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Cindie's Cambodia Daily Journal
Travel Writing, Blog, Travelogue

Poipet to Tien Bien, Cambodia
 (December 16- January 16, 2004)


WB01618_.gif (290 bytes)    Previous Journal Thumbnail Photo Page for this Journal

Tim's Letter for this Journal

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Dec 16 Poipet - Sisophon. Border crossing always make me nervous, there is always a change and most changes can not anticipated.  I expected a change from Thailand to Cambodia but the change was more extreme then I expected.  We arrived early in the morning and got our exit stamps from Thailand easily.  The first thing I notice was a man in a wheel chair crossing the border into Thailand. His legs were completely gone, completely, it made me shutter to think how he lost them, no doubt stepping on a land mine.  Cambodia has more land mines than any other country in the world, and that fact can be seen in the people in the country side.

A steady stream of people all dressed in shabby clothes were pushing and hurrying to get across the border into Thailand.  Going the other way were the well dressed Thai going to Poipet to gamble or visiting other parts of Cambodia.  The contrast between the people was huge.  We crossed over to Cambodia and I waited in a long line for our arrival stamp.  We purchased our Visas through our hotel yesterday and I was glad we did, the less time at the border the better.  Tim waited outside with the bikes while I stood in line until it was time for him to get his picture taken.  He ran inside was photographed and we left.  The first major change was we were now riding on the right side of the road again, it was easy to switch back to the right.  The chaos continued with little boys pulling wooden carts across the border mixed with smartly dressed girls who worked in the casinos.  I saw all manner of cart, bicycle, and scooter.  One man was riding a big three wheeled machine and he was turning a cranks with his hands to propel the machine, another man was pushing a bicycle type machine but in the area where a seat would be there was a huge basket filled with goods.  The smells were a mixture of fish, burning garbage, and dust.  Dust was hanging in the air.  Crossing into Cambodia was an intense jolt to my senses.

We stopped at the Canadia bank located on the right, 500 meters from the round about.  I changed my baht to riel, later I would find out that the locals prefer baht.  I changed the equivalent  of $200 US and came out of the bank with a wad of cash 2 inches (5 cm) thick. The exchange rate is $1= 3960 riel.  Where in the world am I going to carry this stash of cash.  I pulled out a few small bills, 5000 riel from the stack put them in my change purse and put the rest deep in the my pannier.  The average income per capita per year is $280. I had practically a years pay in my hand.

The road out of Poipet was paved for the first 5 km, the next 10 km was dirt and the remaining 30 km was paved with large pot holes. The traffic was heavy at first and remained a steady stream the entire day.  The cars were the worst kicking up dust, the drivers would honk their horn until they passed us, so our ears were assaulted with a constant honking sound most of the day.  We began to get hungry and started to look for a place to stop, all I saw were stands selling gas in every bottle imaginable.  Finally we came across a small market.  We picked a table in the shade and sat down.  They had bowls of food on the table and I could not recognize any of it.  The first bowl had rice with a rice paste and what looked like a type of bean. OK I will have one bowl of that please.  I tried it, it was actually very tasty like rice pudding with a few scattered beans.  The children gathered around immediately all of them said hello with big huge smiles.  Tim gave them a flyer about our trip and they all had to see what was on the paper.  I pulled out our phrase book, thank you Tim for insisting we had this, I asked them how to say thank you.  One girl could speak a little English and she helped me pronounce a few words.  They were all very sweet kids.  When we were ready to go Tim jumped on his bicycle and pretended he was starting a motorcycle, the kids just loved it and were laughing and giggling as we peddled away.  For the next 25 km the kids would yell hello to us in English and Khmer the language of Cambodia.

In Sisophon we stayed in Hotel Phnom Svay  for our room with a TV and fan was $6 a night.  We had to drag our belongings to the second floor. 


Cindie learning Khmer from children in a small Cambodian village

54 km
Dec 17 Sisophon - Kralanh.  I must mention that we have been reading a web site about the area it is www.mrpumpy.net  Without this website we would not know the road conditions ahead or where we could find a place to sleep.  It is a great web site and entertaining too.

We left town about 7:30 am in a cloud of dust and stayed in that cloud all day.  Sweat and dust together makes mud, I had mud on my arms and legs at the end of the day.  The road was pretty much flat with a few slight rises.  We started to notice signs on the side of the road warning of land mines.  The land is very fertile and something is growing every where, in the low area are rice patties and the higher areas are covered in trees.  People would look at us for a long time as they passed us on their scooters.  They were wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and a scarf around their head, all protection for the dust and sun.  We saw water buffalo being herded and ox carts rolling down the road.  We took a break and bought two juices, lyeche, and orange, and a couple of bananas.  The people at the store where very friendly.

About 2 km from the town we planned to stay the night we stopped for a cold drink.  We were greeted by a group of young adults, 50% of the people in Cambodia are under the age of 15.  They were friendly and asked us if we wanted to try snake, I thought he was trying to say steak.  He kept saying snake snake.  Finally Tim said show me the snake.  Oh my it is snake.  hmm Tim said he was full from eating dust all morning and did not want any snake.  Check out the photos of this tasty meal. 


Tim being encouraged to try snake by a Cambodian man.

54 km dirt
Dec 18 Kralanh - Siem Reap.  We knew that we had 20 kilometers of dirt and 35 kilometers of pavement, thanks to information from Mr. Pumpy.  The road was flat but bumpy, the only spot on the road that was semi smooth was at the very right where the bicycles ride.  I had to fight off a couple of cars that wanted the same patch of road, the trucks were slower than we were, and then there was the dust.  The scenery was very interesting, I began to notice that there was something growing everywhere, either rice or trees or water, the only bare spot was the road.  We stopped for a drink and spoke with a man who learned English while living in a refugee camp on the Thailand border.  We also met another man who said he was in the Vietnam war but he did not look old enough to me.  As we approached Siem Reap the traffic started to pick up.  The road was full of girls on bicycles, families on scooters and the rouge car speeding at over 50 km per hour with the horn going no stop.  I have seen more girls on bikes in this country then any other country I have been in.  They all are sweet and say hello when we pass.

We knew we were in civilization again when we heard the airplane over head, suddenly all the aid group head quarters started to appear, French, European, American. I heard the familiar sound of drilling and wanted to investigate. Well they are improving their water supply.  We cruised into town past 5 or 6 5 star hotels holy cow how much does that cost.  Very fancy.  We rode on by and took a break at the gas station, air conditioning, heaven.

We searched around for a guest house and settled on Smiley Guest House for $6 a night, we have a large room, two beds, and a fan over head.  The place is very clean, they are constructing an add on at the moment and the staff is friendly and helpful.


Image of Tim passing a cart drawn by water buffalo.

33 km paved (20 km dirt)
Dec 19 Siem Reap.  I am itching to go to the temples but Tim has talked me into getting some chores down and take a day off the bike.  We cleaned and cleaned our gear, laundry and bikes.  Tim worked on the web site and email.  We will be well rested for our visit to Ankor Wat tomorrow.  With much discussion we decided to purchase a 7 day pass for $60 each, ouch a steep price.  Tim knows three days would not be enough for me.  
Dec 20 Siem Reap. Tim and I rode into the temples of Ankor Wat today.  It is a difficult task to explain these immense ruins.  First, I must say they are best visited by bicycle whether you have your own bike or you rent.  The road is absolutely flat the entire way.  We rode past Angkor Wat and entered the large Angkor Thom complex through the south gate.  This was our first glimpse at the face of Avalokitesvara.  The first temple we came to was Bayon.  It did not look like much at first but as we approached we could see the many faces of Avalokitesvara all serenely looking down at us.  There are over 200 faces within the entire complex.  Along the southern wall are detailed bas relief's carved from sandstone.  The detail is absolutely amazing.  We left the temple as the tour groups approached and peddled past the Terrace of Elephants and out the north gate of Angkor Thom.

Our next stop was Preah Khan (Sacred Sword), an interesting temple that has been partially rebuilt. The center of the complex is a bit of a walk from the entrance, to reach the center we had to go through one stone doorway after another, looking down the hall gave the illusion that we were looking in a mirror, amazingly enough it was not a mirror but another long hall of doorways. In fact, four long hall ways radiate from the center.  Along the path to the temple a group of men, all missing limbs from land mine explosions, were playing a variety of musical instruments.  The music was pleasant and added to the ambiance of the temple.

Our next stop was Preah Neak Pean, it was originally a reservoir but now it was dry.  It has a few interesting statues.  It was now the middle of the day and we stopped for some noodle soap of which Tim could have eaten two plates.  The portions are small here and poor Tim is always hungry.

After lunch we peddled on to Eastern Mebon, it was early afternoon and the sun was hot, the children at this particular temple were a bit more aggressive.  We kept asking them why they were not in school and they kept asking us for money.  I am always patient with the children, their country and families have been through so much. I find it best to be pleasant. 

We still had at least 20 km to ride back to the guest house so we decided to call it a day.  On the way back we saw a group of monkeys south Ankor Wat.

We went out for snack and when we came back to the guest house three cyclists were checking in to Smileys.  They had ridden from the border as well.  They rode from the border in two days, they had just spent the day riding 100 km of dirt.  Alan is from New York, Pat is from Ontario Canada and so is Robert.  We all went out to dinner.  Alan and I made plans to visit Angkor Wat at sunrise.


This profile of Angkor Wat is on the Cambodian flag.

40 km
Dec 21 Siem Reap.  Tim and I visited Ankor Wat at sunset, it is probably the most visited temple in the complex.  It has some of the best bas relief of all the temples and its profile is used on the Cambodian flag and can be scene everywhere in Cambodia. 25 km
Dec 22 Siem Reap.  Tim decided to sleep in this morning while I went to the temples with Alan.  We left the hotel at 5:30 am and arrived at Angkor Wat, 8 km away, just before sunrise.  It was amazing the amount of people up that early.  Alan and I wandered around Angkor Wat for a couple of hours and then took a look at the Terrace of Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper king, which is currently under a massive reconstruction.  This temple was mapped by the French and the records were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, (Pol Pot), so it has taken many years to reconstruct.  We met Rob for breakfast, Tim who was suppose to meet us too, decided to take the entire day off from the temples.  Rob and Alan did the outer loop while I decided to stay close and do the inner loop.  I went out the Victory Gate on the east side of Ankor Thom and check out the other temples.

I stopped at Thommanon and Ta Keo on my way to Ta Prohm.  Ta Prohm is the temple that they filmed Tomb Raider.  It is one of my favorite temples because it is in its natural state with the jungle slowly taking over the temples.  I am sure different people have different opinions as to what should be done at these historical monuments,  it appears that the current train of thought is to restore them to their original splendor.  I on the other hand prefer to see the temples the way they were found.  It just seems more natural to me.  I went to Banteay Kdei which has a beautiful east gate.

By the time I got home I was extremely tired from walking all day.

We are talking about leaving with Alan, Rob and Pat for Phnom Penh.  When we arrived we thought we would have to leave by boat, the roads were suppose to be very bad. We were torn on the best way to leave.  The dirt road from the border was something I did not want to repeat again so soon.  I spent a whole day cleaning all our equipment and red silt stained some things.

30 km
Dec 23 Siem Reap.  Tim and I decided to do the outer loop again and visit the temples we missed the first time, we visited Ta Som, a small temple being restored but still overtaken by the jungle in areas.  Then we rode on to Pre Rup a temple with three towers. Then we went back to Ta Prohm and wandered around for a couple of hours.  We decided to go back to Bayon in Angkor Thom and then go back to town.  Bayon is still my favorite temple and is always interesting.  On our way back out the south gate of Angkor Thom we stopped to look at a group of monkeys.  There were about 20 of them and over half were babies.  They were a delight to watch and Tim went across the street to photograph them. While I was waiting on the other side of the street a large female decided to check me out.  I was not sure if she was going to be aggressive but it turned out that she just walked by me. Whew, I was relieved to see her stroll on past me.  Then a tuk tuk stopped and started feeding the monkeys bananas.  They went a little crazy grabbing the bananas. 42 km
Dec 24 Siem Reap.  I spent the day relaxing, we are suppose to leave tomorrow.  We have decided to leave with Alan, Rob and Pat for Phnom Penh on Route 6.  We received reports that the road is paved the entire way.  In the past it was a very bad dirt road.

In the evening when we all met for dinner we found out that Alan's father had passed away in New York. He was hit by a car while walking near his home.  Alan was devastated, we were all sad to hear the terrible news.  Alan had to figure out how to get home, telephone connections were not that good either.  We would wait until tomorrow morning to see when he would be leaving.

Later in the evening we went out to dinner and just before we left Sammy a cyclist from Malaysia showed up.  Pat, Rob and Alan have been emailing him.  They all met on the www.mrpumpy.net web site.  He invited us to visit him in Malaysia when we ride through in a year or so.  Sammy speaks five languages including Chinese.  He was heading north to Thailand and then into Laos.

 
Dec 25 Siem Reap.  Sammy stopped by in the morning before he started north to Thailand and then Laos.  We decided to go for a bike ride with Alan before he went home to New York.  Pat, Tim, Alan and I went for a ride down to Tonle Sap (lake), where the boats leave for Phnom Penh. We were all cruising down the road in a pace line when a man jumped out and said STOP.  Pat was in the lead and Tim was right behind him, Pat locked it up and Tim tried to go to the right, Tim's front rack tangled with Pat's rear rack, Tim ended up on the ground on the side of the road.  He rolled so he didn't have a scratch on him, amazing.  The man who yelled STOP apologized and we asked what do you want.  Oh I just wanted to stop you nothing important.  Yikes I thought he said, STOP or I will shout (kidding).  The police at the check points for the temples can be quite aggressive.

There is a temple at the top of a hill with a road to it, we decided to go to the top.  Well we did not find the road to the top but instead took a tour around the entire hill.  We rode on a dirt road with fish drying in the sun on both sides of the road, this was very upsetting to Tim, he does not like the smell of fish and it was overpowering here.  As we rode around the hill I felt like we were going farther back in time.  Everything was very primitive, houses on stilts, no electricity, naked kids running around, no motorized vehicles, water buffalo (very large water buffalo) tethered to trees.  We were riding through a crowd and a women stepped in front of Pat to block his way, I said, sos' dai, (hello), and she started rambling and not pleasantly either, Tim was filming behind us.  He said when he pasted her she said, Pol Pot (the former Khmer Rouge leader, very brutal man).  I think she never recovered from what ever happen to her in the past.

We rode on and hear loud music playing and came to a Buddhist temple, they obviously had electricity, the music was so loud we could not talk to each other. We posed for pictures in front of the temple and took some photos of a young monk.  We rode back to the main road and back to the present.  We locked up our bikes and walked up the steps to the temple, which happen to be a long way up the hill and required an Angkor Wat pass to see.  We walked on and Pat and Alan went back to the bikes.

We decided to take in the view instead of walking the 2 plus kilometers to the temple.  Reunited with Pat and Alan we went farther down the road towards the lake.  The smell of drying fish was even stronger here.  At close inspection the homes were really boats tied together.  One home had a pen with a pig lashed to the side of their boat.  During the dry season the water is low and when the lake levels rise the people and their homes rise with it.  Even the school was a large boat.

We made it to the end of the road and a boat full of tourists had just arrived from Phnom Penh.  It looked like a scene out of Indiana Jones where porters our carrying luggage off the boat and travelers our making their way to shore. We rode back to the hotel for some lunch.  Tim and I rode out to Angkor Wat one last time we spent sunset at Bayon. I feel that we have only scratched the surface of viewing these temples, if you like these kind of things you will not be disappointed at Angkor Wat you will not be the first person to visit either but with a little planning the temples can be viewed with less crowds and still be enjoyed.  I am happy to see that tourism is booming here, it is good for the Cambodian people, the locals are learning hotel and restaurant management and English.   

50 km
Dec 26 Siem Reap - Stung.  The terrain is flat, road paved (sealed) except for a few places near Khmer bridges built during the Angkor Wat period, wind strong from the northeast, scenery rural. 

We were all loaded up and ready to go about 8:00 am.  It was sad to be leaving without Alan but he needs to be with his family now.

Getting through the city was pure chaos, burning garbage put fumes in the air that burned my eyes, scooters, cars and truck were moving in every direction.  I was glad to get beyond the city limits.  The wind was already kicking up so we formed a pace line and rotated to the front, Pat and Rob learned the whole thing pretty quickly. It certainly made it quicker to get down the road.  A couple hours down the road we were taking a rest in the shade and two other cyclists came riding up.  Marty and a Dutch guy, we traveled with them for a while.  We were six cyclists in all now, quite a sight on the road. 

It was getting towards noon and we decided to take a break from the sun.  We stopped at a road side food stall.  There was not to many things I would eat but at least they had bread.  The sell the best baguettes of bread, a left over from the French.  Tim was sitting in a plastic chair while leaning against another wooden bench. Pat was on one end of the bench and Rob on the other.  Little did Pat know that when he stood up he would put the following events in motion.

When Pat stood up the bench lifted and put Tim off balance, a leg on the plastic chair twisted and then snapped throwing Tim to the ground in the process.  The locals all thought that was very funny.  Tim was amused as well. So now we owed the women for her chair, she wanted $3 and we paid her.  Tim decided that he now owned the chair and told the lady in English that he was going to take the chair with him.  She did not understand English but watched Tim pick up the now broken chair and walk over to his bike and place it on his back panniers.  Everyone was laughing now, for some reason the chair put the bike off balance and it quickly fell to the ground, this sent a roar through the newly formed crowd.  Tim quickly scrambled to pick up his bike while a young boy tried to put the chair back on the bike.  Everyone was in stitches watching Tim and his broken chair, it was like watching a stand up comic with a prop.  He gave the chair to the young boy mounted his bike and waved goodbye to his attentive audience.  I still chuckle when I think about that broken chair.

We entered Stung late in the day, we stopped at the police station and they said that there was not a guest house in town.  As we rolled into town Pat got a flat tire, while fixing it at the gas station we again asked if there was a guest house in town.  They also said, No. This was making me nervous, I was sure Mr. Pumpy www.mrpumpy.net, said that there was a guest house in this town.  Rob, Tim and I went in search for a guest house while Pat fixed his flat at the gas station. We did not go far before we saw a sign with Guest House in English.  It is on the right next to the Western Union.  The rooms were basic and we had a shared bath.  Perfect place to land.  We went out for dinner and ate two dinners. We ate at a food stalls and met very friendly people who are extremely honest. The Cambodian people have touched my heart.  I expected the worst, miserable people in poverty.  Instead I have found warm friendly people who are honest.  The young people are optimistic and their energy is plain to see.

98 km
Dec 27 Stung - Kompong Thnor.  The terrain flat, road completely paved (sealed), strong wind from the northeast, scenery rural.

We woke early and Tim put the shortwave radio to the BBC, we usually listen to the shortwave when we are away from the internet and newspaper.  This is when we heard that a Tsunami had hit Phuket, Phi Phi Island, Sri Lanka and India.  The total dead reported was 11,000.  We did not have time to listen to the rest of the news but I do remember an interview with a guy in Phuket and he was asking why they were not warned.  We also heard that an earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale has occurred in the Indian Ocean and was the cause of the Tsunami.  We had to move on and ride but we were all wondering what this was all about.

The traffic takes a bit of getting use to we had a herd of cows come out of no where and run across the road, Rob was in the back and almost did not make it around the lead cow, trucks pull out in front of us, as if they can not see us, in reality they expect us to get out of the way.  They have a strange way of driving, when they are coming on to a busy street, they just go, they do not look they just go, we are taught that the traffic has the right of way and we wait our turn, that is not so here.

We kept a steady pace into the wind, I could not stay up front too long and rotated to the back quickly.  It took us 4.5 hours of riding time to reach Kompong Thnor, we were glad to find a guest house, it is located just after the bridge on the first dirt road to the left.  The room was clean with a standard toilet and shower.  Eat early, the town closes down at sunset.  It was difficult to find a hot dinner.  We settled in early and we all sat around the shortwave for an hour listening to the reports about the Tsunami, things were worse than originally expected.

We decided on an early start so we could reach Phnom Penh by the end of the day.

90 km
Dec 28 Kompong Thnor - Phnom Penh.  The terrain flat, road completely paved, traffic light until close to Phnom Penh then it went crazy, head wind the first 50 km and then a nice tail wind most of the way to Phnom Penh. Scenery rural, fishing and eventually city.

Up early and ready to go, well almost.  Pat had a couple of Chinese buns he had purchased the night before and he saved them for breakfast. He grabbed one from the bag and bit into it, he had a strange sensation of ants crawling on his arm and at closer inspection he had a swarm of tiny ants crawling out of his Chinese bun. Gulp. So much for breakfast.  As we packed our bikes Rob and Pat ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bread, soup, and coffee at the restaurant below the guest house.  They gave Tim and I tea too..

Again we started out with a head wind.  Pat pulled over for a drink and we told Rob we would ride on slowly, we wanted to take some pictures.  I guess Rob and Pat did not connect quickly and Pat rode on alone.  Rob caught up to him just in time to see that Pat had a flat tire. Rob rode ahead to catch us and tell us that Pat had a flat.  The three of us waited in Skun where we had a nice lunch of beef, string beans and rice.  Meanwhile still no Pat I was beginning to wonder if we would make it to Phnom Penh.

Pat arrived and we pushed on to Phnom Penh, the scenery is getting green and we got our first glimpse of the Mekong River.  We had a nice tail wind and at times cruised at 30 kph (18 mph).  The traffic picked up as we entered the city.  The first obstacle was a large bridge called the friendship bridge.  We climbed slowly while the scooters whizzed by only inches away from our handle bars.  I was tired and nervous that my reflexes were not fast enough to handle any sudden movements.  Luckily, Pat had been here before and he lead the way.  We were heading for The Bright Lotus II, located around the corner from the Walkabout.

When we arrived in Phnom Penh and checked our email we found a very worried group of friends and family.  My twin sister Cherie was especially worried.  I do not mean to worry my family, many families are worried right now, traveling abroad can do that to families.  In cases like this the first thing we will do is post a message on our discussion board. So in the future check there first if you are wondering where we are and then I always try to keep my journal up to day but that is not always easy.  Today was the most kilometers I have ever traveled in one day on a loaded touring bike and my legs feel like noodles.

132 km
Dec 29 Phnom Penh.  Spent the day answering email, we needed a day off the bike, noodle legs needs a day off to recover.  We saw our first images of the Tsunami today.  Heart breaking to see families torn apart and their homes destroyed. It was reported on CNN world that 80,000 people were dead, the Asian channel reported 85,000 dead and thousands still missing.  
Dec 30 Phnom Penh.  Another rest day, I am some what stuck to the TV, I want to know more about the Tsunami and then I don't.  They reached Banda Ache, Indonesia today and the death toll has climbed to over 110,000.  80,000 from Indonesia alone. There have been some rumbling about why there was no early warning system.  India put out an second alert and the people ran for the hills again.  It is the most frightening thing I have ever seen.

It is difficult to take care of business from the other side of the world too.  I have been trying to call people in the US and I have to wait until 9:00 pm because we are 12 hours ahead of New York.

Pat, Rob, Tim and I usually meet for dinner every night.  We found a great restaurant, the best food I have had in Cambodia, the restaurant specializes in what is called a hot pot.

We sat down and before we knew it we had four glasses with ice and a couple of girls in beer costumes standing there to take our beer order.  We ordered Angkor and they kept our glasses full during our entire dinner. I ordered what the people next to us were having.   Soon they placed a ceramic pot on a gas burner  in the middle of the table.  They brought out thinly sliced meat, eggs, three types of noodles, mushrooms, and three types of leafy green vegetable (I do not know the names).  The pot boils and you add a few things to cook, take some off to eat and add other things to cook.  In the mean time they add a broth, chicken based I think, to keep the pot full. It seems that their goal is to keep the ceramic pot full as well as our beer glasses.  At the end it cost $3 per person that included dinner and 4 large bottles of beer.  Certainly not tourist restaurant prices.

 
Dec 31 We took a side trip to the Killing Fields.  The following description may not be appropriate for children.  Some of you may remember when Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge, took over Cambodia, it was 1975.  He wanted an agrarian (farming) society.  He marched the people of Phnom Penh out of the city and into the fields.  If you were educated, spoke a foreign language, or a family member of the educated you were taken away to be executed. Many were sent to Choeung Ek known as the killing fields. I have read different reports of how many people were killed here, it ranges from 17,000 to 40,000 people.  At the site there is a tower with 8,000 skulls arranged by sex and age, a memorial to the people who died here.  Forty three of the 129 graves still remain closed the rest have been excavated and you can walk from one pit to another.  There is a large tree where they beat babies and children to death.  How could anyone do this is my question, I just do not understand. While walking in the hot sun looking down at the open pits I became queasy, looking down I could see bits of bone, teeth, and pieces of clothing coming to the surface.  Such a place of suffering.  People need to remember what happen her and try to prevent these kinds of things happening elsewhere.  Unfortunately, things like this are happening in Sudan right now genocide is not something we should allow to happen anywhere, ever.

On a good note we met a Dutch couple, Anna and Roger, who are also cycle touring here in Cambodia.  They were immediately drawn to our bikes, Koga-Miyata World Travelers, they know them well because they are made in Holland.  We sat and had lunch at the Killing Fields and talked about cycling, the traffic in Phnom Penh and how far the Cambodian people have come from their dark past.

Today is New Years day, we went out for a beer with Pat and Rob at the Walkabout bar, no one was in mood to party. One by one we all went home all before midnight.

30 km
Jan. 1 Happy New Year.  We spent the day working on business things boring but a necessary part of our travels now.  When Pat and Rob showed up for dinner, Rob had a fever, I took his temperature, it was 99.9 degrees.  Not good. A fever should never be ignored while traveling.

Pat and Rob have plans to go to Schnookville, down by the coast, tomorrow.  Rob by bus and Pat by motorbike, the motorbike costs $7 to rent.

Rob showed up later in the day, Hey why are you still here. Then he told us he had a terrible night with a fever and then cold sweats.  Ut Oh. Not a good sign, could be malaria, could be the flu, could be a lot of things.  He went to the doctor earlier in the day.  He said the blood test results would be back by 3:00 pm. 

We met Rob for dinner and found out he had typhoid.  Typhoid, a food or water borne disease, is not what he expected, especially since he had a vaccine in Canada, not too long ago.  Scary, lucky for him he caught it early.

 As we ate dinner a man came by selling cooked bugs, like cockroaches,  grasshoppers, and now I have seen it all, spiders, not little ones either, big and meaty I am sure, it was a little smaller than my palm of my hand..  Already cooked too.  Later as we walked home we saw the man with the cooked bugs sitting on his motorbike casually eating a spider.

 
Jan 2 Sunday.  
Jan 3 Monday, a good day to take care of business, the holidays have made it difficult to contact anyone.  We are doing some banking and it is difficult to do from abroad.  
Jan 4 I sent half the day looking for a place to fax something to the US and was not successful.  I checked my number it was right but still the fax did not go. Frustrating. 

The other half of the day we went to Tuol Sleng museum also know as SP21. Again, the following description may not be appropriate for children.  It was where people were torture and interrogated by the Khmer Rouge before they were sent to the killing fields at Choeung Ek. The grounds use to be a high school.  It was left in the same condition as the Vietnamese found it in 1979. Step through the door and step back in time and back to Cambodia's dark dark past.  The bottom floors were large cells, they had photos of the prisoners they found there. Gruesome.  In another building were the photographs, to me the most disturbing.  Room after room had mug shots of people who were brought there.  The Khmer Rouge documented everyone that was there, recorded their biography and took their photo.  People of all ages, and numerous nationalities were photographed, including an Australian. At first the faces were just looking back, then I could see the sheer fright in some women's faces as they clutched their young child, some men were defiant, some were badly beaten, some were thin already, they all were dead, tortured and killed.  I had to leave halfway through the building, I was overwhelmed with emotion, I could not look anymore, those photos will haunt me for a long time.  Why do I look, I have too, I have to know, we have to remember what happen here, so it does not happen again.  I had no idea that people could be so ruthless and evil. How.  The Khmer Rouge recruited children, most of guards at the prison were children age 10 to 15. Shocking.

On the second follow the cells were much smaller enough for one person.  The outer balcony was covered with fencing a barbed wire so no one could commit suicide.  The third building had the torture devices.  A vice that held a hand while they pulled off the finger nails and then poured alcohol on the open wounds.  A tank where a person was shackled to the tank that could be filled with water to drought the prisoner. Horror pure horror.  Somehow a painter survived S21 and painted some of the scenes from the prison.

We watched an hour long movie about one of the women who was killed there.  She did nothing wrong except maybe being beautiful and in love with her husband.  She was sent to the fields separated from her husband and family.  Later she ended up at S21. Her husband was also killed. The movie was educational and disturbing at the same time.

As we left, we purchased the movie made in 1984,The Killing Fields, a very good movie, I highly recommend it.

 
Jan 5 Phnom Penh  
Jan 6 Phnom Penh  
Jan 7 Phnom Penh, Went to the National Museum today.  We went in the afternoon, the museum is small and has some pieces from Angkor Wat and other pieces that have been returned from abroad.  As I was gazing at the different statues I passed a table where two monks were sitting.  The invited me to sit down with them.  This surprised me because I did not think that monks talked to women.  I had a lot to learn about monks and today was the day to learn

Tim came over and the two monks explained that they wanted to practice English.  We sat and talked to Seid and his friend for about an hour.  Then Seid asked us we wanted to see where he lived.  We could not pass up the opportunity  We walked a couple of blocks to his room, it is at the X wat.  Seid told us that 450 monks lived there. I wandered what happen to the monks that lived there when the Khmer Rouge emptied out Phnom Penh in 1975.  . 

 
Jan 8 Phnom Penh.  Taking care of banking business is very difficult in Phnom Penh sending faxes and making telephone calls are more difficult than I could have imagined. What should have taken a day or two to work out has taken more than a week.  
Jan 9 Phnom Penh  
Jan 10 Phnom Penh  
Jan 11 Phnom Penh. Still waiting to receive info from the bank.  
Jan 12 Phnom Penh.  Rob and Pat leave  
Jan 13 Phnom Penh.  
Jan 14 Phnom Penh.  Business is taken care of for now.  We can finally leave Phnom Penh.  Our visa runs out on Jan 16.  I wish that I saw more of Cambodia but we had to spend two weeks in Phnom Penh taking care of banking business.  So sadly we leave for the border tomorrow.  
Jan 15 Phnom Penh - Takeo. Road paved, terrain flat, wind tailwind in the morning and headwind in the afternoon.  Scenery, city then rural rice patties and small towns.  78 km
Jan 16 Takeo, Cambodia - Chau Doc Vietnam.  Road dirt for 52 km to the Vietnam border, terrain flat. 52 km dirt

25 km road

  =====
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INDEX #3: SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to 9-15-06

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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November 22 - December 15, 2004
Thailand
Bangkok, to Aranyaprathet, Thailand

Cindie's Daily Journals
Thailand #1

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
INTRO Crossing Over to the Other Side: Relocating to Asia

LETTER Thailand: Landing in a Whole New World.

Best Place to see Pictures
Thailand Thumbnail Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Bangkok, Thailand
- Royal Barge Museum
- Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand
- Wat Phra Kaew and Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Pictures of Wat Pho
- Bangkok to Chanthaburi, Thailand.
- Island Ko Samet National Park
- Thailand's famous Thai Food
- Chanthaburi to Aranya Prathet and the Cambodian border.


 

 December 16- January 16, 2005
Cambodia and Angkor Wat
Poipet to Tien Bien, Cambodia

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Cambodia Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Cambodia: Poverty Does Not Equal Crime.

Best Place to see Pictures
Cambodia Thumbnail Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Pictures of  Poverty in Cambodia: Poipet to Siem Reap
- Picture from Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- Temples Bayon, Angkor Thom
Ta Prom (Temple where Tomb Raider was filmed)
- Preah Khan, Neak Poan, Eastern Mebon, Banteay Kei, Ta Som, Pre Rup

- Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Tuol Sleng S.21 Museum of Genocidal Crime
- Killing Fields of Pol Pot Cambodia
- Phnom Penh to Tinh Bien


 

(January 16 - February 17 , 2005)
Vietnam #1.
Tinh Bien to Cau Ganh, Vietnam

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Online South Vietnam Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see Pictures
South Vietnam Thumbnails

Full size Picture Pages

- Chau Doc to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- Floating Market and Boat Trip Tour
- Vietnam War Remnants Museum
- Cuchi Tunnels, Saigon, Vietnam
- Cuchi Tunnels Cu Chi near Saigon, Vietnam
- Pictures from Dalat, Vietnam
- Bicycling from Dalat to Buon Ma Thuot
- Jun Village
- Buon Ma Thuot to Cau Ganh


 
(February 18. - April 2, 2005)
Vietnam #2.
Cau Ganh, to Lang Son, Vietnam

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Daily Journal for North Vietnam.

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

Best Place to see Pictures
North Vietnam Thumbnail Pictures.

Full size Picture Pages

- Cau Ganh to Hoi An
- Hoi An, Vietnam
- China Beach to Hue.
- Marble Mountain
- The Citadel in Hue
- Impoverished Highland Market Can Cau.
- Poverty Village of Bac Ha.

Hanoi water puppet


 
(April 3 - May 21, 2005)
Guangxi, China
Pingxiang to CongJiang, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Finally in China!

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Three Years and Still Going

Best Place to see Pictures
Best Thumbnail Pictures of Guangxi, China

Full size Picture Pages

- Pingxiang to Nanning, China
- Nanning, Guangxi to Liuzhou
- China's Karst Topography Landscape.
- Liuzhou to Yangshou, Guangxi, China
- Zhuo Yue English College in Yangshuo, China
- Li River bamboo boat trip in Yangshou..
- Ancient Chinese Stone Village of Fuli.
- Impressions light, dance, and music.
- Mountain biking through Yu Long Valley.
- Guilin to Congjiang Guangxi, China
- Reed Flute Cave Guilin China.
- Ping'an Guangxi, China.
- Dragon's Backbone and Rice Terraces.


 

May 22 - June 27, 2005

  Guizhou and Hunan, China
Congjiang to Zhangjiajie National Park China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Guizhou, China

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Made in China: Free Birds in a Caged World!

Best Place to see Pictures
Pictures of Guizhou, China.

Full size Picture Pages

- Congjiang to Kaili, Guizhou, China
- Kaili Guizhou - Wulingyuan National Park, Hunan.
- Wulingyuan (Zhangjiajie) National Park, Hunan.


 

(June 28 - July 15, 2005)

Beijing, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Beijing, China daily Blog and Journal

Best Place to see Pictures
Best and favorite pictures from Beijing, China

Full size Picture Pages

- Pictures from Beijing, China
- Pictures of Forbidden City, China
- Summer Palace
- Great Wall from Jinshanling Simatai, China.
- Badaling Section of the Great Wall of China


 

(July 16 - Sept. 3, 2005)
Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, China.
Beijing to Xian, Shaanxi, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, China daily journal (blog)

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
The Many Faces of China: Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, Provinces.!

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail pictures from Inner Mongolia, China.

Full size Picture Pages

- Beijing to Jining, Inner Mongolia.
- Grasslands of Jining, to Wuchuan (near) Hohhot
- Hohhot to Bautou, Inner Mongolia, China
- Wudang Lamasary
- Bautou to Yulin, Shanxi, China with Photos from Genghis Khan's Mausoleum.
- Yulin to Yanan, Shaanxi, China
- Chairman Mao's Headquarters and Residence in Yanan, China.
- Yanan to Xian, Shaanxi, China.
- Terracotta Warriors #1
- Terracotta Warriors #2.


 

 (Sept. 4 - Oct. 29, 2005)

Sichuan, China
Chengdu, to Zongdian, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Sichuan Blog

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Into Occupied Territory: Tibet!

Best Place to see Pictures
Sichuan Thumbnail Photos

Full size Picture Pages

- Giant Panda Breeding Center #1
- Red Panda  in Chengdu, Sichuan, China #2
- Chengdu to Kangding.
- Kangding, Sichuan, located in Southwestern China.
- Mugecuo Lake near Kangding, Sichuan, China.
- Kangding to Xinduqiao
- Xinduqiao to Tibetan Home Stay.
- Tibetan Home Stay to 4718 meter (15,475 feet)
- to Litang, Sichuan, China.
- Litang Lamasary Tibetan Buddhist Monk Monastery
- Litang to Sumdo, Tibet
- Sumdo to Xiangcheng
- Xiangcheng to Derong, Tibet.
- Derong, Sichuan Province to Tibetan Shangri-La, (Zongdian)


 

(Oct. 30 - Dec. 24, 2005)

Yunnan, China
Zongdian to Mohan, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Yunnan daily blog - journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Out of China: slipping past the watchful eye of censorship.

Best Place to see Pictures
Yunnan thumbnail photos

Full size Picture Pages

- Shangri-La, - Lijiang - Dali, China.
- Dali to Jingdong, Yunnan
- Jingdong to Puer
- Puer to Jinghong, Yunnan, China
- Xishuangbanna Tropical Flowers and Plants Garden.
- Mengla to Mohan, Yunnan, China (border with Laos))


 

December.25, 2005 - January 23, 2006
Laos
Boten to Vientiane

Cindie's Daily Journals
Laos daily blog journal

Click here for our first downloadable video called
 "LAOS: VIDEO POSTCARDS FROM THE ROAD.

Best Place to see Pictures
Laos Thumbnail pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Boten to Oudomxia, Laos.
- Laos Wood Carving Factory
- Oudomaxi - Luang Pabong
- Luang Phrabang, Laos: Monks, Wats, and a boat tour on the Mekong River.
- Luang Phrabang to Vang Vieng, #1
- Luang Phrabang to Vang Vieng, #2
- Vientiane, Laos


 

January 23 - March 12, 2006

Northeast Thailand
Nong Khai, Thailand to Bangkok

Cindie's Daily Journals
Northeast Thailand Blog and Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Four Years DownTheRoad!

Best Place to see Pictures
Northeast Thailand Thumbnail Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Nong Khai to Dan Si
- Dan Si to Lop Buri
- The Ancient Ruins and Historic Temples of Ayuthaya
- Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.


 

(March 13 - April 18, 2006)

Southern Thailand
Hua Hin to Satun, Thailand

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's latest daily journal for South Thailand.  Now with over 4 years of entries!

5 minute Thailand Video
http://downtheroad.org/video/Files_Video/2Thailand_DownTheRoad.wmv

Best Place to see Pictures
Pictures from South Thailand.

Full size Picture Pages

- Hua Hin to Ranong
- Ranong to Krabi
- Boat Tour of Ao Phang Nga Bay
- Ko Lanta Beach to Satun Tropical Thailand


 

(April 18 - Sept. 15, 2006)

  Malaysia #1
Langkawi, Malaysia to Parit Buntar

Cindie's Daily Journals Malaysia

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Two 1-Way Tickets to Australia Please

Best Place to see Thumbnail Pictures of Malaysia

Full size Picture Pages

- Langkawi to Nebong Tebal
- Underwater World Aquarium Langkawi
- Bird Paradise, Langkawi, Malaysia.
- Malaysian Home Stay and Cyclist Guest House.
- Traditional Tamil Indian Wedding
- Malaysian Home Cooking and Traditional Food
- Hand Made Pottery Factory
- Chinese Fishing Village and Party.
- Toddy Plantation Farm and Palm Oil Production.
- Malaysian Chinese Temple of Heaven and Hell.
- Malaysian Indian Hindu Temple and Religious Ceremony

 

(May to August, 2006)
Malaysia #2

Tanah Rata to Taiping, Malaysia

Cindie's Daily Journals

Video: Malaysian David's Cyclist Home Stay (5:35 min)
http://www.prescottyellowpages.com/Video/3Malaysian_Cyclists_Home_Stay.wmv

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail pictures of Malaysia #2

Full size Picture Pages

- Cameron Highlands Trails and National Park
- Butterfly Garden
- Boh Tea and Sungai Palas Tea Plantation and farm
- Mardi Research Center, Tanah Rata
- Tanah Rata, Cameroon Highlands, Malaysia
- Indian Fire Walking Ceremony at the Hindu Temple
- Our 8th Wedding Anniversary the Cultural Indian Way
- Chinese Cultural Opera and Traditional Arts Celebration
- Malaysian Indian Religion
- Malaysian Guesthouse and Homestay #2

 

(July - Sept. 15, 2006)
 
Malaysia #3 and Singapore.
Taiping, Malaysia to Singapore

Cindie's Daily Journals for Malaysia

Best Place to see Pictures
Malaysia #3 and Singapore

Full size Picture Pages

- Penang hill Chinese Temple
- Taiping to Melaka, Malaysia.
- Taman Alam Kuala Selangor Natural Park
- Melaka, Malaysia, Southeast Asia.
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and Chinese Hill (Bukit China) Cemetery
- Melaka, Malaysia to Singapore


1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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