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April 11: Onward to Battambang, Cambodia

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 lot.




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 different."




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.




More stairs.




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.




Aahh!




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 Avatar people.




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 understand.




Such different mood and imagery from the Angkor temples. Oh, Cambodia. You can't help but feel for this country.




Back to the summit - the view of Battambang.




The stupa on top of Phnom Sampeau.




Video of Phnom Sampeau.



And that was Battambang. Next stop - Phnom Penh.







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2011

2011


January (South Korea)
  • 2: Grocery Shopping
  • 23: Eating Live Octopus

    February (South Korea)
  • 28: Collage of Kimchi Cat

    March (Christi in Thailand)
  • 9: Christi in Thailand (Koh Tao)
  • 13: More of Koh Tao
  • 25: Snacks in Thailand
  • 27: Lots of Rain, Lots of Rain
  • 31: Rescue Off of Koh Tao

    April (Christi in Cambodia)
  • 3: Siem Reap
  • 4: Day 1 Angkor Wat
  • 5: Day 2 Angkor Wat
  • 6: Day 3 Angkor Wat
  • 11: Battambang
  • 13: Phnom Penh & Killing Fields
  • 14: More of Phnom Penh
  • 16: Still in Phnom Penh
  • 19: Last Day in Phnom Penh
  • 30: South Coast of Cambodia

    May (Christi in Thailand)
  • 17: Chillin' in Trat, Thailand
  • 29: A Thai Island

    June (Christi in Thailand)
  • 24: Elephant Sanctuary
  • 25: Erawan Waterfalls
  • 26: Elephant Feeding Time
  • 27: More Elephants
  • 28: Memorial in Kanchanaburi

    July (Christi in Burma)
  • 27: An Incredible Month in Myanmar

    August (Christi in Cambodia & Vietnam)
  • 22: Back Through Cambodia
  • 24: Good Morning, Vietnam!
  • 27: Call Me Miss Saigon
  • 31: Hoi An - History, Beaches and FOOD!

    September (Christi in Vietnam, Tauru in Winslow)
  • 5: Hue-tastic!
  • 7: Labor Day at Winslow Wall
  • 21: Christi Comes Home

    October (Tempe, Arizona)
  • 16: Vietnam, The Rest

    November (Tempe, Arizona)
  • 14: Good Times with Friends

    December (Argentina)
  • See our Two Blind to Ride website