The countryside around Battambang

Robert and I are enjoying Battambang so much that we extended our stay by 2 days.  The people are very friendly, and we are liking the food quite a bit.  We checked into a different hotel and spent most of our time lounging by the pool, venturing out at night to eat at the night markets.  Today, however, we hired a tuk tuk driver and took a tour of the countryside surrounding Battambang.  Our driver was fascinating — he had been a child during the Khmer Rouge regime and lived through it, along with his family.  As an adult, he had been a monk, a teacher, and now a tuk tuk driver.  Unbelievably, he told us that as a public school teacher he made $30/month and only survived by taking on private teaching lessons — he makes more driving a tuk tuk for two days than he did after teaching for an entire month (assuming he gets full day fares).

He first showed us an old temple near Battambang that had been used as a prison during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Old temple outside Battambang

Old temple outside Battambang

Next, we got to taste coconut rice.  They take bamboo, fill it full of a concoction made of sticky rice, coconut milk and black beans.  The whole thing is cooked over a fire.  You then peel the bamboo back and eat.  Yum!

Coconut rice just waiting to be eaten

Coconut rice just waiting to be eaten

Eating coconut rice

Eating coconut rice

Then, it was on to a fish market where they make a fish paste that goes in most of the food here.  I’m going to try to forget that sight and smell.

Making fish paste

Making fish paste

Next, we went to Ek Phnom.

Robert and Lisa at Ek Phnom

Robert and Lisa at Ek Phnom

Where Lisa shrieked when a cute little lizard came out of the leaves at her feet.

A cute lizard

A cute lizard

And we saw rice drying in front of a temple.

Rice drying in front of a temple

Rice drying in front of a temple

We saw people making rice paper.

Making rice paper

Making rice paper

And ate spring rolls made with the fresh rice paper.  So much better than anything we have had in the US.

Eating fresh spring rolls

Eating fresh spring rolls

And, last but not least, we saw a crocodile farm.  The crocs are apparently used for both food and their hide.

Adult gators basking in the sun

Adult gators basking in the sun

And held a baby crocodile.

Baby gator

Baby gator

Tomorrow, we head back to Phnom Penh to visit the Killing Fields and get our Vietnam visa.

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