Phnom Penh via Battambang

The use of ‘incidental’ Khmer language in this piece may be inaccurate as it is spoken by a foreigner who has only picked up a few phrases and the Khmers’ speech is interpreted through her ears. The spelling of such words varies according to source and so the choices made here are personal. There are often inconsistencies when translating between different writing systems. Without any knowledge of the language it should be possible to discern meaning from context for the few words used.
 
UNTAC – United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
 
‘pot-holing in a pick-up’ is a reference to the roads which in the nineties still had huge craters that trucks drove in and out of to get anywhere.
 
Ieng Sary: Foreign Minister during Khmer Rouge rule and Brother Number 3 (Brothers Numbers 1 and 2 being Pol Pot and Khieu Sampheu respectively).
 
I chose to write about this particular trip because this was when I really began to fall in love with Cambodia and this area has always stood out as something quite different: Battambang has never failed to provide a strange experience. Many parts of this trip have been shortened in this piece giving just the bare bones – as in the trip to the killing caves at Phnom Sampeau. The main reason for this was to keep the story moving forward in the way a journey does. Writing about these experiences is not only a way of recording something that is special to me but has also become a way of exploring and trying to make sense of the feelings I have for this place.
 
Phnom Penh via Battambang