Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pig on the track!

Pig on the track!
This blog is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, as the connections are so bad. I cannot upload photos and yet again I have written a nice chatty blog which has disappeared.



Anyway, I will try again...

This is the rail track for the main line between Battambang and Phnom Penh, where a train runs up or down once a day, the rest of the time the track being put into use for local transport with the bamboo trains, as described earlier.

We decided to take the bus down as it would take half teh amount of time, six hours instead of twelve. We were advised to take GST, as they had the best safety record and we were told we would be travelling in air conditioned comfort. Well, at least we left reasonably on time and had a safe but noisy journey, the driver blaring his very loud and shrill horn at any poor sod also wishing to use the road. We passed through another very flat landscape of rice paddies and sugar palms, punctuated by villages and occasional towns, with their co.ourful pagodas, petrol stations, dusty markets, hoards of school children on bicycles, the odd water buffalo walking through the streets and so on. The nearer we came ot the capital, the more town we saw, the less countryside, the amount of traffic (mostly motorbikes) increased, as did the amount of fumes. This showed very clearly how economic progress and development leads ot environmental degredation and lack of sustainability, something I might write about later.

Anyway, we arrived in the capital, where the streets were totally overcrowded with motorbikes and many people wore face masks to protect themselves from the fumes. We went off with a French chap we had met on teh bus to the backpackers area near a lake at the back of the railway station, a little off the beaten track, and a real backpackerts haunt. There was no place at the guest hosue we first tried which was just a swell as it was run by a rather distateful looking Frenchman with a pigtail and a bad attitude, who served his guests croque monsieur. Instead we tried the placve next door and obtained a smelly shack with a fan for four dollars a night onm the promise that we could move into one of the lakeside bungalows the next day. Still not too sure about the place.... espcially as when we arrived at the bar area, a dfeck built over the lake with a lovely cool breeze our fellow young guests were watching an MTV-type yoof programme full of expletives at full blast. Hmmmm....

We left for a walk around town after a drink of tea, so begining our adventures in Phnom Penh. Strange to finally be ina place one has heard so much about since the American war in the early 1970's, a place infdeed wjhich was almost emptied of all of its inhabitants by the evil Pol Pot, less than thirty years ago. A visit to the genocide museum at Toul Sleng is a must.

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