Random Thoughts by Fabien Penso

Train ride in Cambodia

I was in Cambodia in 2004, and took a train from Phnom Penh to Battambang (about 280 kms). At first I didn’t understand why people kept fighting to be able to put their hammock, attaching them through the train wall’s holes.

I later understood…

Before the train departure (a few hours late, come on that’s Cambodia…) a guy asked me to push my legs away to put this big oil tank full of crap, I did and expected him to move it away later. He never did.

The bench me and my friend used was terrible, a wood bench without anything to soften your ass, and I could feel any of the rails imperfections while the train moved. I stood up to go to the restroom (restroom: a hole in the floor in the last car, with a nice panoramic view on the rails), and when I came back someone was sit at my place. The bench for 2 people became for 3 as the other person never left.

The train sometimes was going so slow you could walk by, but you’d never do it as land mines were very close, and you wouldn’t want to step on any of them. It was the reason the train was going slow, not to blow up any with the train shakes.

The ride took 18 hours, I then understood why people fought for using their hammock.

You can view more photos of my trip on my flickr set, please note I was using film I developed myself with my trusty Leica M6.

Note: I posted this article on medium and thought it’d be nice to have it archived here.