We started the day at the 270km mark of our journey and covered a further 155km in a decent time of 5.5 hours. From the tourist honey pot of Siem Reap we made our way due south east to the rural village Okuru Kae. We traded the bars and restaurants for paddy fields and rubber plantations.
We set up our Tuk Tuk in the beautiful garden of the community leader, Mr Ky who offers his home to tourists travelling through the province visiting the nearby 7th century temples. Our frisbee was a novelty for the kids, but after the end of an hour’s session I certainly have to admit that their skills out-did mine. The kids can be so timid to begin with, and so would you be when faced with a crowd of barrangs rockin’ up on a Tuk Tuk and throwing discs at you. Their big eyes just focus on yours and occasionally their curious hands give your nose an inquisitive pinch (the adults are guilty of this too; my hereditary long nose makes me a glamour model over here).
After the fun and games we settled down to a couple of episodes of chip and dale and then The Lion King. Our audience ranged from 1 year old to 60; dogs, chickens, cows, and plenty of Mosquitos too, each as enthralled as the next by the colourful display on the back of our Tuk Tuk. In fact It was so captivating that for some of our younger audience there was just no time for a toilet break, not to worry all forms of excrement wipe off tarpaulin.
Having watched The Lion King ample amount of times in my childhood, any more is superfluous and so I can instead sit back and experience the delight of the kids. It’s another level of enjoyment to see their faces gawp at the introductory ‘ahhh saven yahhh’ or begin to pray for the life of Mufassa.
Before hitting the road the next day we took some time to visit the Sambor Prei Kuk temples. The jungle has encroached on these temples from 7th century, destroying much of the intricate facades but leaving behind beautiful sandstone structures, ornamented with Hindu icons. The site was discovered in 1866 by French helicopters our guide tells us, truly incredible…
On the road a bit later than usual and we were tempting fate; by 3pm the daily monsoon was ready to fall. A round of applause is necessary for Arvind for driving us through the eye of the storm, possibly to the detriment of his phone. The rest of us closed ourselves behind the curtains of the Tuk Tuk, very snug.
Why not make a difference in some of Cambodia’s poorest villages. Good karma for you, great excitement for the kids.