Monday, November 14, 2011

Making Keys

Getting anything done in Cambodia is always quite interesting. You can learn a lot about a place by the way things are done and so it is with having an extra set of keys made. Today after doing some banking which I might add is becoming much easier as I know the routine now and long gone are the days I am in the bank for an hour just to make a deposit or withdraw funds or to get a bank statement. Now its in and out for the most part,  or at most it takes 30 minutes. All of these little things are reasons for rejoicing!

So with some time to spare, I was on the hunt to find a place that would  make me a set of new keys for the Ratanak office apartment. Who better to ask that my tuk tuk driver. After all, tuk tuk drivers are the human version of the yellow pages or the google website in Cambodia. They usually know where to find everything or any thing you need as long as you can explain it properly, they will find it. My tuk tuk driver is a sweet young man and so off we went on the hunt. Its not like you can go to a mall and find a store that copies keys. Rather, you go on a treasure hunt search, driving a long the streets of Phnom Penh looking for a small kiosk just like a street vendor that says ''Copy Key''---thankfully I just learned the word for ''key" the other day so the best way to practice the language is to use what you have learned right away so that you have a better chance to remember it all.  If any of you have ever seen the T.V show called √Āmazing Race---that show best describes what it likes to enter into a new culture and new environment. You are constantly on the hunt to find stuff and search for the right people to help you.

Anyway, I digress, so after one unsuccessful attempt we found our copy key man. He pulled out his 'key machine' from his small cabinet/cupboard and went to work making my two extra keys.  He charged $1.00 per key which is about the same that I had paid previously and really, in the whole scheme of things there are times that bargaining for a 20 cent discount or less is just not worth the time nor the energy. While he got to work in making the extra keys, I was most amused at  how he was getting his electric power to use his machine. The wires were attached to a tree next to his vendor stand and they were crudely connected to the electric cables wires that were above the tree.

Unfortunately the picture above does not provide a great view of the "electric power" connection but if you look closely you can see the wires going up the street. In this part of the world, this kind of set up works. I'm not exactly sure if the vendor is getting free electricity this way but if anything, I am always amused at the innovative ways that Cambodian people have in getting the simplest tasks done. They really know how to make do with less and they teach me much about creativity---something that this left brain person is certainly lacking!

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