Trip Start Sep 05, 2006
37Trip End Ongoing
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A combination of shallow rivers and a still overloaded boat caused us to frequently get stuck in mud. Eventually the river narrowed enough to warrant stopping and changing over, somehow, to an even smaller boat that chugged its way along the Sanker river to the town. The uncomfortable and, at times, worrying ride was redeemed by a blissful few hours spent on the roof, legs dangling over the edge as we passed small fishing villages in the morning sun
Evidence of Cambodia's awful recent history is everywhere. My driver Thean, who was himself born in a Thai refugee camp, took me to Phnom Sampean, a temple used as a prison by the Khmer Rouge. Next to it are eerie caves where Cambodians were tied up before being thrown to their deaths. At the bottom is a container of human bones gathered at the site. Thean was visibly distressed at being there. Actually, he is proof of the sorry state the country is still in; he had to stop every few steps to catch his breath because of a chest problem - possibly asthma. He's only 25 but struggles like an old man. The few doctors that are in the country are too expensive for him to visit. To cap it off, we narrowly missed a car and skidded off the road on his motorbike. I was unharmed but Thean was left with a limp that he struggled not to show, as he had attempted to do with his breathing, stopping every few paces to ostensibly talk about the local area.