Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Phnom Pehn to Battambong

Its been a while since I last posted but I've had a hard time moving fast. I'm not sure if its because I've been traveling for a while or because of what I saw but I just can't seem to move fast. I spent about a week in Phnom Pehn and then came here to Battambong yesterday. I actually liked the city a lot but thats mostly because of the lakeside area and the guest house I was in. Let me see if I can quickly go through what I did.

The day after my last post I went into the city with Elena (The girl from London that was in the shared taxi with me). We went to the center market, which is a large market that is in the old main bus terminal building (so now there isn't a main bus terminal). She had some stuff to get and so did I. Then we walked to the riverside and went to the FCC which is a resturant called the forign correspondence center. Its an old building that reporters have been going to for years, so there were war photos everywhere. The drinks were expensive so we just had one beer then went to a pizza place.
The view from the FCC
The Grand Palace
At the pizza place I ran into Ty and Cy (two of the Hawaii guy's that were with Moo when I first met her). We hung out and talked and then they walked to the lakeside with me while Elena went to the Vietnamese embassy. We hung out at Same Same for a while and then arranged to go to the Killing Fields and S-21 with paul (one of the tuk tuk drivers, my favorite). I think that night I went to the Moskito Bar nearby where one guy at the guest house works, and the manager helped open Bhodi Villa's.

The next day the Killing Fields and S-21 were hard things to see. At the Killing Fields there are so many bodies that in the pathways you are actually walking on bones and pieces of clothings from the bodies. It was hard to take pictures so I didn't after a couple. So many people died there in such horrible ways. There was one pit of all beheaded people, another of just women and children (there was a tree next to this pit used to smash the kids against the tree in front of the mother). Then S-21 wasn't much better. Its a high school and elementary school that was changed into a torture and detention center in 1975. They had pictures of the last bodies they found there, old torture equipment, and blood still on the wall. Again it was like you could feel all the horible things that had happened there. For the rest of that day I just relaxed, played pool, and played chess.
The Killing Fields

The next day I went into the city with John (a tall tatooed buy from london with a bald head and a huge beard) and Christian (a german guy) who both live at my guest house. We went to the shopping center for ice cream and then went to the top and saw and amazing view. There was a skating rink on the top of the shopping center also. John left to do some CV stuff (he is applying for jobs here) and Christian and I went to the Russian Market. After Christian got presents for his family we got a tuk tuk back to lakeside but a storm had just begun.

The tuk tuk driver went slow but it was still a crazy sight. The city basically began to flood. Some roads just turned into rivers a couple of feet deep, but the moto drivers and cars just went right through it. We didn't see the worst of it and got back to the guest house safe but other people told me about how the water was deeper than their motorbike, or how outside our guest house the water was about 2 feet deep in the street (it was half a foot when we walked through). It is crazy to me that the city would flood that much because it may have been a two hour long downpoor but I have heard in the rainy season those same rains can last 24 hours and imagine what would happen then. I also wonder if the bad flooding near lakeside has anything to do with the fact that they are filling in the lake.

That night I did the staying out all night thing. I was with John and other long time people, it was a group of 6 total, and then 8 later in the night. We went to some girly bar to pick up one guy's girlfriend, then went to Pontoon, and then Heart of Darkness. Pontoon is a club on the river in a boat that plays trance music all night and people dance and stuff. Heart of Darkness is a famous club from movies like pontoon and city of ghosts. It was a high roller club with lots of rich Cambodians and was in an old french building.

The next two day I literally did nothing. I hung out at the Same Same guest house, played pool, played chess, drank beer, and watched some movies. I got to know everyone at the guest house and got really comfortable so I just didn't want to leave and go out traveling really soon. I also planned to do the internet both days but just didn't get out of the building. Its nice because the city is chaotic but at the guest house the lake is right there, and lots of cool people are about so its easy to just hang out and move from one conversation to another forgetting how crazy the city is.
The Lake from Same Same

Yesterday I came here to Battambong by bus. There are not many farang here. Its a small city basically, similar to Kampot but without the river (there is a river but its smaller and very polluted). I'm not sure what I think about it yet. I just went out to eat last night and met a large tour group, and today I walked through the market. Maybe tonight I'll check out the main bar in town that I've gotten a couple of flyers for from a guy who lost his legs.

Maybe its because of what I saw but I'm not as keen on traveling around a lot right now. I want to see Ankor Wat and a nice guest house people have told me about there, and I think I want to go to the 4000 island group in southern Loas but that might be it for me. I've been gone for a while so I miss my friends and family and am a bit tired of traveling. Before being in large multi cultural groups was new and exciting but now it is normal. I hardly have the drive to learn about people or cultures anymore, I just want some relaxed people to play a game with or something. Recently I've met a lot of people who kinda feel the same so its been easy to just relax and play games without really talking too much.

This could just be how I've felt recently and will get back into the spirit of traveling in a few days, but if its not, then I can go home whenever I want. One couple I met in Bangkok showed me how you can just show up there and get tickets through the travel agencies cheaper than you could buying tickets over the internet, so that is probably what I'll do to get home. I'll go to Siem Riep and see the temples and then will decide if I want to make my way up to Laos or just go back to Bangkok.

Well, thats all for now. I don't have many pictures and don't have the camera with me so I'll post whatever I have later. Also I'm sorry for sharing such a graphic image with everyone. It has been hard to deal with having seen a life lost so I think I described the experience in a bit too much detail to try to help it leave my brain and just infected all of you with the image. Anyway, peace and love to everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back!

    The world's your oyster! (NOT your ouster...) We love your honest commentary...albeit sometimes hard to digest....