Friday, February 22, 2013

A crazy boat trip!

When I heard we were going to take a boat from Battambang to Siem Reap I was quite excited.  When I heard it was going to be 8 hours I wasn't quite as excited.  When I saw the state of the bathroom on board (a squat toilet with the boat captain having a good view of your ass apparently) I was even less excited.  (When your Cambodian tour leader looks in it and makes a face you know it's bad - only two brave souls used it)

Off we went to the dock in Battambang and got into a real old banger of a boat...  I sat on the left side (as you are looking at it from this angle)  at the back. (you will know why I said this later...) We headed out on Tonle Sap Lake which has the width of a river for most of the way and then turns into a huge lake as you approach Siem Reap.

Off we headed and at first everyone took pictures like crazy....

We waved to the kids, we took photographs and observed the river life....after ten minutes or so (okay maybe longer...!!)  we all turned to our books, music or whatever amused us.

Finally after about three hours we had a break (our only one) at a floating fishing village....the first bit of excitement....the toilets!  One for men and one for women...I assume there was no difference...

Yes we peed or the lake...not only that but there were (perverted) fish swimming around under us as we did our business.  Need I add that we left our bags or whatever outside the loo?  This was big enough for someone to fall through easily - now me, I probably would have gotten stuck but I was not taking the chance!   Anyone that was excitement galore for all of us - probably a first for all of us - doing our business on top of fish...

Shortly after we had gotten back on the boat and were carrying along the river I suddenly saw something flying through the air - a fish!!  Just a small one but it was jumping all over the floor by my feet.  Ewww..Roger quickly scooped it up and off it went sailing back in the water.  

Then it was lunch!!!  Thyda had collected five dollars from each of us and gone to the grocery store and provided an absolute feast....baguettes, baguettes with pork (pass...), Laughing Cow cheese (yes, it's there too!) and fruit. I still had sticky rice in bamboo that Thyda had told me would keep for a couple of days...alas it was not good so had to be pitched...

We then carried on down the river until we reached a small island where we visited a very colourful Buddhist temple. 

 However I think the highlight for all of us were the children that were gathering on the island.  Not sure if this was a regular hang out but there they were.  They did not ask for money - they were just hanging out and  loved looking on our screens to see their pictures. What can I say - I don't like interacting with children but I like photographing them. 

She was absolutely delighted to see her picture and squealed with delight. 

Of course the puppy was the cutest of all!!!  

Off her and the doggie went on her boat. Guess the lake side version of a bike!

Back on the boat and then disaster struck.  As we were rounding a corner our boatman sounded the horn however a boat coming the opposite way was taking the corner too wide and quickly and could not turn his boat in time.  He plowed right into the side of us.  We all screamed "Thyda" as she had been standing on the side of the boat talking to the boatman right at the location the boat hit.   Thank goodness she quickly jumped out of the way and suffered nothing but scrapes and bruises - and of course a great shock.   The accident snapped off one of the poles on the side and if someone had been sitting there it would have been very serious.  I was the closest one to the "action" and saw it all.   What was amazing as they both carried on down the river like nothing had happened!  Our boat was a real ancient piece of metal and you would have to do more to it than that.  It was certainly the other boatman's fault and I was amazed at his carelessness as he had a wife and child on board.

As we approached Siem Reap we went by another floating village.  Tourists from Siem Reap pay money to go out in boats to see this village - we barely looked at it!!!

All of a sudden there was a boat quickly approaching us from the side - to show you how freaked out I was from the accident I dove across to the other side of the boat.  A gal actually jumped in the boat - at first some of the group were thinking "pirates"!!!!    I was thinking accident!!!  Turned out the gal was selling drinks!  So a couple of the guys bought beers just because they admired her dexterity and initiative.  The boat came back and she jumped back on - holding her sizeable box of pop and beer!!!

We arrived at the dock in Siem Reap.  We had to lug our suitcases up a steep flight of stairs with NO bannisters.  I knew I could not do it without falling so luckily one of the fellows on our tour did it for me. Oh I felt so old and decrepit.

Back on dry land and our water adventure over with!!! 

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