|'A' is where I started, and the Blue arrow is where I am.|
We rode into Koh Kong all together in the dark, but even without the light it was apparent how drastically different the continuation of the same land, same road can be as a result of a man made artificial boundary called border and more so because of the history of the culture on either side of the border.
The French colonisation influence is the most apparent in the Cambodian architecture and food ... finally there is bread! Baguettes for 12.5cents, delicious for my midday watermelon breaks. The baguettes replaced the Rosy crackers from Thailand :)
More on cultural differences between Cambodia and Thailand... There are no stores in Cambodia, Thailand had Tesco and 7Elevens, Cambodia only has little stores selling mainly cleaning products and chips, with the occasional minimart store in the bigger cities only which sells jam and muesli for my belly!
Both countires have great street markets though, with fresh fruit and veggies and too much meat and fish sitting in the heat all day long.
In Thailand, the markets are outdoor markets, while in Cambodia they have covered maze bazzares that you can get lost in.
In Thailand they have lots of street food, whereas in Cambodia there are lots of roadside restaurants instead.
In Cambodia the corruption is visible with the fancy street cars, Lexus, Porche, Mercedes, ... in such a poor country. The locals admit they are mainly stolen. We had no such sights in Thailand.
In Cambodia the road conditions are very bad, in Thailand at least you could count on pavement.
Different from Thailand, in Cambodia we ride all day long with shouts of Hello and Bye Bye from the kids mostly. They are playing in the trees, under and behind the pillared homes and they always see you.... I lost my voice several times by the end of the day from yelling back Hello or Susudaii to encourage pride in their own language all day long!
And finally, we've been meeting much more cycle tourists in Cambodia mainly because of the limited road system which increases the probability of encounters.
We rode East along the coast, on the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains with our friends Karin and Michel.
|Still hoping to see a wild elephant crossing the street!|
|Ziggidy Zaggidy road through 300m high Cambodian Mountains|
|Karin wears her helmet for the downhills only. *heart*|
|Dariya kicked these mountains butt!|
|Strong and steady Michel climbs :)|
Stayed with the locals for $3/night organized through the Cambodia Eco Tourism Bureau.
I fed some cats and dogs along the way.
Discovered hidden town of Srie Ambel which will remain my favourite through all of Cambodia.
|I bought the wooden brushes she sells just to buy something from her, now I use it to clean my chain!|
|Srie Ambel pool hall|
|And this is not the most overloaded minibus I've seen,|
|Always striving to do more with less.|
|Everyday at around 1pm we get to ride with the school girls and boys going home.|
|This is a chashew nut fruit!|
|Nursing water buffalo|
|Fishing village on the way to Kampot|
|Fishing boats saving fuel as they head out to sea in Kampot|
|Young souls don't stay still for a photo shoot!|
A funny silly video of running into another cycle tourist in route to Kep.
Dariya and I talk and check in on each other every chance we get and hope to get to ride another section of this journey together when our routes match again.
Don't forget to keep upto date with her travel stories at dariyakashuba.wordpress.com
A short pause in PP and I was on my own heading North along the Mekong River, while Karin and Michel took a bus and boat West to go check out Angkor Wat.
I look forward to cross paths with them again on this trip or in Belgium or France after the trip.
I rode one long 110km dusty day where my road turned from pavement to gravel to sand to a little track along the river...
|Finally got some flags. This lady insisted I also buy the Cambodia Buddhism flag.|
|I was trying to take a picture of sunset behind me and I ended up with a self portrait explaining to me why I got such odd treatment from the guesthouse reception later this day!|
And then I ran into this....
|Visit www.Solidream.net to follow their world journey|
|Fishing boats in Kampong Cham|
|Riding along the Mekong|
|Mekong creek crossings|
|Bridge is out of commission!|
|I would not have been able to push up all these hills without Siphay and Morgan's help and then when I was tired, Brian and Etienne stayed back to ride with me.|
|Everything you need in the most simple form|
|Cambodian toll Hwy!|
|Many amazing views along the Mekong|
|You can't tell, but I'm washing my clothes while swimming against the current in this shot ;)|
|One night in a Pagoda, one night at a restaurant and one night in rubber tree plantation we camped :)|
|Now they head towards Vietnam and I go towards Laos|
|"Fais de ta vie un rêve, et d'un rêve, une réalité."|
Finally, no adventure is complete without some hiccups...
I had a little fall in the best place possible after my rack rattled off due to lack of pavement after the Cardamom mountains.
|First fixed my hand and knee, then my bike.|
|Siphay turning my chain into a single speed|
|Etienne installing my $2.25 derralieure|
|The piece that broke welded back in Stoeng Treng|
But you know, these countries are too small, by the time I start getting comfortable with the culture and a tiny bit with the language, it's time to move on. I cross into Laos tomorrow, excited for what the road ahead brings along. I also hope I find a good bike shop soon!
These posts are getting to be too long, I know. When you're enjoying where you are, it's hard to take time away to write about it. So I take a brake day just to write, choose photos and post some memories.
Thank you for you emails, comments, and for continuing to read patiently :) xo