Phnom Penh to Takeo 84km
Takeo to Kep 113km
Asia has sooo many people, and at 7am on a Monday morning, I'm sure they are all on scooters, trying to get through Phnom Pen, which is exactly where I was. It's amazing how it works. And it does work. Unlike any other Asian city I've been to, the minor roads do not have policemen or whistle blowing guys in high viz, but it still works. At these intersections, everyone just keeps moving, and by some sort of osmosis process, everyone moves on through. Of course the larger vehicles take a little longer, but Fiona and I squeeze through with the best of the scooter squeezes. (I've always wanted to be a squeeze.)
So I'd spent a day resting at my Guesthouse in the coldesac, getting high by secondary inhaling, and trying to sort what to do over the next week, while waiting for Ju. There's one border crossing I'd like to try, which involves a ferry ride, but apparently foreigners can't use it....not confirmed, but it's a long backtrack if my informants is right.....so I decide to head for the southern coast. It's 190km, a bit much for one day, so two short days. I can't stay in Phnom Pen. I went for a short ride and saw nothing that inspired me to stay....so its best to get on the bike.
Ju has gone to the batch at Gore Bay for Xmas with the family. I realise, ( I already knew), how important our daily chats on Skype are to me. We will not be able to chat again until Xmas night. Even surrounded by so many people, solo riding can be pretty lonely. It's over two months since Graham Allan left me in Sumatra, and since then I've only had three days with company on the road.
Travelling alone opens so many opportunities, but having someone to share the experience with is pretty amazing. I'm very much looking forward to having Ju with me for two and a bit weeks.
( She's looking forward to the dresses).
There are plenty of people about that potentially I could talk to, but many are just not on the same wavelength as a crazy Kiwi on a bike. The young lady from Planet X the other night certainly wasn't on the same planet as me. The four Frenchies playing pool, drinking cheap beers, and smoking weed, were some place unreachable. That said, couples and groups or families travelling together are pretty hard to break into for conversation. Most their focus seems to be on what's happening in the next 24 hours, what sights they're visiting tomorrow, what bus they're catching, or what border they're crossing.
I have managed a couple of breakins however. Thanks to the family from Geneva Switzerland, on a "get out of cold Europe" two week" for sharing some thoughts with me. And to the German guy in Takeo, who shared all his hints for Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Mind you he was a solo traveler, and therefore looking for someone to chat with, so I was happy to be able to offer an ear.
I meet a lovely young lady from Majorca, Spain, over in Cambodia filming a documentary. It was wonderful chatting for a couple of hours, two solo traveller's, not really tourists, being able to share and compare experiences.
These are the meetings and exchanges that are keeping me sane, keeping me motivated, keeping me inspired. I've got to admit, that even seven months in, what is still in front of me still feels daunting. I often focus on the known to come. I am very much looking forward to getting to Denver, and seeing Sarah and family, to Salida, and catching up with the Dvorak family, and San Diego, and spending a few days with Annie. But these catch ups are probably 30,000km away..... Also looking forward to having folk cycling with me in Tibet....April, not so far away. Are you coming? And I would love, love, love to have cycling mates at other times. Give me a buzz and let's talk options.
So it's Xmas. Hope you all have a wonderful, safe and happy time. I would love to hear from you. Feel free to message me. Some might even want to catch up on Skype.....GrumGoesGlobal.
I'm hopefully crossing into Vietnam tomorrow. This town of Kep is amazing. Lots of torn down, burned out villas, built by the French, and wrecked by Pol Pot and his followers. Anyone who could afford to live in them was obviously far too rich, and/or intelligent to fit in to his regime. We in NZ don't know how lucky we are.
I'll be thinking of you all enjoying the festivities .....and food.... Have a great one.