Battambang=More travelling less writing
Which is as it should be.
I really like the vibe here. It is at the same time chill and bustling, alive, eclectic and there are all sorts of interesting folks. I have been trying to put my finger on it over the last day or so, and can only conclude that this is one of those confluent places where people of all walks meet.
Street art and book cafes are burgeoning. I found the beginnings of a local bicycle collective type space in the form of The Battambang Bike and enjoyed chatting with Tha a young Cambodian who is currently running the operation solo. Last night the Cambodian Space Project played 2 concerts, fusing Cambodian vocals with Californian surf rock and other cheesy 70s styles. They were really good but ugh cheesy 70s music. Had an enjoyable conversation with Kyle and Francis tall hippie yoga dudes who are on vacation from the university of Edinburgh. They are on the end of a loop around SE Asia, spending a week volunteering here repaving some walkways at a local school before heading home. Also hooked up with Millie and Coby, from England and SF respectively, and hopefully we will be able to get together and do some exploring later.
The town itself is a bustling hub, surrounded by local villages lining the rivers. It is more annoyingly touristy than I was expecting. Lots of rabid hassling by tuktuk drivers, especially at the bus station. It is getting hard not to be rude. Have to remember to clarify prices before sitting down at local eating establishments. The sleepy villages nearby boast fish sauce and bamboo rice, which gets distributed around Cambodia. There are also lots of crocodile farms which supply the local leather trade. Passed by a wedding on a dusty village road. Cambodians in fine clothing gather to share a meal the day before the actual ceremony. Unfortunately there was still a cultural barrier and we didn’t get invited to stop.
There are lots of foreign projects here, focusing on child welfare and capacity building. I had a chance to rent a kayak from Green Orange and paddle downstream along the river back to Battambang town. It was serene. Passed lots of children shouting HELLO from their backyards and stilted dwellings. Also some local fishermen and villagers washing clothes and bathing. $12 for one way kayak rental and $5 if you want a guide.