Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy Khmer New Year!

As sort of a dessert for our stay in Cambodia, we came to experience some crazy nights while celebrating the Khmer New Year (officially 13th to 15th April) with local and true Khmer people. Basically everyone goes crazy, people eat and drink a lot, dress well and then throw white powder at each other. It feels like being in this new Sony commercial, showing the colour festival in India. As Cambodia cannot afford colours, its just white here. But its good, for once we were not the only white guys anymore and we can say that we truly arrived in Cambodia.

The last days in brief: We left Battambang and headed south. Stopped in Krakor (literally in the middle of no-where) and hired some local guys to bring us on the back of their scooters to the floating village of Kompong Luong. Unlike other ''floating villages'', Kompong Luong is really floating. Depending on the season (dry or wet) the village is 39 to 45 km away from Pursat, the next bigger town. Kompong Luong is consisting out of a Cambodian and Vietnamese part, overall approximately 200 houses, tied together and floating freely on the Tonle Sap lake. A local guy took us on the  boat through this incredible place. We saw the school, post office, police station and a crocodile farm - everything floating. Many inhabitants of Kompong Luong were happy to see us, probably not many tourists make it to this very remote and impressive place.
The above picture shows parts of Kompong Luong and me, sitting on a crocodile cage. 
After visiting the floating village, another crazy mini-bus ride took us to Phnom Penh, where we spent some remarkable days of lots of good food, impressive history and legendary nights. I shall at this point come back to my earlier promise and post a picture of some classical Cambodian-style electric installation:

Some of these also make scary noises and are used as high-lines by  monkeys
We did not only taste eel, ants, beetles, raw-eggs and crickets in Phnom Penh; we also searched for some cultural experiences of a sad kind and therefore visited and ancient Khmer Rouge prison and a killing field. It is terrible what happened at those places only some 30 year ago. Only seven prisoners survived the horrible torture at ''Station 21'' (out of some 20'000), one of them was present that day and we could talk to him with the help of a translator. He survived only due to his skills as a mechanic, the Khmer Rouge needed him to fix their typewriters... We had a deep and telling conversation with him and drove back in our TukTuk, without speaking much.
Later that day we were disappointed by humanity once more; we met two typical Australians who told us about ''their best experience ever'' - they payed $700 to shoot on a cow with a bazooka! There is no moral philosophy that justifies this behavior in any way. We were offered the same programme by drivers as well, but we declined gratefully without regret. There is much to do and lots to experience when you travel, but some things are just wrong and you should simply not do them - even when you can afford it and think you are a bad-ass back in Australia.

Now, we are in Sihanoukville, south coast of Cambodia. For the first time we have not 35 to 40 degrees anymore, its raining cats and dogs - a refreshing change.  What did not change are the inappropriate offerings, the littering issue, the disgustingly old sex tourists and the fact that everything is available for ''one dollaa''.

Next destination Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh - where the cats taste delicious, we were told, I will keep you posted ;)

stay horny, GH

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