1. Cleaner - a most excellent plus. Three years ago most of the city looked like a rubbish dump and many people treated the streets as one big garbage disposal centre. We are not pristine yet but there has been a quantum leap forward in city cleanliness.
2. Car dealers - not so long ago and you had to be in the know to track down a place to buy a car. Now, dealerships abound - as do home-grown street corners with a line-up of vehicles for sale. Toyota rules here. If it is not a Camry (hugely popular) it is a Corolla or a Lexus. Most vehicles are second hand imports from the USA. A very high percentage of them are accident write-offs or flood damaged. Chop shops abound. We have a dodgy place a block from here. Cars come in in pieces, and appear glued up and newly painted, opposite the chop shop a few weeks later!
A block from the Healing Home, this place is now functioning. If you can spit over the road, you would hit a new site for yet another petrol station, coming soon - and this is a minor connecting road!
3. Petrol stations - there are three 'levels' of acquiring petrol here. You can buy a litre at a time from pepsi bottles filled with 'interesting' petrol. You can buy from a guy who hand pumps from a 44 gallon drum. And you can go to a petrol station.
Up until very recently, I would mostly go five blocks from here to get real petrol. No longer. In the last three months, three petrol stations have opened in our home/Healing Home immediate vacinity, and one more is being built! Crazy crazy - but it speaks of the car ownership explosion happening right now. Phnom Penh is already in serious gridlock many places now - and it will be getting pretty horrible in the future as very little roading infrastructure is happening.
'Goldtower 42' - the big Korean project that has turned into 'concrete tower 29'. This monster towers over everything as very few buildings here are higher than 8-10 stories. All work abruptly stopped three months ago and the site is locked down.
4. Construction wobbles - there continues to be a huge amount of small-scale housing going up. Apartments are the building rage now - they are popping up like petrol stations. There is a large over-supply of this up-market accommodation but that does not stop the surge. It seems that is someone has an uncle that is gettng $1000 a month for an apartment, then 50 people with money to blow jump on that bandwagon.
However, big commercial ventures have taken a very big hit in Phnom Penh since the financial wobbles of two years ago. Much of the big development here is Korean-driven, and Korea has been pulling the pin on a lot of big projects that are already well under way. Office space is already in major over-supply too and the wild speculative days of yester-year have hit a major reality check.