Today we are doing a second tour around Battambang. Vany brought us first to see Bamboo rice cooking. That reminds me the way Indonesian people do except they wrap the rice in a banana leaf before and add a banana inside as well. The main technique is similar though. Then we discovered the traditional way of making rice paper and rice liquor, we visited also some temples and pagoda.
Today we are going from Siem Reap to Battambang by boat. It’s more expensive than the bus but the view is a lot more interesting. First we caught a tuck-tuck from the guesthouse until Phnom Krom where the boats are and then enjoyed a 6-7 hours cruise through Tonlé Sap lake and on the Sangker river. Once in Battambang, we spent the rest of the afternoon visiting some temples and the surroundings like the very touristy “bamboo train”.
Aaah finally! Finally an easy day! The day started with rain but I enjoyed a long down hill. I didn’t expect that last hill coming but apart that the ride was much easier than the past two weeks. I needed that, my legs needed that :-) I’ve ended sleeping in a valley where the weather we’re more pleasant.
Today is the real Laos New Year but I don’t really realise it as there is parties every single day here. Their neighbour as cooked lots of food for us. We could barely finish everything. Every time a plate was half full she would come back to top it up. I’ve joined the Tang, Chiang and their mates to celebrate another special day as well today. There is the birthday of one of them. I’m sorry I cannot remember all the names… The one with the green t-shirt is turning 21 today (I think).
Unfortunately I’ve took some pictures today but lost all of them after a bad manipulation… The only thing I have is a tiny video I made with my phone that day, better than nothing. As planned, I met Tang, Chiang and all their chinese classmates today. They have been invited by the school academy to celebrate the Laos New Year. First, they offered a t-shirt to everyone and then we wished Happy New Year to each other by attaching a bracelet to the other person’s wrist. We do one wrist and then the other one. At the end of the day, you can end up with hundreds of bracelets on each wrist ;-) At the same time, some people distributed eggs but I could not find out why.
When that little “ceremony” was finished we sat around the table and started lunch. At this point, a woman standed up, picked up a container with water and walked around the tables. Person after person, she tapped your shoulder and then pour some fresh water in your back wishing you happy new year. The first time, it’s surprising and so cold but after a while you get use to, well, not when they put ice cubes in the water :-)
Then came the beer, the music and so on. During all the afternoon, some guy would walk around the place with a bottle of beer and make drink everyone they can. I hate beer… More I have to drink, and worse I think it is, beurk!
After 4pm we pursuited the rest of the afternoon in the river. I had a big surprise when I realised that 90% of the chinese did not know how to swim! Even in 50 cm of water they were scared. I’ve tried to explain the basics but in the river, with the current, it’s not the easier place to learn if you want to master your fear.
I’ve just realised how come we have done that much kilometres today. I did not take much pictures and the wind pushed us ;-) After two days of rest we are back on the saddle for the second part of our trip to Chiang Mai. This morning, we left Salok Bat and June behind. Kondhin cycled with us for about 10km. He said he felt good. He used to be a monk for many years and used to walk a lot around the country. He walks more than 20.000km! So today, he feels that same way, the adventure :-) Early this morning we came across a music school lesson and listened to traditional (loud) music for a moment. Then we kept on going until we stopped for lunch and a rest. Later this afternoon we pushed forward until we reach the temple for the night.
I’ve never seen that much monkeys concentrated at the same place. As planned, around 4pm, we cycled towards those spiky mountains we have seen two days ago with Pita. Kondhin chose the highway to get there. The place is not really far from Salok Bat. after the “monkey show” we watch the bat’s parade and finally came back “home”.