Today, like any other day, he is silently serving thirsty tourists a cup of sugar palm juice for 2 US dollars. Before that, he was on top of a tree to get the sweet juice he could sell today. After that, he will be with his family sharing a meal he bought from the income he had today. And the same goes everyday.
It is a hot afternoon in Siem Reap. I finished my bottled water hours back and there is no nearby store where I can buy another one. Going back to our vehicle will take a 30-minute walk and my feet are already aching since midday. Angkor Wat is a sight to behold but I have to attend to my throat…fast! Then…Voila! As if the Hindu gods answered my prayers and the apsaras lined up my way to this man selling fresh juice of Cambodia’s national tree, Sugar Palm Tree, served in improvised cups made of bamboo. I took one and immediately sipped the cup empty. Then I bought another one, this time savoring the light sweetness of the juice while looking at the silhouettes of the Angkor Wat from afar.
Unlike in any other day…it was the best drink I had in my life.
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