Yesterday was hands down the highlight of my experience in Cambodia.
My writing skills can’t properly express the heart warming experince we had, but I’m going to give it a try.
A beautiful day…
Our experience yesterday, in the countryside of Battambang, was hands down the highlight of my experince Cambodia. I will attempt to put it into writing, but will never find the proper words to accurately define the beauty of this experience. A metaphore might be closer to a just description. But first, let me set the scene.
Upon arrival to Battambang, my two new friends, who I met on the bus from Siem Reap, Charlotte and Charlotte, from England, and I set up a morning trip to visit the Bamboo train and a few ancient temples with our new Tuk Tuk driver, Dollar. Dollar greeted our bus with a HUGE smile and a sign which read: “Welcome to Battambang! FREE ride to ROYAL HOTEL!” Knowing the Royal Hotel was detailed in our handy dandy travel guide, The Lonely Planet, we quickly made eye contact and “reserved” that Tuk Tuk driver, to avoid mass chaos as we departed the bus.
So, the next morning, bright ‘n early, we met Dollar, who’s name I will detail later, and off we went…After a quick ride through town and village, we landed SAFELY at the Bamboo Train Stop. (see pictures!)
Unfortunately, this train is set to derail in about two months to make room for a real train, which is quite a pitty because not only is it a great little experience, but the train brings money to the little village. Hopefully, they are just telling us this so they can justify the $5 it costs to ride.
Ok, back at the train stop, so, we board the car motor powered bamboo train, and off we go…rumbling along the tracks, taking in the views…After a short distance, we stop at a village, where we are greeted with laughing children, and a young girl who, in proper English, provides some details about the history of the train, and about the village around. We are given bananas to eat and hand made rings of banana leaves.
After sitting around the table with the family for a bit, we are escorted by the children along the tracks to view the rice factory and get a glimpse of the rest of the village. (See pics)
All aboard! And we are back on the gravey train…wait, I mean the Bamboo train! After a few minutes, we realize we are headed straight towards another car! What do we do? No need to freak out, just stop the train and take it off the tracks! Easy Peasy! And along we go! This happens a few more times, before we arrive back and the train stop. And away we go! Ohh boy! More temples! Get excited!
So, through the villages and past the rice patties we go!
Ok, so we do the general, climb to the top of a huge hill/mountain, get a great view point see a Buddist temple, and back down we go…once you have done that twenty five times, you get the point! Then, we walk down and then climb another mountain to experience the Killing Caves. Another, atrocious sight.
These caves were used by the Khmer Rouge to kill women, children, and men by first raping, then bashing their head against rocks, then throwing them to the bottom of a huge cave…and if that didn’t suffice, they used the gun. (FYI: The leaders of the Khmer Rouge are still leaders of this country.)
Ok, back down for some lunch, who’s hungry?
Anyway, by this time the three of us have become quite comfortable with our new Tuk Tuk driver friend. He is absolutely hilarious! (…and quite a crazy driver!) As we have traveled through Southeast Asia, we have noticed a few “cultural” similarities thoughout the region. Two in particular stand out as significant oddities. First, and most prevalent, is the extra extra long pinky finger nail, usually donned by male Asians. The other, also predominately donned by male Asians is the extrasuperduper long single strand of hair extruding from a single large mole on the face of a male Asian. As we have all three been in Asia for a few months, and all noticed these traits, but could not find the reasoning behind it, and did not want to offend particular specimine, we decided Dollar would be a good candidate to provide us some good explanation, seeing as he neither donned the superduper long finger nair nor the superduper long single facial mole hair. So, as we were dying to know WHY we kept seeing these traits, we had to ask. Maybe it was Dollars crude, yet innocent, dirty jokes that made us feel comfortable enough to ask such a highly person question. Either way, we went for it…After all four of us laughing until we were in tears, and almost wetting ourselves, we got an explanation.
As far as the extrasuperduper long pinky fingernail, the explanation is easy enough, it’s for personal hygeine, this long nail is used to clean small/narrow orafices like the nostrils and ears. YUM! Anywho, we were in stiches!
For the lone mole whisker , it’s just because men like to be au na-tu-r-al.
Ok, enough about the hygene of Asians, although that long pinky fingernail might just be a great idea, especially after a ride on those long dusty roads…but I digress.
Back to the story.
After lunch, we started to head for the very first temple, they say it’s the one they modled Angkor Wat after….I’m not sure I could tell the difference between that one and all the 22 others I visited in the last week and a half! Anywho, again…back on track! So, it began to rain buckets. Literally, afternoon monsoon? Possibly. Either way, we were riding along the rice patties, on a dirt road, with our favorite Tuk Tuk driver, Dollar, when I noticed a lizard was trying to catch the back wheel of the dump truck in front of us. Luckily, he missed, and we didn’t run him over either.
I made Dollar stop, because I wanted to catch him…Yup! There I was in the pouring rain, on a dirt road, beside a rice patty, with two friends and a Tuk Tuk waiting for me trying to catch a lizard! True story.
Dollar got out to help, now two down in the rain, meanwhile, Blonde Charlotte got out and sat on the motorbike, in an attempt to steal the Tuk Tuk! I caught the lizard, and was having a photoshoot with said lizard and Brunette Charlotte, Blonde Charlotte was having a Tuk Tuk driving lesson…After we all had our turns driving the Tuk Tuk and playing with the lizard, we carried on. …
Until we came across a family of kids playing in their front yard, in the rain.
We all knew what was going to happen next! I jumped out of the Tuk Tuk, and began to chase after the little kids! Everyone followed suit. All four of us were running in the pouring rain after 7 small Cambodian children! It was awesome! I would chase them, they would chase me, everyone had their own couple of kids to run after! Round and round the house we ran! It was SO much fun! They kids loved it, we loved it, simply an amazing experience! When the rain subsided, we took photos with the family, and off we went!
The moment could be described by saying, it was like as if you were sitting on a park bench, and a butterfly flutters over and lands on your fingertip, and just chills with you. It was a random, once in a blue moon beautiful experience. One that I will not soon forget.