Day after 'death/killing'day, we had 'shiny'day. We went to the main palace in the city to see the silver pagoda and the lifesize solid gold buddha. We got there around 2ish on the tuk tuk and wandered around some expansive courtyard full of hedges and random potted plants (looked like a garden centre forecourt). We found the silver pagoda, thus named because the massive floor is made of solid silver tiles. Most of the floor was covered up with rugs though to stop it tarnishing. In the same room was the solid gold buddha, weighing 100kg. Had over 1oo diamonds and gems encrusted into it. We walked along the river front before tuk tukking it back to the hostel.
Another day another bus trip - this was the biggun. The guide book saiod the ratanakirri province in north east cambodia was an ''area of exceptional natural beauty''. We asked how long ths bus trip was but no one could understand us, so armed with snacks, books and an ipod weboarded the bus. 11 hours later (along unpaved and orangey dusty roads, through towns consisting of not much more than wooden shacks on small exposed platforms where people slept, being watched for most of this 11 hours by a middle aged cambodian gentleman who was drinking from a coconut in the seat opposite. The roads didnt seem to get any better and we were a bit worried that our trip would have been a waste until.... we saw them. A sign of civilisation - STREET LAMPS!!! the dusty road turned to tarmac and the bus pulled into a sideroad. We were picked up by some guy from the 'star hotel'. He led us to his motorbike. With our bags on our backs, we each sat on 3 seperate motorbikes and the drivers took us to the hotel. It wasnt the most pleasant experience of my life, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. The hotel looked amazing from the outside. All the rooms had massive wooden furtniture and carved seats and beds and things. Staying in the room a night though - the shower sink and toilet all leaked, the beds were as hard as rock, the fan doesnt work and the orange dust gets EVERYWHERE. We wandered around the town a bit the next day, sorely disappointed by what there was on offer, until we heard about a selection of waterfalls and lakes nearby.
26th feb - my BIRTHDAY :D:D:D:D. We rented motorbikes (finally) and made our way to the waterfall east of the town. The speedometer wasnt working, the fuel gauge always said ''empty'' and the vias on the helmet was stuck open (not ideal for dusty roads) but we got the to waterfell in one piece. Of course we got ot the river side, off came the tshirt, on went the swimming shorts (as would happen when we see any amount of water more than a foot deep) and dived in. After a couple of hours swimming, diving off high rocks and sitting under pounding waterfalls (facebook profile picture to follow) we motorbiked back to the town to find some food. After aimlessly bikig around, we eventually pulled up to some street kitchen that sold cakes and stocked up for the night ahead. Tonight will be a sober night, but we all agreed that when we get to ho chi minh in vietnam we WILL find a club and we WILL get drunk for mine and emilys birthdays...
Tomorow we will try and rent the bikjes again to go to the volcanic lake to the west of the town, then its back on the 11 hour bus to phnom penh, followed by a 6 hour trek to the vietnam bored. *sigh*