Bamboo Train is very cool!
Trip Start Feb 21, 2010
2Trip End Feb 23, 2010
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Headed first south out of town following the river for the Bamboo Train. The train only runs once a week so the rest of the time the people that live along the tracks have invented their own form of transportation to lift on & off the tracks to move people & things easily.
Two sets of wheels looking like big dumbells are put on the track, a bamboo platform sits on top of the wheels, a motor is attached at the back that hooks onto the back wheels, a stick attached for accelerating & off you go at a great pace! Past houses, but mostly deserted fields of rice ( looking very dry & brown at this time of year) we flew by. We had to brake for the odd cow or dog on the track & I just loved sitting on the front with the wind in my face as we raced along. We slowed down for one coming the other way & as there was only me & the driver on ours & the other one had lots of people, bikes & rice we lifted ours off the track to let them pass, put it back on & then headed off in our opposite directions. We went 6km out & stopped at a drink rest stop. I wandered down a path & was shown through some brick works - big round kilns & a machine that you put the clay into that squeezes out bricks in their shape & form ready to be fired.
On the way back the young driver let me sit up the back to accelerate & brake. All good fun until I saw a cow on the track & didn't know how to stop or slow down!!! He then showed me a piece of wood to stand on that slows it all down. The track is pretty bumpy & trees & bushes grow right up close to the track. Took an hour all up & cost $8. Loved it!!!
Back on the bike, still following the river south. Right on the fertile banks way below the road crops were being grown right down to the water edge. Drove over a swaying suspension bridge to the other side to the winery. Thought it would be way too hot here to grow grapes but apparently not!
Further on was the Banan Temple on the top of a hill which is supposed to be a mini Angkor Wat ( very mini!!!) that was built in the 11th century. Walked up the 353 steps for a view over the flat surrounding countryside )... $2 entry). Next I asked the driver to take me to Phnom Sampeou ( 9km away) He drove up to the turnoff & asked for another $5. I reminded him about our agreed price & that he didn't need to have driven me today & that I had been very happy to find another driver. He was still complaining so I hopped off & crossed the road - fully prepared to find myself another driver, when he came & told me to hop back on. So annoying when they do this - he tried it a few times. At or net stop I asked these guys from Belgium that I kept bumping into what they were paying for their tuk tuk for the day & they were paying $16 & a moto is usually half the price of a tuk tuk.
Phnom Sampeou is a massive limestone hil on this flat as flat countryside with a temple on top. This has 1000 steps to climb to the top which I decided against as it was way too hot!!! I hired a moto to take me to the top for $4 & to guide me around the sights & had to pay $2 to go up. First to the Killing Fields Cave used by the Khmer Rouge in the Pol Pot era. They threw people to their deaths into this deep cave to be dashed on the rock below - their had containers of bones & skulls. The view from several points was amazing & I could see Battambang 12 km away in the distance & the dusty dirt road that we were to drive on. There was a couple of big field guns up there that the government used in trying to defend this hill & temple
It was a dusty bumpy drive home & I was covered in nasty red dust. Passed a moto accident that must have just happened as the bikes were still on the road with a bit of blood around them. No bodies as they must have already gone to hospital but a reminder of not wanting to ever be in an accident here.
Home for a shower & to wash my clothes & backpack that were filthy. Had dinner at Geckoes again & relaxed & read my book before heading back to my room just on dark. Don't think I would like walking home any later as the last couple of blocks are pretty dark.