My time in Cambodia is quickly coming to a close, and I have been scurrying around trying to get in everything I want to do before leaving the Kingdom. Some of the highlights from the last couple weeks include…

Battambang: I travelled to Battambang a couple weekends ago, and boy is it different from Siem Reap. It is the second largest city in Cambodia (after Phnom Penh), but very few tourists and foreigners. A friend connected me with a friend of hers, so I had a place to stay and some folks to show me around which was great. The highlights of the weekend included riding the bamboo train and going to an all out birthday party.

The bamboo train is one of the oldest ways of transporting goods in Cambodia. Now, it’s used as a tourist attraction and will be completely dismantled within the next year, as a railway is being built between Bangkok to Phnom Penh. The major plus of the bamboo train is that there does not need to be two tracks for opposing directions. When an oncoming cart arrives, you simply stop, and pick up your cart and let the other pass. The cart with the least amount of weight is the one that has to move.

Oncoming carts - least amount of people or weight has to move out of the way

The train goes about 25 km, but it seemed much faster

Battambang, Cambodia

Later that night I cleaned up and joined Megan and her friends and colleagues for a birthday celebration. She’s working for the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, and it was the Director’s big birthday bash. It was quite an elaborate party, with women wearing dresses reminiscent of high school proms! Many even changed half way through the night! It was a fun night of dancing, meeting new people, and even keeping the night going late at the local disco club after the party ended.

Battambang birthday party

Beautiful!

Under dressed for the evening?

The following weekend, all the girls I met came to Siem Reap for the weekend. Although I didn’t have a fancy party to bring them to, we continued to have a good weekend. On Saturday morning I ventured out on a nice mountain bike I rented to Wat Knang Phnom Kron. The wat is about an hour outside Siem Reap (on bicycle), on top of the closest thing that resembles a mountain in the area (although it was paved pathway the whole way up), and overlooks Tonle Sap lake and the floating village of Chong Kneas. It was a very enjoyable ride through several villages, and a nice view from the top. Tonle Sap is just enormous, and looks as though it’s an ocean.

Love this

Look closely and you'll notice on the horizon Tonle Sap lake

Heading down to the bottom

Buddhas

Goodbyes have started, and I do not like them. I will spend a few more hours in the office next week, but my official last day was this Friday, and my goodbye dinner was this week as well.

Women's Resource Center staff, Rathana (TL), Pisey and son Sokdean (TR), Sokleang (BL), me and Sothy (BR)

Goodbyes also have to happen with the great group of folks I’ve been living with this summer. Construction of a new restaurant and general common area outside our hostel was completed this week, so we had a party!

Chonley and Simbath

Chonley and I

My Jasmine Family

Australia, Japan, Italy, Cambodia, USA, France and Korea!

I am in Phnom Penh now, and will explore the Grand Palace and the National Museum in the morning. In the afternoon I will visit the S21 Museum and go to the Killing Fields, where I’ve been told I’ll see images that will stay with me forever. I’ll be back to Siem Reap on Sunday, wrap up things at work and around the town on Monday and head out Tuesday. Look for one more post on my final thoughts between now and then!

 

 

 

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