Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Namaste Angkor
18 februari 2014
The next day I went on to Vieng Xai. City of Victory. A brief history lesson to put things in perspective. Up untill 1954 France 'protected' Indochine, largely drawn up by nowaday Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. In Laos it meant the continuation of a turbulent time. It was struggling for its independence since WWII. It was granted autonomy by the French in 1947, and full independence in 1953. The Kingdom of Cambodia was established, to the dismay of the Pathet Lao, the resistance movement during WWII. The Kingdom was, financially, backed by the US and France. The growing discomfort between the Pathet Lao and the Royal powers escalated in fightings in 1960. The US, fearfull of the communist and the domino theory(if one or more countries fall to communism who knows how many will follow) gave it their full everything to prevent the Pathet Lao, backed by the Vietcong and Nortvietnames army, to gain control over the country. This lead to heavy US involvement from 1964 till 1973. Partially to bomb the Ho Chi Minh trail (the 'secret' supply line from the North Vietnames into South Vietnam) and the Pathet Lao forces. The scale on which this happened is unprecedented. During the 9 years of bombing Laos received more bombs then Japan and Germany together during WWII. I went to Vieng Xai to see the then Headquarters of the Pathet Lao. It was dug into caves. An entire city was dug into caves to keep shelter from the bombs being dropped. In the caves there were schools, bakeries, hospitals, command posts, printing presses, a theatre. Very impressive to witness. After the peace agreement of 1973 the US stopped bombing. The Pathet Lao, backed still by the now victorious North Vietnamese, established the Lao People's Democratic Republic in 1975.
When I wanted to visit the caves I got a mandatory guide with me (!) He was able to tell a lot about the caves and his English was pretty good. Yet it felt a bit strange. He had been a guide for over a year now yet he was having a camera with him. As if experiencing the caves for the first time. I could not help but thinking he was showing us what and how the film/photograph. This feeling grew by 2 more things. My guide had had training in Vietnam on how to show tourists around (!) At one moment during the tour he made a shameless full view video of me and the other tourist. It felt as if I had just been added to the database of the Lao secret Service and my rapport was about to be finished. Could all be imagination of course but during my time in Laos I started to realize that reality is sometimes beyond your imagination.
After having spent some time in the mountains I wanted to head south, fast! Towards the sun, and the beaches :D During my way down I suddenly noticed my tooth began to ache again. Having learned my lesson from the previous time I kind of ignored it I rushed into Thailand. For the second time during my trip I didnt know that I would be going to bed in a different country then I woke up to. Within 24 hours I was in Bangkok and I went to the dentist. He was surprised to see me again on such short notice. The idea was 2 days maximum staying there and onwards to cambodia. I started to be really sick of Bangkok. I ended up going to the dentist 3 times in a week, a personal record! But being there in Bangkok led to me to have several beautiful encounters and experiences. It had to be this way I guess.. I left Thailand in style. Clubbing hard till 6 o'clock with Lobke (all the way from NB/DB ;) and several stewardesses (or flight attendants still dont know the difference)
Having had a few hours of sleep it went on! By train to Cambodia. I truly enjoyed the ride. Even though the fans onboard werent fully able to take away the heat. I just dozed into journey. The landscape passing by, reading a bit, enjoying :) While I was stepping out of the train, when we reached the border, I already had found new friends to share the taxi with to Siem Reap. Everything went very smooth. After 1 night in a hotel, I arrived during Chinese New Year and it was hard to find a good place, I moved to Garden Village. Yet again the best move. I met so many interesting people. Loads of fun. I visited Angor Wat once (The biggest religious object in the world, considered by some to be the 8th wonder of the world) , thinking it would be enough. I knew there were 3-day packages and even a weeklong one. Turns out I you do need more. On my first day I was able to only visit 2 out of 7 (or more?) sites and even there I hadnt seen it all. The second time I layed low a bit. Trying to go beyong the obvious tourist route I ended up at Ta Phron. Famous for its scenery during the Tomb Raider movies. After requesting our tuktuk driver to drop us there, he asked us whether we were sure. It was flat and the sunrise wasnt that great. Yea we were sure! It was a-ma-zing. In the dark we got dropped off. We were the sole people on the site. Even the markets and restaurants were closed. We had to look for the entrance to the temple. But when we got there we saw our effords being rewarded. Accompanied by the sounds of a awakening jungle we witnessed the sunrise. Truly magnificent..
At some point it was time to go on the move again. Battambang! Having my previous great experience in Laos with the Slow Boat I usually will prefer boats over busses. So I did it again. It was far from your usual ride. My pickup should have taken place at 6.40, an hour and 2 phonecalls later I had it. Our boat was set to depart at 7.30 which became 9. During our trip at some point we got stuck in sandbank.. for an hour! It involved loads of pushing and pulling to get us out. By now the engine had been used to much that it broke down. Which happened more often during the remainder of our trip. And yet despite all of this we arrived kind of on time. As if they calculate all of this to be included?! On the more positive note It really was a fantastic ride. I lay on top of the boat for half of the trip. Tried to sunblock without much succes. Everybody got burned haha. The scenery involved floating villages where time seemed to have stood still. There main occupation seems to be fishing, using a wide variety of methods, rods, fishing nets and some kind of fishing catapults (huge nets being lowered and raised by something in the shape of a catapult) . Cheerfull childeren everywhere who greet you with so much joy. In Battambang there was a ride on the bambootrain (picture/movie follows) basically an old French era railroad track. On it a steel frame covered with bamboo. Driven by a small engine which is still able to generate quite a speed! Next on was a temple and the flights of bats. So I thought.. Yea we did we visit those, but there was more. We also saw a killing cave.. Cambodia also has its fair share of recent misery with the Khmer Rouge. It was a cave used by them from which men, woman and children were thrown down into the depth(!)
To end my blog in a more positive tone Id like to let you know that the next day I went to a children circus. It was pure joy to see the show. It involved loads of acrobatics, balancing and slapstick. What I liked most was that they were able to present it in an apparent universal way. A kind of acting out that is familiar to everybody. A language that doesnt need any words.
Anddddddd Im coming back! I booked my flight home. Im flying on April 1st!
See you and lots of love :D
Foto's bij verslag (7)
18 februari 2014 11:00 | Door: ANKE
1 April lijkt een grap maar is het dus niet!!!!
Geniet van alles wat erom je heen gebeurd.
18 februari 2014 12:03 | Door: Linda
Wat fijn om weer even mee te kunnen voeren in jouw reisavontuur. Wat een bewegingen! Hoe gewoon dat inmiddels lijkt te worden, hoe onwerkelijker en meer bijzonder dat zal zijn.
Ik wens je nog een hele mooie tijd!
21 februari 2014 15:44 | Door: Bart
Wast een fantastische trip heb jij zeg! En zo herkenbaar, luang praban, Angkor wat (wat blijkt, ik heb ook in Garden Village geslapen!) de bambootrain (wellicht 1 van de leukste dingen die ik in Azie heb gedaan...) de eindeloze busreizen, damn ik mis het. Als ik je ngo een tip mag geven (al weet ik niet of dat nog leuk is) ga naar bokor hill station vlak bij Kampot (volgens mij ben je daar nu dicht in de buurt). Dit is een verlaten hotel en de trek ernaartoe is leuk, maar de plek daarboven is erg gaaf.
Heel veel plezier de komende weken nog, je vliegt naar huis vanuit noord Vietnam?