We're having so much fun in Cambodia!!! It's by far my favourite country so far! The weather is perfect; not too hot but sunny and warm at the same time, the people are friendly and welcoming, and it is cheap cheap!!!! Apart from the hospital! Anyway that's a whole different story!
I will try and fill you all in on the latest happenings of the baldy/ giddins duo.
Our time in Cambodia didn't start so well at first with our whole boarder crossing experience! But I am pleased to inform you all that that has been long forgotten and everything that has happened since has definitely made that brief episode well worth it.
We kick started our time in Cambodia with a visit to Battambang. Spending two night and two days there. We visited the Bamboo Railway, the Killing Caves and an abandoned railway in the centre of town.
Having lots of fun on the rickety old bamboo train called a 'Norrie' in Khmer (Cambodian). First used in the 1970's to transport products, produce and people at minimum cost. A Norrie is a very dubious looking assembly of a bamboo and wooden platform, with wooden struts resting on axles of salvaged railway wheels. We sat on the front of the old bamboo platform upon a straw mat whilst the driver sat behind us resting on a plank of wood controlling the well worn engine that is a attached by a fan belt. As we made our way down the warped track quickly picking up speed the noise from the wheels was incredible. We could hardly here each other shouting across to one another as I sat precariously balanced, crossed legged, making a few worried glances over at Ben; who held onto me with one arm as we whizzed through the countryside.That is until we had to come to a halt when faced with another Norrie coming towards us in the other direction. We dismounted and watched the two drivers dissemble the little wooden train, the other train would slowly pass by with its passengers on and motor running. Then the driver would build it back together again and away with our journey we went, till the next time... And the next! We did this at least 6/7 times. The driver was in his 70's and was as fit as a fiddle! No wonder with all the physical work he did daily on this thing! When we reached the end we sat, had a drink, played with some Khmer cuties and the train was turned around and off we went on our return! On disembarking we discovered our tuk tuk driver had disappeared! So we ended up going with another one, which at first worried me, but it turned out the other guys tuk tuk had broken!
Next stop was the killing caves. It made for a hard slog walking 30 minutes up hill in the blazing sun! But we managed, Ben more so than me! However my fitness is vastly improving! We reached a stupa at the top and the View of the city was amazing, Cambodia is pretty flat and you could see for miles, there was a monk sitting peacefully looking over the city and he spoke to Ben, so i think monks are back in Bens good books! As we passed through the stupa a kid tagged along following us to the cave. He didn't speak or show us directions an at the end he asked for money. We didn't give him any but after I felt bad! Begging is rife here and we have experienced it almost everyday, one of the most apparent affects of the Khmer Rouge history. It's a sad sad thing.
My heart strings took a further almighty tugging when we visited the old abandoned railway in the town centre. As we entered the railway with the clock stopped at 8.02 we wandered along the overgrown track and explored the crumbling platform buildings, snapping away with our camera! Out of no where a group of small children, ages varying from2-6 yrs started shouting hello and calling for attention. They ran towards us with big beaming smiles, in their dusty worn clothes and were so excited to see us. A cutie at the back in a dishevelled off white dress got me! She was stood there with her big brown eyes looking at us cautiously from a distance, she was tiny, younger than my nephew mark. She gave me the biggest smile and walked closer. Her giggle was so real and pure when she stood watching me play with the other children. God I could have taken them all home! They were the best! They didn't beg or feel hard done by they were completely content and happy little soles playing barefoot in the overgrown railway. This part was by far my favourite part of the day. To finish the day we had a stroll by the river and drank red wine! It was a good day!
Next stop was Kep, famous for its fresh crab and pepper....!