Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

The tuk tuk driver rouses himself from his slumber. It’s the slightly rude man who took us to the market last night. He’s probably just worn down from his labours in a hot and hectic city. To him we’re probably rich foreigners who sleep in a bed rather than a hammock strung across a tuk tuk. We’re not a prospect for repeat business so he doesn’t have to care. It’s understandable but still unpleasant. I resent having to pay him at the end of my ride. If he’d been friendly I would have given him the last of my Riel as a tip (about $US1.50 on top of a $US7 fare). But I don’t. I take them home because I cannot bring myself to encourage his approach. 

The streets of Phnom Penh are now less alien than when we arrived. I no longer feel as anxious as I did just twelve days ago. I had read so much bad press about Cambodia and its people. So much that turned out to be so untrue. Our bag was not snatched. Our pockets were not picked. Our belongings were not stolen from our guesthouse rooms (we didn’t stay in dives though – we paid $12-$25 per night for places with excellent reviews). I don’t know why I read up so much. Usually I don’t. Perhaps I’d lost my touch being back on our large island continent for ten months. I wish I hadn’t and I won’t in future. 

We experience the last of our Cambodian snow. That’s what Tony called the dust kicked up by traffic on the gravel roads outside Battambang. Next time I see snow I hope it’s the real stuff in Belgium or Holland at Christmas.

Airport officials make us reprint our boarding passes. Ours have bar codes but don’t look like the airline ones. Flexibility will take a little while to ease into officialdom here. 

It’s a short flight to Kuala Lumpur. Forty minutes over Cambodia, forty minutes over the sea and forty minutes over Peninsular Malaysia. Our captain plays tour guide. He clearly loves his job and it passes the time for us. 

We’re both quite tired and have both picked up stomach bugs in Kampong Chhnang. So we have a lazy afternoon in our room then catch a movie.

We eat at a local restaurant.

And have a short walk around our hotel before calling it a night. 

Kampong Chhnang to Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

Sitting behind the driver is no place for the feint of heart. So it’s a good thing that Paul and I long ago relinquished our Western sensibilities and accepted the realities of travel. We rattle and bounce down a road built for lighter loads and slower speeds. Overtaking means hurtling headlong into oncoming traffic at breakneck speed. It’s just now it’s done here. As a passenger you just hold on an watch the world approach.

Arriving in Phnom Penh is a shock to the senses. It’s loud, dirty, busy and obnoxious after our ten days in quieter towns. I can only imagine what a shock it would be to young men and women who have left a farming community in search of big city fortune. Dust fills the air. Horns blast. Rubbish litters the ground. Advertising signs visually holler. It’s no better or worse than other global capitals. It’s just that here the contrast between the rest of the country and its capital city is so stark.

The bus station is tucked into the centre of the city. How the bus driver gets us there without squashing smaller road users is a mystery to me. The bus station is everything I imagined it to be. There’s more people waiting than seats available. It’s exposed to the elements and city grime so I feel for the German couple who will wait five hours for their connection for travel to the beach. Tuk tuk and moto drivers swarm us as we step off the bus. They don’t believe we want to walk. It’s their daily battle to make money for food. I don’t ever begrudge them this. It’s just that it’s tiring after a while.

We drop our bags at Feliz Hostel and Cafe. We have returned because we like it here. A short tuk tuk ride takes us to the Russian Market just before closing to buy a few items. A second hammock so I can take a friend camping. Some more paintings. Two cross stitches for me to make because they are one tenth the price at home and I enjoy it as a form of meditation. We haggle hard now. The prices start far too high. The goal is to get close to half the asking price or walk away. We manage to spend a few dollars.

We eat dinner at the Chinese restaurant where they make fresh noodles. Paul loves the beans there and me the noodles. We’ve remembered where it is. A massage follows. It’s the best massage I think I’ve ever had. $20 for a 90 minutes full body oil massage followed by $8 for a 60 minute foot reflexology. It’s our last chance at a cheap massage for a while.

And so we end our trip to Cambodia. Tomorrow we fly back to Kuala Lumpur for another two day stop over. It’s been awesome.

Kampong Chhnang (Cambodia)

Channy joins us at the breakfast table at our guesthouse. He quietly makes conversation. His English is perfect and he makes the dance gently. A quarter hour later, after first making relationships, we reach the point where a price can be discussed. It’s a fair price to which we all agree so Channy’s tuk tuk will become our chariot for the day.

More prices need to be negotiated at the waterfront. The skipper starts at $US30 for two hours. I’ve read online that the going rate for this type of boat (for foreigners) is about $US10/hour so I start at $15 hoping to settle on $20. We reach agreement at $23. Some might haggle a harder bargain but, as my father says, we give money to beggars easily but when someone is actually working for their income we haggle down to the last cent. Where’s the incentive to work then? Do we value the beggar more highly than the working person?

Our skipper motors the boat upriver for half an hour against the wind and tide. The engine splutters away behind us as we pass a workshop building composite plastic river boats, houses on stilts and mechanic workshops lining the banks of Tonle Sap, which is no longer a lake; it’s now a river.

Floating villages come into view and the engine is cut. Poverty surrounds us at every turn. Tin shacks, huts made of bamboo and leaves, children who should be in school and hardworking people. That’s what comprises the floating villages. Like all communities some people have done better than others. But modern floating houses are the exception not the rule.

That said, smiles abound. Children wave and call “hello”. It’s the only English word they know (except “one dollar”). Young men wearing nothing but underwear seem to be having a swimming race, diving from one boat and stroking quickly towards another. A boy rows from one house to another down a watery “street”. It’s not idealic but humans are resilient and this is home to them.

Back on dry land we travel out of town to a pottery village. It’s interesting enough to see the pottery being made but it’s the landscape I enjoy most. Rice fields are dotted with tall sugar palms. Skinny cattle graze on what grass is available in the cultivated landscape. Gravel roads stretch into the distance creating a contrast of orange and green.

We visit a mountain temple with yet more steps to annoy Paul. It’s peaceful at the top, though perhaps we were meant to walk further than we did. The instructions about what we were to expect were lacking. We are happy though to experience the temple and walk back down.

It’s 3pm by the time we return to town. We eat lunch then take a rest in the aircon. Our chariot departs again at 5pm.

Sunset over the rice fields is the icing on our Cambodian cake. Channy knows a place. He enjoys taking photos there. Words are unnecessary.

All that’s left to do is take one last walk through town, eat dinner, return to the festival to listen to some more music then head home to bed. Tomorrow we return to Phnom Penh on our long journey home.

Channy is a good guide and driver. His contact details are above.

Battambang to Kampong Chhnang (Cambodia)

We sit at the bus station watching the goings on. Our bus is scheduled for 9:30am but it’s already 11am. We’ve watched as the bus to Siem Riep was loaded equally with rice and passengers. Yes, you read that correctly, the bus was loaded with heavy bags of rice. Probably a few hundred kilos of the stuff.

Almost an hour later our single backpack is loaded into the hold of the bus bound for Phnom Penh (Kampong Chhnang is on the same bus route). Then it is unloaded to make way for our bus’s load of rice. There’s so much that some passengers have to take their luggage on board (we are lucky that our backpack fit underneath). Bags of rice are even loaded into the door well at the front of the bus. It makes a good seat for the passengers whose seats have been taken up by the piles of mattresses wrapped in plastic being transported in the back few rows of the bus.

It’s midday when we pull out of the bus station. We pass some time making up stories to go with the karaoke videos playing at the front of the bus. There’s the usual woman slapping man scene all too common in Cambodian karaoke, the love lorn man, the parents whose son is going off to work in the city, and the dutiful son who returns home with cash earned on a construction site. Hours pass as the rural landscape slips by. My reading of a novel seems to fascinate the woman in front of us who keeps looking and giggling nervously. Her children stare wide-eyed at us.

At first Kampong Chhnang doesn’t seem like much. It’s dusty and quiet. We walk past a prison on our way to our guesthouse. Hmm. But the guesthouse is lovely with friendly staff. Our room set in a garden with a bench out the front and cold aircon inside.

Right on dusk we head out to explore the town and find some food. The hour out of the heat has given us a second wind (the bus had aircon but it was old and ineffective).

We eat diner at a Chinese restaurant where two meals and drinks cost us $US5.50 (everything is cheaper once you leave Phnom Penh and Siem Riep). We are charged in Cambodian Riel for the first time in this trip and the staff don’t look happy to be handed dollars (the unofficial official currency of Cambodia). We haven’t needed Riel until now so have given our small money as donations at temples along the way. It’s okay though because we will collect a few dollars worth here in town.

We sit in a big park eating coconut cake for desert watching people. There’s teenagers kicking a small soccer ball around. A group of men play hackey sack. Some children let off fire crackers. Groups of young people hang out on the grass talking or playing guitar. Children run around. Families eat picnic dinners on colourful straw mats. And we are asked whether we can be in peoples’ photos (or they just snap a shot if they think we’re not looking).

What we don’t know yet is that we’ve arrived in the middle of a big festival. On our way home we come across it and stop off.  We will later learn it’s a Cambodia-Thailand friendship festival. It lasts a full week. We wander the stalls.

I play a side show game (and lose). We try a sausage that ends up being randomly filled with some sort of mince and rice noodle mix that tastes awesome.

And we watch the concert. People walk past us gawking as though we are aliens. Street urchins beg for money (no we do not cave in even when they stand batting their eyes at us for half an hour).

It’s funny how we always seem to find festivals when we travel. And always in the places where we least expect it.

Kampong Chhnang is so local. The contrast with foreign-owned Siem Riep is vast, even this evening. I think I will like this town a lot.

The small Battambang circuit (Cambodia)

We have asked Tony to pick us up at 9:30am so that we can sleep in. We are on a holiday after all. We get into the tuk tuk with little idea of where we will end up – that’s part of the fun of traveling.
 photo IMG_9136_zpsvsjc5uq4.jpg
We travel along the river following small roads. This is how the other half lives and it’s important to realise that while we haggle over every dollar many people living here would love to just earn even a dollar for their labours. Today we will learn more about how hard the Khmer people have to work just to earn their meagre wages.
 photo IMG_9073_zpsev6hyhps.jpgut first a sobering stop at the Well of Shadows. This is the place where over 10,008 Khmer people were killed during the Pol Pot regime. The memorial tells the story of those unimaginable years. A period of history that many Khmer people today still remember. I am struck by the kindness of Khmer people despite the trauma of war and torture. They could have chosen to be angry and bitter like some other cultural groups who have suffered but they haven’t. Rather, this is a peaceful country where people are friendly and helpful.
 photo IMG_9124_zpsu0fxq0pf.jpg

 photo IMG_9125_zps8aemaxpc.jpg
We stop at a small shed. A machine that could have come out of the ark is pulverising rice and then smoothing it. This is the first stage in making rice noodles. The second is totake the pulverised and moistened rice flour and pushing it through a big metal noodle maker and boiling the noodles. Wood is expensive so rice husks are burned to boil the water. It’s labour intensive, hot and dirty work.

Our next stop is a guava vendor. She sits on a wooden platform with her fruit piled neatly in front of her. The guava is tasty so I buy a kilo. It’s all grown locally along this road, harvested and sold right here. This is hand to mouth living without any guarantee of income. I feel grateful to have been born in the West. The lottery of birth is something that travel makes clear.

The rice wine making shed is next but, not being drinkers, we don’t stay to taste it. The fermentation process takes place in buckets that serve as vats. Fruit, snake, scorpion and spices make up the brew that is said to make men very powerful (if you know what I mean).

Not much farther along is a row of rice paper shops. I made a video because the process is so simple yet effective. These ladies make 3,000 rice paper sheets every day during the dry season. During the wet work has to stop because there’s no sun to dry the papers. I buy some fresh spring rolls, which taste good.

I wonder what it would feel like to have tourists observing your work on a daily basis. To know people who earn more in a day than you might in a year are photographing you out of curiosity. Is it ethical or responsible? Does our purchase of food and drink at their store justify our gawking? Without us this family might remain in greater poverty but our money might make it possible for families to make headway. I know what I’d do for my family if it came to it. I’d let tourists take photos if it were the difference between a subsistence future or having food in our bellies.
 photo IMG_9135_zps5qs1sjhy.jpg

 photo IMG_9131_zpsg58sqict.jpg

 photo IMG_9129_zpsjaso9bdn.jpg
Wat Ek Phnom suddenly appears before our tuk tuk. The giant Buddha is impossible to ignore. It dominates the landscape. Behind it lie the 11th Century ruins of Wat Ek Phnom. There’s no steps to climb – just a rocky ruin to scramble over.
 photo IMG_9133_zpswjob1k8b.jpg
An old lady and a young man’s without use of his legs ply their trade here. They try to encourage tourists to follow them then ask for 1,000 riel ($US0.25). The man crawls. The lady hobbles. For all our complaints about the social security system in Australia, at least this isn’t the lot of our elderly and disabled populations. At home this man would have a lightweight wheelchair, a disability pension, access to education and workplace training, and the protection of anti-discrimination legislation that requires potential employers to make reasonable adjustments to allow him access to employment and workplaces. Our system is not perfect but at least we have something in place.
 photo IMG_9137_zpsdu3i0soq.jpg
This is the end of the small tour and we are taken back to Battambong. We eat lunch, have a massage at the seeing hand massage and take a tuk tuk to our guesthouse.
 photo IMG_9143_zps4piao3zg.jpg
We have plans to go to the full moon festival at a temple but are delayed. We order chicken amok (Khmer curry) and don’t realise it has to be made from scratch. An hour and a half later our meals finally arrive. The taste is amazing and worth the wait. I just wish I’d known.
 photo IMG_9142_zpsuxjnlht0.jpg
We end up lazing by the pool (well, I sit in it) playing on social media and blogging. The super moon is bright above. At $US12 a night this place sure is great value.

Tomorrow we will take a bus to Kampong Chnneng. No doubt that will be an experience of its own merits.

The big Battambang circuit (Cambodia)

 photo IMG_8971_zpst8yg5lgu.jpg
We board our chariot at 8:30am. We are trusting Tony, our driver, to arrange a good day out because tuk tuk countryside rides are what you do is in Battambang. We will not be disappointed.
 photo IMG_9049_zpsnpix6evs.jpg

 photo IMG_9050_zpsgqz3zohf.jpg
Our journey through the history of Cambodia starts with the railway station. Built by the French in the 1930s or 1940s, the railway station was once part of the connection between Phnom Penh and Thailand. However, after running into disrepair and experiencing a number of derailments, the railway was abandoned in 2009. Now only the ghosts of the railway days remain.
 photo IMG_8891_zpsdglzjvfx.jpg

 photo IMG_9052_zpsxvqzesao.jpg

 photo IMG_8888_zpsbq0eo7ed.jpg
Tony was educated at Wat Damrey Sar as a teenager. Here he learned English in an outdoor veranda style classroom sitting at a row of wooden desks. His English is a credit to his hard work and teachers. At forty years of age he must have seen a lot in his life and I cannot help but wonder how much his old school has changed or remained the same. Young monks go about their daily chores. At the pagoda Paul is followed by four children asking for “one dollar please”. We smile and politely say “no” each time without aggression for that is not going to help these enterprising youngsters. Better to kindly refuse than to create anger in them.

A carving on the exterior temple wall tells of the battle between the Thai and the French. I cannot help but wonder whether the dark figure represent the local Khmer people caught in the middle.
 photo IMG_9053_zpsvqqxbrcd.jpg

 photo IMG_9054_zps5846qx3j.jpg
We return to the French colonial era. The Battambang Provincial Hallnis another French structure with Italian engineering. An old bridge spans the river. It was used in colonial days but is now closed to vehicle traffic to preserve it from damage and to prevent accidents.

When Tony collects us from the far side of the bridge he asks whether we wil agree to some other people joining our tuk tuk. We can still pay $15 he offers “kindly”. We laugh and tell him we will pay $10 and he can make a separate arrangement with his other passengers. He accepts and we agree he can pick up the two girls from Czech Republic who will be our traveling companions. I would never begrudge a person the opportunity to earn a fair day pay for a fair day work, nor the chance to save a few dollars myself. Some would say it was a ruse but all reports I have read are that a tuk tuk with a good English speaking guide costs $25 a day so our $10 arrangement is a bargain.
 photo IMG_8909_zpsppkkg2fw.jpg

 photo IMG_8914_zpsiz48bx4j.jpg
Czech girls on board we head to the Bamboo Railway. $5 a person buys us a cart. Yes, you can get it for $10 a cart but meh – if it were just me and Paul it would cost $5 each for the cart anyway.

Tony gets us to the front for the queue, not taking no for an answer from the drivers. Others just have to wait. Our cart is loaded onto the track, the engine splutters to life and we are off. Slowly and genteelly at first then gathering speed until we are roaring along at about 40kph. Clickety clack clickety clack go the wheels over the rickety rails. Sometimes we tilt worryingly sideways where the tracks have become uneven over the years. This is not an experience for anyone concerned with health and safety. But it’s not as though hundreds of carts a day don’t make this journey either.
 photo IMG_9055_zpsuftfe14n.jpg
When another cart approaches from ahead we stop. One cart is unloaded, the other moves past and the first is loaded back onto the tracks. We passengers just stand there in the jungle waiting to continue. It’s all quite fun.
 photo IMG_9059_zpsnq6sdhtt.jpg

 photo IMG_9055_zpsuftfe14n.jpg
Back in the tuk tuk we bounce along the roads once more. Stopping every time Tony sees something that might interest us, like these fishermen and women catching small fish to make fish paste. Fish paste is an important export for Cambodia and also a critical ingredient in Khmer cuisine.
 photo IMG_8937_zpseov4r8g0.jpg
As the midday sun burns down we contemplate the 358 steps that will lead us to Banon Hill Temple. Paul gets pointed looks from local Khmer people walking down towards us. This is Asia where subtlety is not always so easily exercised. But up the steps we go and at the top we enjoy the temple proper.
 photo IMG_9057_zpstxbwax4r.jpg

 photo IMG_9058_zps6ybmgts7.jpg
Banon Hill Temple is a combination of Hindu and Buddhist temples. The complex was built in the 11th and 12the centuries and is contemporaneous to Angkor Wat. I continue our practice of giving some money to light some incense to respect local practice and contribute something to those whose lands we are passing through. Besides, I like the smell of incense and the calm feeling I get in places like these.
 photo IMG_8964_zpsnknzjurr.jpg

 photo IMG_8968_zpstwiguoqc.jpg
Tony takes us to a local riverside restaurant for lunch. It’s clean and has a pleasant view. The hammock is also comfortable. Paul and I share lok lak (a sort of stir fry beef dish) with rice for $US4 while our Czech companions share tom yum soup for the same price. The food is tasty, the riverside hut is cool and it’s pleasant watching the people fishing. Much better than anyplace we wouldn’t have found on our own.
 photo IMG_9061_zpsnc6lib8d.jpg
Rather than race to the Killing Cave we roll along unsealed farm roads between the rice paddies.
 photo IMG_9063_zpskecjjopy.jpg

 photo IMG_9001_zpsdckknsxm.jpg
Lotus plants grow wild in the brooks along the road. Tony takes one and lets us taste the seeds. It’s bitter to my tongue but I’d eat the nutty seed if I was hungry enough. Tony makes us hats out of the leaves. They’d be quite effective at keeping my bald scalp safe in a pinch too.
 photo IMG_9060_zps977mgjpb.jpg
We stop to talk with a water buffalo farmer. The buffalo are slowly being replaced by tractors so most have been sold to Thai buyers. This farmer wants to keep his because the buffalo make the soil soft during ploughing while tractors compact the soil. It’s hard work though, walking for miles of ensure the buffalo are fed.
 photo IMG_9065_zps9i7qbh88.jpg
Rice dries on the roadside. The harvest is just beginning here. Cambodia has two rice harvests. One for domestic consumption and one for export to Thailand and Vietnam. Some farms have turned to mechanised processes, which is affecting the job market greatly. A challenge for this fast developing country to overcome.

We reach the base of Mt Sampeu. Tony cannot take us further so we transfer to a jeep to drive us up the steep roads to the Killing Cave and Sampeu Temple. We bounce around the benches in the open back of the jeep as he revs his way up the ramshackle road.
 photo IMG_9066_zpsae38yv3h.jpg

 photo IMG_9024_zpsjche4bzt.jpg

 photo IMG_9016_zpsuwgm3ltw.jpg

 photo IMG_9067_zps7u9rerfw.jpg
The Killing Cave is sobering. This is a place where the Khmer Rouge tortured thousands and threw their dead bodies into the cave. Today there’s a reclining golden Buddha in the cave along with a memorial. Outside there’s more golden Buddhas. I feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of what humans do to other humans. And, again, I feel sadness that this still happens in parts of the world today.
 photo IMG_9068_zpslvawkrml.jpg
The second peak of the mountain houses a beautiful golden temple. Perched on the edge of a cliff it’s a typically Buddhist place where Mother Nature is powerfully apparent. We walk into a cave and into a cave within the cave to see some shrines. It’s so peaceful and I can’t help but ponder this fact of Buddhist places. They are places to which I am strongly drawn and in which I feel quietly contemplative. I even want to walk up the steps to reach them because it feels somehow important. Something for me to ponder, I guess.
 photo IMG_9031_zpszzno08zc.jpg
The views are always magnificent too.

The jeep bounces us down the mountain and we meet back with Tony who has organised us prime seats at the cafe / restaurant. From here we can watch the bats leaving the cave. We each buy a drink (I have a fresh coconut for $US1 and Paul has a Coke for the same price; beer is $US1.50 a bottle) and sit in comfort for an hour waiting for the bats then watching as the millions of bats leave the cave in a zig zagging line. We also watch the other tourists – especially those who quite rudely try to sit on the chairs but refuse to buy a drink. I know we’re all on a budget but there’s a fine line between being budget conscious and being ignorant or rude. But then, that’s just me. I save money on airfares and accommodation so that I can have a little extra to pay locals for services if the price is fair (I would not have paid $2 for a coconut, for example).

Tony drops us in Battambang near the river. We eat at a small outdoor eatery before walking to the Seeing Hand Blind Massage that Tony showed us. $US6 buys us each a one hour foot massage with no threat of being offered a happy ending. The perfect way to end a long day. It’s 9:30pm when we walk back into our room.
If you are in Battambang and want a good driver who is friendly, knowledgeable and speaks excellent English, Tony can be contacted by phone on 012 213 541 or email at

Siem Riep to Battambang (Cambodia)

 photo IMG_8838_zpsfkqwwrx4.jpg
Today we got the true Cambodia experience: a bus ride that should have been three hours but turned into six. Not because there was traffic but because the bus company spent 2.5 hours trying to fill their bus with passengers by driving laps of Siem Riep before finally hitti g the highway. It was a farce and one that could have easily been avoided had we booked one of the tourist bus companies online instead of letting our guesthouse book for us. Actually, the tourist bus companies would have been cheaper too because they can fill a bus with tourists instead of the tourists on the local bus subsidising the local passengers’ fares.

The local bus driver was terrible compared with the Mekong Express bus driver we had the other day. The bus swayed and swerved, the driver constantly on the horn. The only good thing is that Paul as I go two sears each so I could lay down and sleep most of the trip.

It’s late afternoon when we arrive in Battambang. Tuk tuk drivers literally run after the bus as it pulls into the depot. They swarm like mosquitoes as the bus turns to park and block the exit. I am first at the door and get bombarded. “We will get our bags first” I say calmly. The drivers step back. A man in yellow shirt claims me as his and waits for Paul to collect our bag (yes, singular). “Where’s the rest of your bags?” the tuk tuk driver asks. Just this.
 photo IMG_8840_zpszto3tc6x.jpg
He asks $US1 to our guesthouse but other drivers hold signs offering $US0.50 to any guesthouse in Battambang. Our driver, Tony, agrees to $US0.50. Sure, we could have haggled harder like some of the other groups seem to be doing but that seems petty and I think the agreed price is fair (tuk tuks generally cost tourists $US1-$US2 a trip in any city in Cambodia – though I’m sure some haggle harder).
 photo IMG_8871_zpsi0plfp3v.jpg
Our guesthouse is out of town. The gravel road is bumpy but I’m quite looking forward to being outside the city for a change. It’s peaceful, quiet and immediately rural even just this short 1km distance from the centre of town.

Tony offers to take us on a full day sightseeing trip of the surrounding countryside for $US15 tomorrow. I don’t want to commit so ask for his number. Later some internet research shows that most bloggers have paid $20-30 a day for a driver who speaks English so $US15 seems like a good price.
 photo IMG_8843_zpsy5jliomh.jpg
We eat linner (lunch+dinner) at about 4pm. There was no food on the bus. The restaurant at our guesthouse has delicious and cheap food. Later we will discover they stole the menu from the White Rose restaurant in town. It’s literally a photo copy – haha.
 photo IMG_8878_zpsdgnbexyf.jpg

 photo IMG_8874_zpsgqoz2aoh.jpg

 photo IMG_8876_zpsnqch9c8e.jpg
Battambang city had a pretty riverside centre. There’s waterfront food tents. Women take a aerobics classes in the parks. Lean muscular young men do chin ups and acrobatics on a set of monkey bars (the sort of acrobatics you see on Facebook from time to time). Children play soccer. Couples kick a hacky sack to each other. And old people sit on park benches taking it all in. It’s so pretty even the millions of bugs don’t bother me too much.