Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 4 - Thursday +
Day 5 - Friday it would seem.
I thought it was thursday but the clock says different.
We sorted out the bikes yesterday, spent the day in town shopping at the markets, then hit the vaguelly touristy river front area. Which basically meant that in maybe a third of the bars you sat down outside, you were quickly surrounded by Cambodian girls. Less awkward after a few beers, and the made a good effort at teaching us how to count to 10 and other random topics of conversation, but still we went on to find a more traditional bar.
Though what began as a few beers ended for me at a Karaoke bar (Cambodian...) at around 4am, for Tom and Tony, around 6 I think... Which meant the plan to leave on the bikes at 10am turned into 2pm.

As we rode along, we stopped for a load bang on the dirt path beside us followed by some horrible screaming. Parked up and went over, Tom was helping this guy upright his scooter, which had a basket on it containing 3 pigs then 4 or 5 ducks on top. All were fine and we got him strapped up and on his way. As we were walking off, Tom confessed 'as I ran over there and heard the screaming, I picked the bike up thinking "please don't be a child under there"'

We were aiming to get to Kratie but as the sun set into pitch blackness we were left with the choice of whether to push on, or backtrack to a pokey little town in the middle of Buddha knows where to a guesthouse we'd seen. The bikes had almost no headlights above a dim glow, and we only had sunglasses, so to ride at night we had to take them off and weere reduced to about 40kph. It could have been a long night ahead so we went back. The town (Memout) was a real no-where town, luckily the guesthouse guide found us a tiny little restaurant as we could track down bugger all places to eat, not even street food.
The days riding was good though, More near misses than I could have ever imagined for one journey. My favorite being my attempt to take to the dirt to undertake a bus, then a lady chose to just walk out of her drive in front of me without even thinking of checking if it was safe (motorbikes generally hop on the dirt to get round obstacles here). As i'm just about to lock the front wheel and say my goodbyes I just hear tony riding pat on the road laughing out loud. Theme of the holiday was set then, and soon these unbelievable close calls just become routine parts of the journey that you soon don't even blink at.
The bikes are reliable and start on the button, even if they're not 'new' as the sales rep had promised, but so far, so good.

After our stay in Memout, and the street food on the way up here, I think we've collectively given in and decided we're not going to worry about stomach bugs while we're here. Plans to only drink bottled water are scuppered when everywhere we stop they just present a big jug of local made iced tea to drink, and neither the veggie or meat option often either look safer than the other on.e Oh well, bottoms up!

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