Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 12 - Suwan and the Tara boat..

We had a wonderful surprise at breakfast this morning.  Sitting outside, poolside enjoying breakfast when who should pop his head around the corner of the building?  Suwan.

It was fantastic to see him, but our time was so tinged with sadness.  He was able to tell us more about how Kim lost their baby 5 days before he was due.  Many tears, few answers.  His answer is so typically Buddhist “the baby did not want to stay with us.”  Kim’s mother came to stay and she is getting a little better each day.

We booked a trip on the Tara for their Tonle Sap sunset cruise.  Picked up from the hotel at 3.30 we headed out to the lake.  Our ‘tour’ group consisted of a Dutch couple, a Korean girl and 8 Aussies  - a  family of 3 from Perth, and 3 uni girls also from Perth and us. 

A stop enroute at the Gecko centre where the history and ecology of the lake were explained and then stopped at  the ‘wharf’ (for want of a better term) and onto one of the little boats before heading out.  The weather didn’t look so good, but what the hell it would be an adventure. 
Passed through the floating village – man that is some life – everything is waterborn – school, church, mosque, homes, shops and petrol station.  The boats were all in pretty rough condition and life is certainly not easy for these people. 

It started to rain as we approached the fish & crocodile farm – hardly a farm and we were not really interested but it was on the itinerary so we behaved ourselves.  Once onto this boat the rain really started to come down – probably the heaviest we’ve seein since the escapade in Ho Chi Minh City with Lauren & Ainsley in 2004.  Absolutely pelting and driven sideways by strong winds.

The usual attempts to get us to buy something at the souvenir shop, as well as small boys draped in snakes that you could photograph for $1.  What really appalled us (and the other parents on board) were the women in unseaworthy craft holding very small snotty looking kids begging for money.  The kids were sopping wet and it was quite clear they were shivering in cold.  WE were a captive audience but they didn’t get much, the storm finally abated and we left for the big boat.  The wind had whipped up qhite a chop, the trip to the Tara was very rough and we were still getting wet from the spray whipped up by the wind.  Tony had a brainwave & tried up to put up his umbrella much to the amusement of our little tour group.  Needless to say, it didn’t work.

Gives a whole new meaning to 'moving house"

When we finally got to the Tara everything on the upper deck was sopping wet so they moved us downstairs – among the renovation materials, the diesel generator and set us up some hurriedly  dried tables.  Dinner was sadly not the 3 course buffet they had advertised but individually ordered dishes.  Drinks were, however all you could drink although the 3 princesses from Perth were disappointed not to get cocktails.  They ordered a bailey’s and ice and it came as half a tumbler full.

We left the Tara only to find that the propeller of the little transport boat was fouled with weed, so Tony and his trusty torch went to the rescue.  We may have been there till dawn without it because the captain didn’t have a torch and one of his crew only had a silly little baby light on his phone.

Dropped off back at the hotel, we headed into a very wet Siem Reap that looked in parts like it had had some localised flooding.  Way fewer tourists out and we headed straight to the night market to see our favourite foot massage ladies.  A coffee at the market branch of Blue Pumpkin and we headed back to the hotel.

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