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<time datetime="2023-07-21 00:00:00 &#43;0700 &#43;07">21 July 2023</time><span class="px-2 text-primary-500">&middot;</span><span>1523 words</span><span class="px-2 text-primary-500">&middot;</span><span title="Reading time">8 mins</span>

The past 10 days #

The past days of packing went well, and I even had a chance to shop for clothes and visit friends in Bangkok during the last day.

I returned to Phnom Penh to sleep the first night at the new house, with everything still packed in boxes from the move. We’ve spent the past 5 days starting to organize and make space for the stuff that will come soon from Thailand.

My mobile Internet was malfunctioning since I returned, and made it pretty much impossible to be online. After a dozen calls to the service center they have finally reset my package and the Internet works again. Also, after 8 days the ISP guys finally showed up to connect our home Internet, which has been working since yesterday afternoon: Hello world!

The forest we planted #

I had a chance to make a quick visit to our land a few kilometers away from the house I was packing. The forest trees we planted at the beginning of the rainy season in 2018 are now quite tall. Cassava is no longer being intercropped in that area. It’s starting to look like a young forest. There are some areas that could be replanted in the next couple of years (but then also would need caring after for a few years again). We’ll see.

A small parenthesis: I often hear people talking about how easy reforesting is, including by sharing encouraging memes, or videos, or Fukuoka, or Bill Mollison quotes. Reforesting is a tough job. The first time I attempted it was with a thousand trees, and I made the rookie mistake of refusing to plant in rows (because I thought it would look ugly). We planted the small trees randomly, and a few weeks later it was impossible to find them among the weeds. Mowing and maintenance were near impossible jobs.

There’s no doubt if you throw a million seed bombs, a few may survive to become adult trees, but the majority will die. In my experience, even small (30 cm to 50 cm) trees planted on cleared ground will be suffocated by vegetation unless routine mowing and maintenance occurs. This is why we intercropped cassava for the first few years after planting the second batch of five or six thousand trees (planted in neat rows). Some care is still needed to remove climbing vines, which are capable of strangling the young trees.

My friend and I walked to the dam we dug on the keyline almost a decade ago. The vegetation was very dense, but eventually we found a bit of a path. Even now, before the beginning of the rainy season, there was plenty of water in the dam. We also came across a bunch of elephant tracks on the path, that looked very fresh, probably from the previous night. We were cautious and whispered the rest of the way after finding the tracks. An encounter with wild elephants can be deadly, especially if they have infants in the herd. They are also very quiet. A few years ago when we were living there, three people who were extracting rubber were killed at night by elephants in over a one month period. We’re talking about a village with a few hundred inhabitants. Major tragedy.

In any case, I was happy to see that in the middle of all these monocultures, our young forest is being used by elephants and that they’re coming to the dam to quench their thirst. If I was still living in Thailand I would install a camera by the dam to see what other wildlife frequents it.

A view of some of the trees we planted in 2016
Here’s a photo of some of the trees we planted in 2016

I took a video of the younger tree section and will post it over the next days if I have time to edit it.

The coming few days #

N and J left to Thailand this morning. They’ll be consolidating some stuff we had at another location and hiring a logistics service to send all our stuff here. I’ll spend this time arranging the house and catching up with all the things I should have been doing while I was away.

Side note #

Trigger warning! Most people I encounter have lost the capacity for nuance, which makes it difficult to have diverging opinions, particularly on some subjects. I’m happy to agree with people on some things and disagree on others. Nuance: a lost art for our contemporary culture.

Two friends have separately sent me messages in the past few days, telling me a variation of “something’s off with RFK” and “RFK is a total whack job,” while referencing a video where he said governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars engineering bio-weapons to target specific ethnicities, and then said the COVID ACE2 receptors bind better in certain ethnicities (a claim backed by published and peer-reviewed academic research).

Although I’ve missed most of the legacy media spin on this, I can see it has been used to make the point that, not only is RFK a Conspiracy Theorist™, but also Racist and Antisemitic (I believe Pedophilia is the last horseman of the censorship apocalypse that has yet to be thrown at him).

I watched the video and didn’t find anything racist or conspiratorial in what he said. I read a recently uncensored Fauci email from February 2020 where he writes to Garrett Grigsby: “…They were concerned about the fact that upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV, there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted. The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associate [sic] with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan.”

What a shit-show! It looks like the writing’s on the wall, it will be Trump vs. Biden for 2024. I predict another Trump win if this happens. Why do I concern myself with US politics if I’m not a US citizen? For the same reason someone from the barbarian periphery may have concerned him or herself with the fate of the Roman emperor a thousand five hundred years ago.

Since I’ve now made the mistake of writing about a contentious subject, lets keep going: I’ve also been watching all this alarmist news about this week being the “hottest” in the last hundred and fifty thousand years in Europe. I’m happy to report it’s been a particularly cool week here. In fact, I was feeling cold, so I’ve just made myself a cup of hot chocolate. I get cold when the temperature drops under 26 (Celsius, ahem) nowadays, and it must be in the mid-twenties today.

The little I’ve read about this new emergency shows maps in bright red and yellow colors with Celsius temperatures ranging from low thirties to mid-forties all over Europe. I saw a map for the US with red over the Midwest, showing 81 Farenheit for Chicago. It’s been a while but if I remember correctly, 81F in late July is quite cool for Chicago. I have not seen confirmation that anywhere in Europe actually reached mid-forties, but I would like to clarify that I’ve lived these temperatures consistently, every year, for the past twenty years that I’ve lived in the tropical global south, and somehow it never made the apocalyptic news.

My wife’s parents and grandparents have confirmed the infernal heat of the dry season in Thailand going back at least two generations. But of course, that’s not relevant. It’s no coincidence that Europe is in the center of world maps or that we all speak English. For many people, the Earth is still at the center of the universe, and Europe or North America still at the center of the Earth.

Anyway, funny to see such alarm over temperatures we sustain on a yearly basis. I’ve also been on the other side of the temperature spectrum, in the US Midwest, with temperatures of up to minus forty (minus 60 with windchill). Both extremes are difficult, and both can be deadly for those dispossessed of shelter and other necessities.

As another aside, every time I show skepticism to the official climate warming narrative, I’m attacked. Every time this happens, I ask the person attacking me what he or she is doing to mitigate climate warming. Nobody that has attacked me over my views has been able to tell me he or she is doing anything beyond not using plastic straws and the like.

Yes, I’m skeptical of the narrative pushed by the major polluters of this world (corporations, billionaires, and their foundations, organizations, and NGO’s). But I do think we’re destroying the Earth’s capacity to sustain human life (and other species too). Unlike those rooting for carbon credits for private citizens, 15-minute cities, climate lock-downs, etc., I’ve actually done something about it at a personal level, planting and caring for almost ten thousand hardwood trees. Oh, and I’m also vegan.