Monday, September 22, 2008

on the road in kampuchea

We're back in Siem Reap after a couple of bone jarring, gut wrenching days of travel. On the way up we found ourselves mired down in deep mud twice. The first time just outside a small village about two hours north of Siem Reap. M and I spent the 45 minute pause chatting with the locals, including the two in the photo. The second mud caused delay came just after the turn off from the main highway about 3k from the guest house we were headed towards. After a couple minutes of watching the wheels spin we abandoned the driver and our guide, opting instead to walk the kilometers on the muddy road towards the promise of a shower.
We had made the journey to check out the eco-lodge in Tmatboey of the NGO M has been volunteering for and to pick up another PCV who had been teaching English to the local guides. It was actually a very very cool place in the middle of no where. Though I would not suggest it to just anybody (I woke up the next day sore from the ride) but if you like birds and really getting off the beaten track it was a pretty epic adventure. We got mistakenly taken on a bird watching trip to see the endangered white shouldered ibis, which ended up being much more cool than I might have thought. You can check the place out, Sam Veasna Center.
Over night the rain fell fast and hard and we knew the next day the roads would probably be in a worse state. They were. An ankle deep creek from the day before had swelled to almost cover the doors of our Nissan truck. The driver ended up with water in his foot bed after we managed to cross the damn thing. Add to this, four of us were crammed across the back seat of the four door cab. Uncomfortable as it was, being jammed in was a bit better than the jostling around the two of us had suffered through the day prior. Luckily on the ride down the only thing that brought the car to a complete stop were the herds of cows that created grid lock on the one lane dirt road and we made it back to Siem Reap in time for a late lunch.

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