Adieu, Cambodia

This morning I rode a tuk-tuk with all my luggage on the dusty, crowded road to the Phnom Penh International Airport (it’s small but quite modern). Now I’m in a nice hotel on Dong Khoi Street, in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). It’s Saturday night, and I’m looking forward to not needing to pack and haul my backpack anywhere for a whole week!

During the airplane’s descent, the city looked gigantic, endless, infinite — but here and there, padi fields and other farmlands broke up the patchwork of roofs, which appeared to be mostly corrugated steel.

Photos uploaded tonight are from Day 4 of my trip with Intrepid Travel, which was May 20. (The trip lasted 15 days, including the arrival and departure days.) That was the day we rode on motorbikes to some kampungs around Battambang, which is northwest of Phnom Penh.

Woman making rice paper crepes

Making rice paper crepes: If you like Vietnamese summer rolls, you know exactly what these are. The heat from these two griddles is hellish. The fire is fueled by rice husks. The black, burned husks are later spread in the fields as fertilizer.

Making fish paste

Making fish paste: Oh, this was nasty. We heard that fish paste lends a special flavor that Cambodians yearn for when they live abroad, but like seeing sausage being made, this process is not for the faint-hearted (or those with a delicate nose).

Boy with homemade skateboard

Homemade skateboard: What made this remarkable was that I saw almost no toys among Cambodian children. This boy’s wheel assemblies sometimes detached themselves from the board. He would patiently re-attach them and then continue riding, steering with the string.

Roads with holes

Roads with holes: This was far from the worst section of the road leading to the mountain, which I described in an earlier blog post.

More photos from Battambang here.

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