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Water Buffalo, Tasty But Not When Wet

In the realm of edible meats water buffalo has to be one of the tastiest meats that I have ever consumed. In fact of the two types of buffalo I have eaten, American Bison & Water Buffalo, neither one takes the cake as both are top tier delectables in terms of the animal produce category. This attempt at describing my love for bovine based meat products is quickly derailing as metaphors are not my strong suit, but before I end this track remember that buffalos produce that wondrous cheese – Mozzarella.

Water buffaloes can be found all around Cambodia; not as wild animals but domesticated to the degree than such an ornery can be. What Khmer do with them I’m not sure, as I’ve yet to encounter their meat, and no one’s making cheese. They may simply be a source of energy for plowing even though they just seem to plod about and wallow in a lot of mud and water. As stated previously, they’re the only ones who are really making any use of the flood waters.

The flood waters are still quite high. They’ve lowered in some areas but there are still rains falling across Cambodia and even up river in Thailand and Laos. Cambodia is still not in a state of emergency, officially, but ask those who’ve lost all their worldly possessions to the waters. This past week I’ve gone out through a few more provinces, with the goal of reaching Kampong Thom – one of the 24 provinces of Cambodia, that just happens to be bisected by the Mekong.

To get there we initially set out on Tuesday around two and headed north from Phnom Penh. Our intention wasn’t to take National Highway 6, but a short cut. One that cost us an entire day – for a journey that should have only been two hours to two and a half. The road we took, as my pictures illustrate, was not in the best condition. Added to that portions of it were underwater. Some areas we could transverse in the sedan. Then we found one we couldn’t.

For a very long time no cars passed us going in the opposite direction, which should have given us some idea that we weren’t headed towards anything accessible. I didn’t remark on this because I was asleep, as is my want. I have very much taken to the mantra of “Why run when you can walk. Why walk when you can stand. Why stand when you can sit. Why sit when you can lay down. Why lay down when you can sleep.”

When we reached the point where we could go no further we watched an SUV cross the gap with water filling its wheel wells, and locals struggling to push their carts and mopeds alongside of it. At that moment, the driver also decided that it was time to notify us all that he had forgotten his stuff in Phnom Penh. Wallet, cigarettes, laptop and overnight bag had all been left out of his own car and back in the office. So, as we had to head back to Phnom Penh anyways to get to an alternative route to Kampong Cham we were going to stop back at his office to grab his gear – during rush hour.

Luckily or unluckily, it depends on how you see it, everyone decided to head out the next morning at 5AM for Kampong Cham rather than continue on that night. This time we went along National Highway 6, out to our destination. Coming back yesterday evening we took another shortcut that had been “cleared” before we took it, and went along a road that was significantly higher above the water than any of the others we had taken. Now I’m back in Phnom Penh once more, where it rained quite hard in the evening.


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