#9 Down the hill to Battambang

On my way out of Pailin I passed a school. The children were neatly arranged in class lines and a teacher with a megaphone stood at the front, guiding them through some exercise and prayer. It was quite interesting. I hung around and watched as classes were dismissed in a very orderly manner. A few children said goodbye to the teacher at the gate with a Sampeah. I smiled at a few kids and had a lovely chat to a teacher, Dich (Dish) who explained that as it was 11:00am, children were being dismissed for lunch. They were returning at 1:30pm for the afternoon session, which taught English. Good stuff!

So down the hill I went. Compared to yesterday’s profile today would be a breeze! And it was! For a change, I was passing traffic. All sorts of traffic!

Stopping in at a roadside shop selling food and drink snacks and gasoline in soft drink bottles I was even persuaded to have a couple of ‘mineral waters’ with the locals. I downed the first like Bob Hawke, the second like Boony, and sipping the third shared photos of home and gave stickers to the kids. Plenty of laughs all round as we struggled to communicate, but each enjoying the unique experience.

A really lovely stretch coming into Battambang with roadside cultivated water-feature gardens and fields of rice paddies.

I can’t find my intended hotel but get lucky finding the Banan Hotel where US$15 gets you a sizeable air-conditioned room with TV, fridge, hot water showers and a big bed.

Dinner in town at the Khmer Delight. A proper fancy restaurant with soft lighting and ambient music, a selection of local and international dishes all under $5, dinner rolls and Anchor butter with the Anchor beer variety available on tap.

Another nice day for a ride, and comparing my last couple am surprised at the similarity of times and distances. Both 90km in 6 hours 50 minutes. I’ve hit the 500km milestone (525km total) and plan on resting here for the next few days and exploring Battambang.

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