JoJoe the barrang dog haha.....
Koh Kong beach
The decision was made has we sat eating lunch, and she seemed happy to carry on, I was not overall convinced with her choice, being that of just pleasing me, or she didn’t care for the hotel on road 4. I asked her to rest for a time in the hammock and think if she was up to the journey, at least it would give her that rest, and giving her a little time for the food to settle, we could also try another hotel, such has the one in Sri Amble. The five small pups that had gathered around our table were now getting treated to the few scraps of food that were left from our plates. For me it was time to order one more coffee and pay the bill. I rode out on to the main road slowly looking carefully in both directions and rode on easy from there onward for a while just taking in the scenery as we went until pulling over for a cigarette at the bottom of the last hill, over the crest and down to the right we would be joining road 4. Time to stretch the legs a little, there are a few houses near were I had pulled off the road, with people getting on with their daily chores, a small place back I have always favoured mainly because to me it is picturesque in my own views, how it would be to live there is that of another question. But even now the few places I have lived here over the years I have never seemed or felt any of them as home, or in any way near what I could call home in real terms, but how could it with laws set against you owning anything in your name alone, apart from a room above ground level, and even then you could simply be denied the next visa. I am probably one of many still looking for that place, (thoughts) I also wonder if it exists or if I really belong here, or even want to still be here at times. There are only your own answers too your questions, but what if you have no answers, only the feeling of numbness and nothingness.
Srei Ambil Roundabout we veer to the right easing on to the main highway 4 also known as the AH123 the highway that borders the Province of Koh Kong and Sihanoukville. Passing by the many fruit shops, the road was surprisingly very quiet with not too much traffic in our direction but the oncoming traffic was the opposite and it did not help us being on the moto with horns blurting out in order for us to get out of their way, of the overtaking traffic coming towards us, courteous they are not, neither show respect or have any mercy to a vehicle or people like us, or that even of human life. I have driven and rode quite a lot and in a few other countries, but this is the worse of countries by far and it makes me think what goes through the minds of these people if anything at all. Do they have any knowledge of perception? I know very few have anticipation and the latter is most important to keeping you alive on the road. Or is it so when the accident they have caused only registers at that point when it has happened, what harm they have caused and they know now they have done wrong, that of childish after thought time to run away, or pretend it never happened in the first place. I am very aware of running, that is so they don’t get lynched by the mob, and this may or does happen in the city, if people wish to believe in this country wide its up to them. It’s very possible my outlook maybe Frowned upon by many do-gooders, but my answer is simple in that they are running away from the responsibilities of their cause and actions, now they are simply running to get away from the law and justice that will be imposed by their wrongdoings, and its so variable, with the conclusions and complexity, be it they have monies or they have no record to trace, there is the high chance they just disappear, whatever or however way of looking at it, they have no value on their own lives, so why would they give anyone other a single thought at all.
We rode with large Palm plantations to both sides of us with the road surface good apart from the edge of the road where we were forced mainly to be, it was hard and slow going at times and now the light was fading. I pulled over and off the road sensing my partner was fretting, the traffic has I thought was worrying her, she also wanted a wash room. I knew it would be dark when we would have turned of this road onto road 3. How far off was we, I had no signal on my phone to know, off again we went and not more than 10 minutes we pulled into a petrol station, all was good we had reached Prey Nob road 3 was now 100 yards to our left with about 55km left of our journey for today, should be easier going off this busy road. Now it is around 6.30pm dark and very dusty, but at least there is a rest room at this petrol station, so I also can get cleaned up a little and top the bike up, that should easily see us to our destination, with the distance left if all goes well I would say possibly two hours, that’s halving the speed to the distance. So, it’s on the bike and on our way once more, up to the new roundabout and left onto road 3. It was quite busy at the start of the road with many trucks parked up with drivers in the roadside cafes getting their fill of food for the evening. We passed truck after truck, I am always alert with situations like this, its very dark to start with and you know by now how dark it can be in Cambodia, street lighting is sparse were it is needed, also the many trucks and cars drive on full beam and without any thought of adjustments or alinement, so getting blinded at night by headlights is very common. But pay attention when they are parked, they will again not think of you or their own safety opening doors has you come along or just walking out into the road. I had someone open the cab door and made a slight manoeuvre to the left, where a large artic started then to pull out across my path with no lights on, I stopped to let him out, without a choice anyhow, once I could move off again from the other direction came another wagon to get in the place of the one that left behind him was another one wanting the same, but he was approaching on the wrong side of the road, and all this time theirs a truck behind us playing music on his horn wanting us out of the way, but stupidly there is no where he is going to go too. We got moving when the truck behind was overtaking me in no time at all, I had moved over has far right has possible to give room, next few inches I would have been in the fields.
There aren’t any considerations by 99% of other road users for each other, BANG! I bottomed the bike, didn’t see that pothole, no wait a minute there is no road. Shit I did not know about this, and this is where all the dust is coming from. It was pothole after pothole for a long time, then loose gravel with large ruts spaced out but they were deep, this for miles for miles to come too. It has a tendency to make you tiered, more mentally then physically, but it does take extra efforts with control too for sure. Yes, it seemed to be never ending, I feel sorry for people who live roadside, the dust must cause health risks. It also seems to be blamed on the road users, mainly heavy vehicles and the rainy season, there may have been increases in large trucks to service the major construction work going on around, but the rainy season has always been here. Let’s face it the pre-planning and early Infrastructure is none existent in any aspect of the word, it seems like a cop-out to force possibly the contractors to foot the bill. The roads to me don’t seem to be built with any or very little substance to them to start with, in fact they are probably still built in mind for moto’s and ox and cart. It makes one think if this basic part of construction is not adequate for the job, being that of not built to last, there is serious questions about other building projects. What is too become soon! The word is again for power cuts because the new dams are not producing the power they should have been. Then there too is also a water shortage. Makes you think what will come first, construction, the use of power, and the need of water to mix concrete or the need of the people. What is your guess in the Kingdom of Wonder?
It’s a sad time in the daily news with now a second to add to the previous disaster, in the way of today’s development and construction where new buildings have collapsed, unfortunately leaving builders and their family members with injuries and death, who is to blame is still an ongoing undecided argument that no one wants to take responsibilities of the cause, but all are only focused on gaining monies. This was publicly printed from the top -
The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction today (Tuesday) began complaining of a lack of understanding about the law regarding construction rules by the public, especially to related construction sector.
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50679646/s ... g-law-regs
The road had been repaired or relayed after my journey with the water events in Kampot, just like the previous year with the road to Koh Kong when it held the sea festivities, it seems were there is money to be made, work will take place or it is a case of waiting possibly for an Aid payment from some outside good Samaritan seeing or looking upon the situation of help towards the poor of the country, or by the way of an health concern. I do think that if a country in a situation as received good will payments and support on a long term basis it becomes more in the role of just expecting, like in our own countries with people on state benefits, after time it is just an ongoing formality, many may perceive my personal look at the situation as wrong, or that of a simply near negative outlook for the concerns of people’s health and their wellbeing. I in all honesty think that able people should help themselves and not rely on others has being an easy option. Its always been the long term running joke to some in this land, firstly the rich will end up even more wealthy, on that of the needs of the poor and hungry family, now that the intended have received the small handout of overseas donated help from that of charity organisations, being that the one whom organised the delivery to those it was intended, now has got a new black SUV for troubles in doing their part of the charity work of care to their own people’s needs.
So, what do you see in this country, how do you perceive rich from poor, the ones that have and the ones who do not, should charity begin from home? Questions that possibly should not be thought of, never should they be asked. There is no question what happened here was tragic in losing a quarter of its population to acts of gendercide. Too say the idea was to make all equal and anything of value or recorded was taken away, but we see and hear of the ones who have, not so much of the ones who haven’t, that mainly being peasant farmers who want to work their lands, but are unable due to mines left from the time of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia is one of most heavily contaminated countries in the world, with landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded weapons affecting every one of the country's 25 provinces as a result of the conflict between the Khmer Rouge, the Government of Cambodia and other factions. The widespread presence of landmines and other explosive items is causing death and injury and restricting land access in Cambodia more than 20 years after the end of the conflict. Unexploded bombs continue to be a particular danger and a massive cluster bomb problem haunts the east of the country. Over 64,000 people have been killed or injured by explosive items since 1979, and there is still an average of one death or injury every week in Cambodia.
I am sitting on the fence a little with this one, being supportive of such charity organisations as Halo Trust (British American) who have put so much work here from day one, in fact I believe at the time the only one to undertake the work of mine clearance. MAG (British) being one more of the overseas organisations whom have worked here for over 25 years. Not long ago the British government and many European governments gave their support and donations to make a landmine free Cambodia by 2025, then after this I read that a high official of the country said they, for their mine clearance would need a high amount of monies to make this achievable. I was also told that the Chinese were now being pressurised into making donations from a Khmer organisation, with their idea of lands cleared of mines being put first for developments. This is where I feel if not for the overseas groups who trained others, would have left the poor behind if they were not here. Also, if you were to read things being in your own country you would not see the things here, such has the thousands of families who buy a million dollar plus house on the new Boreys. Question, should they and their wealth be held a little accountable for their country’s wellbeing, there is a saying has above charity begins from home.
https://www.maginternational.org/what-w ... /cambodia/
The bad conditions of the road went on for sometime and the dust from the loose marbled surface just made that part of the journey more unpleasant. We stopped opposite the entrance of the Bokor national park, crazy thing to call a cigarette stop, but also to stretch the legs. The road was better onward to the town of Kampot, and I knew were I was heading for lodgings toward the other side of the durian roundabout was a nice clean place with a good room and garden, a place of a warm welcome, and somewhere I have stayed on a number of previous times over past years. I pay $15 here for aircon room hot water, and the room is well worth what they charge even though it is a little out of town.
Good morning, and a most welcome sight of the sun shining bright, always a good start of the day, that alone will put a smile upon one’s face, not like it was back in my time in old blighty, with what one could call upon most mornings, that of being dark cold and damp, this climate is certainly welcome to many who have travelled to live in this part of the world, practically if they had suffered symptoms and the ailments of such problems as arthritis, such reminiscent to me, of working outdoors in most weather conditions, most of my contracted work would be based around the winter time and would be in the nature of refurbishment. The pains worsening more so in cold winter months, it would be a time when I would suffer most with my ailment of dislocation of the fingers. The cause, past injuries to the soft tissues, like muscles, ligaments or tendons, ether from my time of trade being a professional paint sprayer for many years, or the injuries I gained due to my years of an enjoyable personal pastime, and also the teaching of rock climbing and mountaineering. Still have the suffering here but only half of much, which is a great improvement, and it would mainly occur when riding the moto, I just have to pull over and then put one or two fingers back into place to end the pain although still feeling a little discomfort, but then soon on the journey once more.
The hotel garden looked has it had been tended well and there were some nice flowers giving me a little practice with the camera later in the day, when I did use a camera in past years, it was that of a Olympus trip instamatic with 35 film, later I was to buy a Fuji Film FinePix S1500 which was a easy camera to learn. Here in Phnom Penh I saw a S4000 model advertised, I bought that one. On an earlier trip to Thailand I purchased an Olympus pen mini e-pm1 using it only once on my return home with guidance from my son, then it went back in the box and in my case for about 8 years, forgotten until very recently when I took it out and popped in the battery, it worked surprisingly in its new condition where it had been resting for many years. Now I have something to learn how to use, it more than likely got forgotten because of the smartphone, being so easy to use and ideal for what I need and do, I got my first phone being that of a HTC Windows Phone 8X on coming to Cambodia I never had one back home, when in the bar that phone suffered the hard tiled floor when it accidently slipped from my hand, no one in this country can fix the HTC I had been told by many shops.
That first day was only spent around town with me wanting to relax and have good food and drink, the photos did come later that day.
The day following it was to be the destination of the Crab Market of Kep a distance of 24km, my partner was hungry for seafood, and I must admit the Kampot pepper crab is nice there. We had only recently visited the Crab Shack at Koh Kong beach to be disappointed for the first time ever there, with the answer “we have no crab”. So even more so we hoped it would not be the same again. When we do visit (we have been one or two times before) we go to the Magic crab, its very good value for money, probably a little cheaper than some of the other restaurants on the row. We ordered a few drinks, myself starting with the usual cup of Cambodian coffee with sweet milk, crab and a prawn dish, and coke for she has she very seldom touches alcohol, but a Cambodian beer for me will go down nicely. Last time we visited the son was being trained up by his father, it was nice now to see the son running the place, and he did happen to remember us too, he is a nice person to talk with, very good with his English. We actually talked for some time with the heavens opening once more, the ladies where also out at their crab traps at the time. The food was superb, we finished up and I said we will see him again sometime this week.
The rain was to be a sharp shower and had stopped now, we than had a ride along the sea road passing the beach for a look, it was pretty quiet that afternoon.
I pulled over and parked and we sat on the wall for a time having the breath of sea air and letting our food settle. After a while we made or move, the big road into Kep was very good, but from the roundabout to Kampot was not too good in sections, neither were the turnings to the left going to the hotel (lots of construction work) or into town, the road here was probably over used due to work around the town area. Stopping off for some fruit I took advantage of the barbers next door, nice to have a haircut and shave makes one’s self feel so much cleaner and tidy. We had not got far down the road and the rain came once more, we took shelter at an old type of stall at the roadside for a while, but they were only sharp showers. We were soon on our way down to town avoiding the ruts and taking the smoothest path possible in the many areas of lose gravel, and that is most defiantly not bike nor biker friendly, we skirted the town and headed back to our room to have a rest and a shower.
Later in the evening we had a ride into town slowly looking around what places we may eat, its usual for me first to look at Google maps, I don’t look at trip adviser much these days, after having the bar on there. I find that Google maps do a very good job and there is a good description and views plus reviews, so just a steady ride around to see what activities are going on at each restaurant, and giving me time to decide for sure what to eat and where, It was going to be Indian food at Masala Twist on street 726. Some of you may know the owner/chef from the old days of Sihanoukville. I stayed for some time in kampot after my first evening meal at this restaurant, the food was so good I wanted to stay on longer, I am some what of a curry addict to put it mildly (hot) actually being a northerner I am more likely to lean towards the Pakistani origin (or northern Indian) being that of the most diverse and flavourful curry recipes, and I certainly was not disappointed with his cooking of well-prepared dishes, they were full of taste and well balanced gravy with the right amount of spice, there is a good and wide choice on the menu to suit anyone, also very good value due to the large servings. My order for two would be something like this as the norm –
Plain and Sweet Lassi - Masala Poppadum - Aloo Pakora - Plain Curd
Chicken Vindaloo - Mutton Aloo - Basmati Rice - 2 Roti – Beer or Coffee
There are no corners cut at this place, the owner knows his business very well. I would rate it being the best in Cambodia at least for that of my own preference on what I call a good dish. I have been to many Indian restaurants in this country. Brits will know this food is part of a northern Brits diet, more so if he comes from West Yorkshire, we tend to have cravings ya knows me lad, for hot and spicy.
The following day I went to an Italian place near the Lotus Pond called the Take away. I could not think of a better way of explaining what I thought apart from the review I left at the time of my visit –
WOW that sums up the food and the wonderful people who run this super place.
What a little treasure trove of the best Italian home cooking I have ever sampled in the whole country of Cambodia.
What delicious food, the taste of the Lasagne was an absolute pleasure, and the desert dish of Tiramisu was unbelievable, that washed down with a first-class coffee. The atmosphere of the place is very pleasant and clean, other customers who are visiting the meat and cheese counter we're very pleasant. Yes, I do believe that good food makes happy people.
I also bought a good selection of cold meats and bread while I was there. It would do for a pack-up tomorrow.
Next morning, we were heading out of town on our way over the bike and moto bridge over the river towards the main road, and then on to Bokor, hoping the roads are as good last time I was here, being as smooth has a race track. I filled the bike at the entrance to the park, we rode in steady where the pay booth was, no payment, now it is free entrance. Just inside we stocked up on a few more drinks from the venders, on we went down the road towards the rail tracks, four army, police type of guys walked towards the road with one coming a little faster, I don’t really know why, but I wasn’t intending of stopping there was a sign there saying free entrance I pointed out towards it and carried on going, the guy now smiled has we passed him.
Then a large group of dirt riders were coming towards us, I thought to myself I bet they were having fun. Up the hill and sweeping left and right the roads were indeed smooth and good, now I wished I had my old Ducati just for a few hours.
So far up the hill we sat at now was a dry stream and we tucked into the bread and cold meats, I was there for a purpose, but it was not to be, only slightly disappointed has I had planed beforehand for nearly a year. But what I wanted will come, I was now hoping for. That to me, kind of sums up the Kingdom of Wonder.
The dry streambed was a little slippery in some places, but I managed to get the shots of the fungi one being a Southern cinnabar polypore and the other Turkey tail, none I know of, just like many of the plants and flowers I take photos of in this part of the world. I may know many of the plants in my own country, and I suppose with these all being new that’s one of the reasons I decided to photograph them, that being more of a good learning subject too.
But that was not the reason for us being there, and exploring at the time, so it was time for us to tuck into some more of those cold meats and bread (they are of very good value). Then watch the world go by for a little time too. When you seem to do such a thing its surprising what comes by, like the old Honda single with a thumping sound it was making on its approach, fondly reminding me so much of the past visits over many a year, that I had made with friends and family, to watch the road racing at Oliver’s Mount.
But it was the sound of monkeys on their approach from the tree tops that made us decide we would be on our way. So once again we were winding our way slowly up the side of Bokor Hill on probably the best road in Cambodia. Believe me it was such a delight to ride on such a surface, that felt totally perfect, opposite to what we had endured so far with our travels to get here. We made a stop at the Yeay Mao Monument to make an offering and chance to say one's prayers, well let’s put it more like Nak had bought an offering. That now amongst the many groups of Chinese tourists, waiting in turn to get a spot In front of the statue to light the incense sticks and make the offering, but when the opportunity came we had the onlooking crowed, that alone in some way made us both a little uncomfortable in a place where it should not matter the difference to whom and why we or anyone else were there. I did say to her do it for you, I already listened to them mentioning westerner, and to be honest here now I don’t worry or think too much about why I am there, to some you maybe that of their amusement, that of a kind of side show.
Onwards past the new Bokor in guesthouse to our right, I was thinking that I dread to think how this National Park could look like in the years to come, there was more building work too in the form of mass concrete, being the choice of most builders material, and I should think the cutting down of many trees is to make way for the new proposed town. It has always made me wonder what goes though the minds of this type of developer, no matter what land space is allocated too any project, it is flattened from everything that stands or lives, surely with good planning some of those trees can still stand, making road avenues or features on the new properties in a place of such natural surrounding and settings that would blend continues throughout the development, that being of a kinder and visual softness, being that of a kinder outlook to the impact and greater benefit for the prospective new buyers, for is that not the whole purpose of the area that they are wanting to live. I may have got it all wrong, being that the people who will buy are putting out the opposite by far, saying to onlookers that I have money and can do this, and they want to put their wealth on show, such has the rows of mansions with their huge chandeliers hanging above the outside to the entrance doors, that are built in the cities new boreys. Its all in the name of progress, growth and wealth of an upcoming country, but the gap now tends to look even wider from rich and poor.
We rode on past the new construction, but when we did stop to look at the progress, I could see the disbelief in the eyes of my onlooking partner. It was far worse than the last time we visited and the Le Bokor Palace was having the refurbishment to turn it into a new upmarket hotel, that at least as some style from its former years, but I would think its price range is out of many average peoples reach. But never the less it is exquisite and also looks the part being something of well done for the purpose of an elegant 5* hotel.
We had seen most of the landmarks on our previous visit so we headed past the Casino, in the lower carpark was a display of many tents (but overall there was only two types). What was it all about, I presumed they were for sale. I know of some Khmers who camp when they are motorcycling but to be honest, I would not have a clue in this country, this hillside temple, also known has the Pagoda of 5 boats due to the five oddly-sculpted rocks nearby that resembled boats. The Wat was built in 1924 by King Monivong, from behind the temple at the cliffs edge are what you could call, and well worth the look of excellent views of the sea and rainforest.
I know of some Khmers who camp when they are motorcycling but to be honest, I would not have a clue in this country, this hillside temple, also known has the Pagoda of 5 boats due to the five oddly-sculpted rocks nearby that resembled boats. The Wat was built in 1924 by King Monivong, from behind the temple at the cliffs edge are what you could call, and well worth the look of excellent views of the sea and rainforest.
From there when we went out of the pagoda we turned left, a road we had been on before towards the waterfall but really it was too late in the day and after not too far out we decided to basically turn back and call it a day on Bokor hill for this time at least. We stopped on the barren hilltop, my partner “Nak” had a wonder of the road into the wilderness, here she was shouting “Andy” come looking, it was to be ideal, it was a shame we had so little daylight left, but this is what I was banking on at the dry stream bed. The art of rock balancing, therapeutic meditation and the bonus of photographic art that would include the subject of wild flowers.
Our attempts had too be that of more simplified first timers, and with the very short time of what daylight there was left, but you know we went away with that feeling of something we wanted to do, and now it seemed that it was another item ticked off the list, also the end result was not too bad, but that is only a self-opinion, take a look and see what you make of the end result, at least we can say it once again helped put a smile on our faces for a time, but more so something we would both remember, that time which may only be one of those meaningful times spent together.
But beyond all this, have you ever tried finding rocks in the Kingdom of Wonder?
The monkey who is climbing the rocks looking over at me is still up the mountain
I posted the results to the Khmer photo group I had joined quite some time ago, and it must have made an impression because it wasn’t that long before a small group of them tagged me into a post with them showing me their own attempts of the art of rock balancing.
It was time to make tracks, the tents were still standing and we looked if there were any people just to see if it was a kind of tent sale, I have no idea what prices would be here, or like I said before where you would camp, there was no people in sight anyway, just as well it could have been a very bad idea.
Darkness was falling fast and we were winding down the mountainside road, now it was certainly cool. Our prior visit saw us in a rainstorm in this position, but we came prepared this time, minus a pair of long trousers for yours truly, my knees certainly felt the cold evening air until we had come a fair way down the road, but next stop would warm any situation, yes it would be time for another Indian meal, but settling for a take-away so we could get back to the hotel and get cleaned up. Tomorrow we would be checking out of the accommodation named My Parents Guest House.
We packed up our things in the late morning, this time we had no plan of what we were to do, it could be a case of heading slowly back to Phnom Penh and possibly finding somewhere to stay again on route, but first I wanted to look at some long term accommodation I had read about sometime ago in the Kep area, we went there and waited around for our contact, but it was not what it seemed to be on the time of advertising, more of a disappointment too be honest. But no worries all is still good, so down to the Magic Crab for early evening dinner. It was to be the order of Crab in Kampot pepper and a prawn curry washed down with a few Cambodian beers, delicious as always, everything just right, you could not expect more, that is the crabs are a little finicky for what meat they have inside them, I wonder what they would think and make of a nice North Sea Crab over here. I also remember some years ago going to a barbeque in Koh Kong they had Mussels on the menu, here they are accompanied with dressing of hot chilli peppers and lime. It would be a waste of time asking for a splash of malt vinegar like the Brits enjoy them alongside cockles and whelks when bought fresh from the small seaside towns such has Brid and Scarborough.
We were late so decided to head back to Kampot for the night and find somewhere to stay, if not the same place we had left earlier that day. Riding on the dual carriageway away from Kep the heavens again opened, pulling over to get our waterproof coats on, it was a rushing torrent of rainwater near the curb, coats on we were off again, the bike started to splutter and miss, it had this little fault when the rain was such as now, being so heavy. It gave up, but started again on the turn of the key, but this time it was not long before it stopped and would refuse to go anymore. Luckily on the very dark road, only 50 meters or so was a repair shop, with lights still on, I pushed the moto inside told them “no start” they got on it making sure it had fuel, tried the starter a few times with stand up and not in gear, no joy, they looked at the sparkplug and then put a new one in, checked the power in the battery, still no joy. They said they would have to look more in the morning, and they would make sure we had a room nearby and tuk-tuk to get there.
I thought this is going to be expensive, but there was nothing I could do, other then bite the bullet and hope they were honest.
The boss of the repair shop phoned the hotel, he said Okay go by tuk-tuk, we jumped in with the bag and helmets, it was not too far from the place, being on the same road and called the Visal Sak Guesthouse, one night fan room was around $7 or less, we was put on the ground floor a little like a dungeon to be honest, but never the less it was a dry one, that night we had cloths hanging anywhere they would go just to get them dry. In the morning we found they had a restaurant on the second floor, and it was not expensive for food on the menu, there was Khmer and western dishes plus a large pizza oven, breakfast was good, and quite a nice place to sit with a bit of natural air flow and not bad views. Down at reception I asked if they had any vacant rooms on the restaurant floor, they did, and looking first at the rooms they were large with two ¾ sized beds in them, I booked for two more nights being that it was cheap accommodation that had everything in its favour, more so to finish drying our clothes after washing them.
Tuk-tuk outside were the small shop stands, selling items at normal price, so can buy tins of pop and beer and take to the room. I went to the repair shop to see if they had done the work and what the fault was. It was bad news in that it was the electronic control unit (ECU). They were waiting for an answer if they should replace the faulty part for new, at a price of $35. I don’t think I had much of a choice in going for the new part if the original had given up. Anyway the moto was fixed and back to life once again, I also took the faulty part, on my return to the city I showed it to the mechanic who does bits of work on the bike at times, he tested the part and said it was no good, asked how much I paid for the replacement, saying his price is $30. Anyway, it was a genuine repair and no more faults I had him go over the bike and put me a new chain and sprocket set on, and oil change at the cost of $18.
I returned to the guest house with the bike, they have secure parking there, and we had transport back again. We visited Kep National Park that day and walked one of the hiking trails that was pleasant seeing the views and a few wild flowers. We had our food at the towns square opposite the beach and at the guest house latter in the evening. Where I learned it was the start of the water festivities in a few days’ time and most places were already booked up.
The following morning after breakfast we rode to Kampot looking for somewhere to stay longer, my parents guest house was totally booked up, and so were all the other places in town, apart from the last point of call not too far from the Indian restaurant but heading near to the durian roundabout. Nak looked at the rooms available and got us a room with an outside balcony booked and paid for two nights starting from tomorrow.
It was our last night in Kep, and in the morning we checked out and once again travelled down the road to Kampot, I now was suffering from what felt like Sciatica, the pain from my lower back and buttock down my right leg was uncomfortable to say it mildly. We arrived at the guest house we had previously booked, to be told sorry we are fully booked with no vacancies, I explained that we had booked and paid for the room yesterday, she apologised and said her daughter was unaware and took the booking on the room you had booked. I was pissed off at this time and replied well what are you going to do about the situation, one of the owner’s friends came out who talked perfect English, saying she would try to find an answer to the situation. We ended up being taken one street back from the riverside to their other brand-new hotel costing double the price we had paid, but obviously for our initial rate of payment. All was good, Nak said the room here was so much better and the owners also had a Khmer restaurant next door, we also happened to be the only guests to stay there so they asked us to lock the main entrance when we put the bike inside and when we came in and out, it was a good room with aircon and hot water, Wi-Fi and large LCD and balcony.
Later that evening I went for an oil massage which seemed to help a little or maybe it was the shake I drunk as a pain reliver, it was going to be take away food and cheese cake for afters, defiantly comfort food and relaxation was the order for me. I did not fancy the ride up road 3 to Phnom Penh, also knowing it was under repairs. So, I had a ride up to the railway station to book the reminder of the journey by rail. Saturday we were to book out of the room, so it seemed so easy to book two passengers and the moto, she took the booking and gave me the tickets, price was $7 each for myself and Nak and $5 for the moto. I thanked her and was leaving when she called me back. “Sorry Sir” no moto on Saturday only on Sunday. No problem I said can you change the tickets for Sunday. I was just hoping we could book one more night after the fuss at the hotel, that too turned out to not be a problem.
Sunday morning arrived and it was going to be our first ever journey on the Royal Railway, first point of call was the ticket counter where the young man told me the ticket for the moto was yesterday, I agreed, but told him there is no moto on Saturdays service and the young lady could not change the date on the ticket only the passenger tickets could be changed so we could travel with the moto, he then told me to take the moto around the station to the other side so when the train arrived it could be loaded in the carriage. I asked him was the train near, he showed me on his smartphone it was in the Bokor area. When I took the bike around there were venders selling food and drinks, where I bought a good beaker of coffee and borrowed a chair sitting patiently in the shade with Nak and the bike waiting for the train to arrive. It was more exciting to Nak because she had never travelled by train.
There were quite a few western travellers waiting to take the journey to Phnom Penh, then there was a bit of movement of people some taking photos of the train approaching the station, when the train came to a holt someone had already took their moto up to a carriage. I just followed and the trains staff put the moto’s into the goods carriage. We just got onboard and sat in the first carriage having our tickets checked by the young lady ticket inspector.
She returned again saying if any people would like a better view there was another carriage with different seating arraignments and the windows open. We said yes and one elderly gentleman with is Khmer lady, the seating faced on to each other being that of one pair facing the other pair, where we had come from was a long row on each side with your back towards the windows, so if you wanted to look outside you looked at the people seated opposite or you twisted your body to see behind yourself. But has it happened we were left with sitting cramped with a small squashed up back seat with no leg room and only part window that would open. Nak went to the next set of seats to try the window with no joy she walked into the next carriage with me shortly following her, because it was useless with the seating area left available. The ticket inspector was now walking towards us, the two of them spoke, we ended up being shown to a small carriage at the far end of the train, it seemed we had it to ourselves, with excellent aircon, and we could go in-between the carriages with open doors for a quick ciggy and no obstructions when taking photos.
If you want to and see the Cambodian countryside and view it in all its glory with none or little restrictions it is the best and only way to travel in steady comfort. There will be no horns blurting out at you to move out the way, and no one driving directly at you, best of all no potholes or bad road surface. I know its slower than what the buses travel, but I would say it is the safer way to travel (that is if no one runs into the train) and it’s the most comfortable. It was overall a delight and well worth the small cost.
It would be nice to travel again sometime by the train of the Royal Railway, and of course by the humble means of the moto. We will see.
I had seen the update today, both the Northern and Southern Railway lines are now open for Passenger and Freight Services,
both lines are fully operational
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Thanks Andy, heaps!
rocks wildflowers boats
and great writing thoughts and insight
only need a few more wild animals and it would perfect..
(but then, we ALLways do, )
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