Saturday, 15 December 2012

# 19: "..If you can't beat 'em, and you don't want to join ' can always just run away..." - Me, just now.

Ok, so it's 4.30am...I have a VERY strong coffee in my trembling hands (thanx Tara), and am slowly calming my shattered nerves after being jolted from what I had thought would be a lovely, relaxing, Saturday sleep-in, by 'music', and I use the term loosely, that was SO outrageously, unbelievably loud that it actually initiated my long-dormant, Fight or Flight Response! My brain kicked into Flight mode, which then threatened to became panic mode, when arms, legs and head became awkwardly entangled in my new & wonderful, but momentarily forgotten, mosquito net which, I might add, was apparently more firmly tucked in under the mattress than it was secured to the hooks in the wall... 

As Logical Brain slowly came to the party, I realised what it was - another wedding... apparently it's next door but, after I managed to disentangle myself from the folds of my own net-trap, I decided to check under my bed and in my cupboards just to be certain...
I haven't heard music loud enough to make my internal organs vibrate since I spent an awesome evening sitting right next to the speaker stacks at a Jethro Tull concert back in the 70s! And I'm damned sure I wasn't sleeping peacefully at the time. Well...perhaps a little, shall we say, 'comfortably numb'...
 4.45am: Starting to calm down and my dear landlady's daughter decided it was a good idea to send her wide-awake-and-kinda-cranky 3yr old over to play. It was not a good all.

By 5am Kate, another CCT volunteer who lives in the 'Big House' in front of mine, came stumbling over looking totally shattered. Not only had the cacophony woken her, but in a fit of rage she'd slammed her bathroom door. Apparently the team had forgotten to tell her that the door will automatically lock if closed, so she couldn't even go to the loo...She rang her beloved, back in Berlin, hoping for a sympathetic ear, only to be told the music was too much, HE couldn't stand it any longer. End of call!
The whole scene was beginning to feel a wee bit Pythonesque and I felt like laughing but I took one look at Kate's face and figured, if I laughed now, violence could well ensue..

Solution? Call Sambaht and take my company-car-tuk out to visit the beautiful, tranquil, QUIET Kamping Pouy. The Lotus Lake.
Naran & 'friend'

First stop, Gecko, to have breakfast (omelettes and coffee) and to pick up one of my favourite waitresses (& friend), then jump into our trusty tuk-tuk and head off outta town and through the stunning countryside.

And here's a photo journey to Kamping Pouy:

Driving through a whole range of plantations of tropical fruits: Mangoes, dates, papaya, coconuts, bananas, pineapples, to name a few. Fields and fields of rice - this is the 'rice bowl' of Cambodia after all, so no surprise there.

And along almost the entire last 15kms, tonnes of rice, on large plastic sheets, drying in the sun.

Hahahaha...I didn't notice the dog when I took the photo. Something to think about when I buy my next packet of rice...

After almost 45mins of bone-shaking joy on this 'new-and-improved' road, while keeping an ever-watchful eye on the on-coming traffic...

...we eventually reached this idyllic water wonderland. The lotus flowers are grown in leases owned by local farmers, who make a few extra dollars by taking folks out on the lake to see the blossoms.

Our Khmae friends can't swim, but we talked them into joining us by promising we could save them if they fell in...tehehe. Well, at this time of year, the water's only shoulder-deep (on them) through most of the lake...

The local children had no such fears and, like all Khmae kids, their smiles say it all...

The lake itself is about 6km x 2km and holds over 100,000,000L³ of water. It was built by the Khmer Rouge, as one of their more  grandiose schemes, to provide irrigation for their planned agrarian society. Sadly, as seems to be the case with everything connected to the regime, the construction cost thousands of lives...

But it is a beautiful place.

  The water is only about 1-2 meters deep, at most, so we were able to stop, in the shade of trees, in the middle of the lake, to take photos of several different species of lotus that grow here. 

There were lots of the huge, pink ones that I'm now a great fan of.

The smaller, but equally  pretty, exotic and delicate looking white ones... 

...and these little purple-hearted flowers that don't look like lotuses at all, but were nevertheless beautiful.

There are also scores of stunning little iridescent dragonflies in every colour of the rainbow. I had to climb along a tree branch and lay down on a dubiously narrow limb over the water to get these shots - a totally Attenborough would have been proud of me Jassie-girl!

We snacked on Lotus seeds as we cruised and treated ourselves to one of Cambodia's great delights - Fresh Coconuts, kept on ice and only chopped open when you're ready to drink 'em. Chngyan!! (delicious).

I didn't finish mine 'til we got back home - must work out how much liquid is actually in one of these...

Sambaht made lotus leaf hats to keep the blazing sun from boiling our brains - stunning don't you think?

And this is a shot of the controls for the sluice gates - just get 1 person on each of the 20 platforms, whack a length of pipe through each of the 'screw' mechanisms and start turning!

By the time we got back home, the wedding was still going strong, so poor Kate headed off to a hotel for the night and I went back into town to have some dinner,

 and write this blog post..

Cambodian Wantons - filled with cream cheese and herbs and served with scrummy sweet chili sauce...and a 'Lime Mint Freeze' to wash it down. 

What a splendid way to spend a Saturday!

Goodnight All.....


  1. I nearly snorted coffee all over my keyboard at least 3 times during the first half of this post....note to self, don't drink coffee while reading mum's blog! You poor things, the brain really can be tricky in those moments between sleep and wakefulness!
    The trip to the Lotus Lake seems like exactly the remedy for such an obnoxious start to the day. It looks tranquil and beautiful.
    Thanks for the double post...worth every minute of reading. xxxx

  2. tehehe..sorry about the nose-coffee thing baby girl.
    It really was a brain shaking way to return to consciousness!
    Kamping Pouy is definitely on the list of places I want to show you when you get here, along with Phare Ponleu Selpak, Phnom Sampov, Ek Phnom and Wat Banan-if you're up for a climb up the 360-odd steps..