Selfie 161207


At the station in Battambang. Sadly the railway line is closed and is a reminder of the hundreds of kilometres of track we’ve seen both discarded in Cambodia and Australia. 

Temples and ancient ruins seem to last for ever but the recent industrial past is seemingly easily discarded as roads become ever filled with more polluting vehicles. 

Our guide book summaries the French colonial legacy in Cambodia as the construction of roads and railways. The latter is now disappearing. 

6 thoughts on “Selfie 161207

  1. Hi William.
    You don’t know me but I met your dad on a writing course and he forwarded me a link to your blog (it’s very inspiring to me – love cycling touring and would love to do a big trip like this).
    Your pictures of Battambang reminded me of when I was there in 1986 during a trip to Cambodia.
    I wrote a poem a few years after the trip looking back on it.

    The road to Battambang

    Pedals creak apart the night,
    a three-legged dog reels by.
    Still birds sleep on the wire,
    against a lightening sky.

    Stacato sound of Khmer chatter
    bites the dark like crossfire
    Soft red riels and a box of smokes
    Buys a seat for the highest buyer.

    Ten sleepy cargo in the back of a truck,
    Shaking itself awake from tail to nose,
    Forward we bolt, with a snort and a shudder,
    warm pigswill running back beneath our toes.

    I catch a flash, white teeth and a shrug
    from a girl with the jiggling pail –
    beaming as her dress turns slowly brown,
    she leans into the only shade.

    We pitch and toss on the ‘highway’,
    to the slip-slop in the paddies,
    backs bent beneath the side-eyed gaze
    of silent soldier boys.

    A red-checked scarf whip-cracks
    like an ensign at our prow.
    He sends the girl a smile
    past the Falang with the brolly.

    Together we face
    the road ahead.

    Beyond a leafless lone tree
    amid flat green monotony

    Hollow cows graze
    in now-empty graves.

    ——-

    Like

  2. Hi William.
    You don’t know me but I met your dad on a writing course and he forwarded me a link to your blog (it’s very inspiring to me – love cycling touring and would love to do a big trip like this).
    Your pictures of Battambang reminded me of when I was there in 1986 during a trip to Cambodia.
    I wrote a poem a few years after the trip looking back on it.

    The road to Battambang

    Pedals creak apart the night,
    a three-legged dog reels by.
    Still birds sleep on the wire,
    against a lightening sky.

    Stacato sound of Khmer chatter
    bites the dark like crossfire
    Soft red riels and a box of smokes
    Buys a seat for the highest buyer.

    Ten sleepy cargo in the back of a truck,
    Shaking itself awake from tail to nose,
    Forward we bolt, with a snort and a shudder,
    warm pigswill running back beneath our toes.

    I catch a flash, white teeth and a shrug
    from a girl with the jiggling pail –
    beaming as her dress turns slowly brown,
    she leans into the only shade.

    We pitch and toss on the ‘highway’,
    to the slip-slop in the paddies,
    backs bent beneath the side-eyed gaze
    of silent soldier boys.

    A red-checked scarf whip-cracks
    like an ensign at our prow.
    He sends the girl a smile
    past the Falang with the brolly.

    Together we face
    the road ahead.

    Beyond a leafless lone tree
    amid flat green monotony

    Hollow cows graze
    in now-empty graves.

    ——-

    Like

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