Published: August 13th 2010August 13th 2010
It's raining at last!!! The past few days have been hot, hot, hot, hot. Every evening the sky looks menacing but nothing comes. But this evening big black clouds built up over the rice fields and the thunder and lightning started and then it was on!! Oh the blessed coolness!
Actually the monsoon has been exceptionally dry. Apparently the last few monsoons have been pretty pathetic which has left farmers and fisherman in hard times. More than likely this is due to climate change.
I've hit a bit of a block with my research. The local method of drilling wells is to drill the holes using a rotary drill with water for drilling fluid (a bit like a concrete cutter) which will not be appropriate for my work as I won't be able to log the soil or take uncontaminated samples as they use groundwater from arsenic rich wells as the drilling fluid.
So, I emailed other researchers to ask what methods they used and a Japanese researcher told me he used a drill rig So I met with mining engineers today to discuss how they could help me. They have a small truck mounted rig which might do. The two
major issues with using a drill rig are costs and access. My budget for drilling is only $1300. If I uses the local guy, the cost would be about half that. The access issue is a problem because my field sites are smack bang in the middle of villagers' cultivations and I don't think they would appreciate a dirty great truck messing up their fields.
So the upshot is, I'm going to meet with the local driller on Monday and see if he can modify his methods for me and I'm also getting a quote from the engineers. If neither is feasible, My research program will have to be drastically modified. Oh well...
Friday the 13th! K and I were off to the Australian Embassy for our pre-Poll voting. A concrete frontage with lots of glass and a security gauntlet to run. No party political hacks hanging out the front of the Polling Station, just two chatty ex-pats handing out the Ballot papers. Sadly nothing inspiring on either the H of R nor the Senate papers, but we got a buzz out of voting so far ahead of the main poll. Two weeks without any TV or radio
has been a delight - haven't missed it at all! The food here at RDI is okay - a bit bland (seemingly to cater to the Western palates here) and predictable though so we took the chance today whilst in the big smoke of Phnom Penh to have a feed of a beef soup, Pad Thai, vietnamese spring rolls plus drinks, all for $12 US - so amazingly cheap.
Before the rain (see above), we rode our bikes over the 'wooden bridge' (a local landmark that rattles and shakes alarmingly. Surprising how quickly you get used to these things!) to a grand Temple complete with on site Monastery. The chanting was amazing - hypnotic, melodic, exotic, absolutely amazing. We will be back! We were seen off the site though by the Temple dogs - a motley bunch of mongrels with mean looking teeth.
There are more photos below