Another New Year

By Jane | April 14, 2014

12,672 km so far.

This morning, we really needed to have a lie in. Getting up for (almost) sunrise three days in a row has really taken its toll. Especially on Stephen, who thinks the only valid reason for getting out of bed is coffee. So, by around 7:30am we were on our bikes, excitedly heading towards the one real coffee roaster in town.

Only to find it was closed for the holiday. Happy Khmer New Year.

We discovered that a high percentage of the restaurants and cafes in town (most of the best-rated places) were closed.

Thanks for being open this morning, Espresso Coffee House!

Thanks for being open this morning, Espresso Coffee House!

Oh well, we’re not just here for the food. Mostly, but not only.

Built Environment

This afternoon, while Stephen napped, I decided to embark on a self-guided architecture biking tour.

To be honest, the tour was kind of hilarious, because most of the architecture in town turns out to be 60s Chinese “architecture”. That is, very functional, but not very pretty, buildings.

One of the more remarkable buildings on the tour. That open breeze-block would fit in well in Palm Springs.

One of the more remarkable buildings on the tour. That open breeze-block would fit in well in Palm Springs.

The highlight was a row of traditional “shophouses”, the likes of which we only saw about 7 million during our time in China.

Shophouses in Battambang. All the shops are closed.

Shophouses in Battambang. All the shops are closed.

Oh well, at least now I know they are called “shophouses”. Even their name lacks imagination.

My reward for dutifully sightseeing, at White Rose, one of the only open places in town.

My reward for dutifully sightseeing, at White Rose, one of the only open places in town.

Slingshot Game

As I was parking my bike outside yet another derelict building on the tour, I noticed a little boy running along the street. He was trying to catch up with a man who had a wooden box mounted on the back of his bike.

Hmmm, I wondered, what’s in the box? Lizards? Apples? Mysterious secrets of the universe?

What's in the box? In Battambang.

What’s in the box? In Battambang.

So I lingered to watch events unfold.

First, the boy handed over a little cash. Then the man opened the lid of the box to reveal a spinning dartboard inside. He raised the wheel and propped it in place. Next, the boy grabbed a handle in front of the wheel, and as the man gave the wheel a good spin, the boy pulled back on the handle and then let fly. WHAM.

A tiny handmade dart flew into the wheel.

The man checked the wheel to see where the dart had landed.

And the winner gets... two pulls of taffy! In Battambang.

And the winner gets… three pulls of taffy! In Battambang.

The boy had hit number 2, and got 2 pulls from a gooey white taffy hidden inside the wooden box.

What a cool game!

In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t give it go.

Party All Night

After dinner, as we ride the backstreets to our hotel, we come across a banging New Year’s party.

About 30 people are dancing the night away right in the middle of the small street. When they notice us, three guys form a barrier, pushing their friends out of the way to let us by. We smile and thank them, dancing a little on our bikes as we pass.

“Happy New Year,” we shout.

“Happy New Year!” the revellers shout back, their cries following us all the way down the dark street.  

Want to see the route map? View it on Ride With GPS.

3 comments

  1. Pingback: Cambodia Itinerary: How to Get the Most from 2 Weeks in Cambodia | My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

  2. Comment by Kimberly

    Kimberly Reply April 22, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I love this story about the sweets wheel! Mmmmm, I wonder if we could do something similar in the States at street festivals and maybe give the kettle corn vendor a run for his money!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane April 29, 2014 at 7:49 am

      I’m not sure kids in the US would really think it was that cool, sadly. But maybe they’d be into it for the nostalgia factor?

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