Bada-bing, Battambang!

Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
Trip End May 04, 2006

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hmmm where to start. After seeing the temples in Angkor Wat, I was looking for some where else to go in Cambodia that was sort of off of the beaten path. After consulting my lonely planet Cambodia (well my knock-off lonely planet Cambodia, only$3.50 US, not bad) I decided that the nearby provincial capital of Battambang seemed like a good choice, with some old french-colonial architecture and some good day trips. So I went ahead and booked my ticket for 8 the next morning, unfortunately the girl who sold me the ticket screwed up and bus actually left at six thirty. Her reasoning went something like this "Bus to Bangkok leave at 8 am every one always ask about bangkok time, Bangkok sound same same as Bangkok", greeeat , anyway I ended up having to take a taxi which somehow fit 7 adults and one baby, nonoe of whom spoke english. It wasn't exactly comfortable, but it got me there, and in the end I only had to spend 3 bucks more and got there only 3 hours later than I would have other wise, so everything worked out A-OK.

Today I rented a motor-bike and drove 15 kilometers to a nearby temple, after going to Angkor Wat this site seemed more like a pile of bricks, but it was a fun trip none the less. For starters over the course of the 7 hour day and 80 kilometers I saw maybe 3 other foreigners, none of which were on a motor bike. It was weird some poeple would stareat me, some would smile, and then a few would look at me like "what the hell is that", but at least half of the kids would scream "Hello"I think that is one of the only english words they know.

When I finally got to the temple and bought my ticket a little boy, maybe four years old or so came up to me and said "guide guide guide", and took hold of my hand and walked me up the 200 hundred or so steps to the temple, what my 'guide'l acked in knowledge (his description consisted of the words 'guide, hello money, and buddha money) he made up for in energy, he had to stop and wait for me to catch my breath half way up the steps, despite the fact that he was four years old and barefoot. WHen I got to the top, a monk came over and asked me to be in a picture with him and 8 other monks, it was funny I felt like I was kind of the tourist attraction. They were very friendly and seemed eager to practice thir limited english on me. I walked around a little bit more, then sat down to draw a picture. That really interested the monks, they all sat down next to me for the first 30 minutes that I drew, talk about having an audience, after that they left to go to another tample, and asked me to join them but I wanted to stay and finish the sketch. After that an old man sat next to me and watched me draw for the next hour. It's funny, hardly any westerners have approached me while I am drawing but Cambodains (and Thais too) have no qualms about coming over and checking out what I am doing. I think Cambodians and Thais have a different sense of personal space, but it really doesn't bother me I actually kind of like that they are interested. ANyway,I showed the monks some of my other pictures one of which was a giant statue of a smiling buddha and one of the monks asked "you have in your country?", and I told him "No there arent too many buddhists in my country, mostly christians", I don't know if he understood me but he didn't look too impressed.

The moto bike drive itself was pretty interesting, and I was able to see a slice of what rural life is like in Cambodia driving through the windy dirt roads. I wish I could have taken more pictures, but it always seems kind of invasive to me to just start taking pictures of people who are going about their daily lifes. One thing I need to get a picture of tomorrow is a pick up truck full of people. They literally can fit probably about 30 people in to the back of a pick up truck, I even saw one guy sitting on the hood of a truck today as it zoomed down the road! Craziness I tell ya!

I am going to try and add some pictures from today, but that can be a really slow process (ten pics probably takes about an hour to upload) and if the internet connection cuts out for even a second I have to start all over.

ANyway I am going to rent a bike again tomorrow to another temple, a lake (they say you can swim in it but I don't know if I'll take that risk, especially since I have a few cuts), and to one of the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, that part probably won't be too much of an upper but it should be interesting...
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