Khmer style tattoo removal

Trip Start Apr 08, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Orchid Guesthouse Kampot
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yet another early start, this time to the bus stop to get my arse down to Kampot, on the coast. As part of my "do things for the first time" pact, I actually buy food and drink off the vendors that throng around the market and buses.  Turns out I like fruit drinks that are literally in clear plastic bags with a straw in it.  Cambodia, once being under French rule, does some seriously good baking, so I scoff down sweet breads galore. 

Bus is the same as normal for westerner class – half foreigner, half local.  Khmer karaoke video blares out from a TV at the front.  Cargo pays more than people, so we stop frequently to pick up all sorts of boxes, sacks and bags from remote villages.  Going south, the rest stops don't have the fried Tarantulas you get on the way north.  Instead I have more bread and watermelon (another first) and make a baby cry by saying hello to it.  Some things are the same, no matter where in the world.

Just after lunchtime I jump off in dusty Kampot.  Just around the corner from the bus stop (it’s not a station!) is a street full of guesthouses; I end up at Orchid Guesthouse, in a little bungalow over a swamp.  Fuck the Mosquitoes; I’ve got 7 huge Geckos living in the room to eat them for me. 

I hire a Scooter and proceed to mooch around the town.  Small but busy by Cambodian standards, it has streets full of old French homes, some refurbished and turned into boutique shops and restaurants, others left to rot after the Khmer Rouge decided it wanted the country to revert to the Stone age. 

I cross the old bridge, a mixture of styles and materials – again thanks to those lovely folks who followed Pol Pot.  They decided to keep blowing up.  Now it’s been rebuilt, and makes for a lot of fun riding over it. 

This is pretty much all I do for four hours and a whole tank of fuel.  Most of the roads here are in a terrible state – it’s like the surface of the moon, pot holes galore.  Maybe Pol Pot is the cause of them, hence the term “Pot holes”.  Either way, a pack of Dogs barks at me and causes me to be distracted.  As I return my eyes to the road in front of me, a local screams out of a side road, right across my path (no one looks here when they pull out – that’s your problem to deal with – I guess like Ski runs, where the person behind is responsible).  I instinctly pull the front brake, clip his back wheel and go straight over the handlebars at 40kmh.  It’s not a fast speed but hitting a pot hole really hurts at any speed.  The local is fine, sees that I’m not dead and fucks off.  That, my friends, is the rule here.  Hit someone? Either run or kill them.  Paying their hospital bills is an expense one simply cannot afford.  All part of the fun of the place (and a reason for you not to treat motorbikes as toys, kids). 

I pick myself up, wheel the bike back to the guesthouse.  Thankfully my backpack, jeans and hoodie have taken the brunt of the impact.  However I have a deep cut on my right palm and my left elbow.  It’s so deep it’s taken some of my tattoo off clean (a month later I visit my Tattooist in the UK.  He calls me a massive twat and bans me from Motorbikes).  I’ve got blood everywhere.  I shower, throw some alcohol from my medkit (be prepared, Kids) on the wounds, scream and collapse into my bed.  All I really care about is telling the bike owner I’ve fucked it.  I sleep like a baby that night.

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