After yesterday’s exertions which had really taken its toll on us both physically and emotionally – I had needed to be forcibly pulled out of the ‘nervous man on moped’ yoga position I had taken up during the night! – today started off at a much easier pace as we were to be going for a little cruise down the big river and did not have to be ready until the afternoon for it, so we even had the chance of a little lie in – hoorah!
So when our batteries were fully charged we got up and after a cold shower (the hotel had still not fixed the shower – brrr!) and dressing, we went off foraging in search of breakfast to the cafe that we were supposed to be meeting our guide at a little later. As the rendezvous time approached our guide turned up at the cafe and he seemed a nice enough young lad and he had a good command of English too, as well as introducing himself to us he also introduced us to our riverboat companions, a couple from the Catalan region of Spain. They also seemed very nice and spoke to us in their broken English which was much better than our broken Spanish – what is it with languages being broken all the time and who puts them back together?
We boarded our vessel which was a wee covered riverboat and as soon as we got settled in our guide told us a bit more about himself. He was quite a cool fellow and an artist too and perhaps it was the artistic temperament in him coming out but he did have some strong opinions about modern day Cambodia and the corruption that he feels underlies the day-to-day events in the country. He felt that it was actually holding the country, in particular the younger people of the country, back. Along the way we chatted to the Catalan couple who were really nice and although there was a bit of a language barrier between us they seemed really interested in our travels and impressed by what we had done. They told us about themselves and their travels as well which was quite interesting.
Our first stop though was at a farm and although our guide bigged it up, it really did not live up to the billing. For a start, the farmer was not actually present so the guide had to describe the crops which he even had trouble finding, so it was quite difficult to envisage and get a taste of what went on at the farm.
The next stop though turned out to be much better and more interesting as we stopped at a small village which, like all villages, had its own temple. It turned out that our guide had studied meditation at a temple such as the one we were walking around, so we explained to him about our failed attempt at meditating in Bangkok and to be fair he did not seem very impressed at all! He is obviously a man who takes his meditating very seriously! We then wandered round the village school which had a real nice feel to it, the kids, as they do at schools the world over, had decorated the school with stick figures with too many or too few fingers and lop sided smiles and heads that were all out of proportion but it was just beautiful to see. The last village place was the market which even though it had shut for the day was a simply delicious find. A lady stallholder there was having her place altered and she was quite old but was really cool to talk to (through our guide), she seemed to be ordering about the big burly blokes who where doing her bidding which was quite funny. There was also a family preparing for a bit of a gathering to take place much later in the day, the marinades they were making up for the meat smelt really delicious. I would have loved to have stayed and even dropped many hints to the family but whether it lost something in translation or not, they gave out no invites … lol.
The trip had been quite a success overall and we thoroughly enjoyed it. As we went back to Battambang we saw a fisherman, or rather his head just above the water level using a net to make a catch, it looked quite an extreme way to make a catch but there he was. I don’t think I would have done it in the murky waters – a bit spooky for me – but if you have to put something on the table, who knows eh!
Trip over we said goodbye to everyone and went back to our hotel to have a drink and ready ourselves for the night. On the night we had arranged once again to meet the director of the school (and part time tuk tuk driver) Kamnet, who seemed a really nice guy. Although he probably needed money for the school he was quite happy to give us room and board in return for some voluntary teaching of English at his school, so we signed on the dotted line and would be spending the rest of the week at his place starting tomorrow. After our meeting with him we treat ourselves to an Indian meal, which (and it is getting boring saying it) was delicious. If in doubt pick an Indian meal is a mantra well worth following when we have been travelling. Whilst scoffing we discussed what we were letting ourselves into as it had all come about pretty much by chance but again this is what sometimes has made for the most interesting parts of our trip thus far, so hopefully this would be another side-adventure to go alongside the main attraction!