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24 July 2002

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Last week we were invited to Sandra's birthday party. It's always interesting to attend social events in a new country as there are always surprises in store, as well as a chance to join in the fun. Sandra works in the office and could best be described as Mr Lim's right-hand girl. She's also been a great help to us since we arrived and nothing is too much trouble for her. The party started at 6.30 with a sit-down meal in one of the hundreds of restaurants over the "Japanese" bridge, which crosses the mighty Mekong. There was a traffic jam on the way, such is the number of people dining out over there even on a weekday. Throughout the evening the food and drink kept coming, especially the drink. After dinner the fun started as Sandra cut the cake and everyone was submerged in deluge of spray-can streamers - this bit really brings out the child in everyone! A few thank you speeches followed and then Sandra had to get up on stage and sing a song. No problem, Cambodian's all seem to love Karaoke. By now most people were a little drunk and with work looming at seven the next morning the guests started to disperse around 9.30 - in England the party would just be about to start!