From Siem Reap, I headed south to the town of Battambang. I had only planned to stay 2 nights, but I ended up staying for 4. It's a layback place with lots of suggestions at former glory.
I went for a stroll and happened upon this - a Khmer
wedding. That's right, this is how it's done. They shut
down the street, set up a tent, and blare music.
Honestly, it looks like fun!
The Khmer wedding.
Cambodia was colonized by the French until the 1950s and
there are a lot of colonial buildings left about.
The Old French Bridge. The guide book raved a blue
streak about this, but I'm not sure why.
Yup, it's a bridge.
I kind of like the Khmer style more myself. My future
imaginary home will have a big golden gate (with a giant
face on it perhaps?).
The market - this was just down the street from where I
was staying and was a great place for lunch, fruit, snack
and sugarcane juice. I frequented this place quite a
Just some of the goodies sold at the market.
Lots of grilled meat. Tauru would have been in bliss.
That's a pile of pork, baby.
But this is what had me waxing poetic - my desserts!!
Little sticky rice treats and bags filled with sweet
liquid and jelly squares. I have no idea what I was
eating, but I need more!
Aerobics by the river. I probably should have crossed
that bridge and joined them after all those desserts I
ate, but I prefered to watch and laugh. Cuz that's just
how I roll.
Um, does this happen every day?
Evening food stalls by the river. There were many of
them but they all serve the same thing. "Same same, but
Video of Battambang.
The old Pepsi factory. It closed abruptly in 1975 when
the US left Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge came to power in
Cambodia. I wanted to see it since the guide book said
you can check out the squatters who set up between the
dusty bottles of unopened Pepsi, but actually you can't.
My driver told me it's now a Thai clothing factory.
This is Battambang's biggest tourist trap. The Bamboo
Train. What a cool concept - little bamboo platforms
that go up and down the train track. It's easy to get
out of the way of the train because the trains haven't
been updated since the French left, and you can run
faster than it. Looks like it could be fun.
However, I didn't go for a ride. He wanted $10/hr (later
reduced to $8. It was blistering hot. I tried to
imagine myself alone on that thing in the heat for an
hour with a couple Cambodian men who want to constantly
sell me cold drinks. It didn't really sound like fun
anymore. (Plus, it got lackluster reviews from the folks
I chatted with the night before.) Oh well.
The Bamboo Train.
The Golden Gate Bridge. That's right. It's in Cambodia.
I reckon that's the Golden River. Gross!
But it was pretty fun to walk across.
The Golden Gate Bridge.
Then I stopped by Phnom Sampeau, which is famous because
on this mountain, there are caves where the Khmer Rouge
took many people to be, well, let's just say they are
called the killing caves. It's really sad, but this Wat
makes for a very nice memorial.
The thing about Cambodia is that it is a country of
stairs. Hundreds and hundreds of stairs! But it's a
convenient way to get to the top of a mountain.
And they keep going.
I think if Buddha is frequenting this wat often, he
deserves that rest. So many stairs!
Stairs, stairs, stairs.
And more stairs.
Seriously, you guys.
It's a lifestyle, I guess.
Ooh, but it's also a really good view!
At last, I've reach the wat on the top of the mountain.
And now that the stairs are beneath me, I can get back to
reflecting on what happened on this mountain and why this
wat is here.
Another nice entrance to the temple.
I could definitely use a few more hands and eyes in the
back of my head - I wonder if this guy is related to the
And we are approaching the golden stupa. This is a
seriously pretty temple.
The golden stupa.
What would you do if you had 8 hands?
All the colors really contrast what I've just been seeing
up in Angkor.
It's like a Buddhist version of the Sistine Chapel.
No matter how breathtaking this stupa is, it still can't
hold a candle to the horrors that happened to the
Cambodian people here.
The stairs down to the killing caves. I felt an ominous
presence that grew with each step down.
I really don't want to imagine what went on just here.
There are many things in this world that I will never
Such different mood and imagery from the Angkor temples.
Oh, Cambodia. You can't help but feel for this country.