The building is vibrating.
Don’t worry – it’s not an earth tremor or anything drastic – it’s the roller compounding the road. It rumbled and rattled down the street at about 7.15am, tuk tuks and motorbikes fleeing in front of it.
Who needs television when you’ve got Cambodian road maintenance?
The roller’s appearance follows a highly entertaining Sunday afternoon watching the transformation of our street continue as first an excavator and then a grader grumbled and roared up and down the road.
The excavator picked up concrete slabs and lifted them into place over newly-installed storm water pits. Half the street turned out to watch the spectacle. A few labourers plastered some concrete around the edge before the lid was plonked on and moved into place.
The tuk tuk drivers and local residents were lending a hand. Marom, a friend of ours, jumped on the bucket to be lifted up to the power lines where he proceeded to tie them up – I think. After all it would be unsafe having that lot dangling about wouldn’t it?
And let’s not forget the man in the Khmer sarong, who was out with his tape measure across the road.
Just as the excavator finished its work, the grader roared down the road like an impatient tin monster, its menacing form looming over anything in its way. It had already done a few laps of the street in the morning, dodging obstacles but it was back for the serious stuff.
It tore up the curbing and pavers of the neighbouring hotel and as it ploughed its way along bits of concrete, rock, brick and pavers were forced into the centre of the road. Some were collected by residents, others eventually compounded into the road surface.
On the other side of the road it ripped up a water pipe. The neighbour rushed to stem the flow only to have it ripped up again on the next run through. Storm water pipes were smashed and torn, only to be covered with dirt, unfixed.
We met new people – a few other expats joined the fray and the Joker had a beer while the action took place.
The Joker, as always, rushed to help where needed. He lifted motorbikes up and down the huge step created by the grader and joined a group of blokes trying to straighten the lid on one of the stormwater pits, after the grader knocked it about and skewed it from it’s recent placement.
Then he hurried to help push a crate for the rubbish back into position. The workmen had only finished constructing this bamboo masterpiece about five minutes before the grader irreverently knocked it from its position.
You can keep your television programs. I’m happy to be entertained by the goings on in our street. We’ve got front-row seats, we’re even part of the action at times. And like any good mystery, you never know what’s going to happen next.