Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Captain's log 11th Feb 2015

"Choom rip saw, som dk sot pbee" it never fails! Sometimes we just get what we asked for, most times a big smile and sometimes a hi 5 but we always get our 2 bottles of water.
We're getting much better at this now. Guest house? Easy. Fried noodle or rice with egg? Not a problem. We may not be fluent but we won't go hungry or thirsty.
One weird thing is that since Phnom Penh the only noodles we've been able to get are the dried 2 minute packet ones. It just seems so wrong when we are in the land of the noodle. We had proper rice noodles back in the poorer western provinces and now, in Kratie they are again appearing. We wonder if its because we've been riding through the relatively prosperous Mekong valley where 'progress' means they prefer the modern western style solution to their age old variety?

One thing they are not short of over here is Wifi. Its everywhere! Even in the grotty cafes or on the buses. It's well handy.

We're glad to say that to date we've had no real tummy troubles at all. What with all the eggs we're eating its quite the opposite actually.

Restaurant bathrooms to me are usually a pretty good way to judge the quality of the establishment. Not in SE Asia though. Over here they are firm believers in the 1950's British way of thinking. A bathroom is a small, no frills place where you go to do what you need to do and get out rather than the statement of design & luxury they have become in the western world.

The architecture here is not that varied. Don't get excited by the guide books waxing lyrical about the 'grand but rustic French colonial masterpieces', they are few and far between. The rural ones range from "modest" to "shut your mouth and look at my staircase".

Yesterday afternoon was a tough ride. Our maps indicated about 65km total for the day but this turned out to be 83. The last stretch was on a busy road with no shade. We deal with these times differently, each looking for our own mental distraction. Kate switches her little bike computer to average speed setting to try and squeeze another 0.1km/h out of her day. I switch mine to the Calorie counter and watch with glee as the numbers go up (about 890 yesterday apparently). We also have a 'co2 offset' setting. Offset against what? Yesterday the reading was13.03 but it gives no units. I like to think its tons...

The morning ferry ride yesterday was great fun. Us, the motorbikes and a couple of water buffalo. You don't get that on a Thames Clipper do you?!

We're in the town of Kratie now. It's quite big and bustling. There are defo some whities here but that's ok because it means muesli is available. It's not a tourist town though like some others.  It's a proper Cambodian town where there just happen to be some tourists and that makes a big difference to how it feels.

We're relaxing today after 3 long, hot days on the bikes. Our $15 aircon room is quite passable and tonight we'll go back to the bar down the road for sundowners.

The next stretch of road up to Stung Treng is "only open, no house" as described by the girl in the funny little tourist info booth. It's 140km of hot nothing. We've been eyeing up the local minibuses and have now found where the bus station is, hmmm, tempting...... Oh and if anyone wants to join us or do their own trip but doesn't have the time just print the photo below, stick it on your office door or desk and head to the airport!

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