Tha Khek to Xe Champhone – day fourty eight

These two locations are very rural and so they the roads to get from one to the other is incredibly bumpy. By bumpy I mean we were floating on our chairs for half of the journey because the bumps made us jump so high off of our seats. 

Bananas 

Before we left the town of Tha Khek we grabbed some bananas for the monkeys later on in the day. Most people on the bus also grabbed breakfast but I had bought porridge oats I hadn’t used so I wanted to eat them up and save some money. 


Lunch 

One word humongous. I asked for boiled vegetables and chicken. It wasn’t what I expected but good enough and the pieces of chicken were to a good size…and for once there seemed to be a lot of great chicken and not grizzle. 


Turtle lake 

Our first stop was called Turtle Lake. According to the traditions of the Dondaeng a Village, the turtles are sacred and so no one can kill them. If they do they will become ill and die. Normally Loas people eat everything which lives, apart from dogs and cats, but here they will not eat the turtle either. Apparently the turtle population of the lake is around 400-500 within the 300metre square lake. We however only saw around five at a time. The sun must be hot for them and so most will be deep underwater or hiding from the sun. 


When feeding the turtles the local children we chanting “Khuay tou euay kheun ma kin khao der a-a-a”. This translates to ‘cute buffalo come to eat rice a-a-a’. 


Taleow old temple- the bombing temple

This temple is special because it was bombed by the Americans in 1969, but it still stands. On the day of the bombing 200 people died and many buildings around the area burnt down. This temple was special to the locals because everyone helped to build it. It was ,ade from hardwood, brick and cement. It is still seen today as a sacred place and the locals will go there to worship on a daily basis. 


The ruins outside seemed worse than the inside. The walls were chipped and it was quite dusty inside but the supporting poles on the outside gave the overall outside a dramatic first impression. 


Monk library 

After this temple we went to anothe temple where we saw the monk library. The writing and stories about the buddha were all scribed into bamboo because at the time Loas people had not paper or ink. They were immaculately kept, wrapped in decorative cloth and stored in open cupboards. 


To enter we had to take our shoes off, but we were also asked to wears a skirt and a white material which wrapped over our left arm. Somehow I managed to co-ordinate my colours really well. Turquoise and white. 


The grounds also had a Buddha ground which had identical bushes all facing inward to a large Buddha at the end. Looking at the planks on each individual Buddha there seemed to be a wide range of USA sponsors. I assume these were people who felt guilty for the secret war and wanted to pay their respects. 


My favourite part of this place was the library which was on top of a lake. Not water level but raised on wooden planks. 


Monkeys

Our final stop was to feed the monkeys on the road. They are bright things and as soon as they saw the van they swarmed. It wasn’t the best experience and most of the bus were scared on them because they were charging at us. The only way to get them off us was to throw bananas in the opposite direction. I didn’t have chance to take photos because they literally snatched the massive bunch off me within a space of a minutes. 

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