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Cambodian Waterworld

This place is the "bees knees" loads to do and see and water everywhere. We arrived in Phnom Phen by boat where we sat on the roof deck whilst cruising down the Mekong which was a continuation of our Delta tour and the border crossing into Cambodia by boat was completely hassle free. This is a much better way to travel than by bus or coach. Met up once again with the Odyssey group in the hotel which was rather tired and a poor room with no window (broom cupboard springs to mind).
Its the 1st September and we took a Tuk Tuk to the "S21" torture and then on to the killing fields, a very sombre experience as the local guide explained the history of the Khymer Rouge and the Pol Pot regime and why 3 million Cambodians were killed between 1975 and 1979. Killing all the academics, artists, wealthy, etc, its hard to understand how this was happening in our recent past but I suppose the Vietnam War had made the western world turn a blind eye or we were tired to get involved again.
Next stop Siem Riep by bus and it's "Wat" time, we arranged for a private Tuk Tuk and got picked up from the hotel at 5.00am to make sure we were there for first light. Sandra has always wanted to visit jungle wat (Ta Prohm) where the tree roots are intertwined with the walls of the temple. Most of the tourists head for Ankor Wat for the sunrise and it was the first time our driver had been asked to go our route, we had the place to ourselves for an hour which was great, but unfortunately the flash on our camera is playing up so the pictures could have been better. After visiting 7 temples we were finally" Watted" out and returned to the hotel.
We then decided to detour away from the group again as we had heard the boat journey to Battembang should not be missed and another early start the next morning and a fantastic 6 hour boat journey down the narrow Cambodian waterways where life on the riverbank has not changed for centuries. The boat picked up people waiting for us in canoes, (a bit like a bus stop on water) and dropped them off miles further on, also fruit, fish, shell fish, vegetables etc. were collected and delivered to remote villages it was an excellent way to travel. Stayed 3 nights at the Royal Hotel and were informed that the local school for disadvantaged kids were putting on a show called Circus Nouveau that evening and we had a great time watching acrobats, clowns, jugglers and a local band. Hired another Tuk Tuk for the next day, and visited the Bamboo train, a one hour ride up a single track railway sitting on no more than a bed of bamboo canes on wheels, you have your own engine and driver and if a train comes from the opposite direction you stop, decamp and the drivers dismantle one of the vehicles, moves the other through and then reassembles takes about 2 minutes each time and happened to us about 8 times.
Then on to more temples, the mountain temple was rather strenuous as it entailed 450 large steps in the searing sun but 2 ladies appeared and accompanied us to the top waving their fans in front and massaging our legs at intervals, we made a donation at the end but it was well worth it as the older of the two was 39 years old and her whole family had been killed by Pol Pot when she was 5 years old. She made a strange comment when we asked if she was married and replied no " I have no I love you" we did not know if this meant dowry, sex, or some sort of mutilation when she was young.
Our driver took us to another " killing cave" where locals were thrown down into the cave, most of the bones have been recoverd and are on gruesome display. Although the recent violent past should leave bitter resentment in the Cambodian people everyone we met always seemed happy and contented blaming Pol Pot for the atrocities and not the Khymer Rouge.
Well its now the 7th September and next stop Bangkok by bus to meet up with the rest of the group.

Posted by palaceboy1 21:05

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