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I Haven't Been Everywhere But It's On My List I love to travel and experience the world but part of the fun for me is documenting those experiences through photography and writing. Follow along with me and enjoy the ride!

This is Goodbye for Now, Cambodia

CAMBODIA | Thursday, 6 August 2015 | Views [277]

The famous bamboo train in Battambang

The famous bamboo train in Battambang

Hello again!

We packed up after our last day at Angkor and went to bed early knowing we had to get to the boat launch to get to Battambang.  We woke up early on Wednesday morning and our ride to the boat launch arrived at 6:50am.  We threw our bags in the back of the pickup and were on our way.  We stopped at another hotel and picked up 2 more travelers and it got a bit crowded with 4 in the back seat and 2 in front.  We thought that was it, but the truck made one more stop.  There was no way we were going to fit any more people in the small truck so we thought maybe we were just picking up their bags?  Nope.  The people were coming with us too.  The driver took all of our bags out of the bed of the truck, the 4 new travelers crawled in, and then they were securely fastened with our luggage.  The entire drive to the marina I was worried that our bags would fall out, the people would fall out or both!  Luckily, we made it in tact and everything was fine.  We walked down a steep set of stairs to our little boat and climbed on.  We were at the dock for a while waiting for all the passengers to arrive from their different places and every seat was full.  We set off on what would be a 7 hour journey down the river, through various floating fishing villages, to our final destination.  At one point, we went up the roof of what was just more than a dinghy, and got a great view (and a nap) but it was blistering under the hot equatorial son, so I didn't stay up their long.  Each time we drove through one of the fishing villages all the children were so excited to see us!  They would run to the shore or out to their porch on their floating house to furiously wave at us passing by, and yell, "Hello! Hello!"  It was a long, hot and pretty uncomfortable use, but we made it to Battambang for our final 2 nights in Cambodia.

We had 1 full day in Battambang and saw it as a stopover and wanted to take things a little easy.    We had gone to the wonderful acrobatics show by Phare in Siem Reap and we found out that their school was in Battambang and they offer tours so we headed down there.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any classes happening that we could watch but were able to walk through one of the galleries of the students' work and it was beautiful.  From there we went to the infamous Battambang bamboo train.  The tracks were left behind from the colonial days and have been repurposed for local use.  There used to be a scheduled rail service but it was shit down by the Khmer Rouge.  Now, they mainly use improvised rail vehicles called norries.  It was $5 per person for a 1-hr round trip and the trained bumped for 7km south to O Sra Lav along misaligned and warped tracks and bridges.  Each nori has a 3m long wooden frame covered with lightweight bamboo slats that rests on 2 dumbbell shaped axels, was powered by what looked like a lawnmower engine and had no breaks.  Having a simple design and being incredibly light weight means that the nori can simply be removed from the track if 2 meet in the line.   The one with the lighter load is unloaded, the frame lifted and set to the side of the tracks, the axels are removed and the other nori passes.  The first nori is reassembled and everyone is on their way.  Check out the pictures to see this process in action!

We went back to the hotel to rest a bit.  The sun and the extreme heat really takes a lot out of you!  That night we made our way via tuktuk out to the Killing Caves.  The caves were used in the 70s by the Khmer Rouge as a disposal site for hundreds of their victims where they were often bludgeoned to death then thrown into the caves, which became mass graves. Every night at dusk, millions of bats migrate out of the caves to hunt for food and make spectacular shapes in the sky.  It was a steady stream of bats flying out of the cave for about 40 minutes and it is said that they look like a dragon's back in the sky.  I was mesmerized by the sheer number of bats bats, which seemed to be never ending and then we got lucky enough to have a stunning sunset to go with it!  

This is our final night in Cambodia and although I am excited to see and experience all that Thailand has to offer, I am sad to be leaving this place I have so quickly fallen in love with.  This is goodbye for now, Cambodia, but I will be back!
 
M

 

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