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April 10th, 2011 | Asia

Out of Cambodia…

The local mortician dabbles in the poultry market as well...

Our last day in Cambodia was a busy one…

Trevor, Chenty and I were interviewed separately by Morgan’s TV crew, and then we spent the remainder of the afternoon chatting to two young ladies who had been backpacking through South East Asia…

Olivia and her friend had followed a similar route to ours as I recall, and were now on their way to Vietnam…

Later that evening we met Morgan’s family who had jetted in from Hong Kong…

Before they arrived, it had been three guys and a girl, and then suddenly, the guys were outnumbered…!! Morgan’s mom, his sister and daughter, as well as his girlfriend, swooped down on us, forcing us to mind our language and be on better behavior…

Notice, I did not say “best”…!! We are after all, “Bikers”, and have a certain reputation to uphold…!!

After dinner we strolled around the streets of Siem Reap, watching the dumb-struck expressions on the new arrivals faces, as they took in the messy streets, the smells, the spitting, and many other things that were not the norm in Australia…!!

Before we parted we exchanged addresses and contact details, and were invited to visit the Parker family on our respective ways through Australia…

The film crew had a wicked glint in their eyes, and knowing that there was huge mischief afoot, Trevor, Chenty and I excused ourselves with the sad news that we had to be up early the next morning to ride into Thailand…

We beat a hasty but well-timed retreat to our hotel, and prepared for our ride while Morgan’s crew unleashed their thirst on the town…

I checked the weather report for the following day, and saw that the good weather we had been enjoying was due to come to a sudden and unexpected halt…!! Heavy rain was forecast for the following day, part of a huge system that had swept down from China and was on its way into the Gulf of Thailand…

I buzzed Trevor and told him not to pack his rain gear too deeply into his bags…

Hanging with Olivia and her friend in Siem Reap...

Frogs were on special... One for a dollar...!! Bonus...!! We ordered a dozen and promised to collect them sometime in the distant future...

Some strange stuff on the menu... The last item had us stymied...!!

The Condom-like Spring Roll... Best bitten into with eyes tightly shut, and mind elsewhere...!!

The weather report was right…!! We loaded the bikes in pouring rain, watched open-mouthed by a large contingent of Chinese tourists, who, if my Mandarin serves me correctly, were saying things like, “These buggers are crazy…!!”

We waited for a gap in the rain that never came, and eventually I looked across at Trevor, and with a “What the hell…!!” shrug of my shoulders, I eased the Big Fella out into the downpour…

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating...!! We were not going to let a little rain delay our departure...!! Trevor and Chenty pull out behind me and with a wave to the amazed spectators, we got on our way...

The road outside Siem Reap was like a skating rink in places...

On the road just west of town, and on a gentle bend (to make matters even more interesting…!!) a large brown dog ran across the road and almost collided with me… I made the almost fatal error of grabbing at the front brake lever, and the ABS tried its best to kick in, but with so much water on the road surface, I might as well have tried throwing an anchor over my shoulder…

The Big Fella straightened up, and then slid towards the grassy verge… With more luck than skill, I managed to stay on the black stuff, but it was a very close thing…!!

We rode on through the rain until we got to the crossroads at Sisophon, then turned south, rather than stay on the road that would lead to the western border and on to Bangkok… We had a few days to spare before our bikes needed to be in Bangkok for their service, so we had decided to ride along the coast and spend a few days in Pattaya…

The last sixty kilometres to the border post near Pailin was made under these conditions... White-knuckle riding in some places...!!

After Battambang, we turned west and for the majority of the ride to the border, we battled through light rain and roadworks, that in places made riding a little tricky… We were very grateful that it was no longer raining as hard as it had  in Siem Reap… The clay surface would have seen us skating out of Cambodia…!!

Closer to the border, while riding across an area that was covered in sugar cane fields, the heavy clouds above us burst open and bid us a very wet farewell from Cambodia…

Just before the border, the rain came down with a vengeance...!!

Despite the bad weather, we had made very good time to the border, and instead of looking for a place midway between the border and the coast to spend the night, we decided that it would be possible to make it through to Pattaya without much difficulty…

The area just short of the border was the old stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, and the place that Pol Pot had fled to in 1979, when the world discovered what a madman he was… This is also the area where tensions between Thailand and Cambodia have escalated in recent times, leading to the occasional exchanges of rocket and gunfire between soldiers on both sides of the border…

We wanted to spend as little time at Phsar Prom, the seldom used and obscure border post, but the officials there had other ideas…

It took almost two hours to get out of Cambodia and into Thailand...

On the Cambodian side, the first guys we met could stamp our passports, but wanted nothing to do with our Carnets… We were sent to a building across the road to see if they could help us… We trudged through the rain, into what seemed like a deserted building and out into a courtyard where a few guys in uniform checked our documents and then finally, after making a few calls to someone in Phnom Penh, stamped out Carnets and allowed us to ride into Thailand…

We arrived at the Thailand Immigration post of Banpakkad, thinking that we were now back in “civilization” so to speak…. Things would now surely go more smoothly…!!

WRONG…!!

We had to leave Chenty at the Immigration office, and ride a few hundred kilometres into Thailand to the Customs offices where it took the better part of an hour to get our Carnets stamped, then ride back to the border and have our passports and some other document photocopied and stamped, before we were free to go… What a pallaver…!!

The wet weather had claimed another victim....

The rain had let up by the time we reached Khlong Yai and turned south for Pong Nam Ron (I kid you not…, and don’t go making up any crap using my name…!!)

The roads were in great condition, for the most part a double-laned highway that we thundered down, trying to make up for the time lost at the border crossing… We rode through Klaeng, where I refueled, and then on to Rayong, where we stopped at a pharmacy to get antibiotics to treat an infected wound on Trevor’s knee…

It was an injury he had picked up weeks before when he “fell into a pothole” in Luang Prabang in Laos… Chenty claims he fell, Trevor claims he was “quite sober” and was pushed… I am keeping an open mind on the matter…!!

Clearly the municipal workers of Rayong have had time on their hands...

By late afternoon, with dusk fast approaching, we had covered more than 500 kilometres for the day, and despite the heat and humidity, were in good spirits as we rode down the main streets of Pattaya… I had a fairly good idea of the layout of the city from my last visit here (it was hard to believe that almost five weeks had passed since I had hooked up with Willi again…!!) and I confidently led Trevor down the beach road and into Walking Street, then turned down an alley that Willi and I used to park our bikes in, and stopped outside the White Rose Hotel, where we waited while Chenty checked prices and rooms of a few nearby hotels, before we settled on the White Rose itself…

Our bikes took pride of place outside the White Rose Hotel...

The quiet streets belied the hustle and bustle that would later overwhelm the area, and after a quick shower, we headed out to immerse ourselves in the madness…

©GBWT 2011

2 comments to Out of Cambodia…

  • Charmz

    Did you guys enjoy “Pong Nam Ron” or did you just ride straight through. I’m impressed that you tackled those wet roads and came out unscathed. Very good indeed. Don’t you lot get flu now. Thanks for sharing your photo’s and story with all your followers.

  • Åke

    Ronnie & Charmz ; I’m reading this RTW trip with great pleasure !!
    ( One of the followers. )

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