Not too long ago, while I was in the market doing some shopping, the rain started. It got really loud. Water started dribbling and at some places pouring down where various roofs came together or where the roof was a less tightly woven tarp and it leaked out. I waited for a bit and then went over to the dessert lady and had a pumpkin custard slice and waited some more. That’s what I’ve learned that you do (in Cambodia) when it rains. You don’t try to fight it. You wait until it’s done.
Then it started pouring. Pretty soon a guy (police?) with a uniform and a rifle slung across his back started hastily doing something with the water. I thought it was probably flooding. He was sort of holding the front of his gun with one hand (so as to keep from accidentally shooting us?) as he was squatting down and excitedly doing something with the at ground level. When the woman who sold desserts got into it too, I saw what they were doing–sweeping the water. Sweeping, sweeping. Was it a flood? One seller quickly covered the clothes with plastic and the sweets seller keep sweeping.
I decided to leave and mosey to a different direction to be out of this commotion. As I left, I saw the seller pouring what looked like comet on the tiled floor. The frantic action, the seeming panic, was all about cleaning??
As I walked into the market further I found other sellers also frantically cleaning. The were sweeping with the same small handled horizontal brushes, squatting and scrubbing the floor around their area, taking water that was going into the drains and throwing it around their stall to wet it and wash away the dirt. It was pretty unbelievable. I couldn’t really go anyplace because each corridor was filled with people scrubbing. They were all frantic about it, very unlike the easy-going, take-your-time, take-a-nap khmer demeanor I’m used to. You must take advantage of the sky opening up and this sudden supply of (relatively) fresh, (relatively) clean water (it had only touched the roof and gutters) wisely, don’t waste a second! [Or maybe it was about flooding…]
And as I went out to the area where I parked my bike to go to my next destination what did I see? A man cleaning his motdo. That settles it: good rainstorm = time to clean. Noted.