This contraption was commonplace. It's a huge net which the fisherman can raise and lower out of the water using the ballast you can see hanging above the bamboo platform.
The boat we caught was more like the water bus. One of those backpacker specials.... someone making a mint out of cramming pasty white faces into the hull. The boat would drift slowly through riverside villages, occasionally revving the engine to signify it's arrival. Those who needed a ride were ferried to the waiting boat by a family member, sometimes their kids.
So, five hours down, and just before the ass-numbness became chronic, we stopped for lunch. The wife still seemed to be enjoying herself. All was well. After lunch, the 'low water' part of the journey began. This entailed navigating the bends in what was normally a river now reduced to not much more than a stream, vegetation on the bank above looking as thirsty as most of the passengers. With the vocation of staring out of the boat at the scenery pretty much removed, there wasn't a lot to do except 1) concentrate on what it feels like to sit on a wooden plank, 2) listen to the droaning of the engine, housed in a wooden box about 4 metres to my right or 3) looking at my wife's face, which was staring at me as if I had just called her a stupid cow, which even if I had have done she wouldn't have been able to hear because of the deafening noise. Chi said to me later it's amazing how all the westerners simply refuse to complain about the conditions, pain and suffering they must undeniably be in. Just as the backside was issuing its most violent of complaints (not audible, just muscular) we unexpectedly stopped and were ordered from the boat.
The water was too low to continue any further, but those harbouring any hope of us being 'near' Battambang would have done well to look around them. I for one couldn't see anything resembling a city, a town or a village, let alone a corrugated iron shack. The only thing visible was a field of ploughed dirt and two pick-ups. I knew it would be the end of my marriage if Chi realised we were expected to clamber into the back of the pick-up, so I quickly secured seats in the cab whilst all the backpackers pretended to be having a good time. After about 30 minutes of carefully arranging limbs and securing bags, we were ready to go.
Doesn't look too bad does it. Well try sitting on the edge of the truck over a road that looks like this. This is one of the places we got stuck.
It took three hours from boat to Battambang, in distance no more than 35km.
With all that said and done, and me unable to explain the 'joys of travelling' to Chi, we had arrived in Cambodia's second city, Battambang. It is split in two by a river that looks like this
and full of streets that look like this
and a market that looks like this