Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 14 ... Off to Batambang

Booked tickets on the 10.30 bus to Battambang, collected at the hotel by minibus just after 10.  Got to the bus station about 10.15, got on the bus about 10.25, bus got going 11.05, bus stopped to pick up additional passenger 11.08, bus stopped again for additional passenger 11.12.  Stopped in Sisaphon for toilet stop about 12 and arrived at the Battambang bus station about 1.30.

The land is pancake flat and covered in rice paddies. Among the paddies we could see what looked like strips of plastic.  I realised they were not some Khmer version of scarecrows, because the other night coming home from the river we'd seen blue fluro lights which the guide had told us were cricket catchers.  Crickets are a fast food here and you can see vendors with baskets of fried crickets for sale all over the place.  This is one Khmer food I have no intention of trying!

 Our bus driver must have been related to the one we had last year coming back from Kep to Phnom Penh because his hand was pretty much taped to the horn as well.  His overtaking skills had to be experienced too.  We passed a truck – the bigger you are the more you overtake, and the bigger you are the more right of way you have, but getting this close to a truck was a first.

 We were pretty sure how tuk tuk drivers would work here and were right, but I don’t think the 4 pretty young English girls who were also on the bus knew what hit them.  These tuk tuk drivers are worse than those we encountered in PP last year, waving laminated pricelists in our faces.  We ended up picking the quiet one who was the least aggressive.

Au Caberet Vert is lovely. Six bungalows and a main building which houses reception, the bar and the restaurant.  They also have a lovely pool which is sand/reed filtered which looks very inviting.

We walked into town for a bit of an explore – Battambang is a strange town, and although it is getting an increasing number of tourists, does not seem to be that bothered in catering for them.  Few restaurants, no street signs (the streets are numbered 1, 1 ½ , 2, 2 ½ , 3 and so on running parallel with the river).  We walked to the river, crossed the new bridge and headed back up towards town through a lovely riverside parl.  The sky was darkening and before long we knew we needed to take shelter.  Ducked into the first little restaurant we could find for a late lunch and to wait out the storm.  The photos do not do it justice, it was equally as loud as the one on the lake a couple of nights earlier, but at least we were dry.

Still looking for some tourist info we headed for the Bus Stop Guesthouse – run, according to Lonely Planet by a friendly Aussie.  This proved to be true, Tony had a beer and I had an iced coffee as we chatted with this bloke.  Organised a tuk tuk tour for tomorrow, details of which, and the sights we want to see are to be worked out with the driver when he picks us up at 9.30am.  It seems Lauren & Liz may have battered a gin bottle at the Bus Stop in March – his/our descriptions matched, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of his memory – will have to check that one with her.

Back to the Caberet for a shower before heading out again for dinner.  Ended up at the Angkor Thom restaurant round the corner from the Bus Stop – meal only so-so, probably wouldn’t return, but this is the first meal we’ve had in 2 weeks that has not been fantatic – put it down to poor choices on our part rather than poor food on theirs.

B 9.30pm almost all of Battambang is asleep so we headed home to the internet and the tv.

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