Our epic mission to Sen Monorom

Trip Start Sep 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Day 143 Fri 31st March 2006
Our epic mission to Sen Monorom

We started out early this morning, well we got up early (7am), but we didn't leave the guesthouse until 8.30am. Evan & Michael left around 7am, and Pisai was taking his time getting our bikes, so we had breakfast at the guesthouse. Our bikes (or should that be mopeds?), were total shed's! They were really old and in a very bad state, they didn't even have self-start! We got juiced up and hit the road around 9am.

The first leg of our trip took us to a town called Snoul, it was supposed to be an hour away but it was more like an hour-and-a-half. The road was tarmac all the way and we had a chilled ride. We fuelled up again in Snoul and filled up the tanks. Then we went off the main road and hit the dirt track, it was messy but great fun! I brought a facemask yesterday from the market and got my monies worth out of it today. There was dirt flying around everywhere but that was to be expected, a few things we didn't expect to happen also happened, but then that's what made it fun!!! We kind of got lost at first, we ended up at the Vietnamese border, we had to backtrack about 10 minutes and take a left turn we had missed. The next stretch of road was quiet, only a few vehicles came past us. It was surrounded by forest and there were loads of butterflies around. I probably saw more butterflies today than I have done in my whole life (we both annihilated a few too). The road was really bad, so we just went along at a steady speed and enjoyed the scenery. The grit in the road was causing some difficulties though, the back of my bike snaked out a few times and Derek nearly lost it on one bend! We stopped at one point where we saw a guy who had broken down. We couldn't really help him much but we gave him some water to drink and Derek let him listen to Bob Marley on his ipod for a bit, I think the song was 'don't worry about a thing', how ironic is that!

Most of the day the sun was out in full force, but around 2pm the temperature dropped and it clouded over. Soon after the heavens opened up and it started to rain. Now, all last night I was thinking about what would happen if it rained, and how my laptop would fare. We even talked about getting bin liners from Pisai this morning or getting something from the market but it didn't look like it was going to rain. I even left my waterproof's in Bangkok, typical! Anyway, just as it started to rain we came across a stall on the roadside. The lady there looked like she was selling food and there was some shelter there so we parked the bikes up under the shelter and stopped for food. We had these really tasty skewers and a couple of soft drinks. As Derek sat down, the ladies bike fell to the floor, it was right behind Derek and the lady thought he made it fall, oops! We had to get her to write down how much money we owed her for the food, as she spoke no English. After waiting for the rain to die down a little we got ready to leave, we managed to communicate to her that we needed some plastic to cover our bags and she told us to go to the shop along the road. We got there and they sorted us both out with plastic bags, the guy's in the shop thought it was really funny how we were trying to cover our bags so they didn't get wet, weird, but funny! Anyway, we were on our way again and the rain had stopped, it was quite cold at this point but he best thing was the rain meant the dust wasn't flying around AT ALL!!!.

About an hour or so later we were going up a hill and my bike gave up! It just stopped. It felt like it had run out of petrol but I had a look in the tank and there was some petrol in there (ok so there was a bit of petrol in there). A local kid came over and tried to help us start it, despite our best efforts the bike wasn't having any of it. The thunder was sounding nearby and it looked like the rain might come again, so we decided to try and tow my bike using Derek's bike. We just about managed to get up the first hill (with me getting off my bike and pushing it up!), by the time I got up there I had had enough. We pulled over and tried to get it started again, no luck. Then a couple of locals came along on a bike and stopped to help us, none of them spoke English but it didn't take them long to figure out I didn't have enough petrol (Larry!!!). They were good enough to tell us we could get petrol at a house down the road, so Derek went down there and brought back a couple of litres of petrol. We filled up the tank, and would you believe it, my bike started! While we were up there the guy who Derek brought the petrol from followed up on his bike, to get the bottles back and the money from us. He kept talking to us in Khmer as if we knew what he was saying, and despite our gestures to him that we didn't have a clue what he was talking about, he had a full-blown conversation with us, it was funny, real funny!

The rain held off, and soon after the breakdown (ok me running out of petrol, and yes that has happened to me before (in England)) we arrived in Sen Monorom. It was around 4.30pm and while we were driving around, looking for a place to stay, we came across Evan and Michael in a restaurant. They told us where they were staying and we got a room there. It's called the Holiday Guesthouse, it's a really nice place, very clean and very big. The first thing we did was shower up and clean the clothes we were wearing, there was some nasty, nasty stuff coming out of our clothes! Derek wasn't wearing a top all the way and he got pretty burned in the sun, he is trying his best to get rid of as much pastey white flesh as he can (fair play to you mate!). We went out for a bit to eat and chilled the rest of the evening. We met up with Evan and Michael back at the guesthouse, Michael seems to be feeling much better. It turns out they only got here and hour before us, so it took us the same time it took them to get here, but I think we had way more fun!

The bike ride was a bit harsh on the rear-end but most defiantly worth it. We saw a couple of guys go past us on Trail bikes while we were on the dirt road, I would have loved to have had a decent bike, but it's all good. We go out exploring tomorrow, so lets see what it brings.
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