Monday, February 22nd, 2016
We booked one more night at our current hotel, and another at our next one in Siem Reap before grabbing breakfast at “Sunrise Coffeehouse”. Trevor ordered coffee and a breakfast burrito. I went overboard and got a coffee, smoothie, omelette, toast and hash browns. I’m a growing girl.
My meal would be cut short by a sudden, and very urgent need to locate a bathroom. Not wanting to use the one next to the dining room for the sake of the other customers, I rushed back to the hotel, leaving Trevor to handle the bill. In total panic knowing that I wouldn’t be able to reach our hotel room toilet in time, I asked the guy in the hotel lobby if there was a bathroom on the first floor. I think he saw the fear in my eyes as he pointed down the hall where I finally found solace. Even in India, I never experienced “Delhi Belly” on such a distressful level. While I was in there, a man kept beating on the door. I held my head down in shame as I walked out of the unventilated, closet-sized restroom. He probably died in that bathroom that day, poor bastard.
It was hot as hell out, so what better time for a walk, right? We strolled by the Ta Dumbong statue and passed many motorbike shops shortly after. We browsed the prices at each place, debating whether or not to explore the rest of Cambodia and the country of Vietnam by motorbike. It was a thought. After strolling through the market and locating an ATM so we would have some cash handy, we returned to “Sunrise Coffehouse” for an early lunch of smoothies and bagels.
We met Scorpio out front of the hotel at 2 pm and I asked if we could change the tour plans. I wanted to skip the bamboo train and see the “The Well of Shadows” (a memorial to those who died in the Killing Fields) instead, followed by a late showing of the local Circus (the “human only” kind) which I had heard incredible things about. There wasn’t going to be another show in the next couple of days, so I didn’t want to miss it. Scorpio was a little disappointed. He told us how the bamboo train is very helpful to the local villagers, but he complied.
I felt kind of bad about it as he took us to Wat Samrong Knong, the Buddhist temple turned prison and killing field during the reign of Pol Pot. Scorpio told us about the history of events of the regime as we wandered around the temple grounds. The “Well of Shadows” was a memorial similar to the one we saw in Phnom Penh. The human bones washed up from the rainy season were stored inside. However, it was also surrounded by a concrete base relief which told the story of the rise of the Khmer regime in graphic detail portraying the ill treatment of the Cambodian people.
Scorpio would continue to say that although Pol Pot’s terror has ended, the people of Cambodia continue to live in poverty and are still dealing with a good amount of corruption. He’d later open up about his personal life, telling us about his struggle to keep both of his children in school, personal run-ins with corrupt police, and his dream of owning the house he lives in. He wanted to turn it into a homestay so he can show tourists more about local living in Battambang. We hope he succeeds and tell him we’d gladly stay there when we return to Cambodia. We also decided to check out the bamboo train tomorrow before he takes us to the bat temple. He was pleased!
Jump Back to Part 6: Bus Ride to Battambang & Scorpio
Jump Ahead to Part 8: Chills at the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Tips, Hotel Swap & Cheap Beer in Phnom Penh