Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A hole-in the-wall speaks.


My name is Q and I own a hole in the wall type establishment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

It's a very small premises which measures roughly 5m x 15m and I sell the usual fare of beers, top shelf whiskys and some food.

This location was not my first choice – I had shook hands with an Australian man in Battambong to take over a wonderful, fully decorated, bar and cafe named “Pulp” - it also came with a massive kitchen, a music library and a book selection and two full apartments above for only $400 p/m.

Of course it had to be too good to be true for jut 4K – and , sure enough, when I traveled down there again to meet the lease-holder's landlord and change the business over to me they began playing silly bastards and wanted to jack up the rent, keep the guy's deposit, have me pay a double deposit and take time off the contract.

When all of this began to unravel, I decided I didn't want any part of a contract with these people and walked away. The lease-holder (Nick, I believe) told me later that they wound up just signing it over, lock, stock and barrel to some NGO or another. In retrospect, I should have just given them $2k and taken all that kitchen equipment, sound systems, furniture, books etc. . .

After that I resolved not to rush into anything and came back to Phnom Penh and checked into a guesthouse on St 172 run by a Swedish man. I planned on staying a week but – after I managed to stab myself in the instep with a broken bathroom sink- stayed closer to a month.

After that I moved to the opposite bank of the Tonle Sap where I had a wonderful home over the water – and for a time I entertained the notion of opening up over there with chairs and tables under parasols on my large deck area outdoors and food and cocktails indoors and a projector in the space beneath the house for movie and sport viewing. However, I ultimately felt that distance from the main drags of the city would outweigh the undisputed novelty and attraction of such a venue. So that remained just my home.

A ton of people were offloading lakeside places at the time and I entertained the notion of one or two places there for a VERY short time before dismissing them as hopeless.

There had been a small cafe/bar on St 172 up for sale for over five months for under $4k – but when I called I was told the lease was finished in two months. That made it easy for me as all I had to do then was wait those two months and contact the landlady directly to make a new contract and score the premises for my signature and a small deposit.

Things were on the move. . .

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