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19 July 2002
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After an exhausting two hours we were suddenly told to stop as the ceremony had to finish at four. Why? Because the ferry across the Mekong stops running at six and we would miss it if we didn't get going! Luckily we had managed to glean at least some useful information, including the interesting fact that all inter-departmental letters and memos are delivered by hand or, rather, by motorbike. We take e-mail and fax for granted, don't we? Anyway, the ceremony was drawing to a close and I waffled into the microphone again, being careful not to promise anything on behalf of anybody, especially us! Mr Hun Heng thanked us all for our visit and expressed hopes for a large donation of PCs and training. We said our goodbyes and hit the road, mindful of that ferry deadline. The villages we sped through seemed somehow idyllic in the late afternoon sunlight, with kids playing near their houses or walking cows home from the fields. Even the torrential rain we passed through didn't seem to bother them. By contrast our world seems somewhat bizzare at times, mixing most of the time with normal (i.e. poor) Cambodian's and then next day rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful.