Charmed by Cambodia
Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
360Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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Where I stayed
Phnom Pich Hotel
We picked up breakfast at the lively market in Kompong Chhnang. A couple of miles out of town we found a grassy spot under a large palm. With baguettes eagerly awaiting the egg filling we peeled back the shells. Surprise! The eggs contained chicks. Polly was really not happy about this. We decided to stick to the bananas
We did a quick 20 miles, the happy shouts of 'hello' echoed all around us. Often we couldn't even spot where it was coming from. As you searched amongst the palms and huts you would then spot a cheeky little face peeping out from a hammock. The kids are beautiful, mostly pretty scrappy if clothed at all, but all so smiley.
Temples were all over the place, some being built, others decaying away, but all adding to the beauty of the ride. The roads are good so far and the traffic fairly mild. One speeding coach did clip my left rear pannier today but otherwise it is far from the chaos of India or the brain exploding honking of Vietnam. The sun was doing its best to kill us off so we stopped for yet another hat purchase. Today we went for a very fetching checked number, this one also having the handy face wrap which poppers up to completely cover up the sun burning vulnerable areas. They make us look like suicide bombing cyclists but they certainly keep the sun off.
Lunch was in a rough little place but a good pork and lamb dish accompanied by some pancake type food which we could not work out what it was made of (think it was fish mush)
It is quite amazing to think that we are just a few hours drive from Vietnam (3 days by bike). The two countries are on each other’s doorsteps and share so much history, but they really feel miles and miles apart. Cambodia is so much more laid back and the people are without exception warm and friendly. In Vietnam we were always a little on guard, over the last couple of days this guard has been well and truly lowered . It is a beautiful place and one that I feel very lucky to be cycling through rather than sitting on the tourist’s conveyer belt that whips people into and out of the Angkor Wat.
Tonight we are dining at a restaurant that has been set up by a Cambodian NGO which trains local street children to work in the hospitality business. One positive leftover from the French presence over the years is the cooking and apparently this place does the perfect French fries. Let’s hope they have a bottle of chilled Sancerre and a sweaty Camembert waiting also (OK, so now I’m dreaming).
Later… the French fries were worth the wait
The square was built on an enormous boat shaped structure which sat in the middle of the river which runs alongside town. Back through the market we checked out the usual piles of meat, fish and vegetables. The restaurant was lovely and we ordered a dried fish dish with watermelon to accompany the chips!
Although it was Sunday and there was live English football on TV, Polly convinced me to watch the Sunday movie on HBO. 'Valentines Day’ was a cheesy RomCom which I found very difficult to follow because they seemed to have cast every woman in the film to look like Julia Roberts (who was also in the film). Anyway, I think everybody fell in love and lived happily ever after.
Miles cycled: 60 smiley miles