Deep in the countryside of Siem Reap a roadside hut sells 1.5litre bottles of petrol instead of coca cola. We stop there to refuel at half the price. As I step out to breathe and stretch an older lady spots my pale face and waivy hair that shows off its wild frizz in the tropics.

There is no small talk. No how-do-you-dos and what-a-lovely-day and oh-isnt-the-weather-just- appalingly-hot-today and what-brings-you-here. Silently she walks toward me , comes close and feels the waives of my hair, admirings its kinks and curls. And then she smiles and lifts her arms to hold my face. I feel beautiful and fair.

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