Banlung

Trip Start May 01, 2006
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82
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Trip End Apr 30, 2007


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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Saturday, February 3, 2007

Travel experiences don't come much more interesting than this. The Ratanakiri Province, in Northeastern Cambodia, is a beautiful rural part of the country overlooked by most travellers who just seem Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. There's a bumpy but improving road that gets you there in 6 hours from Kratie. We paid for a shared taxi. A very shared taxi. To be precise, our Toyota Corolla contained 6 Khmer adults, 2 Khmer children, 3 small birds, me and Brian. That's 10 people and 3 birds in a saloon car for 6 hours.

Once there, we checked out the beautiful local crater lake and some waterfalls, cycled through the rubber plantations and shouted "hello" to about a million Khmer children.

Next we went on a 3-day trek with a local guide, Narin. He took us into the jungle, showed us how to catch fish with a net, how to cook rice in bamboo and how to get scratched to pieces by brambles! We slept in the jungle and trekked onwards the next day to a Krang village. The Krang are one of 7 or so ethnic minorities in this region. The village was a centre for rice and cashew nut farming. After arriving we went down to the river for a wash and then took a walk around the village. Within a few minutes we were invited into a house by some local men. They offered us rice wine and chatted to us (Narin translated) about all sorts of stuff. They were pretty drunk when we arrived. We were all drunk when we left!

Afterwards, we bought two chickens from a local woman and Narin showed us how to kill them. I've killed fish before with Dad, but never anything larger. But I do think it would be a little hypocritical for a carnivore such as myself not to be willing to kill an animal when required. We tied the feet of the chicken together, crouched and lightly stepped on the feet and one wing of the chicken, held the head with one hand and cut the neck with a knife. Job done.

Actually it was pretty scary and a very strange experience. But on the plus side, the chicken was pretty tasty.
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