MOTO, MOTO?

21 05 2010
Yesterday we got up and decided we where going to stick around for the day and take a night bus to Siem Reap in the north-western part of Cambodia in the evening. We planned on visiting the nearby Ream National Park. To get there we rented a dirt bike and hit the road around 9AM. It was an interesting ride as we got lost in the city for a while before eventually finding the highway out-of-town. From there it was a beautiful ride through a couple of little villages and vast tracts of farmland. Traffic was fairly light in the morning so driving was fairly straight forward and we covered the 45km’s to the park in about an hour arriving at 10. Once there we signed up for a boat ride with a ranger down one of the rivers in the park as going unguided was not an option. The trip was really pleasant, we where the only ones out on the river with the exception of a few local fisherman. We spent about two hours on the river passing lush mangrove forests and viewing a lot of bird life. We took a short stop along the way to take a walk into the forest to take in the views from the top of a viewing tower located up in the mangrove canopy. The forest was interesting and even though we did not see any wildlife during our brief visit it was impressive to know that it is home to monkeys and tigers. After our tour of the river we drove another 15km’s to another section of the park where we took a short hike with our guide. We climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the bay and stopped by a waterfall that was dry because it was still the dry season. We heard some monkeys in the trees and were going to investigate a little further but decided not to due to a rapidly developing thunderstorm forming over our heads. We headed back out of the woods and made our way down the hill to a monastery that was under construction. It was about halfway done and it was nice see the amount of time and detail put into the project. Before heading back to town we stopped by a quiet little beach where I took a short not very refreshing swim due to the fact that the water temp was again in the mid 90’s. As we got back towards Sihanoukville I again got lost and somehow managed to drive completely around the entire city only to arrive back at the road leading out-of-town. After this things got a bit sketchy. I saw a couple of westerners heading back in towards town so I figured I would try to follow them in hope that they where going somewhere near where I needed to be. As we headed up hill towards town I noticed some police officers on either side of the road up ahead point to the two westerners if front of me and told them to pull over. As I was a bit behind them I decided not to push my luck by passing by them and I made a left only to pull into a parking lot full of police. Again I managed to keep going without being stopped and headed off again in an unknown direction. The reason I was nervous is that technically I do not have a Cambodian drivers license and therefore I should not be driving a motorcycle. I have been assured that this law is loosely enforced and like most traffic laws in SE Asia rarely followed. I was also told that a little bit of cash on the spot took care of most violations but I was not really in the mood to find out. So as we headed away from the police checkpoint we ran into a lot of traffic only to find out that everyone was gathering around a young woman who had just had a motorcycle accident. This was a very depressing scene. There where dozens of people surrounding this woman who was bleeding badly and unconscious. They where within inches of her body yet no one touched her or even tried to see if she was breathing. What mad it worse was that in was practically in front of a medical clinic whose staff was standing there with the rest of the gawkers. I really did not understand what was going on but we had been warned in Vietnam that if you see an accident to get away from it as soon as possible because it may turn into a messy situation for you. This was tough to do and I was really upset with what I witnessed on that street. I really hope things turned out ok for that girl but unfortunately I will never know. Later we learned that if you where to help someone in trouble like that woman, the hospital would demand money from you, so that might explain why everyone just stood idly by. We eventually fought our way back through the rush hour traffic to the beach and after deciding to get a hotel for the night as opposed to taking the bus we did a little more exploring along the coast. We took some dirt paths and abandoned roads along the beach and eventually wound up a quiet little stretch of coast called Otres Beach. We ate the most amazing fish tacos we ever had before finally watching the sunset. We then headed back to town and a well deserved night of rest after a long hot day on the road. Today we got up early and after seeing the dark clouds in the sky we decided to get moving and take a bus to Siem Reap. After a short ride on the back of a couple of moto’s we arrived at the bus station and bought our tickets for the 11 hour journey. So we are now in Siem Reap after a full day on the road and tomorrow we are going to visit the Temples of Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex ever built by man. This has been one of the places I have dreamt about visiting for many years and I am really forward to exploring the temples tomorrow. 

 

Us By The Beach

 

Hiking In The Jungle

 

In The Jungle

 

Visiting The New Temple

 

A Freind We Met At The Temple

 

Leaving The National Park

 

Sunset At The Beach

 

On The Way Back

 

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3 responses

27 05 2010
marta

it has been so long since your last post. we miss you, and worry.
call or write
marta

25 05 2010
marta

Justysia, call us.
got your postcard, thanks !
hope all is well
marta

22 05 2010
Jim & steph

Hi Andrew & Justyna

 It looks like you are having an amazing trip. Cambodia looks amazing.Keep exploring.We are going camping and I am going to bring Chris and Jason bouldering. It will not be the same without you and I’m sure Chris will remind me about every ten minutes.

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