Easy Rider, Part II

Trip Start Feb 26, 2006
Trip End Sep 16, 2006

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Sunday, May 7, 2006

You may think we're crazy to take on Cambodia on a motorcycle by ourselves.

Or you may just think we're crazy for taking on Cambodia at all. Point taken.

In fact our decision to ride the 23 kilometers (from the colonial town of Kampot to the seaside town of Kep) was governed by the fact that we has been squeezed into so many tiny cars and crammed and pryed and shoehorned and bumped around on buses without any kind of suspension (is there such thing as negative suspension?) that we were in dire need of some wind in our face and some bugs in our teeth. Truly.

Despite Cambodia's legendarily awful potholed dirt roads, this streth of highway was quite nicely paved all the way and took us through some beautiful stretches of small villages, bamboo houses built on stilts, rice paddies and some of the most beautiful, pristine landmine country we've ever seen.

In fact Cambodia has been torn apart by both internal and external conflict for so long that there is really no telling how many secret land mine fields still exist, and every so often someone finds one in the most tragic of ways and suddenly has no choice to earn their living other than to hobble up to tourists in the street, with an outstretched hat and a tragic look on their faces.

What's worse is that we're discovering in talking to local people that the government has no interest in helping these poor souls as they seem interested in only helping themselves to enough bribes to buy Lexus SUVs. It's quite a desperate and pathetic situation here overall, with no solution on the horizon apart from yet another bloody revolution.

However despite all of this tragic history, as we rode our motorbike through their villages and past their houses the Cambodian people always waved to us, always shouted "Hello! How are you?", bringing a moment of diversion as we passed quickly in and out of their lives.

We do feel happy to know that Cambodians still are able to maintain a smile, and that despite having very little other than their families and the houses they've built themselves out of bamboo reeds and thatched dried grass, that they still somehow seem to be happy. Life is difficult, no doubt, but not impossible. They've been through much worse, as we were to find out in Phnom Penh.
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