Sunday, August 13, 2006
Bussing it in Cambodia
One of the joys for me of living where I do is that each week I spend close to five hours most Saturdays travelling to and from Phnom Penh. This journey is particularly enjoyable at the moment. Not because of the luxury bus, quite the opposite, but because, now that the rain has started to fall, the rice fields are a patchwork of beautiful greens.
Just getting the bus requires a patient attitude. I am told that the official leaving times for the buses out of Kompong Chhnang are on the half hour. I usually aim for the 7.30 am bus. I live on the Phnom Penh side of town which means I don't need to go to the bus station. I wait on the side of the road and the bus will pick me up. I am usually there at about 7.15 or earlier because the bus sometimes leaves early. If there are enough passengers it could pass my street at 7.15. Then again, if there are few passengers it may not leave until 8 o'clock. Of course, I am assuming that I catch the 7.30 bus. It is possible that it is the 6.30, running late.
Kompong Chhnang is obviously not a major route for this bus company. The other towns all seem to have bigger and better buses. Most buses, it seems, come into Cambodia second-hand from either Japan or Korea. You can see the old lettering when a new one arrives. My theory is that our route gets old school buses. Take a look at the pictures and you'll see that there is only enough seat room for an Asian school child. My knees do not fit easily behind the seats. I always aim for the middle seat in the back so that I can stretch my legs out in the aisle.
For this journey I have chosen a window seat because I want to get a few shots of the countryside to share with you. The windows are fixed because the bus is air-conditioned (well, in a fashion) and the window was a bit grubby on the outside. But I shot away figuring some would come out OK. Sometimes the bus was moving and sometimes it was still. I took over 60 shots and a few are not too bad. You can see the rest of them on the appropriate flickr pages which have links from the sidebar. Actually, I took these photos a couple of weeks ago. I've added a few more since. Just scroll through, you'll find them. Enjoy.
BTW, the colours you see in this picture of the fields and sky are real. I have not fiddled with them. This is the beauty I enjoy on my travels. Likewise, these are real homes of Cambodian people.