I can understand why people don’t like long bus rides. I mean bus seats are rarely comfortable and the risk of there not being any A/C if you’re in a hot country. Going to the bathroom, also another challenge as mainly you have to wait for the bus driver to make his few scheduled stops. And let’s not forget how sore our bodies get. But I have to say, there’s something charming about riding the bus to the next destination. Some things you don’t see when you fly somewhere.
Yesterday on my way to Siem Reap, I saw a number of scenes I wouldn’t have otherwise seen had we taken a different mode of transportation. October is the rainiest month of the year in Cambodia and flooding is not unusual. In fact, some children, as I noticed yesterday, quite appreciate the rains as now their front yards have swimming pools to play in with their other friends! I also noticed that people tend to continue on with their daily business even if it is raining. It’s a mild inconvenience. But I suppose that changes with heavy rains. A number of homes were submerged in water, even if they were on stilts, a sight you wouldn’t see often.I also had the pleasure of watching local fishermen and women set up their fishing nets. In fact, it seemed a little interesting how at first there were many people waist deep in the murky marshy river water setting up their fishing nets, but the further north we came the more people were out there with fishing poles.
Oxen were grazing, some were wading through “puddles.” One ox had his head so far into a hay stack, I wasn’t sure where he began and the hay ended! Teenagers were playing basketball, barefoot!, outside of school. Others were playing volleyball. One town seemed to specialize in making Buddhist carvings out of stone. Large ones. My favourite sight of all, though, would have to have been the children playing a game. Two kids hold up a rope about 6 feet apart from each other while on their knees. Both kids seemed to employ the same technique for holding the rope as they both needed to hold it taught above their heads as another one of their friends jumped over it, high jump style. I saw that image in less than 3 seconds, while driving by on a bus. An opportunity I would have otherwise missed out on.
Today we go to see the great Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is a bit of a party town, but it is much more relaxed and well paced than Phnom Penh. We’ll be here for a few days and then, who knows?