(Due to technical difficulties, I was unable to blog on my own account, so this is Brianna blogging on Melyndas.)
Today has been a pretty good day. We left Siem Reap after a HUGE buffet breakfast at our hotel. On our roughly four hour drive to Batambong (I probably spelled that wrong) We had the opportunity to try traditional Cambodian snacks. The first one was sticky rice with coconut and beans. It came in a cool travel sized “container” and is eaten using your hands. Here is a lovely picture of Tiffany demonstrating this for you (: Another snack common in Cambodia is dried mango. I was asleep during this experience so I cannot tell you if it is good or not, however Emily said it smells like her dads cattle feed but it tastes like raisins. I cannot say that I am sad that I was asleep (: upon arriving in Batambong, we went to our hotel. From the lobby it looked very nice, not as swanky as the last one we stayed at but still pretty nice. Once we got in our rooms, we had different feelings. Our toilet does not work, the room is kind of dirty, everything is written in Khmer, and there are spiders crawling around. One thing God is teaching me through all of this is to get out of my comfort zone. Another is to be thankful for the little things we have in America. Such as the plumbing.
After lunch, we went on a train called the Bamboo Train. It is an abandoned railroad track that was at one time used with normal trains. when that stopped, they made flats out of bamboo to transport cattle and equipment with ease. Now they use it as a tourist attraction. They have little engines like ones you would see in a lawnmower and mats with pillows that you sit on. The train goes up to 30 MPH through the jungles of Cambodia on a oneway, uneven railroad track. If another train car is traveling the opposite way as you, they one with the least amount of people, or least amount in a row gets off their car and takes the entire train car off of the tracks until the line of cars passes. At the end of the ride, you arrive at a little village where locals have shops with clothing and relatively cold drinks for the tourist to purchase. As soon as your train “car” pulls in little children swarm to you trying to sell you bracelets. You sit at this village for about thirty minutes until you head back to the beginning.
After the bamboo train we went back to our hotel until dinner. We went to a little cafe called Sunrise coffee house. Michelle is really good friends with the owners and they made us her favorite Khmer food. We had Red Curry Soup with noodles and chakerung with rice ( basically curry beef with vegetables.)
We ended our night out with a trip to the night market by the river. The locals do this everynight. There are food, clothes, and jewlery vendors all over. It was exciting to be able to experience this with the locals. I especially enjoyed bartering, I have even had vendors tell me I am a strong barterer (: yay!
The other night my mom asked me, “If you were to come home right now, what can you say that you have learned?” I have been thinking about this a lot. I have learned that most of the world does not live like we do. In Cambodia, they live in beautiful chaos. If I were to drive in america how they drive here, I would get in an accident and sent to jail for reckless driving. Cambodians also have very inefficient ways of doing things however the ways they do things are less wasteful. They use tree branches to make scaffolding and build tuktuks out of scraps. I was told to bring back a typical toy for a Cambodian child to give as a souvenier, but when I asked Michelle what children play with here, she said whatever they can get there hands on, and as I look around, I see children playing with sticks and trash. I never see them with toys. It has been a very humbling experience, and it has only been a week. I cannot wait to see what else God wants to show me (:
-Brianna in Cambodia (: