Battambang Travel Blog› entry 16 of 22 › view all entries
On Friday we went back to Ta Prom so I could do a few watercolours, but I guess I wasn't really feeling it.. At least we avoided most of the tour groups, but I think the problem was people watching me when I'm painting makes me nervous and then something ALWAYS buggers up. Unfortunately, I drew a small crowd of onlookers, all eager to see what I was painting. Flattering, but I'm really really not good enough an artist to warrant that. O_O
Afterwards we went to a Khmer Heritage Centre when had info about the Tonle Sap communities nd stuff - quite interesting.. then to the old markets where we bought even more jewels and gems. Shopping from that day amounts to the following:
- A Lilac sapphire and silver ring and earring set (US$20)
- An amber pendant (US$12)
- An 18ct Gold chain (US$30)
- A pink ruby pendant and a emerald pendant for Robyn and Nell's 21st birthdays ($10 each)
- A hot pink "Tin Tin in Cambodia" Tee (US$1)
- A Gray "SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT" Tee (A Cambodian slogan) (US$1)
- x5 handwoven Khmer silk scarves for gifts. (US$7 each)
I was well proud of myself for those efforts! :D
On Saturday we spent the day at Aki Ra's land mine museum and gave him $200 to continue the work they are doing to de-landmine Cambodia. It costs US$2 to deactivate 3 mines, plus he's adopted a whole heap of kids who have been affected by landmines in some way. It was so inspiring to meet them all and see how much positivity and spirit they all had, despite the fact that they were left disabled or without families due to landmining. Their injuries just don't stop them from running around and enjoying life - a lesson I hope to take away from them. Every single person there is a lesson in how to keep a happy heart no matter how dire their situation has become. I wish we could have given more money, as this is one of the causes I believe strongly in.. Each landmine deactivated is one less child that loses the lives or limbs as a result of a war that finished even before they were born, but is still being fought to this day.
Sat evening after dinner we went to the Beatocello concert at the Jayavarman VII//Kantha Bhopa III hopital. The concert is run every saturday night to raise money for the hospital, which survives on 80% private donations and 20% Cambodian and Swiss government support. $20million is needed every year for it to run, and it's a truly mammoth task as they provide free health care to children under the age of 12. Apparently the most common cause of death for kids in Cambodia is tuberculosis, an aftermath of the civil war, and they are working to try and treat//cure as many of the kids as possible. Dr. Beat Richner is an absolute character and is so completly inspiring - he plays the cello and writes songs to raise money for the hospital - one particularly hilarious one was that in Switzerland, bank account detail can't be given on TV in German, so he wrote a song in English about the bank account details for Kantha Bhopa, which then had to be translated into German and the ads had to be subtitled! A really really good evening out. We're planning on visiting the Kantha Bhopa hospital in Phnom Penh when we go back there.
Today we caught the "fast boat" to Battambang from SR. Major mistake!! XD Firstly in that I will miss SR terribly, and secondly instead of the 5 hour journey the promised us, it took us over 10 hours to get here!
First they overloaded the (very smll) boat so that it was rocking something precarious.. the motor strained most of the way and then began to cark it after about 5 hours. That, coupled with the fact that the rudder went waywards meant that we were crashing into the riverbeds everytime we took a turn!
After about 7.5 hours we were ushered off the boat and onto 3 utes with all our luggage.. some 50 or 60 passengers plus crew were stuck onto the trailers and into te cabs! Thankfully, James, whit and I got onto a relatively uncrowded us so we had a little bit of room to cling onto the sides or sit in the middle on teh bags if we so wished. When we asked the driver how long until we would arrive in battambang, the response was "oooh.. between one and five hours!"
It evened out at 3. My word my arse was painful afterwards! Driving through fields that were still probably landmined (judging by the HUGE craters we drove through) along what one would officially a dirt track but was actually just trampled//word vegetation.. then onto a proper, slightly less pot-holed dirt road before finally hitting bitumen. I shall NEVER taken bitumen for granted again. My bum will be bruised for days!!
But, the journey was great fun! On the ute trailer me met a few other backpackers - from Italy, Germany and England.. The German girl (Tina) and English guy (Damien) we became closer to than with the Italian lot who kept to theirselves and complained loudly in Italian! lol. Ah well.. Well, we all comiserated about being thwacked repeatedly by branches - It was almost very sadomasochistic if you're into that kind of thing! hehe! It was by far one of the best experiences I've ever had though! My mum will have a seizure when I tell her about it! XD
Battamband is far less touristy than SR and PP.. there are no tuktuks, no streetlights nd almost nothing is open after 6! It's a lovely little town though.. We had dinner at the Smokin' Pot, which is where we'll be taking a Khmer cooking course tomorrow! should be great!
Wish me luck! I was never ever renowned as a good cook. I once burnt couscous.