The ride back to Cambodia was nice but uneventful. I crossed the border fast and without problems and the weather was dry despite dark clouds looming on the horizon. A couple hours later i was back in Siem Reap and in my beloved traveler cat guest house.
On the way i had felt a strange pain in my belly and this pain was getting worse and worse while the evening became late. By midnight i was in strong pain and my whole chest was hurting every time i inhaled. The next day, the doctor, a bicycle overlander himself, prescribed me antibiotics against possible parasites and after a couple days i was fine again, so it seemed.
For my two weeks in Siem Reap, i spend most of my time in the guest house. I enjoyed having to call home and i could find enough time to write my blog and do other maintenance stuff on my bike. Again, there where a great bunch of people from all over the world staying here and we all had an amazing time together. While visiting the night market where Betul is selling her handcraft and chatting with my new friends like Mat, Mehtab, Nicolas, Emmanuelle and all the other ones i forgot to mention here, the two weeks here passed in a blink of eye. Thank you all for this very nice time !
After two weeks in the guest house i felt the itching in my right hand again and it was time to hit the road. With Betul as pillion we rode out of Siem Reap towards the quiet town of Battambang. First stop was the west Baray at the outskirts of Siem Reap. This massive artificial lake was created buy the emperors of the Khmer empire as water source for the flourishing capital. Seeing the extend of this artificial lake and knowing that there is a second one like this, it is hard to imagine, that this empire vanished because of the lack of water.
Arrived in Battambang we strawed around the city, and treated us to the culinary delights of Khmer cuisine. After a good coffee the next day, we visited a stunning temple a little outside of the city and while driving there stumbled on a war memorial. Here and in the caves outside of the city, the Khmer rouge had build detention center and tortured and killed thousands of people. The monument is surrounded with engraved stones depicting the atrocities committed here. One has a hard time to imagine these horrific things being done to the kind and calm people you meet around here every day. I have a huge respect from the elder people here, knowing what they went through and still due today, since most of the Khmer rouge never have been prosecuted and far to many victims never have been identified or located.
On sunset we drove towards the caves in Phnom Sampeau to see the swarming of the bats living there. Above the valley is a monastery and another memorial for the victims of the Khmer rouge and a huge Buddha Face is carved above one of the caves. What starts as a couple bats leaving the rock ends in a huge stream of million of bats swarming into the jungle nearby. The whole spectacle went on for about half an hour and was intensely documented by a crowd of tourists. A local shop owner told me that they swarm out to go dancing in Battambang and will be back at about 4 o’clock in the morning, usually quite drunk 🙂
The next day, it was time for me to leave and after parting from Betul, i drove along the Tonle Sap lake towards Phnom Penh. Arriving there i found myself a little guest house and went for a straw around the area. I did not really left the guest house as Nick, a local biker, asked me if he could help me with anything regarding my bike. Of course i am always in need for precious spare parts and so he brought me to one of the few big bike stores in town, the Cheang Sang motorbike store, where i finally could buy the long awaited tubes in the right dimensions for my tires. Since i entered Laos, i had a heavily patched up tube in my rear wheel. The Laotian mechanic really did an amazing job! Thank you Nick… may we meet again somewhere on the road.
In the evening i went for a walk around town. After 5 minutes i was approached by an old grandma asking me where i was from. As she proposed to go to her place where i could answer some of the questions a relative has regarding Switzerland, i knew, she was trying to get me into the same elaborate scam scheme two of my friends had warned me of in Laos. I kindly told her, that i don’t play blackjack and she left with a little smirk on her face. At least the gangster grannies here have humor 😉
The next day i left towards Kampot to meet the coolest camping on the planet. But thats for the next entry.