Post # 30 Khompong Cham

Day 36 1044 days to go. Distance: today 92km total 1905km. It’s 6.30pm Thursday 5/1/2012
Khompong Cham. If there was any chance I was going to be nervous on gravel from my fall the other day that’s been long squashed from today’s 92km with 80kms on red gravel and rocky uneven surface. what a wicked day as in unforgiving and tough on me and rube. We certainly got our patience and parts stretched but it was so worth it. The people and experiences along the way were awesome and it’ll be one of my highlights of Cambodia for sure. I stocked up on baguettes and bananas this morning at the Chlong market and filled my belly with 2 minute noodles then headed about 8.00am. It was a full day arriving Kompong Cham 4.00pm this arv and a decent’s days work for us both. The first stretch followed the Mekong from Chlong to a small Musim village called Phum Trea. The road was unsealed and red dirt so the sinuses had a bit of a fit. I’ve got a mask I bought and it took the edge off and feeling too bad this evening. The area is mixed some villages very ragged some appeared quite lucrative and most with a strong fishing agriculture and muslim. It was really different to what I’ve seen – people were very busy emptying large tubs of small fish,sorting and laying it out for drying. The smell was pungent and the women very traditionally dressed. Funny but I stopped and had lunch by a group of woman working away and as hard as they were sorting they were chatting and giggling. It was cool to ears drop and flash them a smile if i caught their eyes. They were very shy of me so I kept a respectful distance and took some subtle shots. At one stage I somehow ended up on a back road of the backroad. It was all eroded from the wet season with a hard core single dirt track that weaved it’s way around the erosion. i couldn’t ride rube through it and we ended up walking for about 5kms. That was a testing time and I still have some serious growth with respect to my patience at times. boy i through a couple of wobblies but noone to hear me except Rube who was sweating with the terrain and trailer as well. ]\Then this man came along walking his small herd of cows and pointed me to a path that lead me back onto the main back road. Funny the experience of it made these roads now look like tarmac so all was good from that point on. Back in Kratie the girl I met also cycling gave me a map of the track today with ‘how far is the ferry between Stuang trang and Phum ‘ written in Cambodian. She said it may come in handy as the ferry crossing was hard to spot from the other side. Oh my goodness – what an amazing gift. I spent 10km literally stopping and asking and getting mixed distances but all the folk understanding what I was asking and doing their best to point me onwards. The Muslim call to prayer has just started. I love that sound. I perched myself on a wall that runs along the river front. There;s food vendors and heaps of goings on on the water front. Great atmosphere while I post and have dinner. Anyway I eventually found the ferry at the 55km mark 10km out on the map so that bit of paper was priceless. I wish i knew the girls name to email her my thank-you so if you’re reading this on the off chance “you are a jet and saved my butt today big time.’ I treated myself to a can of coke which went down very nicely on the ferry ride across. The morning was tough and I must admit that 4 hours of children yelling in chorus ‘hello’ at me repeatedly at the top of their lungs made it a bit hard to stay open and receptive to their ‘welcomes’ I know that sounds terrible. They weren’t begging or being aggressive or throwing unexploded land mines or machetes at me so there’s no rationality but I’d be missing a strong emotion from today if I left it out of my post. I was really aware of my growing lack of tolerance and it was really uncomfortable and interesting to see how I coped. What eventually worked was saying one hello, giving a quick wave as it was a two hands on handlebar day, then picking one child out and saying something nice to him or her. I needed a strategy because the alternative that wanted to come out of my mouth wasn’t very nice. You know i can’t even imagine the hardships these families live day to day and I am saturated with western and middle class filters to even respectfully come close. however i can be respectful and present myself respectfully to ensure the local folk are afforded the best of me as a representative of my country traveling on theres. So that was my debrief on AM today. On the other side of the river it was an entirely different area and people. The roads was still unsealed and red dirt but it was more even and improved as the next 45kms went on. I was actually quite spent from the morning so I had allot of stops, had another sugarcane drink and chatted to a handful of local folk and familes to regather a far more friendlier open self and shut evil impatient Maree up for the afternoon. It worked yay. It was a really interesting PM. The area became very fertile and agricultural with fields of green mixed crops. The last 20km was along a tree-lined road through this sort of country and it was such different experience and wonderful way to see out the day’s ride. I found a great guest house again for $5.00 right on the river front with great views out over the water and river front life. I sat out there when I first arrived to send the spot tracked and enjoy a coffee and really appreciated the day for all it’s ups and down times. It all blends now to an amazing day. Tomorrow is onto Phenom Phen 120kms and over 2000km total distance how cools that. I thought I’d spend a couple of days checking out the city before heading up to Siem Reap for a three day pass to take in the temples. That’s the plan. for now it’s a picnic dinner and bed. Talk soon x

Day 39 1041 days to go. Distance : today: 30km total #. It’s 3.40pm Sunday the 8/1/2012 Phenom Phen. My girl loves me again. I had made such a muddle of he

r gears when I high pressured her with good intent but it was an oppsy. Now in hindsight I think I knew not to do that but it seemed like a great idea at the time and I was so happy with myself that I had spotted the hose at the bus terminal. As taken from one of my favorite songs currently Tinpan Orange ‘Lovely’ …Ïf I ever break you I swear I’ll put you back together again.’ So that was me 1st job o’clock this morning, Barnett’s Manual, tools, no idea but determined to put my Rubes back together again. And now she sparkles and works and loves me. Likewise!!! My very authentic Oakley’s are Red just like her. The bond is back and stronger then ever in time for us to head to Siem Reap tomorrow to check out Ankor Watt and the temples for a few days – very excited. After that effort it was shower and pamper and off to check out the Russian markets. Actually they were a bit of a fizzer probably because what they offer I’m not interested in ie clothes, jewelry cheap brand names and the interesting stuff I felt like I had seen before. I found this place outside a bank to park Rubes and there were a couple of security guards sitting having a big laugh as I locked up my bike. I could feel my cranky shackles want to ruffle but instead I went over to them introduced myself and sat beside them while I drank my morning takeaway coffee (Thermos style). Soon we were chatting about beer and eating lychees which they offered to share. Lychees are called me hen in Cambodian. Delish and a really cool experience indeedy. I headed then back across the friendship bridge and to the market bakery I found yesterday to buy some more baguettes as apparently you can eat 10 in 24hrs. I quite like calorie-ing up and am so good at it J  Another 10 on board I headed for a tour around the city. Phenom Phen has very grand avenues with centre monuments and manicured gardens. They pretty much form the grid system for the other roads so it’s easy to navigate about. The city is building a huge manmade island off the dockside lots of bucks spent to help along its reputation as one of the new “in” cities in the world.  It was good to get a better feel for the place and its layout. I did have some cool encounters with some vender families along the way. One woman was selling peeled huge grapefruit. She had a baby and 3 other children under 5. Full on! Anyway a dollar well spent and I sat with them while I ate my grapefruit and amused the kids. I passed this other woman tying together and selling those stalks I saw the other day opposite the fields of pink lotus. So they are the lotus stalks that you break open and peal and eat the little pods inside. They’re a bland texture something like a water chestnut. Again I sat with her while I ate my share and I loved sitting on the street listening to her chatting away to me. Eating my lotus pods and watching the city move past from a street perspective I loved it. I think this was my most favorite Cambodian experience so far and worth every bit of the 50c. Yesterday I left out a few bits I had seen during the day. The boys of all ages and boys at heart play this game like badminton but with their feet and the shuttle cock is a bit bigger. God they’re so coordinated and clever. I watched them for ages on dusk yesterday playing in front of the fountain opposite the night markets. I also watched them playing outside the fluoro lit restaurant hence the photos.  I’ll attach them to this post so they make more sense. After I update the blog and upload the photos from Cambodia so far, it’s back to the guest house to pack up for tomorrow and head to the riverfront for dusk and dinner. It’s a nice way to end what’s been a full speed full on few days, very interesting both as a place to experience and personally manage. We have it so good at home and that’s always good for me to keep in the front of the brain. Talk soon x

Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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