Monday, 1 April 2013

Circus in Battambang!

We arrived in Battambang at 6.30am and a lovely tuk tuk guy called David took us to our hotel, hassle free! Luckily Chaya hotel had our room ready so we checked in and went to bed until 11am as we’d not got much sleep what with the change in Phnom Penh and all the stops along the way dropping off locals.

David had told us to ring him if we decided we wanted to do the bamboo train and temples today but we were too tired for sightseeing so instead told him we’d take him up on his offer of a full day tour tomorrow. So we went for food (stopping along the way for me to puke up in  side-alley as I’d completely forgotten the consequences and had taken my Doxi (Malaria tabs) on an empty stomach – the effects of which I’d already felt in India so knew all too well that the only way to feel better, is to get rid of it! Classy bird that I am.

Had lunch in a cafe down the road, then went to visit the old French-era train station, that the Khmer rouge shut down (the clock still remains frozen at 8.02 when it was abandoned) took some pictures, then went for some drinks and ice cream to escape the oppressive heat. We then went for food, met David at our hotel to sort out tomorrow and booked tickets to the Circus tonight. It was a circus put on by Phare Ponleu Selpak School an arts school for disadvantaged children. It had been set up in 1994 at a Thai refugee camp for the children still suffering or left orphaned from the Khmer Rouge and now those children teach the students that attend the school. It’s all funded by donations and helps children whose families can’t afford to send them to school, or orphaned children etc.

David took us there for cheaper than what our hotel were quoting. It was pretty damn fantastic, for their ages these children had some serious circus talents! The show lasted an hour, then we just came back to the hotel and chilled as we have an early morning on our tour of Battambang and the countryside tomorrow – 8am ouch!

We planned to have a quick city tour in the morning, then onto some local villages – mushroom farms, meet local villagers, winery, then the bamboo train. Then return to Battambang for lunch, before heading out to the temples – one of which is the Killing Caves – where the Khmer Rouge killed yet more people by bludgeoning them and throwing them into the cave, there are still land mines there so you have to have a guide take you through. Apparently every evening at 5.30pm (or sunset) millions of bats fly out of the caves, which according to our David is a spectacular sight, so we won’t be missing that one!

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