Saturday, May 16, 2009
ride from hell? Well, for me it wasn't too bad as I've experienced worse during my Cambodia travels over the years, especially in the early days of no roads or tracks and we had to make it up, but for Tim, it was a nightmare. He's too tall to be a passenger on a moto anyway and he has a bad back too, but for 11 hours, on bumpy, uneven tracks through what is effectively wilderness except for a handful of villages, it was enough to try anyone's patience. He'd been well pissed-off when his motodop tried to accelerate through a wet patch, and there were many, and only succeeded in dropping the bike, himself and Tim onto the hard, and wet, floor. After we stopped for our 4th puncture repair in the gloom of the early evening, still some way off our eventual destination, he was ready to throw in the towel. He didn't, but it was close. We finally arrived at Tbeng Meanchey's Malop Dong restaurant at 7pm, exactly 11 hours after we'd left Stung Treng, and we rolled into town on a flat tyre. We stuffed our faces with food and cold drinks before retiring for a well-earned sleep at the Phnom Pic, aka Diamond, guesthouse. Paul and Dom were our motodops, two members of the Stung Treng moto-mafia, and to be fair, they were good drivers, mine in particular was older and had done the trip before so he was the safer of the two and he only sent me off the back of his Daelim once, which for such a long trip through poor road conditions, wasn't a bad effort. We never warmed to them because of the dealings we had with them, and their mafia buddies at the start, but they did the job we asked them to do and at least it gave Tim a taste of the adventures I've been enjoying for years in the Cambodian countryside.
The smoldering cut forest surrounding Veal Veng village, part of the extensive Prey Lang Forest region