Hey guys, went to Battambang this weekend, journey took 5 hours but think we're getting used to the bus trips already. Arrived at the station and were taken to the hotel by one of the moto drivers who spoke very good english. hotel was lovely considering it only cost us $3 each a night with a rooftop restaurant. once we'd had lunch the moto driver took us to the mountains along very bumpy, holely roads.We climbed one of the mountains where, half way up, there were a series of caves that the Khmer Rouge used as killing fields. they bludgened their victims at the top before throwing them down a skylight hole into the cave below. eery and disturbing place to be. continuing up the mountain we met an English teacher from the local school who took us on a detour off path and showed us the fantastic view of the Cambodian countryside as well as the monkeys swinging in the trees in the canyon below us. There were beautiful temples at the top of the mountain, unfortunately the original temples were destroyed by the khmer rouge but the new ones are stunning to look at. The climb down was much more comfortable and on reaching the bottom we went off again to another Wat called Wat Banan. As we were so tired out from the last climb we decided to spectate from the bottom of the mountain. Next to us were about 8 monks listening to the radio who let us take their picture, which was a bit sereal to see them sitting with something so modern next to something so old. Our moto driver took us off again on a search for fruit bats which we successfully found dangling from a tree in a fruit plantation. There were thousands of them and he and the local kids were throwing stones up at them trying to make them fly so we could take a good photo but they moved so fast. On the way to a local families house, we swerved to miss a ditch in the road but ended up in it, calf deep in mud. very funny although the moto driver couldnt stop apologising. the families house was very basic, a few platforms and several hammocks which we sat in whilst they fed us fresh pineapple and banana and the homemade drink of rice wine, which tasted of pure alcohol. Can you belive people drink this on a daily basis. The next adventure was a ride on the bamboo train. When i say train, i mean a bamboo platform with a small motor on the back. By the time we set off it was dark so covering your mouth and nose was a necessity as insects were out and liked to fly into our mouths. The journey took us about 30 mins and it was a fantastic experience.
The next morning before we left we walked around the town to see the market and river, much quieter than Phnom Penh. we took the number of the moto driver so that on our return trip he can take us to the lakes and waterfalls. Didn't want to leave.
I'm going to Kep and Kampot this weekend to stay on the beach with everyone and then on to visit a Khmer friend's family in their homeland to celebrate the king's birthday. I'm really excited. will let you know about it when i get back.
lots of love