Tonight, we look forward to our dinner and thinking forward, also looking forward to breakfast tomorrow before our Day 2 journey.
Rested, bathed and feeling fresh, we were back at Restaurant Mukmin. The sun sets early and is dark by 6pm, which is equivalent to 7pm Malaysian time. Dinner was just before 8pm. A waitress who doubled as the cook was at the food counter. We were looking forward for something hot from the wok and asked for fried rice. Nothing fancy. Her question (in English) caught me by surprise. "Sir, you want chicken or cow?" Took me awhile to gain my composure, "Err chicken" I said. Guess cow would be too big for me!
Khailani and I were joined by a young man, the son of the owner. He could speak some splatter of Bahasa and English. He recently graduated from a University in Phnom Penh and on the way to become a civil engineer. Not much later, we were joined by the owner. He introduced himself as "Mr Zakaria". Hmm, I could have told him I am his son! The only problem was he was about 7 years younger.
Mr Zakaria is a building contractor, has his business in Poipet, the border town between Thailand and Cambodia on the western side. He hailed from Kampong Cham where the bulk of the Muslims in Cambodia lives. He speaks a fair bit of Malay, but his wife spoke fluent Malay. This is a family of business-minded individuals. The wife comes to Malaysia twice a month to sell Cambodian made clothings which explained her fluency in Bahasa.
Mr Zakaria was a teenager during the Pol Pot regime and had his fair share of misery. Two of his brothers were killed by the regime. He narrated quite a fair bit of his family's life during the regime. I was not quite in a mood to listen to the atrocities. I had visited the Tuol Sleng prison back in 2006 and what I saw then was too much to be recalled.
Silently, I was happy for this family. By Cambodian standard, I would class them as in the middle-upper class, and that would be out of sheer hardwork. A Toyota Harrier parked at the garage, an extension of the Restaurant was a deserving symbol for the family.