From Kompong Cham we headed for a homestay, in a small village called Takeo, 2 hours from Phnom Penh. We got a private mini bus transfer, although we have started to realise that the public buses actually provide more leg room than the "luxury" private ones. This was also when we got an understanding of the rules of the road in Cambodia. Basically buses and lorries rule. Cars have more priority than mopeds and mopeds don't exist as far as buses are concerned. The horn is used constantly to let other road users and the wandering Ox/Cows/Dogs/Chickens etc know that we are coming by. Playing chicken with on-coming traffic is perfectly normal, as is making a moped that is coming in the other direction swerve off the road in to the dirt as we overtake something on our side. The moped is clearly not worthy of using the whole other side of the road.
After what felt like an eternity in the mini-bus we finally arrived at our homestay. We met the family briefly and were split in to two groups, 8 in each house. One group was in a traditional Cambodian house on stilts. We were in a ground level house wooden house that had two big rooms. We all slept in the same room with double beds covered in fourescent mosquito nets. We dumped our bags and reluctanty got back on the minibus to drive out to the river for a swim. This was to be our only form of washing for the next 24 hours!
We had learned by now that our guide Haing loves the water. He was first to show us how to jump in from the rocks above the river. He just smiled when the boys asked if there were any rocks in the water where they were jumping. Turns out there was a huge rock that Brian landed on when he jumped in! The river had a great current for trying to swim against so we got a bit of exercise after the long bus journey.
After our swim/wash we headed to the community centre for dinner cooked by the local ladies. This consisted of fried morning glory and noodles! Morning glory is actually a form of water lily that doesn't really taste of much. It started to rain really heavily as we sat on the floor in an open sided shelter. It got dark pretty quickly making going to the toilet in a hole in the ground a difficult task. I was bitten on the bum by some huge black insect as I tried to pee as fast as I could and get out! After dinner the men built us a campfire and we all sat around it boiling in the heat! The locals then got on the karaoke! We were in the middle of knowhere but they still had a karaoke machine. Dan and Michael from our trip joined in, but we soon wished they hadn't as they screeched out "unbreak my heart, say you love me again...."!
Back at the home we met the family again. They were an older couple who showed us pictures of their daughter's wedding. The Cambodians seem to go to a photo studio and get dressed up in very elaborate outfits to have all their photos taken. The girls all wear white make-up on their faces and lots of different brightly coloured silk outfits. There were only a few photos of what seemed like the actual wedding day, the cutting of the cake looked the same as it does for us. They liked it when we showed them some of our wedding photos. They thought the kilts were funny. They also can't believe we have been married a year and don't have any children. This seems to be a common theme throughout Cambodia when people ask how long we have been married. Brian feels the need to defend himself every time this comment is made!
After a better than expected amount of sleep we were woken by a confused cock-a-doodle- doo at 3.30am when it was still dark! Breakfast was served back at the community centre (baguettes and bananas) then we hiked up to a waterfall. Brian was sweating again in the heat- being back the days of needing to wear thermals in the flat in NZ!
Then it was back on the minibus to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.