Cambodia travels: Le Lotus Blanc and on the road to Siem Reap

069 070 071066That afternoon we stop at Le  Lotus Blanc (The White Lotus) for lunch.  This is an NGO  run by the French and has a store as well where they sell products like clothes,bags made by destitute children and some of their parents. We are  requested to first go to the store area and watch a video.  After the genocide, when several charitable organizations entered the country in the early 80s, they found children living on trash heaps.  Some of these children were rescued by a French NGO called Pour  un Sourire d’Enfant  ( For the smile of a child) and this center was started where the children were sent to school and also trained to work in the adjoining restaurant.  I look at the bags and scarves and pick up  a few; one of my cousins buys an outfit for her daughter. After half an hour we walk to the restaurant next door.  The whole place looks beautiful with a lovely garden and blooming flowers outside.

This is another beautiful sunny day and the smiling faces of the young gentlemen serving us lunch warms us up. The morning mood slowly lifts from our faces. First they serve us a thick squash soup and follow it up with some excellent fish with vegetables.  The young servers speak halting English but their smiles and demeanor  win us over. We hang around in the gardens after eating and then it is time to get back to our hotel.

Today will be our last day here and then we  leave early morning for Siem Reap to see the famous Angkor Wat temples. We rest for awhile and then the avid shoppers want to spend time looking around. So we all go to the central market area in the tuk tuks. I am struck by the beautiful flowers in the market area and we walk around. I find another NGO shop selling stuffed animals made out of cloth. I buy a cute looking rat  and my cousin buys an octopus. We decide to have a simple dinner at one of the riverfront cafes. Lunch was heavy so a simple soup is enough and we go back to the hotel.

Early morning, Sol is ready with the van and driver.  We have a quick breakfast, check out of the hotel and get on the road. We stop first to buy, corn and a lovely purple fruit called milk fruit.  The vendors are right on the side of the road, like they sell in India and Sri Lanka. One of my cousins has an endless supply of snacks so with the fruit , corn and snacks we fill ourselves. We stop at a big shopping open market to use the restrooms. I am shocked and fascinated to see the women selling spiced and fried insects!  The are also selling big sized melons that look like overgrown cucumbers.We pick up some pineapple and coconut water and get back on the road.

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