A Letter from Cambodia

By Michael L. Mara, M.D., '86

I went to dinner the night of September 11 in a little thatch-roofed restaurant on the shore of Lake Boeng Koek. Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, swelters through September with temperatures and humidity near the century mark. Boen Koek, on the outskirts of this crowded, polluted city, offers a cool evening breeze and good, cheap food. Though the little restaurant seats only about 20, the world is well represented each evening. Local Khmers (Cambodians) dine with ex-patriots and travelers from Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, England, Wales, Germany, France, Canada and America. Incongruously, this bamboo hut, perched over the shallow water on stilts, with no running water and a wood-fired stove, has a television. People of many nationalities gather here to watch the evening news on the BBC

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