I arrived, checked into my place of residence for the next 5 nights and took off for a walk to check out the town. Let’s just say it’s more spread out, quieter and less touristy than Siem Reap. I was happy to find a coffee vendor in the morning after a brief walk. Less touristy is right: I saw very few signs in anything other than Khmer, and my language skills in that particular flavor are limited to “thank you.”
There were a few notable things that happened this morning though. While I was eating breakfast (after my coffee sojourn), I saw several people running past the gate. Our host, ran out, ran back in, grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran back out. I thought about it for about 20 seconds, then went up the stairs to see if there was another. There was. I grabbed it and legged it in the direction they all went.
Apparently, there was a small fire in a furniture building “factory” down the street. (The term “street” being very generous to a 2-meter wide partially-paved pathway. It’d barely be an alley in most parts of the USA.) By the time I got there, I was assured all was well, thanked for my assistance, and I went back to my coffee. Meanwhile, the couple that was sitting at the next table (and who also went looking for a fire extinguisher) had left. Why do I mention them? Because that’s the more interesting part of this tale.
I ordered another cup of coffee and was enjoying it and reading, and when I looked up and around – as one does – I noticed the couple were backpacked up and ready to leave. I gave the young man a nod, and he returned it, and walked over to ask about what happened. We started to talk, and I discovered that they are from Switzerland. Cool. He discovered that I had been in Malaysia. I mentioned that I met another couple from Switzerland when I was there, and he interjected, “Tatiana and Luc?”
I showed them the selfie I’d taken and sure enough, holy shit! Yes! Turns out these two are besties with those two. Small fucking world, eh? Too bad Alzheimer’s has caught up with me, since I can only remember his name and not hers: Mathias. Unfortunately, their ride to the bus station arrived after only a few minutes of conversation. I wish you well on your travels, and maybe we’ll meet again!
As for Battambang, I may not stay the entire time I had booked and eat the cost of the room for a couple of nights. It’s just a little too quiet, and too rural and out of synch for me right now.