Monday, September 7, 2009

My traveling companions

Road Trip
I have had the strangest weekend ever. So some new friends decided that it would fun to ride our motorbikes to the beach. Well, people go on riding trips all the time. They take these big dirt bikes out and just drive. It sounded like fun.
I momentarily questioned whether our smaller motorbikes could make the trip, but I was assured that it would be fine.
So the bus to the beach takes 3 ½ hours, so I estimated that it would take us 4 to 5 hours because on the roads motorbikes seem to keep good time with the buses and cars.
Right before we left my friend, April, convinced me to drive my own bike (which I wasn’t planning to do because it’s really slow). Her bike was slow and she wanted someone else to lag behind with her. Well my bike is a 50cc. So it’s tops out at 40 kilometers per hour.
The first 3 hours were great. The scenery was beautiful, and I had good music playing in my ears. We were dodging cows and pot-wholes. However, my but has been hurting for 2 hours and 45 minutes at this point.
Well my bike broke down. It just stopped. In the middle of the road. Great!
So we walked it over to a shop, where the guy took the whole bike apart. After an hour of sitting around trying to figure out why it wouldn’t start, they figured that it was the ignition switch. So the didn’t fix anything. They just put it back together and told me to fiddle with it if it happened again.

So we took off again. The sun was setting and it was beautiful as we approached the mountains! The problem with the sun setting is that it becomes dark after it sets. Driving in the dark was a little scary; plus I was getting hungry. And as if dark wasn’t bad enough, then it started to rain. Well in a 3rd world country, dark wet roads are bad! There are pot-wholes the size of coffins, but when it’s wet its hard to avoid the pot-wholes.
And April fell. She fell on the muddy road. She had some scrapes, but she and the bike were totally covered in mud.
At this point we were 50 kilometers from our destination, and with April injured and shaken, we can only move at a snail’s pace (about 10-15 kilometers and hour). At 9:30, we arrived in a town called Kampot (we were going to Kep), 30 km from our destination. So hungry and tired we decided to stay at the first guest house we could find.
I ate a granola bar instead of going to eat with the rest of the group because I just wanted to fall into bed. We’d been on the road for 8 hours.
There was a problem with the hotel room though. The air-conditioning remote was broken. It wouldn’t turn off. We were all cold and wet (it was the one night of the year that it was cold in Cambodia!). And the air was set to 16 C. It was ridiculously cold, and there was nothing we could do about it.
Around 1:00 AM I woke up freezing. I couldn’t sleep I was so cold. I tried the remote several more times. It still wouldn’t work.
After an hour of cursing the air-con remote, I felt sick. I ran to the bathroom and disposed of the very little that was in my stomach.
Head in a Cambodian toilet, freezing toes, I was wishing I was dead.
I finally got to bed later that night.
After spending the day vomiting, the last thing I wanted was to drive for at least 7 hours that day! My butt couldn’t handle it anyway.
April’s bike was in need of a re-alignment. So she and I decided to find a bus service that would take our motorbikes on the bus too. The other five were going on to the beach, and would drive back later that day.
No bus would take our bikes, so we got a van. These vans are a 3rd class way of travelling. They often pile 50 people in a 15 passenger van. Luckily ours was mostly full of coconuts and other products.

Bikes in a van.
So to load our bikes, they slab of wood and extended it from the back of the van. The coconuts were on top of the wood to keep it in place. Then our bikes were loaded onto the wood and tied to the van with a rope. But even still half of our bike was hanging off the wood (this wood that is hanging off the van). It was insanity!
So as we drove we picked up more passengers. Finally we had so many people that one guy rode on my bike as it stuck out that back! Craziness!

There were a million funny things that happened in that van…
One funny story was the second of the six times we were stopped by the police. Our drivers were bribing all the police so we could keep moving (which worked 5 out of 6 times). The second time the driver didn’t have any money out, and he was fishing in his pocket for money. Well the police officer was staring at me. Like he wouldn’t even look at the driver when he spoke to him. So finally I was annoyed and gave him an annoyed “please stop staring at me” smirk, which he took as a smile. So he gave me a thumbs-up and let us go for free. It was so great! We got off with a smile.

Needless to say, I was exhausted when I got home. My back, legs, and butt were sore from riding a motorbike for 8 hours. My stomach was weak and sickly. My head hurt from heat and lack of water.
What a weekend!

1 comment:

print said...

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