Night #2: Our Cambodian Boyfriends

Sala, Jill, Me, and Ok.

As our tour was coming to a close, Jill and I were asking the locals (including our tour guide, Ok) where we should go for dinner. They kept suggesting places that the tourists like to go to “see the culture,” but we insisted we wanted to go somewhere that the locals go. Ok suggested that we go to a beer garden! Jill and I loved this idea. Ok even offered to come with us! We arranged for him (and his friend) to come and pick us up later that night to head to the beer garden for food and drinks.

Ok and Sala showed up, looking spiffy, at about 7:30 on their motorbikes to bring us to the beer garden. The place was cute – a patio-style restaurant with neon lights and a giant projected soccer game on one of the distant walls. We camped out at a booth. We drank the local beer (Cambodia brand), and sampled some local cuisine. They ordered fish that was cooking at our table with noodles, some veggies, and another fantastic banana blossom salad. It was so funny to hear their stories about the foreigners they’ve serviced, and old stories about when Sala didn’t know English, but worked for an all English-speaking clientele (“yes sir”, “no sir”, and “sorry sir” were the extent of his vocabulary). It was so interesting to hear those stories from the other perspective!

The night was a blast. Ok and Sala were hilarious, and they had fun teaching us random Cambodian words (ja = yes, thay = no) and showing us Cambodian dishes. Eventually we decided to head home, so they dropped us off and we said goodbye. For anyone going to Cambodia or any other foreign country, I highly suggest asking the locals for suggestions –  it has always served me well, and the memories are definitely unique – and definitely unlike what you’d get hanging with a bunch of other foreigners.

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