Back to Bangkok to charge batteries.

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My last day in Cambodia, and as it turned out, the last day of my cycle tour of S.E. Asia. I passed through the most bombed area in Cambodia, which unsurprisingly has the highest proportion of land mine victims too. It was quite obvious by the mature scrub land which hasn’t been touched for 40 years.

I had a more than eventful drink stop in the morning – normally limited to basic sign language and smiles. This one involved a conversation with a soy sauce salesman as well as me saving a small child from blindness. OK, so perhaps she wasn’t going to go blind… She managed to squirt petrol in her eye and all three generations of family could think to do was to cover her eye with a dirty old rag. I managed to persuade them to pour water liberally into the girls eye, which at least stopped her from screaming, diluting it somewhat. I think they went off to a health center after that. It really showed me how little people know about basic medicine that westerners take for granted.

One of many signs showing an area has been cleared of mines.

One of many signs showing an area has been cleared of mines.

Tapioka drying on my cycle lane - pretty much the only safe place be.  Everywhere else is littered with mines.

Tapioka drying on my cycle lane – pretty much the only safe place be. Everywhere else is littered with mines.

Thank you Google!  One of many photos I took to help me find my pre-booked hotel

Thank you Google! One of many photos I took to help me find my pre-booked hotel


Good deed for the day done, I continued onto the Thailand border, which was a relatively simple affair, the only issue I had was forgetting that people drive on the other side of the road in Thailand. I managed to pass 3 vehicles before I thought it strange they were all on the wrong side of the road!!

I had not recovered fully from the illness a few days ago and felt really weak by mid morning. I could tell something was wrong when I found myself in bottom gear and I looked ahead to see the hill I was on was only slightly going uphill. I felt like a flat one of those cheap AA batteries you get in Aldi (yes, my mind works in strange ways). I decided to call it a day (didn’t have much of a choice) at the small town of Pong Nam Ron, which is 50km or so north of Chanthaburi. I caught the bus there and stayed the night before catching another bus to Bangkok this morning. So, Chiang Mai, Thailand > Laos > Vietnam > Cambodia > the little town of Pong Nam Ron, Thailand in 3742km. Not quite the landmark finish it could be!!

The bus to Bangkok this morning was a pleasure – I opted for the first class bus (with essential toilet given I wasn’t feeling 100%), which even provided everyone with airline style food. Upon reaching Bangkok bus station, I had 12km of Google map directions to follow on the many snapshots I took with my digital camera. Thankfully I only needed about 1km worth of directions as I managed to get my bike on the skytrain (just as well, as the battery was going flat). Getting my bike up to the skytrain on the escalator was an interesting experience, as was barging my way onto an already full train. At the other end, there were no escalators, nor lifts, so I had to bump down several sets of stairs. Just as well my battery was feeling a bit more charged by now!! The hotel was apparently just 50 M from the station, but it still took 20 minutes to find. Addresses are so complicated in Bangkok, many of the hotel websites actually give you their location by GPS/lat/long coordinate.

I’ve picked up my bag from self storage, cleaned my bike (not because I wanted to – apparently New Zealand has really strict bio-security and don’t fancy cleaning it with jetlag under the watchful eye of a kiwi inspector), and packed it up. I’m feeling a fair bit better tonight and managed to eat 3 meals for the first day in 5 days or so. Hope it’s the road to recovery!! I wandered around the area of my hotel – by Nana skytrain station – and stumbled upon the local girlie bar area. I think I saw where most of the Ladyboys of Bangkok work when they aren’t swinging from a big tent during the Edinburgh Festival. Not really my scene, so I’m having an early night taking full advantage of my (semi) luxury hotel!

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2 responses »

  1. You are correct, we do have very strict bio-security inspections here*. You will need to clean your bike (particularly the tyres, and bottom bracket – basically anywhere seeds might lodge), but also importantly, your shoes, and your tent. A word of warning, your tent may be taken away for fumigation, a 20 minute process.

    Other than that, welcome to Aotearoa!

    If you need assistance when you get here, feel free to drop me a line.

    Cheers
    Christopher in Aotearoa NZ.

    *the current government is strongly pushing to dismantle bio-security ‘borders’ in an ideological move towards ‘smaller government’. Sigh.

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