A crazy turn of events

Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
Trip End Nov 26, 2008

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Friday, February 8, 2008

 We took what was supposed to be a 3 hour bus ride to Kampong Cham on Wednesday. After about an hour i heard what i thought was the bus hitting some low branches about half an hour later we got pulled by the police. it turns out the low branches were a lad on a motorbike and the driver either hadn't noticed or didn't want to stop. It was boiling hot and a big argument begins next to the bus. Next thing we know a police truck pulls up with the bike we had hit complete with bleeding youth (he was OK - cut his shoulder and knee). We began speaking to the Cambodian lad behind us Sitha and he helped to translate. We had to go to the police station and wait for another bus whilst the police decided how much the bus driver had to pay a)to them and b) to the lad on the bike. Within an hour we were back on the road and had made a lunch stop at skuon - famous for its deep fried tarantulas. We had to try one!   It kinda tasted of liquorice (i cant spell that, sorry!!) and wasn't unpleasant but you do eat the whole thing - legs and all and for the next hour it felt like a spider was crawling up out of my throat - tom agreed! We also had a palmful of deep fried crickets - tom preferred these, i didn't really like them too leggy and they just tasted oily. I think we are gearing ourselves up for eating baby birds - everyone else is eating them! Chatting to Sitha I explained that I wanted to visit the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) in Kratie (our next stop) to find out about the projects they do with the local villages. Sithas brother is the director of CRDT, he was on the way to his parents house to meet up with his whole family to celebrate Chinese new year and he insisted we join him. So at 4pm (4 hours later than planned) we pulled into Kampong Cham and both of us and our big rucksacks got on the back of Sithas scooter and rode 15mins to his parents house. It was amazing a beautiful wooden house on stilts in the middle of farmland and rubber tree plantations. His family were all so lovely and welcoming it was difficult for two Westerners to believe. Sithas brother, Channy had had to go back to Kratie but we met his wife (the only other person who spoke english) and her parents as well as Sithas parents, younger sister Davy - who was lovely and really tried to speak to us but at 17 she is still learning english and would just collapse in fits of giggles. His younger brother and about three other relatives and niece and nephew. We felt very humble and privileged to be a part of it especially as we were made to sleep on the only mattress with mosi net and everyone else slept on the floor/hammocks - we did try to say no! We took a bottle of whiskey and enjoyed a lovely meal sat on the floor with the whole family. Sithas father had been a doctor before the khymer rouge and had had to go into hiding to avoid them during the war. After wards he had been a teacher in the local school, they didnt have much but they shared it all with us. The next day Sitha took us to the Vietnamese border - which was only about 10km from his province. Tourists can not cross here and our visas for vietnam ran out in january but the Cambodian guards let us cross into no mans land but the stern vietnamese guards wouldnt let us through. So we walked back - we much prefer Cambodia anyway! We then went with his younger brother and sister and nephew and neice to the local water park that had just opened. The two little ones really wanted to go in but we had to leave to get the bus - but not before enjoying as lovely lunch with the family. It was am amazing experience and we didnt want to leave. But the dolphins were calling!
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Where I stayed
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