Saying goodbye to my new friend Laim was hard, but after spending a week with him I knew he would go on to do great things.
I realized the day before my visa expired and rushed it to a tour agency, they took it and had it renewed, I couldn't hit th
e road back to Kampot untill after they took care of my passport, so I had to ride hard because I had 80kms to cover and only 4 hours of daylight. I rolled into the small town Takeo just as it was getting dark. I took thenext day off and deci
ded to roam around Takeo. Takeo sits right on this huge lake and also the Mekong river. I grabbed a fiberglass boat and rode for an hour up the Mekong river, my driver didn't speak a word of english. The river villages were like nothing I had seen before, all the people had very serious looks on their faces and barely anyone waved and said hello. I got out at Phnom Da and explored the 6th century temples on top of a big hill. There were caves all over the hills as well. the Khmer Rouge used these caves as cells during their reign.
The ride from Takeo to Kampot was long and dusty. I had a 10km stretch where I rode through 4 inch dust and I could barely breathe any time a motorbike or a truck drove by. I have been pulling dust out of every orifice in my body for the last 2 days. The ride was stunning though, beautiful mountains were in sight the entire ride and the locals were so much fun and very friendly. I stopped many times for mangos because those suckers are in season.
Now I am back in Kampot and deciding
what to do next. I believe I will head to Siem Reap and visit a small village school that Laim got built and his family. Also while in Siem Reap I will spend some time exploring the ancient temples of Angkor Wat.
Today I rented a motor bike and went out on another adventure. I originally was going to Kep because there is some festival going on. I got there and it was just a bunch of ex-pats and back packers getting drunk on the beach, not my style so I headed up into the national forest and made my way down this long dirt trail, the smell of the deep jungle was unlike anything I have smelled before, the deep woods in the berkshires comes close though. After my ride to the top of the mountain I headed out on a single track trail into these villages near the coast. After riding for many kilometers on this bumpy little track that a motorbike should not be on I saw a bunch of people raking puddles and I wondered what they were doing. I pulled over and said sok-sah-bai (hello) and then Su-es-dai (how are you) and then the hookline and sinker that gets them to smile every time, Barang gee kong (foreigner rides bike) and point to my tattoo, after a long ahhhhhhhh
and a fit of laughter this man comes off his guard. A bonus is that he speaks a little english! His name was Kim Soeuy and this was his salt plantation. I motioned I wanted to rake salt and he had one of his workers lead me into the big puddle field thing and I started raking salt. These are the sort of experiences I am looking for while I travel. The genuine ones, not sitting around with a bunch of westerners getting drunk. I have noticed much of that since being here in SE Asia. It was a great day and I will remember it forever.