“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

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Travelling back to Phnom Penh on last day of tour

Woke with a sore head at 3am and then 5am and then finally at 7am just before the alarm. No power meant no coffee, no aircon and no fan in the room, but thankfully I had cooled down quite a bit after my heat collapse last night.
The Cambodian Crouch
Eric arrived in a large air conditioned car at 8am and we set off shortly after. Sitting in the back of a car is never a great experience for me and so I tried to sleep through it which would have worked had the driver not spent the majority of the 4 hour journey leaning on his horn. Thankfully we stopped a couple of times to break it up. The first was at a Buddha factory (more like a roadside village where most people made Buddha's in their front gardens). It was stupidly hot again and I managed to walk around a few of the "factories" before giving up and getting back in the car. I think I have seen enough Buddha statues to last me a lifetime now.
The second stop was mainly for lunch, but it was a place where the locals hold a small market selling all kinds of weird and wonderful fried creatures that I had to have explained to me by a 13 year old girl called Soraya. Her English is fantastic and she said she goes to school every day and then comes after school to the market to sell fruit to make money for her family. She took me round and told me what all the goods were including whole deep-fried quails and their eggs, tarantulas (live ones in buckets and also deep-fried in chilli), there were fruits of all kinds and sweets made of rice, sugar and chilli. Dried bananas, frogs and crickets, enormous cockroaches in garlic and sugar as well as sticky rice bundles and elaborately cut mangos on sticks. I tried a palm fruit that I watched a lady cut out with a machete, and eventually bought Soraya's miniature bananas as a thank-you for her interesting mini-tour.
Mum and I decided we had had enough at this point. The heat was incredible. So we suggested to Eric that we go straight to the hotel when we got to Phnom Penh rather than visit the Cham Muslim community as planned. Eric also had to make the return journey back to Siem Reap ready for a 430am start tomorrow with new clients. So we found the Plantation Spa hotel and sat poolside for a last beer with him before he headed off and we went to do a bit of shopping at the Russian market in town. Sad to be over, but in a way glad to be over too, because now we can enjoy a full day tomorrow to rest before returning home to the cold and the frost on Saturday. And what a place to rest - the hotel is incredible with poolside bar, poolside beds complete with standing fans and a friendly "Bar Captain" called Soran. But why wait til tomorrow....? it seemed a shame not to sample one of her cocktails as soon as possible - our first of the trip.

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