Day three of the tour involved another early start - getting up at 7am early day really isn't good for the soul - we got the public bus to Kompong Cham which took four hours. Plus some stops by the roadside for the Happy Hour (Cambodian speak for toilet). When we arrived the general consensus was that we wanted to stay on the bus. Kompong Cham is a tiny sleepy little town and it really did feel like we were the only Westerners there. We ordered lunch at the only restaurant in town and it took 2 hours for it to be made. Most restaurants here only have one cook, so when you order they make one dish at a time and bring it out. It's surprising how quickly you get used to this.
The planned activity for the afternoon was to hire bikes and cycle to the nearby island over the bamboo bridge. Great I hear you say, except those who know me well know that I have never been able to ride a bike! Which posed a little problem. Well it would have posed a problem if I didn't have 5-star Savath as my tour leader - yes you guessed it he gave me a backie! Only it wasn't on a bike but on a motorbike! So while the rest of the group sweated away in the blistering heat, I got ferried around. It was fantastic! I even got an opportunity to drive the bike and let's just say that my inability to ride a bike also extends to a motorbike!
After making our way over the bridge, we toured around the village. All the local kids run out of their houses when they hear you coming and call out hello and chase after the bikes. We stopped off at a house to get a feel for how village people live. On this island as with 80% of the population they farm their own food (vegetables, fruit and rice) and fish to make a living. Unemployment is really high as the majority of jobs are in the city. The family let us sample some of their fruit which the youngest boy climbed up the tree to get for us - it's the freshest fruit I've ever had. People here are so hospitable, they don't have much but what they do have they happily share it with you.
The next stop on the island was the local school where we got to be English teachers for the afternoon. We each teamed up with a local kid and they asked us questions in English and taught us Khmer. Laura, an Aussie from the group and I were teamed with the sweetest 13 year old girl. At first it the different accents take a bit of getting used to (especially mine) but after a while we got into the swing of it. It was a great experience and the kids here are in stark contrast to the children at the orphanage and temples. They all had hopes and aspirations for the future, our girl wants to be a Doctor when she grows up. After temples and orphanage, it would have been easy to think that the kids of Cambodia have no hope for the future but that certainly isn't the case here. As much as I loved pretending to be a teacher I think I'lll leve it to the professionals.
As we had lunch in the only restaurant in town, that night we went for dinner at a local family's house. It cost 5 dollars and they put on a fest for us. We all sat on the floor, Khmer style and passed the food around. We also got to try a Khmer speciality (ANNETTE DON'T READ AND DON'T LOOK AT THE PICTURES)....BBQ spider, again as a veggie I couldn't have possibility tried it so instead I just held the live spider before they BBQ it (ANNETTE YOU CAN READ AGAIN).
I had such an amazing day and I think it was my favourite so far but then again there is always tomorrow.....