Trip Start Aug 03, 2007
134Trip End Aug 01, 2008
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After leaving Siem Reap the road passed through pleasant countryside, with little shacks, on stilts alongside the road, often with pools of muddy water below them. The countryside was rice paddies dotted with various palms and fruit trees. The asphalt ran out and we were bouncing up and down on a dirt track, on top of an embankment, out to the port. Apparently the entire port changes location as the lake levels rise and fall with the wet and dry seasons. As we got closer to the port, men started running towards and then alongside the tuk-tuk. By the time we stopped, a large crowd had gathered around us and hands were grasping at our packs
The ferry to Battambang looked nothing like the pictures on the billboards or the ticket. It was a narrow wooden vessel with a huge tractor engine about 2/3 of the way down and the steering column of a Toyota truck in front. Rather than comfy seats, as promised, there were two wooden benches running down the inside of the boat with a narrow corridor separating them. Our backpacks were stowed underneath the benches and we sat down. By 7 am the boat was full and we expected to leave on time. Three Cambodian passengers hopped on board and were given tiny plastic seats which were placed in the narrow corridor. By 8 am the Cambodians had been kicked off and about 15 more Western passengers placed on board. The boat was now ridiculously overcrowded. Luggage and passengers clogged the corridor and there were ten of us on each of the two benches which really should have just had six. There were no lifejackets. Another potential passenger, after seeing the condition we were in, simply refused to get on the boat. With what followed that was the best decision she ever made.