I got into Battambang and checked in to a hotel, then hit the streets. I walked through the market to the river, them south. I stopped and sat with some monks. One of them spoke passable English so we talked of their work, with HIV/AIDS relief.

I continued south to the Riverside Balcony, another very cool bar. It is in the top floor of an old two story wooden building, looking out over the river.  Very atmospheric. I had a sandwich with my Angkor Beer, but wanted more, so I walked back towards town and stopped in at the Smokin' Pot, a little sidewalk restaurant serving Khmer food. There I was served another beer and Chicken Lok-Lak by a 9 year old boy in a coca-cola t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. He performed his duties with a serious professionalism that would have put many career waiters to shame. The gecko on the wall next to me caught a fly, so we ate together in companionable silence. a soft rain began to fall. The boy noticed this and came over and stood next to me. "I think it will stop soon", I said. "Soon stop", he agreed, and he stood there for a bit, in the warm rain, listening to the drumming from the temple up the street.

I walked back through the night, to the hotel.

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009