The riverboat from Siem Reap to Battambang, in Cambodia’s northwest, leaves early each morning and takes five to six hours squeezing through narrow waterways and wetlands and past myriad small villages, stopping at many to pick up or drop off passengers. It’s a photographer’s paradise.
It was now or never. We needed to get a clean shot quickly, before the “snipers” moved in. Sure enough, as the monks waited patiently in a window frame amid the ancient Angkor Wat temple, the pair’s bright orange robes began to attract several nearby tourists like a lamp drawing in moths.
It was at the memorial to the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime at a wat just outside Battambang that I learnt a lot more about my guide, Mr Philay, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. “We were always so hungry … oh, hungry, hungry all the time,’’ he said. “Nothing to eat.”