siem reap ... a revisit (p5)

it was our last day, and we got the whole day-light to go around, before flying back with the night flight.our plan that day was to visit the floating village of Tonle Sap, and also siem reap city itself. we booked a car with driver from younes tourism, the same company that i booked back when i visited the place in 2008. unfortunately, Shukri is no longer working with the company. anyway, the full day car rental with a friendly driver cost us usd40.

we woke up at usual time and then packed our stuff, since we were going to check out early that morning. as usual, breakfast - omelette and the french bread.

our driver, Yusof already arrived and waiting for us. a friendly chap and much more talkative compared to Shukri, back then. Yusof spoke Malay fluently, and shared his stories with us, where he used to study 'pondok' in Pattani, hence know a little bit of Thais, and did work in Malaysia for few months, as a translator cum language teacher to the Cambodian who come to work in Malaysia.

anyway, our first destination of the day was the floating village of Tonle Sap and Yusof told us with the time that we had, he recommended us to visit Chong Kneas village. the ride to the jetty took us about one-hour and there has been so much changes made to the place. Yusof told us that the koreans are investing a lot, where they sponsored the road, the new jetty etc. and of course Yusof said, at the same time, the started building the church also in the area, hence the preaching. for example, the way they attracted the kids to learn at the kindergarten is by loaning them the disposable camera and take pictures, and then come back to the school for the reward etc. ah...poverty, as what one of the hadiths quoted ' is one of the causes that lead to 'kufur'. we already seen how people, regardless their religion splurged whatever they left for gambling, just to get more. ones even went to see the bomoh to get things etc.

i had a mixed feeling knowing the stories and also seeing the place been torn-out very much with the development.

Yusof helped us to buy the tickets for the boat which cost us usd25 per person. he then joined us for the tour. as the boat moving along the water and starting to enter the lake, i just realised it was a different part of the lake that i visited last time. last time, Shukri took us to visit the Kampong Phluk village, which located in the mangrove area of the lake itself. but this time, we were visiting the Chong Kneas floating village that located in the middle of the breathtaking Tonle Sap.

seriously, as the boat entered the lake, i was awed with what i'd seen. it was big. big and big. like the boat was riding on the sea. huhuhu...cuak pun we didn't wear the life jacket.

we made a stop at one of the visitor centres and spent some time, on the viewing deck, lingering around the souvenir shop and having a drink. anyway, small scale crocodile farming seems to be a common in siem reap as you can see below. it is for both tourist attraction and also for the skin, meat etc.

we were greeted again with poverty-drama while spending our time at the visitor centre. there was a family of siem reap native - a mother and 3 children (incl. a baby), rowing the small boat and asking money from the visitors. ' wan dola, wan dola '... ah..they were asking for 'one dollar' from us. two the children carried snakes around their neck and offered the visitors to hold and take pictures, again for one dollar. and yasir, out of excitement and also sympathy, wanted to experience the moment with the snake. apparently both children, put their snakes on his neck and yasir, as thought the 'one dollar' meant for both, get shouted angrily by one the children as she didn't get another 'one dollar' as her siblings. and yes, yasir had to pay the money.
it was just one dollar. but again. it was just so sad. even as we hop on our boat to leave, the mother started to paddle her boat to ours, and started yelling for ' wan dola, wan dola' endlessly. even she held tight our boat when the engine started to run and leaving the place. sigh...we were left with a shock to see such incident. we left the place/village..we saw this view below. a little child, paddling a stick, in a small wash-basin, in the middle of the lake. gosh...

Yusof, apparently come from the village near the Tonle Sap as he kept waving and honking few people that we saw along the road. He brought us the stop by at the nearby and only mosque there for a short visit. we met the imam and the 'jamaah' there. It touched me very much, as the muslims community there, as i met, always thanking the country for our help in ensuring the survival of Islam and its community in Cambodia. 

sometimes, i feel like telling to those serbans2 clan, who kept shouting about syria, egypt etc. and wanting to jihad etc. , why don't you come here or Kampong Cham? i think they are more in need. these are people who needs the guidance and help so that poverty will not divert them from the aqidah.

ah...pardon me. i am no angel.  

we left the village and heading back to the city. it was a lunch time already, and Yusof took us to the Wau Restaurant. the earlier plan was to go to the Muslim Family Restaurant, near the An-Neak Mah Mosque, which i went during my visit back then. i wanted to try the set meal which include the Daging Lembu Naik Bukit thing etc. , but Yusof told us that we have to make earlier booking for that. So we changed to plan and went to Wau Restaurant which back in 2008, i went for few times, as it was one of the eateries that served halal cambodian and Malaysian food. yeah..the owner is a cambodian family, who lived in Malaysia for quite some times. they left cambodia during the Pol-pot years. anyway, the location of the restaurant has changed. it moved to a new place and building.

we ordered the Cambodian-meal set for four person, which consists of scramble eggs, fish, chicken soup (taste a bit like tom yam) and beef which was tasted like in black pepper sauce, and kangkung belacan (?). lunch was good and delicious.

but pardon me, i didn't recall how much the whole set for 4 cost us, but for sure it was not more that aud40. i think it was cheaper than that.

the restaurant now managed by one of the youngest son of the family, as the parents now in Phnom Penh, managing another branch there. a friendly chap, and we spent time resting and chatting at the restaurant etc. we had our pray at the surau in the restaurant.

it was still early, and Yusof said, he'd drive us around the city and make a quick stop at any good spot in the city.


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