. We had no idea what we had ordered, nobody speaking English in the place. Had to go to the kitchen to explain and show that we wanted bottled water (got a bottle of Evian!!!!!) with lime juice in it. Michael ended up making little drawings to explain what we wanted and the waitresses were doubled over with laughter!!! We told them we would be back tonight for dinner. We then spent 3 hours behind the computer at the guesthouse (free internet was the only + point of the place!!) to find a place to stay in Phnom Penh, our next stop....it was hell finding something...most of the places were fully booked, we waited too long, others were much too expensive.The computer screen would start flickering every three minutes and we had to wait until it decided to stop... Ended up booking one and hope for the best! Went across the street to get an ice cream at the gas station (mentioned in the guide as a place to eat....). So all in all did not much today! Went back to the restaurant with the only tuk tuk ion town and booked him right away for the next day to go to the floating village and bamboo train. Dinner was again perfect, ordered roast chicken and got the whole beast, head and claws and everything!!!Michael was horrified to get ice cubes in his beer!!
Next morning we leave to visit a floating village, one of three on the Tonle Sap lake. We took a fishing boat and and visited this incredible place...200 families (70% vietnamese, 30% cambodian) living on houses floating on bamboo rafts
. The village has everything : school, church(!), pagoda, stores, restaurants, gas stations, ice factories to keep the fish fresh. They are of course fishermen and grow water cress to sell at the market. With the wet season coming, the village will be moving about 3 km nearer to the new shore. They even have pigs and dogs!! The girls love it too and would love to live here, going to school on a little boat. The only thing bothering them they said would be eating fish everyday!!!!!
After the village we go to the bamboo train station, a very uncomfortable ride on a dirt road full of bird nests (more like elefant nests!!!). It is so hot when we arrive at the station that our guide offers to take a nap in the nearby Pagoda....it is dark, dusty (can see the girls footprints all; over) but we are so warm and it is so hot that we gratefully lie down for a moment.
After our break, time for the bamboo train...let me explain....the old railway line between Phnom Penh and Battambang is not in use anymore but the locals still use the old wheels and put a kind of bamboo made platform on it, an old engine and...tadam, there you have a bamboo train..so you go sit on the platform and off you go, at about 40 km/h...so much fun, a little scary at the beginning because you see that the rails are not really parallel anymore. Buffaloes are crossing the line all the time and people are waving on the side of the line to get on
! There being only one line when another train is coming in the other direction one has to dismantle his train and let the other pass.....and yes, we have to dismantle since we are "only" people and the others have like 10 huge bags of rice and I don't know what. Once they are gone, we put the thing back together and off we are again. There is really nothing along the line, just a few houses scattered about and rice fields, and rice fields and ricefields. The wind is soo hot, the speed pretty high...we all loved it!!!
Thy, our guide, brings us along to meet his wife and kids (wants our kids to meet his, Amelie spend the whole time on his lap!) and we spend some time with them.
WHAT A DAY! But now we are ready for a shower and clean clothes....we keep having our clothes washed but somehow they get a deeper shade of grey everytime...even get them back with more stains sometimes....I guess we'll burn the whole lot in the garden once back home!!!!!
Michael and I are in need of a cool gin tonic but the restaurant will probably not have any...luckily we had bought some tonic cans and a bottle of Gin in Siem Reap and I smuggle them into the restaurant...and hop, once the waiteress is gone I fill two big glasses.....hmmmmm we deserved it after this heat! The girls keep sucking on ice cubes (hopefully made with good water!!).
In bed early but awoken at 2:00 by Mathilde and Margaux complaining of tummy and headache and fever...oho, maybe the ice cubes were not that good, or maybe the sugarcane juice we bought from a street vendor WITHOUT any ice....well, a few panadol and hopefully everything will go well until Phnom Penh where we are heading in the morning.
We are all freezing in the bus and Math and Margaux are not doing really well, sleeping most of the way.
Today we are leaving Battambang to Pursat, about 90 minutes south, in the direction of Phnom Penh. We have, like everyday until now, a perfectly blue sky and the temperatures are especially high. At 10:00 am we are already too hot. The guesthouse is just ok, on the border of being not ok...actually the first time since the beginning of our trip that we are not very satisfied but there are just 3 places in town and this one had the most positive review in the guide....We decide to just walk around in the little town and have a look at the restaurant for tonight, there being only 2 options...the walk is horrible, under the midday sun (only tourists are stupid enough to be walking around at this hour....all Cambodians are napping!!!). We pass the local hospital....sending chills down my spine and asking the kids to be really careful, don't wanna have to go in there...anyway, we find the restaurant, a very cute place with little bamboo roofs above each table...we decide to stop for a drink and end up having a delicious vietnamese soup