Before we had headed off to the circus last night we had organised with Chantha a tuk tuk tour of the sights around Battambang. Our plan for the day was to eat breakfast, head out to the bamboo train, the winery (the only one in Cambodia), a famous wat (older than Angkor Wat), the killing caves and the bat caves.
The morning began with an absolutely beautiful local breakfast made by the family we were staying with. It was like an omelet with pork, fresh greens and mint and a yummy peanut sauce served with fresh hot green tea. A delicious way to start the day. So far our food experience in Battambang has been divine!
There are 2 main reasons why people visit Battambang. One is for the circus and the other is for the bamboo train. Off we headed for the bamboo train, stopping on the way to see the statue of the ‘man and his stick’ for which Battambang is named after. There is lots of talk that soon the bamboo train will no longer be in existence. I really hope this is not true as I had an amazing little trip and loved the strangeness of it all. We get to the bamboo train ‘station’, pay our fare and get shown to our ‘carriage’. As we are about to embark our train, Chantha comes running over with the cushioned part of his tuktuk seat to make our journey a more comfortable one. On we hope ………. but not for long. You see the bamboo train railway is only one track! The etiquette is that which ever ‘carriage’ has the least amount of people on it must disembark! I also came to the conclusion that if the two trains have the same amount of people on it then it is the outgoing train that must disembark. Sarah and I disembark and it is fine as it is a bit of a novelty and we can take some photos of the surroundings! The floor/seat of the train is removed from the wheels, then the wheels. Of course the other train driver helps and anybody else who is around. Off the other carriage goes and we are back on track (pardon the pun!!). This does happen more than once and the novelty wears off a little but it is still a novelty. The little train actually gets quite a speed up and one must be very careful not to get a good whack from the trees on the side!!!
On arrival at our destination comes and we disembark for a rest and a look around. There are 2 or 3 stores vying for your attention to stop and have a drink. Sitting down we begin talking to the owner of the store. He is very proud of his new awnings and roof. He is also very proud of the children who go to school and learn well! These children begin to adorn Sarah and I with jewelry made out of coconut tree leaves. The pieces are intricate and we encourage them to show us how to make something. I am shown how to make a star and after a few false starts I manage to complete one. It does not look as nice as hers but I am proud of my efforts!!! Soon it is time to get back on the train and head ‘home’.
Our trip home had no ‘disembarkments’ but we did manage to pick up a couple of Khmer ‘hitchhikers’ who got a lift with us!!!