LtoR: Author, Rachel & Sak
Paying a surprise visit to Phnom Penh tonight was my pal Sak from Battambang, and another friend, Rachel Madden. I first met Sak a couple of years ago and have remained in contact ever since. He's a genuinely nice fella, a very knowledgeable guide around Cambodia's 2nd city and met Rachel and her husband on their visit to Cambodia in November. Rachel has returned to take a six-week sabbatical to help out at a school, an orphanage and at Cambodia Trust and brought Sak to Phnom Penh so he could get his passport and apply for a visa. The intention is to give Sak the holiday of a lifetime, in his words, with a two-week trip to England in April, courtesy of Rachel's generosity. He is deeply touched by the gesture and his family, especially his wife and four children, are so proud that he will be going abroad, the first person in their family to ever do so. He was also chuffed to bits that the second floor of his house has now been completed, the final brick was laid only yesterday, so in his words again, he's in dreamy-land. Tonight's meal was at Romdeng, billed as the taste of the provinces and run by the Friends' organization. We didn't take the spiders option, instead going for Muslim beef and squid, whilst outside the rain came down in sheets, for the 2nd consecutive night. It's pretty unusual to get such downpours in January by my reckoning, about five months too early! In my absence tomorrow night, don't forget the Flute Player documentary, being shown at Meta House from 7pm, which will be attended by the film's subject Arn Chorn-Pond, the founder of Cambodian Living Arts.