“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Floating on the Tonle Sap

If I am to attempt a decent amount of sleep, then I have 20 minutes to get the blog written, upload photos, check email and get prepared for tomorrow - this trip is amazing, but very full on. It feels like we don't stop. Today we got up at 5am aiming for breakfast at 6am, but chef wasn't awake, so we eventually got some anaemic toast and coffee at 630 and set off at 7am. All was not lost though as we spent 2 incredible hours on a boat going up and down the river shooting life in the floating villages. Fascinating, challenging and very frustrating. The boats were either going too fast or facing the wrong way but more often than not we were simply too far away.
Back to the hotel for a speed-shower and check out before driving further north a couple of hours to Pursat for lunch. Then another 2 hours to Battambang famous for its' killing caves and yet another Buddha temple. A hot trek to the top on foot and we were chatting with monks, shooting portraits and learning more about Buddhism and what it means to Cambodians - which it would seem is not the same as it means to other Buddhists around the world. This monk we found horizontal on top of the mountain smoking opiates through a rolled up palm leaf! I guess that's one way to reach true enlightenment. By the time we got back down the mountain, the light was fading and as we know, with dusk comes bats. Well I have to say I have never seen so many bats in all my life - either on TV or in person... it was a moment I think even Sir David's jaw would have dropped.
We had just reached the mini-van, hot, sweaty and extremely desperate for beer when we looked up and tens of thousands of bats were spewing out of a cave entrance in the rock half way up the mountain. We stood mesmerised as they produced what I can only describe as the kind of murmur we see starlings perform each Autumn from under Brighton Pier - truly incredible.... and then of course the smell hit us and it was time to leave. Something that will stay with me forever - the photo simply doesn't do it justice.
A gorgeous meal at the Gecko Cafe in Battambang in the evening before returning to the lovely Khemara I hotel and our air conditioned room. Awesome day indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Talk about getting high..a monk on a mountain smoking dope!!!! Top that!!!
    Amazing blog. Thank you.
    Leny x