I saw my Tuk Tuk driver – San this morning who has been trying to set up a business account for his tourism transport on TripAdvisor. I’ve only used it as a traveller but I see for business it’s quite tricky – and I’m a native English speaker!
We worked together on that – which hopefully will be published in the next few days. He is on Facebook as San Tuk Tuk but needs to generate business. He’s such a kind, honest man.
Anyway, he suggested we go on to Tonlé Bati. It was wonderful. Being out of the hotel for one! But it was also cooler out that way and everyone is still pretty much on holiday – so it was quiet and the only people were Cambodians, so it was really nice to experience the locals relaxing at this different location.
First we saw the remains of a temple, destroyed by Pol Pot, but people still go to pray to Buddha in there. Although whenever I ask what they pray for they say – good luck. I’m not sure if that’s because they don’t want to say more, if it’s a Buddhist thing or they don’t have anything else to say. I must make the effort to learn more about Buddhism. Here is probably not the best place to learn because monks join to honour their parents, stay a few years, smoke, use phones, chat and live a fairly normal life and then leave. Perhaps that’s just a modern thing. Again, not sure.
I asked San if seeing the destroyed temple made him sad. He said it did. I asked why they don’t rebuild it and he said they wouldn’t know how. The stone and the puzzle of it is so intricate which really speaks to the care, attention and time that went into it. This same temple was built by the people that built Ankor Wat.
Then onto the floating huts village. We rented a part of the hut for USD5, and a menu and drinks were offered – not cheaply! But the experience was amazing. Very peaceful. After eating I took a nap. People swim in the water but it’s quite polluted.
A little photo layout I made! Top left was our view. Top right shows take away – boat style! Then there’s San and I, the kids playing in the water – which doesn’t look unclean in that shot. Our lunch of chicken – complete with head, beak and legs 😨 and rice. You can also see the rickety makeshift bridge of logs that you walk along to each hut.
It was really peaceful. I enjoyed seeing somewhere completely different and I didn’t read about it in any tourist books until San told me about it. It’s about 30km outside of Phonm Penh, another 10 and you’d be Udong – the former Capitol of PP. but I think we were both too tired for anymore today.
Just long enough for me to stop at my favourite bookshop D’s Books, which had finally reopened after the holiday.
I felt tired, we left at 7.30 and didn’t get back until nearly 5, but I decided to head up to the hotel’s Sky bar anyway to read and have a beer.
I was soon approached by a woman I’ve seen around a few times. She thought she’d say hello and ask how long I’d been here and was staying for. Transpires she’s a Kiwi. She said when she saw me she thought I was Dutch or German! Anyway, she teaches privately out in the poorer towns and has done for a few years. Interesting lady. Her husband flies back to NZ tomorrow so she asked me to join her for dinner. I have often gone to the bar to seek out atmosphere but it’s been dead. Tonight I went to read quietly and there we go, I met someone new!
Tomorrow I will meet San again to help him contact the Lonely Planet and then head to the Russian markets to buy some trinkets for the kids.
I’ve been communicating with my good friend back in NZ that has been battling breast cancer. She was facing a hysterectomy, having already lost her breasts was terrified about the tests coming back that the cancer has spread. She has the all clear and is feeling great! She’s been supportive of me also with all my goings on with my home life and has already offered me a place to stay etc if things get bad. But I’m hopeful that won’t happen. I really don’t want to leave my house and children. I’m desperate to be with my family again.
So it looks like this week might not pass as slowly as I dreaded. Especially now I have books!
I intend to read myself to sleep tonight. My first book is Jodi Picoult, House Rules. Having read ‘The Storyteller’ which blew my head off and ‘The Pact’ which was sad, I figured I’ve give this a go.
So, we’ll see what tomorrow brings!
One thing is unchanging for me, Cambodia sure is a magical place. I think a lot of healing has happened for me. It’s unlike any travel experience I’ve had before.