Day 2 of the wedding, and unfortunately, having not expected a 2-day event, my only clean clothes were black trousers and a black t-shirt! Not exactly the best thing to wear for a wedding, but nobody seemed to mind, and Sak's mother kept telling me that I looked lovely (well, that's what I was told!) - bless her!
Sak and I had met a family yesterday afternoon who, on finding out that I am in Cambodia teaching English, asked me to have dinner with them so that I could meet their son and help him with his conversational English. I thanked them but explained that I was there for a wedding but agreed to meet them this morning for breakfast. Sak picked me up at 8am and we met the father and his son at their Sisophon house. They then took us in their brand new Lexus 4x4 to a local restaurant. At this point I started to get the feeling that this family were not exactly hard up! We spent 2 hours with them over breakfast and I have said that when I return to the UK I will speak to the President of the Cambodian Community in the UK (who I have met before) to see if there is a way for their son to come over to England and spend time with a Khmer family there, so that he can improve his English language skills. I told the father that it would cost them a lot of money to send their son to study in the UK, but he said it wasn't a problem. When we left the restaurant Sak turned to me and said that the father was a Tax Officer for the Cambodian Government . . . . which explains everything!
We arrived at the wedding celebrations at about 11am. Today's celebrations were at a large restaurant closer to Sisophon and I must admit I was absolutely terrified! There were about 700 people there and almost all of them turned and looked at me when I walked in! Not many 'barangs' get invited to Khmer weddings! However, as with last night, everyone was very welcoming and I had a lovely afternoon. Sak's sister knew that I was rather nervous and, even though she speaks very little English, she kept hold of my hand and walked me around the restaurant to meet various family members.
At 2pm Sak took me back into Sisophon where I caught a shared taxi back to Siem Reap. He insisted I have the front passenger seat ($10) while 5 skinny Khmers shared the back seat! The journey only took 2 hours - much better than the bus!
Back in Siem Reap I met Laura and Vanack (the English teacher from Prey Chrouk School) for dinner, before trying for ages to get internet access, only to be told that the internet service in Siem Reap had been down for the whole weekend! Unfortunately because the internet service here is so small, when there's a problem the whole system goes down.
PS. The above photo is of Sak and his family. From right to left - Theara, Borromey (15), Chakrya (17), Sak, and Holly (5). Their son, Chamnap (19) had already gone back home to Battambang.
PPS. Just in case you were wondering, Khmer's don't tend to smile in photos!