Last night was a lovely night. Balmy Cambodian nights are best paired with pancetta and melted cheese-anything, and with a glass of kir (black currant liquer topped off with white wine). The rain, no matter how I dislike it, has brought substantially cooler temperatures to the city so much so that, the other night, I complained to my flatmate that I needed a sweater. Actually, I said, "I am freezing," (gasp) to which he gave me a quizzical look before noting, "No, this is how it feels when you're not sweating from overheating."
Against this background of cooler climate and delicious food, Alex, Sotheary, Rachel and I enjoyed one of Rachel's last evenings in this city. (Early next week, Rachel moves back to London. Boooo.) All evening, Alex kept mumbling something about how "magical" this small restaurant felt, while Rachel and I oooh'd and aahh'd as the food came out. For a few hours, we forgot we were in Phnom Penh. It felt quite strange.
And then, somehow, the conversation turned to Alex's work. A recent transplant from France, she works in a health clinic/drug outreach program, which puts her in touch with many HIV-positive populations and, in particular, sex trafficking victims. She shared a story about how she recently became aware of the alarming trend of baby trafficking in Cambodia (some sell at $500???).
And that is how dinner ended. With a reminder that we are, in fact, in Cambodia, where light dinner chitchat invariably turns to these heavier topics.
Outside, the cool night air stirred.