I feel like smiles are rare at home. They’re harder to draw out of people. Even when we do smile, we tend to force it. Why aren’t we more happy to see each other? Over 30 years ago, the Khmer Rouge blew through this country with a force. Left a vulgar scar across the face of every cambodian, and yet they smile. They smile when you come back at 1130 at night and wake them up because your hotel room key isn’t working. They smile because you’re different. They smile because you’ve made eye contact. They smile because they see you waving at their children. They smile when their child takes his tricycle and tries to run you down with it. They smile when you are curious about what they’re cooking. They smile when they know they are extorting you for that tuk tuk ride. They smile when you say hello. They smile when you say goodbye. They smile.
Today we arrived in Battambang, the 2nd largest city in Cambodia. It has similar vulgarities as Phnom Penh, but people seem to be genuinely happy to have us visit their city. We were lucky enough to fall upon their Water Festival today taking in street food and boat races. Our goal here is to get a cooking lesson and to ride the bamboo train. The rest is just gravy!