Road through hell
Kampi Rapids – outdoor water playground
Almost extinct – Irriwaddy dolphins
My private monk
Unintended party crashers
What a day… from death to wedding…
Cycling around an island
Being invited in
We are having a late lunch at the restaurant at the docks and use their wifi to arrange for our next leg of the day trip. Our tuktuk assigns someone else, equally nice and courteous. We are mentally prepared for another of those bumpy, dusty remorque tuktuk rides. It doesn’t hold my friend back from falling asleep somewhere during the ride. We stop at a palm-sugar-farmer. I didn’t even knew this existed. It is extremely sweet and fatty. Not my thing. The farmer is much more interesting. He is 70 years old and speaks fluent French.
It is weird hearing an elderly Cambodian man speak French. The picture doesn’t fit the sound. He was thought French at school back in the days. That was normal when he grew up, teaching in schools was in French. You could hear the melancholy in his voice… everything seemed better organized and safer back then. This all changed when the Red Khmer came to power. They didn’t know he was a teacher, nor that he spoke French… that would have been his dead sentence. Some friends of him were able to flee towards Vietnam, others didn’t make it. Horrible and incomprehensible. It is a very intriguing talk with this man. He is so happy to speak French again, it has been years, decades since he was able to have such a lenghty and indepth discussion in French. I am flattered and see his eyes sparkle. OK, I’m going to ask and tell him he doesn’t need to feel pressured and we do really understand if he doesn’t feel like it and we apology in advance if we offend him by asking… “Could you please show us around in your home?”. “Bien sûre! Suivez-moi!” I see his adult daughter saying something to him. I joke to my friend that I am pretty sure she now says to her dad that they didn’t have time to clean up the clutter. I check with our host, and indeed! This is what the discussion was about! Aren’t we all the same? It is a nice and spacious home made out of wood. The only clutter to be found is in the room of the 15 year old grand daughter. Also this looks familiar… just my daughter. There is not that much furniture and the bathroom didn’t get installed. I learn that life is hard here. They live from day to day, ensuring enough food on the table and saving a little bit to create a better future for their children and grand children. As a former teacher he knows exactly what a difference a good education can make in someone’s life.
All to ourselves – 100 pillar pagoda
We say goodbye to the family and make our way to the 100 Pillar Pagoda. What a nice place, again guarded by a monk community, but they seemed busy with their evening plans when we get there. This is really the middle of nowhere and you sometimes ask yourself who got the idea to build this complex right here and why? We are literally the only ones circling around the place. This makes it extra special, add the lovely colors, the gold everywhere, the setting sun to the mix and you can imagine we feel a bit bedazzled.
Wow, another day full of impressions, extremes and things to think about. This trip is definitely living up to our expectations. On our way back with the tuktuk we avoid being pulled into weddings as we are still not in the right dress code, and close our mouth to avoid swallowing too many protein.