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12 Apr 2002

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Late yesterday afternoon we got a phone call from one of our students inviting us to his house. We couldn't get there at such short notice and so (un)fortunately we missed an evening of Karaoke. Instead we drove out this morning and found ourselves enveloped in an exodus of massive proportions. It seems that most people in Phnom Penh go back to the provinces to spend New Year with their families. The vehicle of choice for this long journey is the pickup truck, and the number of people who can sit in or hang from a moving truck has to be seen to be believed... and the road was clogged with these rolling disasters. Anyway, we made it safely to his house and were welcomed by his mother, who laid out fresh fruit and coconuts as soon as we arrived. They kept apologising because the house is small, just one main room with three large beds and a few other items of furniture, but we assured them (quite truthfully) we were honoured to be invited in. We walked down the garden, past the dried up fish pond and then went together to visit another of our students who lived nearby. There was a look of incredulity as we drove up and smiled at him from the car - visitors from another planet!