“You’ve worked so hard all day, and it’s hot out here.” She kissed behind me, toward the endless jungles scattered with villages and rice farms. “Let me make you a tasty soup, I’ll even put a little Marijuana in it to help you relax”. The noodle soup seller was a thin hatchet faced lady, her skin charred brown under a lifetime of sun.
I raised a chilled water bottle to my neck, letting it suck the heat from my body. “No, thanks, I have a long drive back to the city.”
“Marinara will cool you down and make the ride back easier.” She said as she hobbled to an outgrowth of Marijuana plants on the roadside. Her white, cheap plastic, artificial foot was new, and she wasn’t used to it. I knew the people who made them, they had tried and tried to produce enough, to help fit all the landmine victims in Cambodia with a good prosthetic. But money, time and a waiting list thousands strong kept them from reaching their goal.
“No really it’s a long trip back, I shouldn’t be happy”. Happy is the slang word for high.
“I survived the communists, and I survived losing my foot, this little plant helped me get through it all, and it will help you make it back to the city”, she said as she crumbled it over my soup.
In Cambodia, the use of Marijuana goes far back, it’s traditional and plenty of families still have marijuana growing beside their front porch. They use it almost entirely as a spice in soups and almost never smoke it. In the cities you can get “Happy” pizza at pizza shops, “Happy” shakes wherever fruit-shakes or milkshakes are sold, and even “Happy” cocktails at plenty of bars.
Marijuana is not legal in Cambodia, but police are very rare and when one does come by, the shops just bribe them a few dollars. If you not interested in dining on this cultural amenity, while in Cambodia, then you might want to keep your eyes open so you don’t order food with “happy” in the name.