Pig in Flight at Angkor Thom´s South Gate!
Working in Cambodia, no matter where – and this includes the Angkor Archaeological Park – is always an opportunity to witness the unusual.
Animals are transported in all sorts of bizarre and, by our progressive and enlightened standards, cruel ways around Asia, but the pig-on-a-motorbike routine is a favorite. Farmers travel for miles along often bumpy and potholed roads from their villages to the nearest market with a fully grown sow tied to the back in a bamboo basket – custom made for the purpose.
On a recent trip to Angkor, I stopped near the imposing South Gate to Angkor Thom, the greatest of the royal capitals built by the Khmer. This gigantic gopura is topped by the smiling faces of the Bodhisattvas. Lots of cute-looking, but actually nasty aggressive monkeys live around the gate and tourists are often attacked while trying to feed these untrustworthy macaques.
As I watched the sun rise over the gate, as the monkeys closed in on a group of Animal Planet subscribers, the loud scream of a fast-approaching motorbike broke the morning peace. But it wasn´t just the bike´s engine that produced a sonic howl akin to the sound of an incoming missile. The additional scream of ungulate terror truly tore the serene morning atmosphere apart. Then the bike flew past in a blur, machine and animal in a high-pitched synchronised squeal, barely slowing as they thundered through the gate.