Manatu

Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Battambong

Was , correction is the nicest place I have stayed in Cambodia. Has an excellent rice yield up here so that is probably why…
Hotel Bambu has nice meals, good Cambodian food or Western if you want it. I have had fresh spring rolls, satays, prawns and a few other bits…
Collected yesterday morning by the guide in a tuk tuk with two bikes on the back. Seat was adjusted and off we wobbled..Tuktuk in the lead, just in case apparently.

Biked alongside a creek that was full of appalling rubbish, but the villages passed definitely did not seem so pOor.
Finally got inside one of the wedding tents, all very western, with satin covered chairs mind you, done out in purple. Must cost a mint, brides parents pay and the reception goes on for two days. One has just started up again and it is 5.30 am…
Ear plugs are provided y the hotel with a note saying there is NITHING they can do about the noise…Just a distant wail really above the noisy fan.

Went and investigated a family on thier rice patch. Mum, was sixty, and prodded at my arm to check my age..she got a shock when I showed her my white stomach, she hooted with laughter.
She was the matriach, two sons and daughters inlaw. She had one ha and had cut about 8, 70 kg bags of rice. That is with the husks on,will be less dried Keeps them in rice for a year..
The males were humping the great big bags up onto a cart to take it somewhere to be dried.

It seems any open space will do, takes about three days to dry. I remember seeing rice spread out on the unused Ho Chi Minh highway in Vietnam.

Next stop a fish paste making market. Women chop up the tiny fish from the river, Tonle sap river, and mix it with salt and leave it to ferment in large barrels, Very pongy, the men were all playing cards, saw that quite a bit, women work, men supervise..

Next stop was another temple, quite destroyd so declined to enter. Back into the tuk tuk as I refused to ride in town, to see the French colonial architecture…mmmmm

Then back to the hotel for lunch. I was supposed to do another two temples in the afternoon plus some dance thing in the pm..told the guide to bugger off and collect me tomorrow, which is now today….
I tried to do a couple of hours volunteer stuff at the local group who offer English lessons, but does not operate at the weekends.
So snoozed, drank beer and read instead. Put my swimming togs on but did not venture in, well it was only thirty degrees outside…

Enjoyed my afternoon and evening. Learning to read using the ipad, find I want to turn the page.

So this morning, am being picked up at 6.30 am for a three hour hike , by Camry I hope, to Siem Reap where I catch a flight to Singapore, then ten and a half hours later arrive in Auckland…
Hope it is not as rough a flight home as it was coming over….

Have just got to Siem Reap, sure my guide for this leg is in training to be a communist functionary…Everything is my fault…also he constsantly tells me the same “facts”, population etc etc…he got a miserable tip…

Forgot to mention the visit to the sweet/dessert making factory
it sort of summed up conditions for the poor in Cambodia.
Imagine a large open but quite dark shed, at the entrance was a young boy dehusking coconuts with a viscious looking instrument made of two pieces of reinforcing steel, about 45 cms long attached to the end was a pair of very sharp blades which he inserted into the cocnut, gave a hard twist and the husk came away.He would have been about ten, if that.
A bit further in a woman was cutting up the coconut with a very sharp machete, alongside her were two tiny boys, hers? one of them was making the same whacking motion as the bigger boy did to open the coconuts, the tiny boy had a couple of old nails which he banged into the earth.
Obviously they go to work with Mum and spend all day in the shed.
A bit further in, four blazing fires with big cauldrons of water on them, into these go trays of coconut “stuff” which sets and becomes a dessert.

Behind this lot are women squatting on platforms grating coconuts,beyond that again women mixing up cocnut , sugar and whatever else that made up the dessert. Could have pointed out the work flow was wrong but did notthink they would appreciate it.
Beyond that again was a fire roaring away burning up coconut husks. It was thirty plus yesterday and this is the cool season. It was as hot as hell in the shed. There were quite afew little kids around, overall boss was male.
So, no pre school care for these kids, in fact no school either probably.

Just made me feel sad.

1 Comment

  1. well that was an interesting trip, written in your usual way. Sev says I write like you….. not sure if that’s good or bad. Baby was due today… if hasn’t arrived and Sev spent 7 hours gardening, I supervised from the deck whilst drinking beer. Shall make her do at least 8 tomorrow if baby still not produced.
    Sea you tomorrow.

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