Quad biking and Massage

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 04, 2012

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Flag of Cambodia  , Siem Reap,
Monday, September 17, 2012

As we fell asleep last night there were some distant rumbles of thunder. A couple of hours later we were woken by enormous thunderclaps and torrential rain which carried on for much of the night. In the early hours the power went off, but happily was restored quite quickly. The local roosters heralded in the daylight loud and clear and we got ourselves ready for our much awaited quad bike adventure.

Breakfast in the hotel restaurant was funny. We were the only ones there at 6.30am and had 3 staff waiting on our every move. The chef didn't seem very certain about what he was making, Michael's vegetarian omelette came with bacon, sausages and ham; Richard's fruit salad had uncored pineapple and black-specked skinned bananas, and my pancakes arrived after more than half an hour when the others had finished! All of that aside, it really was a nice experience, the staff are so keen to make us happy we couldn't help but enjoy it.

At 7am our tuk tuk arrived to take us to the Quad Bike Tour Headquarters. After a brief pre ride talk, we had plastic bags tied on to our shoes to keep them dry, donned our helmets and away we went.

The ride was unbelievably amazing. On our 43km ride over nearly 3 hours, we rode across dirt tracks, rugged, potholed roads, alongside hundreds of paddy fields, past water buffalo and cows, and through crazily deep waterholes.

All along the way we saw laughing, waving children and we went past a school as the kids finished for the day and Michael was kept very busy giving high fives to everyone we passed. School runs from 7-11 am or from 1-5pm so that kids can help their parents work in the morning or afternoon depending on which session they go to.

For much of the ride, it drizzled, and at times it poured so it was hard to see. It wasn't long before we were drenched through to the skin so at that stage we didn't bother slowing down for the puddles and just blasted through them, sending up plumes of muddy reddish-brown water.

We passed hundreds of houses of all sorts. Some were barely lean-tos, others had space for the water buffalo underneath, there were thatched houses, houses on stilts above the paddy fields and others with shelters off to the side with the cooking facilities. There were kids of all sizes running around, lots and lots of dogs, chickens and mud, mud, mud everywhere.

At one stage we passed through a fish market that was in progress. There were tons of people squatting beside a single basket of obviously freshly caught fish. Just before we drove through, we crossed a bridge where the river had burst the banks and was gushing across the road. No one seemed to notice or care and we literally squeezed our way through the market, shoulder to shoulder with the people, the big quads quite out of place amongst the villagers doing their daily business.

For Michael it was an incredible experience. To watch the kids come out of the school in the mud, to see the living conditions of so many of the people and just to experience the unbelievable countryside, roads and vast paddy fields was more than he could ever learn behind a desk. He described the morning as "awesome, that he realized how lucky we are and the best thing we've done so far!"

Richard discovered his wild biker-side and drove like a lunatic - even Danial would be proud! He was covered in mud from top to toe and 'woohoo'd' like a crazy man as he hit huge puddles at full speed.

Our guide took us back to the hotel in a tuk tuk where we squelched our way upstairs and all happily showered the mud off. The hotel will take our laundry to be done (our white sports socks are brown!), for $1 per kg...bargain!

Refreshed once again, we tuk tuk'd our way back in to town and had a delicious lunch at a Buddhist vegetarian cafe called Peace Cafe which was a lovely little haven down a side road and served a huge range of delicious food.

It started raining again and while we sat under cover in the tuk tuk our poor driver got drenched. We laughed at all the tough looking guys racing along on their motorbikes in their pink ponchos (everyone seems to have them at the ready for the downpours) and loved seeing the tuk tuk drivers snoozing in a hammock slung across the back while they waited for rides.

Back at the hotel, we were each treated to a 60 minute Khmer massage in the hotel's spa room. This was Michael's first ever massage and he was in for a pretty full on first experience as we were pummeled, slapped, pulled and kneeled on from top to toe! The 2 women didn't speak English and I'm not sure they understood when he asked them to be softer! Richard and I actually quite enjoyed the massages although I was relieved that my masseuse apparently understood not to massage my horribly bruised legs (achieved from not wearing shinpads at football on Friday....no sympathy deserved!)

After the massages our driver took us in the tuk tuk to town where we had another lovely Cambodian meal which included a delicious green curry and tasty noodle dish.

Once again it was pouring when we came out so we set off with the cover of the tuk tuk on. Our drivers do not seem to mind the rain because they don't put ponchos on, just ride along in their shirts and then let them dry when we get back.

What a fantastic day, we are heading to bed for a good night's sleep before we our 'Temple day' tomorrow.

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Rebecca on

Great photos Phil! Enjoy the temple day!

Vicki on

Great photos - reminds me soo much of Bali, looks like your having a ball.

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