Total Pageviews

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cave temple hopping

Today I rented a motor bike and headed way off the beaten path to the countryside to see what I could get myself into. The entire day ended up being cloudy and the perfect day to be out on a motorbike. I rode down a small meandering red clay dirt road for about 30 minutes when I was eventually greeted by this kid in a bright green shirt. I pulled over to see what was up and quickly I had 8 kids surrounding me shooting off their entire arsenal of english words. The one in the green shirts name was Mab and his english was pretty good. His friends name was Eang and his english was also very good. He asked me where I was going and before I knew it I was the middle of a Barang (foreighner) sandwich on my motor bike that I was no longer driving up towards this temple cave out in the jungle. I had no idea where I was going and these kids grew up here so I figured they knew the good spots to bring Barang. After a short ride we pulled over on the side of the dirt road. Eang stayed with the motorbike and Mab led me through a huge rice field where we were greeted by 2 more small kids, probably around age 9 or 10, both of them spoke really good english as well.The four of us walked and talked for about one and a half kilometers and came to this sloping hillside with tons of rock faces. All of sudden there was this really cool staircase leading us directly into the hillside. Everywhere I looked was riddled with small statues of people previously living here and Buddha. It was very mystical and unlike anything I have ever experienced. There were some beautiful views as we kept ascending up the steep staircase into the mountain. We got to a certain point and the entire mountain just seemed to open up and this vast temple just appeared out of nowhere. The kids showed me many different rock formations that looked like animals. After entering the cave, off to the right inside this 6th century shrine there was a single candle burning, I entered the shrine, took a few sticks of incense and lit them. The shrine was very small, maybe enough room for 3 people to sit comfortably inside, the kids waited for me in the cave, I came out put my incense in the holders and the 4 of us walked back to the motor bike. I gave the little kids a couple bucks for the wonderful guidance through the temple cave and hopped back on the motor bike with Mab and Eang, they then hauled ass down this bumpy dirt road for another 10km and brought me to this beautiful lake out in the middle of nowhere, we sat at this little hut by the lake and had fresh pressed cane sugar juice and fried noodles. They told me about their families and stories from growing up here and I told them about what I am doing here in Cambodia. After that we got back on the bike and headed another 30km to this small town and by this time my ass is killing me from being cramped on a tiny motor bike with 2 other dudes for over 40 minutes, we pull over and get some longan and these other exotic fruits and head towards some more temple caves. These caves were even more impressive than the first one. This was a huge network of underground caves that had buddha statues and all kinds of other relics and statues. It was the most healing and spiritual place I have been in SE Asia yet. Cambodians come from all over to sleep and hang out in this cave for healing and to pray to Buddha. There was a huge reclining buddha and people were sleeping in hammocks all around this statue, it was truly a sight to behold.

After that we hauled ass back to their village and had some dinner. What did we eat for dinner you ask? well dog of course!! Oh man when he said I take to you get some really good dog meat for dinner I kinda freaked out and then I just sort of accepted it and went along with it. The woman at this little roadside shack brought me a big ol bowl of dog meat and it actually didn't taste bad, it was a little gamey but once you get past the fact your eating dog its not that bad. I don't think I will ever eat it again but hey, you gotta try everything at least once right?

So after dinner and meeting what seemed like the whole village while I was eating, I was invited to come back next week for a wedding and to stay in their village for a week! I think I will go to the wedding but we will see where I end up sleeping!

Tomorrow I am leaving Kampot, Charles and I are riding for 2 days to Phnom Penh, we will sleep in a Pagoda with monks tomorrow night. I am going to meet a student I want to help out. I will have the detailed story at some point next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment