Post # 29 Chlong

Day 35 1045 days to go. Distance: today 35km total 1813km. It’s 6.56pm Wednesday the 4/1/2012 Chlong. For a tiny place there’s been such contrast in sounds the last 30minutes while I read up on tomorrows ride to Kompong Cham. There’s a strong Muslim community in these parts and mosques are appearing in villages. At 6.00pm the muslim pryer call could be heard. Then for the next 15 minutes the Budhists at next doors watt were chanting. And now music from a wedding celebration in the middle of town is at volume too loud and perfect. The wedding is literally a marque set up one side of the street. I’ve seen about 6 marques similarly set up over the last days going through small towns/villages. It appears the towns’ folk come together to celebrate a local wedding. It’s a fancy affair ornate and asian colored bright, bold and very Bollywood Everyones dressed in their finest and in this instance the bride and groom are in lavender. It’s unusually cool I like the community sense in it. Todays cycle was really fun along the river road through muslim and Buddhists agricultural villages. It’s so apparent how the area changes in the wet season. The road is elevated and the homes highly stilted with planked walkways to the road. The homes mostly have concrete pillared foundations to their wooden stilts. Most homes have a number of these huge urns you could fit an adult man in. They appear to be water urns used to bath, do washing, and to store for general purpose. Then in the plains away from the homes were the fertile lowlands flooded in the wet season now perfect for growing grains like rice and corn. I’m seeing more cattle still being used to pull carts and plough fields as opposed to motorized tractors. I read this is a poorer area of Cambodia. The root vegetable is still ever present dry roasting wherever there’s a spare concrete or bitumen area. The villages all have one tall mud crusted silo not sure what its storing but seeing the volumes of this vegetable being dried maybe it’s that at a guess only. I’m not seeing it being sold in food stalls which makes me think its being stored for another season’s staple. Ive really loved seeing the smaller villages today and have stopped regularly on the short route to enjoy the locals. A common food here is the bamboo wrapped sticky rice but it’s mixed with coconut milk and a bean. I bought one of them today and ate half for lunch with some local kids at a village big fun. It still amazes me how many children there are and so little. I have seen more bare bottoms today as clothes for the under 2’s appears optional. I had my first crushed sugar cane juice drink today. Oh my goodness it was fabulous. The man mixed it with lime and its just straight juice. He wanted to serve it on ice but I said ‘give it to me straight baby’ well not quite but to protect my belly I thought it best. They have this machine Ive seen it also in everyday homes, that shreds and squashes the cane using a hand turned rolling pin action. This old man had a stall set up right on the river and it had my name all over it. Another local man came up and we sat on the stools provided and shared an otherwise quiet slurping moment. There was a watt across the road I wondered through after. It had this long boat in the front that was about 50 meters in length now that’s a extra long boat. By the way you have to remove your hat when you go into a watt opps. They were restoring the front entrance and like other building structures here the scaffolding is somehow engineered bamboo. Obviously it does the job but its so crazy adhoc crooked looking. Fish is of course on the menus in this area by the quantity all shapes and sizes, fresh and sun dried. The smell frying in their open air hotplates is exquisite. The lady who runs the guest house has a family living in the back area I think they are the family of the woman who services the guesthouse. She showed me to my room and they’re rougher and worn around the edges as opposed to the family living in the front house. I’ve noticed this also in Thailand and Loas that the lower class show far more signs of working hard but I think they’re smile lines are the best. I have experienced their personalities to be more colourful that’s for sure. Take today for instance I had to service Rube when I got here as her gears are slipping and the working family all got into it interested and laughing they are really spirited to be around. The lady who runs the place we exchanged enough details to know she’s 54 and I’m 44 and she was definitely friendly but there’s a difference without a zest and raw realness that exudes from the poor. I went for a ride around town this early evening to double check Rube was ok and came back to the family open air frying fish and setting up for their feast the family into it and coming together very social and a chatty vibe. The family in the front were siting in front of the TV, the mother was on the phone, the contrast was so loud and clear. The ride was great just to take in the place and a few subtle pickies along the way. I’m far more comfortable taking pictures overtly with local folk as part of meeting them. Just taking pictures at a distance makes me feel alien and ignorant and the folk on show. I found this great spot on the river sitting on front of an old boat deck. It was fabulous and would have done my blogging there but it was ‘mozzie’ o’clock eeek. Tomorrow’s a longer day 82km of more remote villages and the road is mostly dirt with a river crossing about half way. The road goes up a steep incline for about 2km to a watt on the other side of the Mekong then descends again along the river and into Kompng Cham. I’m going to try for an early start as it works well to enjoy most of the ride in the mornings before the afternoon heat. I’m looking forward to the day. The wrist has been a bit sore but the bruising is coming out already so its on the mend. The belgium ladies didn’t show this afternoon unless their hiding from me lol. Theres not too many places to hide here. In my cycle around this arv the sunset was amazing and really unusual. The sun just went red about an hour before sunset and got redder until it finally set. There was no other color just this vivid ball all the hues of red and those on either side. So tomorrows another day yay and my wrist isn’t broken yay and Rubes bits are hopefully still working yay. It’ll be interesting to see how she goes on the ascent tomorrow as it’s under load her gears are slipping. Worst case scenario we’ll enjoy the walk up together and can regain our fengshu at the watt at the top. 🙂 time for dinner. Last of the beugette, baked beans leftover from breaky and cheese triangles yum. I wanted to say an extra thank you to the Cambodian folk that helped me yesterday not just picking me up after the fall but for the gentle upper cut and kickstart to appreciate the unique qualities of the Kamer. talk soon. x

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About shecyclesolo

If you could dream up the most wildest adventure imaginable what would it be? Between jobs and craving new experience, I decided to indulge the challenge. This is what I conjoured with a promise to come home safe and smiling. I hope you enjoy the 1080 days of stories as much as I will sharing them. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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