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28 Apr 2002
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Whilst out walking last Sunday I struck up a conversation with a middle-aged couple who were cutting down a tree in their front garden and got invited back today to attend a celebration in honour of the family's two grandmothers, both around eighty years old - they were to be blessed to live for many more years. The party was in full swing when we arrived at 9 a.m. and we were greeted by the hosts who, thankfully, remembered that they had invited us, and seated us with relatives who spoke English and could explain what was going on. This was the second day of the party and the guests had only finished dancing at 3 a.m.! A large tent covered the whole garden and half a dozen monks in saffron robes were seated on a platform at the front chanting - but since they don't chant in Khmer no-one can understand them! In front of the monks was a row of tall hampers, beautifully made up which (we were told) contained - amongst other things - cigarettes and beer! The monks blessed a container of water, a little of which was then splashed on the hands of each of the guests.