Arrived in Battambang around 12.30pm and met Sak at the Khemara Battambang Hotel where I will be staying for the next week. It's a new hotel (opened on my birthday last year in fact) and is very good for $12 a night.
Our first stop was lunch as none of us had eaten breakfast (you don't when travelling on roads like these, otherwise you may well see it again!). There's a restaurant next door to the hotel called Cold Night Restaurant, so after checking-in we went there for lunch. You don't get much Western food in Battambang . . . my favourite Khmer dish is Beef Lok-Lak with fried egg & plain rice, but my appetite is reduced drastically now (I think it's the heat) and when I weighed myself on the hotel scales, I have lost just short of 1 stone! I think I need to stay here a year. . . .
Laura & Ang then met up with a local guide to see some sights in town and Sak took me to visit a pagoda about 20km from Battambang and then to visit his family and see their new house (see pictures in 'Battambang' album). The house has cost $20,000 to build and is close to being finished. It looks much larger than it actually is (only two bedrooms) but it is lovely and they have a fabulous veranda on the top level where you can sit and watch the sun set. Sak showed me photos of how they used to live before 2002 and it was literally a pig sty. He secured a full-time position with a local NGO a few years ago and was subsequently allowed to take a loan to help build this house.
I spent a few hours playing with his 4 children and was then treated to a fabulous home cooked meal of fish amok, vegetables, rice, and bananas for dessert. Theara, Sak's wife, is an excellent cook!
Holly, Sak's 5 year old, was very shy with me last weekend at the wedding, but after me being in the house only a little while she was jumping into my arms and seems very relaxed with me now. She's a gorgeous little girl and isn't at all bothered that I haven't a clue what she is saying most of the time! She talks to me as though I do! She has only just started to learn English so I helped her for a while with her ABCs. After each letter (ie. C is for CAT) she would pretend to be that particular animal!Got back to the hotel about 9pm (everything closes around this time here) and as both Laura and I have to get up early tomorrow we decided to call it a night. We are sharing a twin room tonight (saves cash!) and we both have to leave the hotel at 7.30am - Laura to catch the bus to Phnom Penh and me to travel the 80km distance to Samlot with Sak.