Today I went to Udong Cambodia with my tour guide. It was the former capitol of Cambodia prior to it moving to Phnom Penh, about 30 Km away. The drive was really interesting as we drove through the outskirts of town and saw these houses built above a lake and along the river…. They were farming fish in man made ponds, actually fishing on the river and also raising and harvesting lotus blossoms for sale at the Buddhist temples at holidays. Oh, and they take these small fish that they catch and dry them, mush as you would coffee beans, and man the odor. You can smell it in a closed, air conditioned car. Quite rancid :o(!
When you get to the site, it’s the old capitol and stuppa (a tall burial/ritual structure. I think some of ’em look like the top of a dairy queen cone). Quite and interesting place and can be seen on it’s hill top for miles around. And then you start heading up as you realize that you don’t get to ride up close. You get to the base and have to climb steps… 409 of them up! Going up is not a problem… you take it slow and steady. And there are lots of urchins children around following you up and fanning you (not to mention the beggars and the cripples asking fro money). They understand a bit of english and speak it as well, and act as unofficial tour guides. They carry your stuff, watch your shoes, etc. At the end I gave the three that were with us a dollar each. It seems that almost everything here is a dollar…
So you’re at the top and your checking it out and it’s amazing. The stuppa’s are great, there is a temple of “a thousand Buddha” (they are all small, varying from 4″ to a couple of feet, but they’re there…) and then there are more stuppas…. That means more steps! In total, it was 409 up, 400 to another stuppa (down), 400 back up from that one, then 409 down… 1618 steps! Tammie, my trainer, would be so proud :o)! Oh and did I mention yet again that it was 90+ degrees with 98% humidity?
The pictures are located here….
And then the hour drive home (everyone here drives really slow). Again the fish smell…. It’s one of those smells that stays with you. I swear that I still smell it and it’s been 6 hours, I’ve had a couple of drinks and some curry for dinner, urgh!