A Mining Town
Trip Start May 04, 2011
124Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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But that wasn’t the worst of it. After driving another hour we got dropped off at a random restaurant in the middle of nowhere
Banlung is predominantly a gem mining town which explains the abundance of high end SUVs driving around town. I got more of the inside scoop on just how lucrative this business can be after hanging out with a few Australian businessmen, one whose family owns mines in Australia. Over the years this one guy in particular, Ian has partnered with a couple of the local guides in search of valuable stones. It was interesting to see the dynamics of their relationship; especially Ian’s patient approached in response to one of his Khmer contacts acting out of greed. It was obvious that his other contact remained loyal and trustworthy. On the heels of a broken marriage and a glum health diagnosis, Greg the uncle and his nephew, Brian are on more of a philanthropic mission. That’s how I met them actually, with a near empty bottle of Jack Daniels between them; they were reminiscing about their good deed and trying to decide who to help next
When I wasn’t hanging out with the Aussies I did manage to do a little sightseeing. I visited the beautiful, 700,000 year old volcanic crater, Yeak Laom Lake and a couple of waterfalls. If I had the proper gear and it wasn’t rainy season I might have explored more of the Ratanakiri region, particularly Virachey National Park for its awesome jungle trekking.
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