Wednesday, 24 June 2009


By "madness" I'm not referring to the effects of the local hazardous rice spirit - although it's best use is probably for the sterilization of the suspect drinking water. Rather, I'm referring to the mighty Mekong river which originates in Tibet and flows into the ocean via the delta in Vietnam, dominating this region of SE Asia. Since my last post from Phnom Penh Leana and I took in some of the city sights, including the Toul Sleng museum which is a former school where the Kmerh Rouge regime in the 70's imprisoned, tortured, and killed thousands. While in the city I also had my beard shaven by a local barber, but as the local men don't have much facial hair he couldn't bring himself to totally clean my face and left me with a mean moustache (I eventually persuaded him to go through with the evil deed). After catching a glimpse of the nearby Mekong, we pedalled South, visiting the coastal towns of Sihanoukville, Kampot, and Kep. We stayed in some interesting places such as the Prek Teuk Sap "guest house", which consisted primarily of a stilted wooden deck over a river in the Ream National Park. There we also rented a leaky wooden canoe with a single short paddle, with which we explored the channels amongst the mangroves for a couple of hours. During our time in the South Leana decided that it was time to "do her own thing", but we ended up staying in the same place again a few days later (the "Wide World" is not so big when you're on a bicycle!). Our time in Cambodia is running out, and on the way towards the Vietnam border we crossed the Mekong after dark to find accommodation in Neak Luong on the far banks. That was the end of an unexpectedly long day on bad roads in the rain, repairs to Leana's bike also taking up some time along the way. There are many roadside- and street stalls in the area offering interesting foods. Some of these eats include dried frogs, a variety of deep-fried birds, crickets, and turtles. I didn't even try any of these tasty treats, let alone Leana who is a vegetarian - no wonder we exist mainly on noodles! Total distance cycled since Cape Town at the start of this journey is 42 278 km. (In my next update I will give the daily distances cycled since Phnom Penh).

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