My Magic Cambodian Café

When we think of “spiritual” places, we usually think of churches, temples and other holy sites. There’s something to be said for the energy a holy site can attract, but why should the magic be limited? I found magic in a Cambodian café.

my magic Cambodian cafe - the old version

I went to Douceur du Cambodge the first time about six or seven years ago. Back then it was a small cafe on a busy street. It was new then. I went to check it out and try their coffee. I went to the counter ordered a cappuccino and sat down outside. Then something amazing happened.

My Magic Cambodian Café

As soon as I sat down, a feeling of peace washed over me. I had a lot to worry about back then. Even a cappuccino was an indulgence at the time. My freelancing career was in its early stages. Even when I got assignments, they paid a pittance. I was still getting used to living in Cambodia, too.

All my stress magically vanished when I sat down. I did nothing to make it happen, but realized that at that moment in time, I had nothing to worry about. My cappuccino came and the peace stayed with me, even though I was at the edge of a busy, smelly street.

I kept going to Douceur du Cambodge. Only a couple of days a week at first, but as my income improved, I started going every day after dropping the kids off at school. Every time, the same feeling of peace came over me. On the few occasions it didn’t, I could resurrect the feeling by remembering the first thought that passed through my mind the first time I went there. “At this moment in time, I have nothing to worry about,” I’d tell myself. It worked every time and continues to work to this day.

my magic Cambodian cafe - the new version

Douceur du Cambodge moved on the 1st of September this year. The new location is much larger, cleaner and quieter than the old. I wondered if it would still have the same magic for me. It does. I went there for a cappuccino today after an unbelievably stressful night that included a trip to the police station that didn’t end until 3:00 a.m. There was a big fight at our house last night and someone called the police. I thought I should go to tell my version of the story, but the police didn’t speak English, so I just hung around for three hours.

The café is now called the Artisan Café. It’s on the main road in town, but the café is set back from the road and the noise and smell isn’t as bad. That may be one reason why the magic still works, but it doesn’t explain everything. I know other cafés in town that are in quieter areas, but they don’t have the same magic for me. Something about this particular café does it for me.

What’s the moral to the story? When I was in my early twenties, I thought you had to go to holy places to have spiritual experiences. Now I realize you can have them anywhere. It’s just a matter realizing that at a particular moment in time, you can leave worry, stress and anxiety behind and take a breather from life. If it happens while you’re waiting for or drinking a cappuccino at a “magic” Cambodian café, it’s as good as being on top of a mountain or in a cathedral.