Saturday, 15 October 2011

Last Day in Cambodia

Heavy rain until the afternoon scuppered any further afield tours of the country sadly. So in late afternoon we headed in to the Old Market. My God, what a place! Locals squatting on raised benches and tables selling fresh meat, fish and just about anything really. Even a hair cut if you wanted one. Everything happening inside a dark old building with the vendors putting up their own lighting for their personal areas. Fish so fresh it was still flopping about struggling to breath; strange and bloody cuts of meat straight from the carcass; exotic fruit and unknown vegetables all mixed together alongside food being cooked and prepared. The smell was as intense as the heat and humidity and just as debilitating. An interesting way to spend my birthday!

Sweat was dripping into my eyes making it hard to focus the camera which was already difficult due to the gloom. Some of the people were a little camera shy but most ignored me, too busy selling and counting their money.

Using the fish-eye lens produced some really atmospheric shots but I was shooting wide open at 400-800 asa at 15th second, not easy amongst the crowds of jostling people.

As dusk settled I stood in the middle of the street outside the market and shot the chaotic traffic flowing past, headlights glaring and reflecting of the soaked roadway.

I was dripping from the humidity and desperately needed a cool beer! Walking back later, we stopped to watch some people enjoying small
fish nibbling their feet, cleaning away any dead skin. One guy noticed my camera and started up a conversation. Turns out he and his friends are deaf but are helping in an arts project over here. Darren is an American and also a photographer and cinematographer. Naturally I got his picture!

The humidity really is tough. Just walking for half an hour and I'm a soaked rag of a man. But I think I got some cool shots to show for it!

Now we are sitting in Sien Reap airport after a 5am start to the day for the 8.30am flight to KL. Only one flight out this morning from this small but beautiful airport, so no crush of crowds, very laid back and, well, very Cambodian. On the way to the airport we took a tuc-tuc of course and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Cambodians starting their day. School children on bikes or walking hand in hand dressed in crisp white shirts and navy trousers, their black hair slicked down and combed neatly, the girls in ponytails. Workers piled into the backs of trucks and others enjoying a roadside breakfast. And everywhere bikes. Our driver had to stop for fuel. The 'fuel station' was a man with a hand-cranked oil barrel standing in what looked alarmingly like spilt petrol. At least he wasn't smoking! I've enjoyed visiting this country.

Update: No wi-fi connect available until today (saturday) and this Chicken Rice restaurant inside a Tesco supermarket of all places in sleepy upcountry Aye Tawar! Arrived late last night after a five hour coach trip after flying in fromCambodia.

The Red Piano Bar.

Departure area.

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