Ban Lung, Rattanakiri Province
Ban Lung Travel Blog› entry 197 of 206 › view all entries
So our little group got together for breakfast this morning and negotiated a $13 motorcycle day tour with the crazy guys from yesterday (employed by the guest house). Martin pointed out it was Easter Monday so we stopped first at the town market to pick up face masks (to avert choking on orange dust), fruit, and chocolate and candy treats!
first stop was at the Ka Tieng waterfall, a beautiful flow into a
round bowl of a lake with roots on the far side that are strong
enough to swing on. The waterfall itself was like a power shower
massage, and though I didn't try any Tarzan moves, I enjoyed watching
the others slide down the roots to some pretty undignified finishes
owing to slippery hands.
the way back we stopped at some cashew trees and the guides showed us
how the nuts are harvested from the fruit. The fruit is edible and
tastes sort of sweet and dry in the same way cranberries are, and
having tried them now, the smell of fermenting fruit became obvious
to me as we passed other orchards. More usually however, they are
swept to the base of the tree to decompose back into the earth. The
cashew fruits may be yellow or red but are the same. The nuts are
roasted and provide the second biggest export crop for Cambodia. The
first is rubber, and the trees made up the majority of the forest we
onto Kachanh waterfall which also was beautiful though was sadly
being littered by some sullen teenage boys picnicing by the stream
and throwing their empty beer cans into it. They didn't appreciate
our attempts to tell them off by way of a translator, and grumpily
stomped off to the water's edge to fish and then to climb in the
waterfall itself. We didn't swim here, but I got wet in the Chaung
waterfall which falls directly onto a flat plateau of rock that you
can clamber to. There were hundreds of little sachets of shampoo
littered around, remains of the obvious use by the locals. The guides
themselves were upset by the litter in the country, and we tried to
impress on them the importance of keeping their country clean, though
they knew it.
We then took a trip up to a hill above the town where a shrine of a Reclining Buddha overlooks the local landscape. Buddha is portrayed in many poses and the reclining position is the moment of Nirvana. I was more fascinated by the flaky older-looking artwork painted in the shrine roof..
now we were covered in the orange dust that had stuck to our wet
clothes, so we headed to Yeak Loam Crater Lake for another swim.
Back at the guest house we were delighted to discover our kind hotel host had arranged an Easter party in our honour and at 8pm we arrived clean and dry to a group table decorated with coconuts and orchids, and foliage stuck to the backs of our now-throne-like chairs. I enjoyed a dinner of LokLak, a national speciality (essentially stir-fried beef in oyster sauce), and tried some of Martin's delicious stir-fried Morning Glory. Our motorcycle drivers (Mr Thy (also known as Mr Longhair), Perom, 'Jamie', Japanese bloke, Vietnamese bloke and Mr Siphali himself) were also all invited to the party, and though we ate seperately, as the evening warmed up and the stereo pumped hip hop and western music (apparently snaffled from a German guest and now highly favoured by this particular group of Cambodians), before long they had dragged us up to dance. It was a very funny night as the Cambodian boys all had a different way of dancing, mostly from western TV so they entertained us with combinations of break-dancing, Elizabethan twirling, dance club cyber dancing, pretend strip gyrating round chairs, even gyrating round each other in jest! We laughed at them A LOT! They also taught Maya some traditional Cambodian dancing (a bit like Indian dancing, and similar for boys and girls alike) and she returned the favour by trying to teach them how to dance one of her Greek circular dances, which was successful in varied measures....! By the end of the night everyone was tired from dancing, even Mr Siphali's Mum (!) and we finally turned in, exhausted but happy at midnight.