Banlung, up in the northeast corner of the country, is essentially our last stop in Cambodia; we’ve got one more town for a night en route to Laos, but that’s just a travel stop so it doesn’t really count. So far we’re making the most of it here. We’ve walked out to Boeng Yeak Lom, a beautiful crater lake, twice, and biked to a couple of waterfalls. We’ve found two restaurants that we really like, and one great little local bar for after dinner drinks.
One of the most memorable parts of the stop was little VANessa, a six-year-old who didn’t want us to take her picture. Her father is Swedish, and runs one of the restaurants we really liked. Her mother is Khmer and I think does much of the cooking, while her Khmer uncle serves. And she apparently entertains the guests, or at least us on our two visits. She just came over and talked and talked and talked.
What was remarkable about VANessa (besides that fabulous name) was her English. She has an American teacher at an international school here, and she sounds like she’s lived her entire life in the U.S. Her dad said her teacher is from South Carolina – which some people consider part of the U.S. – but fortunately she doesn’t have even a hint of a southern accent. And no other accent either. Never a hesitation for a word; I totally assumed that she’d lived part time at least in the U.S. And her dad says she’s just as fluent and chatty in Swedish and Khmer. Too bad she didn’t want us to take her picture; she was a real cutie.
Here are a few shots of our experience in Banlung. Tomorrow it’s a reasonably short drive to Stung Treng before a longer drive the next day across into Laos.