Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bamboo train, appearing on Cambodian TV and the Killing Cave.

Its been such a good day I wanted to devote a special Blog Post to it..

We are absolutely knackered, but we have done so much today and it is all here......

On our night out in Battambang, we sat and watched the Liverpool V Arsenal game in a nice bar where we met a couple of other travellers. He was a Kiwi and she was a German. A nice couple though and we swapped travel tales and hints and tips on Vietnam, Thailand and various other places. After the match we went for dinner and found a nice little café bar where we ate and were accosted by a local 3 year old kid!! He turned up with a telephone and ended up drinking my fanta and terrorising us at our table before his mum turned up and sent him to bed! Honestly though, he was a really good kid and apart from drinking my drink it was really funny for half an hour as he ran rings around us as we ate dinner.

We started our next day at 10am when we met Dave, our tuk tuk driver – we didn’t know what to expect from the day but it was absolutely brilliant!

First we stopped at a roundabout where a 12m high statue sits watching the traffic, This is a good luck statue and the locals always go there when they want good luck. They leave it water, bananas and strangely chicken and duck as a gift!. When we were there, there were students there that were hoping for good exam results. 
Good luck

Next- the bamboo train. Not really a train, but more of a set of wheels with a bamboo frame on top, powered by a small Honda engine. The 'train' takes you about 6km up a straight track, where if it meets another 'train', the one with the smallest load, literally gets taken apart and moves out of the way while the other one passes. It is ace! At about 30mph, you certainly know you are moving!! 
On the bamboo train

Letting someone else pass....Brilliant!!

and back onto the track.....haahaa!
At the end of the track we were met by some local kids who showed us around where they live and the brick factory that dominates their little village. We were climbing up the hot brick kilns and messing about with the brick dust and an old truck with the kids for ages. We stopped though when they wanted us to follow thm into a 2 foot deep rice paddy field! They did however bring us some rice and show us how they eat it before we had to leave and travel back on the train. It was hot hot hot by now so I got myself a 1$ scarf thing that I could wrap around my burning head!

Withe the kids on an old brick truck - I bloody hate kids!! honest...haahaa they were cool though and very bright.
Nikki on top of a kiln

Inside one of the cooler kilns - sunlight shining in...
Our next stop was a winery, where the very first Cambodian wine is being made. We had a look around the grapevines and had a taste of the wine, brandy, honey and ginger juice and the grape juice, when we noticed a local TV film crew. They saw us and asked if we would do an interview for Cambodian TV – So with Dave as our translator we spoke for about 20 minutes with the interviewer and eventually got our wine tasting for free!! We also met 2 Cambodian soldiers who kept saluting us and toasting our health.
One of the film crew....

Me and the cambodian military~!!

With Dave our translator/driver and the cameraman!!

The day continued with a visit to a temple atop a hill that had 309 steps to the top. This temple is older than Angkor Wat and you can see the resemblance, although it is a lot smaller. At the top there were also signs stating that there were still mined areas all around us after the recent wars in the late 1900's.
Yours??? No, its MINE!!

Older than Angkor Wat

Finally we visited a village at the bottom of a hill, where the infamous killing cave is. This is a cave where the Khmer Rouge used to take their victims and literally drop them the 30 feet or so into a cave and leave them to die. This was on the 1970's and one of the guides up was kidnapped at the time, but was lucky enough to never have visited the killing cave. We were shown around by an 8-9 year old lad wearing a Man United top, but who knew all about the history of the place and was quite at home showing us the glass case filled with the real skulls and bones of some of the 10000 victims killed here. It was a sobering place to visit, but also a very special one.

A painting showing what happened in the Killing cave

The cave, where the people were thrown/pushed in.


The sunlight shining into the cave - the hanging cloth is made up of the clothing of the dead

At the top of the hill we had a great view over the valley and towards the town and as we could see a curtain of rain heading towards us we jumped back into or Jeep (We were too lazy to walk up the mile or so in this heat) and went back down to where Dave was waiting. He took us back into town and dropped us off at our hotel.
Our cool little guide to The Killing Cave

The rain approaches....

The hill where the Killing cave is...Spectacular

So all in one day we rode a bamboo train, went to a winery and appeared on Cambodian TV and visited a chilling place that has become a reminder of the recent past of this fabulous country. Its been a really really good day and one we wont forget. I am absolutely knackered now but wanted to write this all down while it is fresh in my mind.

Our transport for the day with 'Dave', our ace driver/tour guide/translator!!

If you want to know more about the killing cave there is a good article here.....

All the pictires from today are found here....

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