Xam Coong Thmay to Chhaeb 117km
Chhaeb to Stung Treng 90km
Some observations from two days on the road....
- I've seen a lot more sport played on the streets in Cambodia than any other country. The other night at Chhaeb there was a ferocious game of volleyball happening, with lots of spectators. Also popular is "kick" volleyball. And another game where a plastic shuttlecock that gets kicked around a group. Have even seen kids playing a game very similar to the marbles we used to play at school, although they use erasers and pencil sharpeners as the kitty, and their jandals as the marble, and they kick the Jandals towards the kitty. Also lots of soccer, but on fields covered in litter, unmown and really rough.
- I've been passing through a remote rural area, where I can't work out what they are cropping. Lots of farm "houses", but not much apparent farming. Lots of land seems to have been newly broken in, cleared, but then left to grow back. Parts even reminded me of the Australian bush, with the larger trees still standing, but lots of stubby little ones, and scrub, that has been burnt. Other areas had lots of excavation happening, and there was a good deal of new building, (what we would call sheds, and probably wouldn't house our lawn mower in, but the Cambodia farmers call homes). But everyone seems happy, and busy.
- Lots of chainsaw carpentry. Jandals, loose chains, and kids holding the timber still while dad saws.....scarey.
- They don't seem to have a plan for rubbish in rural areas. Some families still keep the outside of their house meticulously clean, but then the common thing to do is to carry the trash across the road, and dump it in the drain. Very sad. Others don't bother around their house. Just let the wind blow it all...into the drain.
- I keep wanting to say.."Go home girl. You've still got your Jimjams (pyjamas) on." Really colourful, and probably really comfortable, but reminds me of the girls at The Palms Countdown, without the fluffy slippers.
- Riding along and you pass some flash mansion like homes. Right next door is a big flash fence, with a burnt out shell of rubble. I guess these folk backed the wrong side when Pol Pot was about.
- Met a Japanese guy on a folding bike, similar to an old Raliegh 20. I'd just done 94km, and he told me there were no hotels or guest houses for the next 94km. Bother. 5km down the road, a British couple, living in Switzerland, riding around Cambodia for three weeks on a tandem, told me the same thing. Double bother. I went another 5km, and found a temple. Yes I could sleep there. I got to meet monks, trainee monks, kids from about 8 to 15 years old, and watch evening prayers, and had a fantastic sleep.
- Stopped into a rural village market. I don't think any right thinking NZer would buy anything from there. Blood, flies, dust and dirt, litter, dogs, cats, I'm sure rats. I bought a couple of muffins, and a sugar cane juice in crushed ice.....and I'm still good....so far.
- The map indicated a ferry across the Mekong, it's a very big river. Tried to find it, but kept being directed down a narrow, dusty lane. Eventually crossed a small river, on a manually operated ferry, that took me to a brand new bridge, very impressive. At the summit of the bridge were a group of young men, throwing paper darts into the Mekong. Great English, lovely lads.
- There's a lot of people about with missing limbs, legs, feet, arms. More evidence of the crazy way we treat each other.
- Day off tomorrow. I'll wander the streets of this dusty, dirty city, sitting at the intersection of two mighty rivers. One I don't even know the name of, and it's bigger than any river in NZ.