Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 10 - Wednesday

Jeesh, where to start? Breakfast. Bacon and egg in a baguette. Then Suits. Suit day at last! We headed out into the wilderness. Then Tom fell off and broke his clutch lever and ego. I was leading and didn't realise this for a good few miles when I realised I was on my own. So I waited, and waited, then started heading back, then saw Tony who I knew had been at the tail, and I worried a bit. But Tom was fine, headed back to town nursing a clutch lever stump. Then we followed and met him in town where all had mostly been fixed at a local garage. easy!

The extent of the crash damage.

New clutch lever, same ego, wilderness Take Two. To cut a long (3 hour?) story shorter, we got lost. So lost we did a knee deep river crossing (managed to keep my boots dry, skills!). Wile an entire tiny local village came to watch. There was a bridge over the river, but it was a tree trunk with some very loose planks fastened to it, about 5 foot high in the air and 15-20 foot long. We opted for the river crossing. Got through, celebrated, got stared at blankly by the locals, then watched a middle aged man on a Honda Wave scooter roll in over the bridge. Those bikes do everything. We did get the impression riding away from their little village that they may all rub their eyes 20 minutes later and start to question whether the 3 white men in suits on old dirt bikes who just did a pointless river crossing into the town, shouted hello to them all then rode off towards not much, did really exist or not.

Then we hit the jungle tracks proper. Got some vague directions to a town name we were after, had a dodgy market bought compass we half trusted, and we headed south into nothing really, just singletrack paths that often split 2 or 3 ways, sometimes re-converging, sometimes not. We headed south as best we could.

Then we realised we were going to run out of fuel. We could go back to that little village, where we hadn't seen any fuel for sale, or keep going onward for a completely unknown distance. Never before had I potentially had to use a compass to save my own life, we were a bit fucked. And we had a compass from an asian market and we didn't know where we were, even roughly, on our shitty tourist map which had no accuracy in the first place. But as is the way in these situations, a lone van rolled up and pointed us on our way.
To clarify the situation for you, I had to (I was nominated) stop a pick up truck, on a deserted forestry track, full of maybe 8 Cambodian men. Walk up to them, wearing a suit, and cheerfully say 'A'ight?'. They loved it, and we got directions. sort of.
Where I stopped the truck.

We made it to the next town, checked the map and realised that in 4 hours or so, we had done the easy quarter of our days route. So we binned it off and headed back to Kratie.
So we burnt it up, down the half built tarmac roads. 120kph max out. Then it rained. So hard it nearly washed the contacts out of my eye. So hard that top tried to wipe his Biggles style glasses to clear his vision, then realised they had filled up over his eyes. Seriously, what the??
Also, even slowing down to 30 or 40 kph, rain really hurts on your bare face!

The day was finished in style by riding through a small but long Cambodian village, 3 in a row, close formation, in suits, standing on the pegs, wearing sunglasses. Such a movie moment, the photo's should show how fucking awesome we looked.
Arrived in Kratie, ate two dinners + 3 beers a piece, watched the rain flood the street, had a couple more beers, then rode back to our old guesthouse. Where we found V again (Not illustrated, that was Tom stealing my camera and stealth perving)

To summarise; Suits, Crash, River Crossing, Near death in Wilderness, Hope, Rain, looking cool, food, pub.
Perfect Day??

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