We were approached by a group of 6 friends who were looking to do a private week long motorcycle tour of Cambodia in November. They were looking for something a bit different and so we organised a trip with XR250s and a bit of adventure involved.
Below is the second of the e-mails that were sent back from the trip. Words courtesy of Damien Atkinson and photos courtesy of Victor Kalinowski. More updates to follow
Just snuck around the corner from the hotel Mekong to an internet cafe.
We are in chong pong cham, or something similar, the Muslim part of Cambodia.
Yesterday was quite a day. Ryan from Compass had reassured me that we were leaving Phnom Penh from the outskirts where there would not be much traffic. But when we woke up in the hotel, the bikes were out the front and we were surrounded by the biggest, most lively market I have ever seen. We were about 20 metres from the Mekong River and it felt like we were in the heart of the city.
We set off at about 9.00am to let some of the peak hour traffic dissipate but it was frenetic on any scale, especially if you compare it to our training in the back streets of Rocklea industrial estates. We have learnt that there is a certain flow over here, and if you keep up, and watch for people merging, you’re okay. I said to Gary that I don’t reckon we’ll have too many days like yesterday in our lives. Once we got over the Japenese Friendship Bridge in Phnomh Penh, we went underneath, and followed the river through some kind of muddy track that ran through the ghetto houses on the river. Lots of dogs and children, and chooks. We took a little barge across the river on our bikes and visited a little tiny silk business, where there were ladies working on looms,and heaps of silk worms, cocoons etc. We got back on the bikes and followed the Mekong for a while before we went onto the highway. That was very special. The traffic is kind of hectic and you had to keep your wits about you the whole time. Zamen says that that was the hardest part of the trip, and now it will be more peaceful again.
We visited a temple in the morning and received a blessing from a monk for our trip. We each placed some american money in a gold bowl,and then passed it across together. He was quite beatific. He had a bowl with a whisk and he chanted and sprinkled water over us. We had all our bike gear on except our shoes but he wanted us all huddled up close so it was quite a scene. I say chanting but it sounded more like a narrative. Zamen says its to clear your mind. Gary reckons he was singing “I”ve been everywhere man” in Cambodian. Its fair to say that Gary’s inner bogan is wide awake…
We had lunch at a truck stop where they serve spider. The Cambodian guide Tommy put this huge live spider on my hand. He said its very dangerous but the people de-fang them before they bring them back from the nests. They fry them in peanut oil but apparently they taste just like peanut oil, so I did not eat the one I was offered.
We went to a temple built by the Angkor people. There were strange towers and beautiful stone. I found a belfry that was wild with the noise of bats inside,and then an old lady with no teeth came out with a bag of bat manure. Just like in the Rocket.
Have to go now. We are about to have a briefing on the day.
If you are interested in riding in Cambodia, we have another trip starting in February which can be viewed here – http://www.compassexpeditions.com/tour/short-adventures/complete-cambodia/