple of (boot camp style) bucket showers, rinsing a few plates before the ants beat you to it and – in extreme circumstances – allow for a gentle tickle of the kitchen floor with a semi damp mop.
Bathroom space compromised, the “filling of the bucket” routine has become a part of life. Knowing my times – times of water actually coming out of the tap and time of dryness, I would rise at 6am and rush to just about manage to carry out my morning splash and ever-other-day hair washing ritual, sometimes ending the procedure boot camp style as town water supply would greedily stop mid-lather. 11PM to midnight seemed to be the perfect time to fill the buckets.
Another story could be written about the taps left turned on, forgotten and spitting water when nobody was around.
I can’t recall exactly but just around that time my vocabulary started to decline and suffer a bit. Blame the bucket.
I would envy my friends with steady water supply resembling the Kulen Waterfall in the wet season but continued to suffer my quiet and dry 3rd floor misery with miserable water pressure at the best of times.
Over time, a quiet yet rebellious voice inside my head started to form a strong opinion on this matter. “We want water tank, we want WATER TANK, the chanting would continue and one day the voice was screaming so loud that Vanna, the landlord, must have overheard it. Some would say that I had been nagging the poor meek soul for so long that in the end he finally gave in and succumbed to the pressure: “OK, I will ask my mum”.
Cambodia seems to be the land of men who like to think that they run the show but it’s the women who, in the end, make things happen.
What precedes is the sad story of exhausted Siem Reap water supply which is several times lower that the ever growing demand. The water treatment plant cannot keep up and although the problem has been sort of recognized by the authorities, I think we are unlikely to see any improvements before 2054. And even though things are looking up as we seem to have made it past the feared date of 21.12.2012 it’s still better to take matters into your own hands.
The swollen silver beauty appeared out of nowhere and rested just outside my door and I had to squeeze past it to get to my apartment. I hoped it was only resting there mid way on the way up and it wasn’t its final place of residence. Couple of days later it moved one floor up and rested some more. It was a tired silver water tank.
Then, somehow, I missed all the show (which is fine, really)... until one day, ta daaa….
December 26th, 2012, 17:53 I arrived home from work. I turned the tap on expecting the pathetic little trickle or nothing at all. Instead, Kulen waterfall itself materialized in my apartment spraying me from head to toe leaving me in total mouth gaping surprise. “Vanna, what the…..??!!!”
Can I really have running water every time I turn the tap on?
Can I have a sleep-in and not rush for my 6am (and not a minute later !) shower?
Is the prospect of living without the Big Bucket watching over simply too daunting?
I will keep the old fella there, full to the brim, for old times’ sake. He served me well. I am used to him and he is used to me.
The problem I have now is the leaking water bum hose - too much pressure previously unknown. My bum hose which has overnight become a weapon of destruction. Good for stripping paint if it ever came to it.
Isn’t life one big rollercoaster?
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.