Touring by ATV

Trip Start Feb 17, 2013
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, March 7, 2013

If you are supposed to start out the day on the "right" foot . . . we started out on the left.

I thought we were supposed to be picked up at 7:30 by Quad Adventure Cambodia.  Imagine my surprise when the front desk called us at 6:50 and said the Tuk-Tuk driver was waiting for us (for the 7:00 tour!).  We move pretty fast for a couple of old farts.

There were about a dozen of us but the other group was 9 strong, then us and a Japanese lady.  The company gives each individual group its own tour guide. The group of 9 we never saw, where the lady went we don't know, and that left Dayna and me on a private tour!  I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried! We had our own guide, "P".

This was to be a four hour trip, maybe 40-50 K long, so not a taxing trip over mostly level terrain.  The intent was to get the visitors out of town and see how the rural people live (subsist may be a better term).  We were off on our newer Polaris 330's (for Barry's benefit) at an earth-shattering pace of about 15K/hour.  We were shredding the oxen paths with our hair-raising speed. And, we didn't follow the school bus or the plow routes, as the country boys would say.  In fact, most of the rural paths have not seen a road "maintainer" since the temples were built.  They also haven't seen Dayna driving an ATV.  We stopped periodically to take some pictures and restore blood circulation to her knuckles.  (Actually she did a pretty good job, although stopping at every "intersection" like it was rush hour in Salt Lake.). The biggest traffic hazard is the risk of hitting a cow.  Which if you know anything about farmers, the cow you hit would be his prize heifer, nearly a member of the family and irreplaceable.  However, if you are a Cambodian cow, killing it would only improve its day -- they are the most emaciated cows we have ever seen.

I remember Mom telling us how Grandpa Bloom would bring the cow into their house in Sweden when winter got bad because they couldn't afford a barn.  These folks can't afford anything.  They really do live hand-to-mouth.  If the rains don't come in May, they don't eat!  The major crop is rice and then everyone grows vegetables.  Sadly, if they could afford a four hour quad adventure, they could afford to add a couple of rooms to the shack and maybe have $$ left over to put a couple of kids in school.  Life was never intended to be fair but it wasn't intended to be so sad.  Regardless, the little kids rush out in droves to wave at us, always smiling.  It may be their highlight of the day, maybe hoping that, like us watching Donald Trump, an arm will come out of the tinted window and throw cash. 

We now know what the cattle and oxen we have seen through the bus windows are used for.  They are the family van, pickup truck, and tractor for working the fields..  And, if you can predict its death, a protein source for the whole village for a week.

More after a nap!

When we stopped for breaks, the little kids would gather around us.  I think they just want to see what an ATV looks like up close rather than clipping long at 10 mph.  At one stop, just as we were getting going again, a little boy had to remind Dayna that she needed to put on her cloth face mask to protect her face.  He was very serious about it so Dayna complied.  

Of course, you can't go anywhere here without seeing a temple or two.  We did stop at one.  We got our ticket punched for the day, took a few pictures and pressed on with our driver.  You know what Ronald Reagan said about redwoods , , , ,

We were back in the hanger by about 11:30.  Now we are trying to rehydrate ourselves.  I am so tired of drinking water and my tinkler still thinks I have abandoned it.  No big plans for this evening.  We are such party animals you know.  We have decided that we don't really like Cambodian food as much as we like Vietnamese chow.  Can't really put a finger on it, just don't.  

We also have to pick up our laundry from the little shop down the street.  Seems our hotel doesn't do laundry.  This was an experience. The shop is a combination beauty parlor, laundry, and drink seller.  Apparently, the family must own a washing machine so that also makes them a "laundry."  They weigh it by the kilo --  the price $1.00 per kilo.  So easy!  Then I had to relate to them Dayna's directions,  cold wash, cool dry, try to remove some spots.  You could see the girl begin to glaze over.  It's like Dayna, they have two rocks they beat it on, course for stains, smooth for permanent press.  We'll see how this all comes out. Since they didn't take my name, write anything down, and demanded payment up front (probably to buy the high phosphate soap) we may be traveling lighter tomorrow when we head to Ho Chi Minh City.
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TB here again. on

I know were are going to take some hits from our Trip Advisor friends for riding a noisy, poluting machine around the pristine countryside. I get your point. But the fact of the matter is, nobody in Vietnam or Cambodia gives a damn about the environment. Within 15 minutes of getting off the airplane you can figure that out for yourself. By Western standards, these countries are one big trash heap populated by people driving all manner of transportation that spew out unregulated pollution and noise everywhere, even in the rural areas. A quad is equivalent to a needle in a haystack. And if it makes you feel better, stop and pick up a couple pieces of trash from the roadside. I assure you, it will be more than anyone living here would ever think of doing.

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