Downpour at Battambang

Trip Start Dec 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 03, 2011


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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, January 24, 2011

The minivan pickup at 730am was delayed til 830am. Naseem unfortunately missed her 730am bus to Phnom Penh and had to repurchase a new bus ticket. It was 9am when we eventually arrived at the bus terminal and my bus to Battambang took off as soon as I had boarded with a fresh pineapple in hand. Exchanged travel stories with an English chap Kieran who sat next to me. He was travelling for six months and with a budget of 2000 pounds per month, I am sure it would be a very comfy six months.
 
Hounded by tuktuk drivers the moment we got off the bus at Battambang. All holding cards showing hotel rooms and prices. One caught my attention when he spoke english. In fact I had developed an reaction to quickly pick the most reliable person and end their touting harrassment asap. I was brought to this modern looking glazed hotel with average prices but alas with no rooms. John kindly brought me to Monorom hotel when I revealed that I preferred a cheaper room. Monorom which was old and danky, costed US$5 a night with TV but with cold water shower. Weather was hot so that worked out well. John as expected was more interested in selling me his tuktuk sightseeing services for the next day. We eventually settled for a US$13 deal to go visit an Angkorian mountain temple, a local winery and bamboo train.
 
After a quick visit to the bank and lunch at the market, I chanced upon a pretty pleasant cafe called Geckos and sat myself down for a couple of hours, sipping on tonic water and catching up on my diary. Well rested, my feet took me to an abandoned French railyard, now well taken over by the local community. Kids, some without pants (a regular occurance now but they always usually have a shirt on) greeted me happily and always ready to pose for photos. The discarded train carriage at the disused railyard was rather picturesque in its derelict rusty condition.
 
Passed a huge international school for Cambodian children and tried the Khmer version of our chinese Yong Tau Foo but in fried version. The combination of chilli and sweet sauce was nostalgic (at least to me) and it appeared to be a hugely popular snack with the locals. For only 50 cents I was sweating over from the chilli sauce. For another 50 cents, a takeaway cup of freshly crushed sugarcane juice with a slice of lemon, certainly made me a happy traveller. Along the river, a pony was getting a wash while three kids splashed about playfully nearby. A small boat then ferried a monk across, which I found bizarre, when the connecting bridge was less than 100 metres away.
 
Dinner was a soupy seafood dish with crispy noodles at a pretty popular restaurant for the locals. Surprisingly there were only a handful of food stalls in Battambang. The street stalls that I wanted to eat at were packing up when I got there at 9 pm. At least the jackfruit shake was delicious. Finished the night with a chilled beer at a nearby pub with free wifi. Unexpectedly, the sky opened for a five minute downpour, almost without a warning.
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