Monday in the office was a little quiet. When I asked where my boss was, the smiley man in the office told me he had gone home.
On Tuesday my neighbour Danith declared the office to be quiet – he had apparently been roaming the floors, popping in to offices to chat to people but only a few admin people were there.
Today I have come in and the office is like the proverbial ghost town. Most of the doors are firmly closed, lights are off and there is hardly a soul wandering the corridors. Even my trusty partner in crime – Danith – is nowhere to be seen.
So, I headed over to the EU office to quiz Bert about the absences only to find his door locked too – damn!
Frustrated, I decided to stick my head around the general EU office door to find 2 lovely ladies sitting working away. I asked where Bert was and discovered he’s gone on a mission (the word mission is used here to describe a trip out to the provinces, not some jehovahs witness style mass conversion attempt).
Buoyed by the friendliness of the ladies I was talking to, I decided to investigate the reason for the Fisheries ghost town.
It turns out that today is a major Chinese festival, wait for it ….
The Hungry Ghost Festival!!
And with this revelation a lot of stuff I’ve seen today now makes sense. The newly dressed shrines in houses all over the city even though Buddha Day is not until tomorrow, the group of people throwing paper money and other offerings into a huge kettledrum fire as we sped down Mao Tse Tung Street on the way to the airport.
And most importantly, the fact that, despite my colleagues being Cambodian and not Chinese, a large majority of them have dug deep into their heritage to claim 1/32 Chinese Ancestory in order to take not just the day off, but the first half of the week to offer Oreos and the like to the hungry ghosts to appease the sufferings of said ancestors.
Gotta love the Kingdom of Wonder!