I hate Cambodia
Feb 1, 2005
|For those of you that maybe feel that after my last blast on Thailand, surely there could be no more venom left for another south east asian country. Think again sportsfans.
This country has the lowest level of poverty I have ever seen.
We hopped on our bus at the hotel and were told we were going to the river to catch a boat up to Battambang. Here's me having lovely visions of a white painted cruiser, laying back on the sun deck reading a book.
The first indication should have been the smell. I mean I was nearly throwing up from the stench. I had to cover my mouth with my hat (which is a game move after four weeks of constant sweating)to stop myself hurling and fight through banana and apple sellers to get to the craft. I will call it "the craft" because boat is too good a term for this rotting filthy noisy floating bit of scrap wood they threw us on.
The first thing to get at me was it's stability. I am sure that the natural movement of faecal matter thorough my digestive tract would have made this thing list from port to starboard by 450,00 degrees!!!
Then came the noise. The "engine" of this demented beast was situated about three feet from me. They had expertly covered it with the cambodian version of plywood. Great sound proofing
The guy steering this craft to definate doom also liked to rev the absolute crap out of it every time. The noise was so loud I knew I needed hearing protection. It was dangerous. After stuffing my ear canals with tissue paper I then got the shits with the whole fucking operation.
The river stank. Later on when I got my grandparent diarrhoea (which you will hear about) I realised what the smell was. Humal Faecal Material otherwise known as sewearge or simply shit. Hundreds of families lived alon the river fishing it to death on a never ending quest for food and capital.
They rely on the river for income and food. They rely on the river for water. Problem is they also just piss and crap into the river as well as washtheir dishes and themselves in it.
Beyond the noise, heat, persistent stomach cramps and the smell it was good. All the young kids wave when you go past. I mean all of them. They come sprinting out of thier little thatched huts and run along side the river waving like a drowning person in the throws of an epileptic fit (no offence to epileptics)
The tour guid had mentioned that we may need to walk a small amounnt. The tour guide and the boat operators had not even bothered to check out wether the river was passable before we started our journey.
We were getting boged all the time and we had to sit out on the front of this piece of floating cardboard to bring the prop out of the water.
The sun was beating down and the push pole was snapped in half.
We got to a point where they told us we would have to get out and hump for a while. We did all except for Jez who had a big night out the night before and was incapable of normal speech let alone walking thorugh the cambodian countryside in searing heat and 95% humidity.
We asked the tour guide how far we would have to walk and he gave us the typical "yes yes"
response Cambodians are famous for and the said when the river was bigger.
Ask a question of a cambodian and you get yes yes as response. Ask foir the difference betwen two cats and you get a yes yes response. It is all about saving face.
Saving face may look good in oriental ninja films but it's practicality in normal life is useless.
By saying yes yes they are saying they know the answer. But really they don't but can't let you know because they have to save face. I am nowing asking for a petition to be foremd banning the practice of saving face to be allowed ever in Australia.
It will lead to inumerable homicides and suicides if we don't curb it now!!
Anyway, I digress. So with everyone strolling along the river we got to look close hand at the Cambodian way of life. quite a step back in time until you see the TV erial sticking out of a small thathed hut that does not even have a proper roof let alone air con or sliding french doors.
So we get to Battambang. What a watse of time and effort it was to put up with ten hours on the maritime equivalent of a two dollar watch.
The river water was evn used by the townspeople. You just had to look into the bowl of the toilet and this was evident.
So the stomach pains have continued and strated geting worse. A lot worse.
Bit worried because they are not localised to any area and there is no acompanying diarrhoea or anything to explain it
Oh well, next stop, Bangkok