It is the little things in life that give great pleasure and here in Cambodia there are many of those that can be found. Last night we stayed in the town of Kompong Thom in the province of the same name.
The town, set on the banks of the Stung Sen River, is one a few will pass through with little more than a sideways glance as they journey by road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. We were nearly the same and while arriving late we had a little experience last night that made this town a worthy overnight stop.
It was just after dark when we arrived and after a quick settle in and check in at work we ventured out to a local eatery recommended to us by some American missionaries also staying here.
Arunras Thmey Restaurant was clean and comfortable and as with most Cambodian places well staffed. The TV, showing a Thai show with a very pretty girl, was a big attraction for the staff.
After a quick look at the drink menu we enquired if there was any wine and a wide smile beamed back, ‘yes, yes madam we have wine, we have just got wine for the first time today,’ said Suong Bory. Quickly he went away returning with four bottles, two of white and two of red.
We choose a bottle of red and then had much good hearted fun teaching them how to pour wine. Within seconds all the staff were around us, giggling and watching as the wine bottle was delicately balanced by another waiter, Van Tokla and the red tainted grape juice fell without a drop into the polished glasses. OK I know it sounds basic, but it was a load of fun and formed a great bond with us and them.
As we were leaving some decided an icecream would be good for the walk home. A pretty Cambodian waitress, who we presumed was around 20 years old, told us in her disjointed English all the icecreams, she had been told, were good but she had never tried one. We enquired have you never tried an icecream? ‘No, no never,’ she replied. Quickly a dollar note was found an icecream taken from the freezer and given to her. Now the next moment is a memory I think many of us will never forget.
At first she refused and then in respectable fashion accepted the gift. Her face beamed and her smile was as big as any I have ever seen and her happiness was infectious. As we turned to say another farewell we saw her still smiling and showing everyone her new gift proudly.
Again it’s the simple things in life that are so rewarding.
Tokla perfects wine pouring at Arunras Restaurant under the watchful
eye of Sheryn and Owen.
eye of Sheryn and Owen.