In the Ratanakiri province

Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
Trip End Jul 21, 2007

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Pilgrimage to the North East of Cambodia where Saoyuth's dad used to work

During our stay in Phnom Penh we meet Mr Darun, a long time friend of Saoyuth's father. He offered to take us to the Ratanakiri province (North East part of Cambodia) for a couple of days to spend some time together and also see the place where he and Saoyuth's father met a long time ago. Saoyuth's mum has never been to this part of the country so it's a great opportunity also for her to explore.

Two days after we arrive in the capital we leave for the Ratanakiri province in Mr Darun's car. He is quite a character, and a business man that has been successful enough on his many ventures to afford a big and comfortable Mercedes that we used for the 600km trip. Mr Darun and Patrick drove in turns as it's a long 24h trip.Patrick had to go to one of the poorest countries on earth to drive one of those big cars, paradoxical isn't it? On the way we pass the Japanese bridge, the new Chinese road and bridge: in Cambodia roads are build by international organisations and not the Cambodian government which is not doing anything to improve the infrastructures of the country. There would be much to say about the poor politics in the country.

For Mr Darun and Saoyuth's father, this is much of a pilgrimage to the place where they met and spent some good years of their lives before the war came in and destroyed everything...

Beside following the pair of them and learn about their past, we had also the chance to see teak, rubber trees and cashew plantations, sample some fruits we had never heard of, meet Mr Darun's family, sample local food and finally swim in a beautiful lake contained in a former volcano crater.

Water pouring ceremony at the local monastery

Mr Darun always take the opportunity to be around Banlung to go to his favourite temple. A year ago his wife and him made a big donation to the temple (something like a big Buddha statue). To thank them they are offered a water pouring ceremony which consist of pouring sacred water on the head of whoever wants to. It lasted for about 20 minutes so Patrick took many many shots.

On the way back, Patrick drove most of the time, and according to the usage honked anytime we were approaching a vehicle, to let them know we were about to overtake them: He honked more often in this one day than in all his life before! His thumbs were slightly aching after pressing the horn so many times on the steering wheel!
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