Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sorry for the delay

Here is the rest of the Cambodia trip story.

Last blog entry I finished at where we rented the bikes.

So, after a lazy morning, at around noon we got our rusty bikes and started peddling out. It was absolutely amazing. Vast country side, extremely undeveloped and poor, full of cows, palm trees, dogs and houses on stilts. Last day we had done the small tour with the tuck tuck, so today we were going to go around the big loop. We got to one bend in the road. One way continued around the big loop, the other went along a lonely small road that would take you about 28km to the north to a small but extremely beautiful temple. We chose to go on the big loop. After about 5 minutes, we stopped, decided to turn around and take the 28km road to the little temple up north. It was even more beautiful, and all along the road motorbikes and tuk tuks were slowing down beside us and asking if we wanted to get a ride to the temple. We very politely said no, we were enjoying our bike ride too much.

We stopped here and there, took pictures, some videos, went slowly and just enjoyed the surroundings. At about 4:45pm, exhausted and in pain we got to the temple. We didn't realize the park was closing at 5:20, so we had a little bit of time to speed through the temple before we had to get out. By now the sun had set and it was getting darker. What did we do? We actually stopped and had dinner. I was famished and the only thing that had kept me peddling was the thought of having another amazing Cambodian meal. It truly was the best coconut curry so far tho. By the time we finished, pretty much all the locals had cleared out and gone to their homes and no foreigner nor tuk tuk was in sight.

We started to get a little worried because we now not only had to ride back the 28km back to the bend in the road, but maybe another 10 or 15kms back to our hotel. We asked around for a car, a tuk tuk, anything that would take us home and save us from having to ride all the way back home on our sore asses. There was no ride available... one guy even laughed at us. We started peddling like mad. I had immense determination and kept a pace never before thought possible. The problem now was, it was starting to get dark really fast. Mosquitoes were hitting me left and right as I was zooming down the road. So not only did we have to watch for mosquitoes, but we also had to watch for dogs, locals walking, motor bikes passing us, trucks flying past us, AND we also had to watch out for the frequent pot holes in the road. At one point it got so dark outside that I had to take out my little tiny useless key chain flashlight just to see half a meter in front of my front tire. Our laughter and humor dropped to a survival driven silence. I was hoping a truck would stop and give us a ride back, but truck after truck kept on passing us by. At one point, I wasn't even thinking anymore. I was just concentrating on peddling and watching out for the darker than dark spots on the road that might be pot holes. I thought earlier about maybe asking one of the locals if we could stay at their house for the night, but we had to be back in town for 6am to catch the bus that would take us across the border to Thailand. So staying overnight here was out of question; we had to get back that night.

All of a sudden, I saw red break lights and a truck pulled over and stopped in front of me. I slowed down, stopped and turned around and saw Jose running towards the truck and his arms flailing in the darkness. THANK GOD!!!! Jose flagged them, they saw us and stopped. WOW!!! We were saved. We told them where we were going, they said no problem, loaded our bikes into the back, and since it was a small pick up truck, there was no space in front, so we squeezed in between the bikes and resumed our laughter. For a good hour, maybe even more, the truck was going with at least 50km an hour. It was pitch black and we really could not even imagine how we would have gotten home if these people hadn't stopped and given us a ride. Around 8 or 8:30pm we got back to the hotel. That had been an amazing adventure, nothing like any you would find out of any Lonely Planet guide. We even offered to give those guys some money for the ride but they wouldn't accept it at all. WOW!

Next day we got on the bus and crossed the border. It was pretty uneventful, and unworthy of any mention, except for the part where the boys took out a football and starting tossing it back and forth. They gathered a pretty good crowd. We were on the way to Bangkok now.

Stay tuned for the Thailand story.

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