Cambodia! Suite and end.
The road was resumed after Phnom Penh Saturday, January 10 in the morning. We are super happy to be again able to pedal. After the accident it had imagined moments that if I was broken me something, the journey could end there. We therefore enjoy even better than the adventure continues!
It is gone!
Out of the capital, we are quickly in landscapes with green rice paddies out of sight, superb! It is also a Muslim region, with mosques everywhere, it's amazing, it changes!
Then the landscapes are changing and we have landscapes of yellow fields (paddies harvested and dried with coconut trees and cows) or buffalo again all around us. The road is enough bandwidth, quite a lot of trucks: Buffalo in the middle of the road are the things only requiring trucks to slow down! There are also in the landscape a few marshes where lotus and water lilies bloom. Also found the heat and we regularly stop to taste a good well Coke cool.
The first evening asked the tent in a temple. Little monks, a dozen at most. Are discussed as can be, we exchange our Facebook... and there are now a Cambodian monk who has like our Intothewheel facebook and posted a photo of us with him! The class, non?
The second day is similar to the first. Still very flat road, the same landscapes, maybe a tiny bit less traffic. Suddenly, it does not encourage too much to linger; the evening in Pursat, we celebrate our 106 kms of the day by sleeping in a guest house. It is $ 5 night, or the average price of the Guest House's base here (IE cold shower and no air-con). Gonna, ca does not ruin us too.
On Monday morning, one motive: it was decided will be a Battambang evening: 106 kms was made the day before, can start over again. Will be reached after a somewhat long day: landscapes that become monotonous, still not bad bus that double us in honking, and pain to the back and buttocks of so many kilometers on the saddle. All those hours, have left us time to think, to remember the wedding, our first weeks of road, the family, buddies... It's nice sometimes to have time for these memories!
Short, in total, in 3 days, it will have cycled exactly 300 kms. This is a record for us!
The next morning, 6 h 45, we can climb in the boat in the direction of Siem Reap. It is there that begins a story that put us on the c...
In settling on the boat, there are two other french cyclists, a father and his son. The father, retired, travel 5 years cycling around the world. Discussed our respective adventures (and after 5 years, he lived in things! And he is talkative trees). A little later, we realize that my bike and hers are strangely identical included bags. Strange?
No! The world is simply small! Armindo is actually her former husband that sold me my bike for sale! These two twins already have 10,000 kms across and gather for a few hours! It's really crazy!
Brief otherwise crossing is superb. 8 h by boat, crossing villages at the water's edge, or even completely on the water. And the arrival on the Tonle Sap before docking near Siem Reap.
There is a guest house with our new friends in Siem Reap.
(Info to prospective travellers: Wat Bo Road is full of guest house in $ 7-8 night).
The curse of the temples of Angkor
We spent 3 days to visit the temples of Angkor.
At the level of the temples: Yes it is very beautiful, but somewhat spoiled by mass for the best-known tourism. Not easy to enjoy completely when Chinese cars that are everywhere. The solution? Take advantage of lesser-known temples (Ta Keo, Bayong, Neak Pean,...), or lesser attendance schedule: loved Bayon between noon and two; Ta Prohm (the one in the trees) or at 8 o'clock in the morning! It was awesome to trudge between its ruins in the small nooks: imagine will quickly be the explorers who discover the site.
2 sunrises at top of Angkor Wat was also made. On the other hand, do not be alone at this moment! At 5:30 at the opening of the doors, Yes, Yes, there are already hundreds of people who flock to the right place! Impressive!
Thanks to our bikes, have been quietly browse this huge park, it was nice. And it's really good to spend 3 days on site. This allows to take his time, to feel better the atmosphere of temples; imagine the life at the time, enjoy the quieter temples. And the third day, Thomas was able to implement all his ideas pictures and movies. Check the Cambodia film, there will be new!
However the 3-day pass costs $ 40: this is almost the equivalent of an average Cambodian wage! It touched the issue of the price and what they actually did in... Only for the maintenance and restoration of the temples? It sounds huge...
And if not, you've already heard of the curse of Angkor? Quite a lot of galleys during these visits! Cafes that topple, the gopro stolen, and even discover... once it is at the bottom of the park that we lost the keys to the padlock of the bicycles, bicycles hung between them of course (it would be funny otherwise!). Catching a Tuktuk, look in the place where it had been before. Not finding them. Stay zen. And there, a glimmer of hope! A few meters from us, Thomas acknowledges the Van of the backpacker Germans that it had crossed 10 minutes in the plugs out of Phnom Penh! Once our problem is explained, they have embarked on their camping car, and it was search bikes. It looked smart to 2 bikes hooked to another in a van! Our friends brought us to the hotel where, Whew!, was well left key double in another bag. Finally, it has allowed us to spend a nice time with them telling our travels. Everything is nicely who finished well!
Cambodia, non tourist version
The route was resumed on Saturday morning (17 January) - a gopro 3 pocket, badly negotiated in a store in the city.
We're happy to find real life Cambodian right out of the city, after 3 days in "Disney Land" - in Siem Reap, it is beautiful, it is clean (y' able to trash!), while it is expensive also!
Lunch is a beautiful meeting with a local guide: he is aware of the State of his country, of corruption, we speak of democracy, culture, education. He wants to go abroad and return to improve the lives of people. OK, these are fine words, but awareness is a start. When a Cambodian spring?
After lunch, we pass by a road that will remain in our memories. We leave the highway to borrow a smaller; It turns into dirt road that passes through beautiful landscapes of rice fields and buffaloes, it is super quiet and serene. It is virtually alone except when one crosses 2 pretty villages. It also passes a marriage, it's funny!
When we find the paved road, traffic is very light. We arrive in remote areas of the country. It has more than small villages. People are more friendly. The evening after a puncture for Thomas mini, asked the tent in a pagoda (= a temple), all in wood. A quiet night in appearance... except that 300 m away, the villagers are preparing a big fiesta for the new "gateway" to the temple. And Khmer fiestas, it is horrible music at bottom! Fortunately they are layers-early and it ends at 10 pm. We will make a tour accompanied by a monk to go buy food. This monk will spend the evening with us, making us of speeches in the Khmer language, without that it understands a Word! Sunrise from the tent-oriented stack towards the East. It is rather class. good after a night when even a little choppy. This temple has the air to welcome several adults who seem to have mental retardation... who were rather noisy during the night...
Just 5 kms after this pagoda is Mealea temple, which is part of the Angkor temples. It is 7:45, we enter through an entrance on the side: free entry! It is a beautiful, very impressive: it is invaded by trees, very collapsed, but bridges height allow to see the magnitude of what it should be. And as it is early, it is virtually only. At the exit, a guard is at the entrance where it is gone. We had the chance to spend soon!
A few shots of pedals later, you must stop: the bottom bracket of my bike is wrong! Review: ok, there is a nice play! You can roll, but this is not very pleasant. One is a bit in the middle of nowhere, no chance of finding a bike shop. What to do?
You eventually stop a motorcycle repairman saying that there may be something tighten. Obviously, he does not speak a word of English. It examines the sick beast, seems to have an idea from where comes the problem, try to tighten. Even move! He then starts to disassemble the crankset... not very conventional way. To all, he ended up cutting a can of energizing drinks, it rolls and updates around the axis of the pedal. A bunch of fat and it goes up all. Ah yes, and then also, I forgot to specify: the floor is sand, seeping of course everywhere it seems to interfere with our nice mechanic... In short, there is not large! Is a repair to the Cambodian, but ultimately it moves almost more (and at the moment it seems yet)! The time of repair will cost US 75 cents. In short, it's 11:30 when we leave and has been only 13 kms.
The afternoon is in dry and desolate Plains. Many trees have been cut down. Not very motivating as landscape. Nice time anyway: in stopping drinking a fresh trick roadside found an another cyclo, Austrian, who skips 1 h to discuss and to give advice for the rest of our respective routes, him coming from Laos, and we ending our stay in Cambodia.
The evening found a place in a guest house at Koh Ker (but we will not visit the temple of Koh Ker). The next day, we continue our route; feels really at the bottom end of Cambodia, wooden houses seem to often ready to crumble, the nature is dull and dry. A lot of places, they are burning rice fields. More for lunch, there is no restaurant to eat for many 1 h 30. Not before Preah Vihear, the great city of the corner: is 54 kms in the morning. It was decided that we stop there for today, allowing Thomas to achieve its film contest vimeo weekend challengefor which it will end 2nd tie!
The next day, Tuesday, January 20, landscapes are always a bit the same, a bit glaucous... They burn even the forests, it is not clear why. Or if they have really mastered their fire. There is one who arrives just at the edge of the road)CF 10 seconds per day episode 7) ; it enters the cloud of smoke, it's blase! Lunch is in the lunch of a Chinese construction point (Beguin Say * Chinese come here build its sugar factories). Yes, the villages are widely spaced, there is too much the choice of the restaurant!
It's been a while that is discussed to visit a school. So when in early afternoon in a village, we dare and is entered in the course of a school! It is a fast, but nice. (Cf Plug school for some photos).
And then to the town of Chhaeng, we stop for the night. It is a village where it feels good: the atmosphere is quiet, people are relaxed and cool (apart from an embittered Grandma holding the restaurant where you eat the evening). Ah yes, and then in fact, it is a village which is in the midst of an area of approximately 100kms without current electricity. People have a battery or generator. No lights in the streets, we see too many stars. However at 9 p.m., lights for all the world!
The next day, Wednesday, January 21: the road is a bit more hilly but there are fires everywhere... With a tailwind all the afternoon (after a lunch at base of a soup with unidentified pieces...), it totals 90 kms in the day, and we arrive at the last town before the border: Stueng Traeng (what name isn't it?). There even a little time to make a turn (look in vain a bike shop to cleaner repair my pedal), and go have a drink at the edge of the Mekong! It is too classy to SIP a "coconut" fresh by the Mekong River, after a hot day, and under the lights at end of day, not? We loved it!
Then it goes to a temple on the edge of the city overnight. The location is superb, beside the River, in a large space. They have even a little Monkey on a leash! (Which there is even no picture!). In short, is discussed with the monk who greets us, and at the time of set up the tent, it stops us and shows us somewhere else... you say that you do not understood, as it easily happens when one does not speak the same language. But no! It is that eventually he offers us his room to sleep! It's really adorable, it is not known how to thank him.
It is the opportunity to discover the electricity to the Cambodian: on a power strip, a wire of 220V walks like that, in a hut all-wood... Be not afraid! One of the monk will repair in the evening, anyway.
The next day, it's our last day in Cambodia. We drive for about 50 kms in a desert area: past the city where it has stayed, there is almost no House. Fortunately there is what lunch before crossing the border. because to face what awaits us, it was better to have strong nerves and full belly! Ah... border crossings but that on tells it you the next time!
Other details in bulk!
-This is the season of marriages and festivals in all kind! Everywhere they go up tents in which he celebrate with speakers sound that made pale Thomas.
-transport: tillers whereby we hack a trailer behind the done office of means of transport: for people (sort of "transit"), hardware, wood... This is the cheapest motor craft. Otherwise children use much (often much too large for them) cycling. And adults the mobylette, overloaded packages, people, and sometimes even carrying pigs, chickens...
-We saw a lot of scooter accidents, the small fall (with a child behind anyway), to slightly larger... When we see that there are sometimes entire families on a scooter, they say that accidents can be sometimes dramatic!
-garbage, recycling... Ecology, it is not yet for today. People did not trash but burn all their waste. They recover just water bottles and cans of soft drinks because they are recycled and people can get a little money by retrieving.
-Wells: we were very surprised to see beautiful wells concrete in very poor areas of the country. A construction with humanitarian workers in the country to ensure that people have clean water?
-level hygiene always: babies here do not go through stage 4-legged (or it did in never saw). The floor is dirty, full of dust. Suddenly, they are in the arms, hammocks, or joggers from a very young age!
-the french have been present in the country in the past, and seen the return (from Thailand)... of bread! It is not excellent, but it's nice to eat a piece of bread once in a while!
-Rhythms of life: it is necessary to caller on their rhythm if we want to be able to find anything to eat! Breakfast is around 0700 (often rice with pork fried, we love). Lunch is around 11:30. And dinner around 18:30. 20 p.m. restaurants close and at 9 p.m., everyone in bed!
– on a rencontré plein d’autres cyclos ! C’est cool, on se sent proches d’eux facilement et on chope plein d’infos sur le Laos et autres, sur ce qui nous attend.
General assessment after almost a month in Cambodia
Okay, it won't make super big advertising for this country. We had beautiful meetings, seen beautiful places. But too often the disappointments:
– la sensation d’être un porte monnaie sur pattes : les militaires qui nous “invitent” à prendre une bière et essaient nous faire tout payer ; les restos qui nous font ouvertement payer le double du prix
– des hello des enfants, mais les adultes qui nous regardent un peu de travers. Pas de méchanceté, mais un manque de chaleur.
– une circulation fatiguante avec des coups de klaxon à gogo.
In short, no disaster, but a fairly mixed, far from the Thai home home or Lao. But their history is not the same; do not forget that only 40 years ago, the country lived in absolute horror. And then we had the feeling that the country is poorer than its neighbours: in the countryside, it is y than houses in wood, with the strict necessary to live (in Laos, even in villages that seem poor, there are a few flower pots before the houses, it's stupid, but it makes another effect)
All is not negative in Cambodia, far from it! We also had beautiful meetings as this little gentleman, amused we hear a few words of Khmer that we was full of smiles; very curious monks and who wanted to discuss. the site of Angkor, very impressive, and beautiful lights in the early morning...
In short, we regret not to be passed in Cambodia. It is harder than the Thailand or Laos, that's all!