Kampot – Stueng Saen
10th April 2014 355km 32’C
I woke this morning at 5:00am and packed the bike for today’s ride. I had expected it would be very hot, therefore the plan was to get on the road early and cover some ground before things really heated up. I had stayed in a timber kampong house last night, sweating under a mosquito net with only an ineffective fan to cool me. The net stopped the mosquitoes but not the tiny midges and every few minutes I’d be woken by a midge biting my butt, arms or forehead. It wasn’t the most comfortable night.
The plan was sound and I was riding out of Kampot at 6:00am sharp after a quick breakfast. Past beautiful little villages by the rive. Kids would rush out and wave and scream “HELLO!”
The road to Phnom Penh was good and I reached the city right on-time for he morning peak traffic. And there was traffic. It was madness, tuktuks, motorcycles, cars & trucks and the worst of all, Landcruisers with Lexus badges. The Lexus drivers are a real menace to all other traffic. They just barge through, wrong side of the road, wherever they like and running down anyone in their path. I’ve learnt to stay clear of them.
Working through the traffic in the heat was tough going, and I had to cross Phnom Penh to reach Highway 6 to the north. For the entire time in the city, I never got out of second gear.
But that was nothing compared to what lay ahead…
On leaving the city limits of Phnom Penh, the national highway 6 turned into a potholed dirt road, varying between carrying 6 lanes of traffic or only a single lane depending on how large the craters in the road were. Due to it being the hot & dry season, the trucks stirred up huge plumes of dust, obscuring all other vehicles, animals and the potholes in the road. Within a short amount of time I was covered in the dust, everywhere. I resorted to turning the headlights back on, in the vain hope that it might help others to see me, before they hit me. It seemed to help.
I made a few regular drink stops for refreshment and to flush the dirt off my face and out of my eyes, and always met some fun and friendly children or stall owners.
I arrived in Kampong Thom at around 1:30pm and tried to wash some of the red dust from my clothes and body before taking a walk around the markets and town.
This evening I’m in the Sakun Lolita Guesthouse in Kampong Thom, for the price of $14 a night, with aircon and the room is fairly fabulous. Clean and comfortable, if only a single bed.