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Published: December 22nd 2013
I overhear a student say, "I can't believe that it's all over! It feels like it was just one big day." This is a good conclusion to a trip of this length.
Four students head to Thailand this morning; the rest of us leave for the US via South Korea later tonight. After I see off the Thailand crew, I'll go do some lasts--the last tour, the last banana/nutella crepe, the last $3 foot massage. When the remaining students return from their floating forest tour, we'll have our last Cambodian meal (and one will have her last cigar).
Last night's dinner at the Sugar Palm was lovely. The dark wood (palm wood, I read online) decor was breezy and inviting, with plenty of tree and palm foliage blocking the street noise. Table settings were simple and aesthetically pleasing. Everyone said their food was good, and it was nicely presented. I had a lime soda (club soda, lime juice, and, I assume, palm sugar), good crispy spring rolls, and an excellent prahok (fermented fish paste) with minced pork and red peppers, served as a dipping sauce for fresh vegetables. If I could get prahok like that in the
US, I'd have it constantly.
I'll go ahead and map our journey on this entry.
I walked a student to one of the big hotels to break a $100. Since my last trip here, the ATMs have switched to dispensing hundreds, but most vendors can't even manage a $50, and last night one couldn't even take a $5 for a $2 purchase. It's an odd mismatch, and a problem on evenings and weekends when the banks are closed. At the same time, it's still a community that dispenses grubby crumpled-up bills but won't accept those with any tears or creases. It's a challenge at times.
I took a tour of the Senteurs d'Angkor workshop, which I enjoyed and which induced some last-minute stocking stuffer purchases. Afterward, I wandered around a little but ended up at my favorite restaurant, Khmer Family Restaurant on Pub Street, for a lunch of fresh spring rolls (with pork today) and pumpkin dessert, with a coconut smoothie.
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