How to order a gas bottle in Cambodia

In Cambodia, kitchens generally comprise of a gas stove fuelled by gas bottles. My one is empty. So here are the steps I took to (hopefully) get a new one.

Step 1: Message Vitou asking what to say

Have a Khmer person give you hints on how to proceed with the process.

Step 2: Write a script

So you can be prepared for every part of the conversation, write out what you might need to say phonetically.

Step 3: Phone various numbers with limited success

You’ve probably been given a list of numbers to ring. Ring them.

Step 4: When someone does finally pick up but doesn’t follow your script, panic and hang up.

The man on the other end of the phone can’t see your script; only you can. So that doesn’t go to plan. Panic and hang up. (An additional step you can follow is pretending you can’t hear him and repeat “Hello?!” four or five times before hanging up. I chose not to.)

Step 5: Phone Vitou

Realise you could have skipped steps one through four and call Vitou.

Step 6: Vitou does it for you

You text him your address and the size of the bottle. Vitou texts back saying he has rung and it is okay.

Step 7: Try not to cry

You may be jet lagged and frustrated and feel like an idiot, but it’s not time to feel sorry for yourself. No, my eyes are watering because the air conditioner has dried them out, okay.

Step 8: Pray that the gas arrives and watch the road like a weirdo

Anxiously await the arrival of a gas bottle. However, you don’t actually see him.

Step 9: Vitou rings you to say the man is at your house

Step 10: Pay the man

The Promethium gas seller deserves his wages. Give him his money.

And, hey presto! You have fire!

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