Nah, I'm not interested in buying anything - even if I had the cash, it's debatable if I could buy anything legally, anyway.
I've been on the hunt for a reasonable apartment. While last in Siem Reap, the boy and I had a $50/month apartment on the western side of Achamean street - what one might call the northwest portion of the Old Market area, if one were feeling generous. Here's a map of SR town. The Old Market's the tourist center of Siem Reap - or, rather, Bar Street is. Somehow Bar St. sounds marginally less respectable than the alternate name of "Pub St.", so that's what I'll call it.
The yellow, faux-colonial building was of reasonably good construction, and only a year old. Our small one-room apartment faced south, so we had sun for most of the afternoon, and a fan going all night long rarely got rid of the heat. The owner's various progeny and their children went scampering by our window most of the day, which was no problem - when we weren't hung over from the night before.
Still, the apartment was small-ish for a pair who'd been travelling together for months, so the Boy soon agreed to rent his own place in the building next door. During his first week there, a flaming neighbor asked him: "Is your relationship over with your friend?" The Boy wasn't quite sure how to respond, thinking his neighbor was talking about our friend R. who lived in the same building. Though R's about as charming as they come, the Boy simply doesn't swing that way.
Of course I knew the neighbor was referring to me, as the Boy & I had been the talk of our housing complex since moving there together. Each time neighbors would see us together after Boy got his own place, they'd look quizzically at the two of us, as if to say, "Those silly barangs, what do they think they're doing? Probably she doesn't keep the house very clean." Which, now I think of it, could have been a good reason for him to get his own place.
In recent housing news, the aforementioned friend R. has been sending me some tempting options. There is his old apartment for $50/month: sans chatty neighbors and shrieking kids, though facing swelteringly south as ours did and accessible only by walking up a wobbling iron stairway - detached from the building - to the third floor. I've done it after several beers and escaped unscathed every time, but it's best done with shoes off and a tight grip on the rusty handrail.
Another option is a $30/month apartment - he hasn't mentioned if it has shared
facilities or not - somewhere near the old one.
The last option is what every expat living off their pension or a 2nd world salary in a 3rd world country dreams of: a lovely home on a quiet & safe dirt road with a few bedrooms and verandah, plenty of breezy shaded space, for $200/month. This is reasonable even by SR standards. "It's worth double the price," he raved, for good reason.
I had visions for a fraction of a second while dreaming of this option. It's be wonderful to have so much room: a studio for the C4C kids and me, a green space to call my own.
Then had to shake them out of my head. Not only am I not a housewife-in-training [as any guest of mine knows] searching for her picket fence, I've no desire for anything remotely like it for a long long time. The entire idea reeks of financial colonialism. Better off to have a small $50 place with verandah for cyanotype sun-developing, and more money for seeing friends in Bkk and beer at the Sunset Bar or Abacus, depending on how flush things are that week. Better to have Khmer friends than a maid to whom I pay a small salary for food and try to seduce while she's making my dinner (wait, I'm fulfilled in that department, too....I'll leave those activities for lonely men instead).
Most of all, there's simply no way to justify one person living in a place that costs well over 2/3 of Cambodia's annual GDP in monthly rent.