Its now almost 3 month when i flew back to Asia and i start to feel at home around here.
On arrival in Sihanoukville, i moved into the Bike Clinic and started to work there the next day. Being used to my well maintained BMW’s it was quite a shock to work on some of the most trashed bikes i have seen ever. Some of the Daelim and small Honda’s here are driven until they literally fall apart. From broken suspension legs to broken frames or rims, there is nothing which one will not see being pulled into the workshop. But on the other hand, the prices for the spare parts are about the bmw spare parts with one or two digits less. A new carb (!!!) goes for 8$, an entire new wheel will cost you 40$ and a new front fork for a Honda Win goes for 25$… a customizers heaven!
Fixing motorbikes is a hard job! I got a very big respect for mechanics all over the world. Spending your day kneeling around bikes and hauling engines and other big parts around require strength. In my first two weeks here, i was so wasted that i felt into bed after dinner. But the time with Andy, my boss, and Teara my co-mechanic was amazing. I was introduced to Khmer Culture by Teara and Win, his wonderful wife, cooked us a wide range of local dishes. And if there was a moment of rest, we were well entertained by the kids running around.
At nights we either strolled around the village to meet the many friends we have here or we went to town to visit friends of Teara. On this occasions we usually stop at Mr. Hin’s BBQ stall in town to indulge in some grilled chicken feet, grilled sparrow or the legendary 16 days egg. I managed to impress some Khmers by eating the egg without any remarks 😉
After two month of working at the clinic i decided to quit my job there to have time for my best friend Flo which was coming to visit me. So i packed my stuff at the clinic and went for a nice and cheap bungalow at Adam’s Family and waited to pick up Flo.
Its nice to see my old friend after such a long time and i’m eager to show him the place i grew so fond of, my south east asia. To do so, we planned a ride from Otres to Phnom Penh, from there to Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampot and then back to Otres. Flo rented a nice BMW F 650 GS from our friend Tim who runs the Cambodia Expeditions Tour company. If you want to do a motorbike tour around Cambodia, he’s the man for it.
The first part of our trip was very enjoyable, we rode from Otres along the National 4 towards Kampot and from there to Phnom Penh were we spend a night at the famous riverside bar area. The next day, christmas day, we left towards Siem Reap as i realized that Santa had given me a special gift. Probably because i’m an atheist, the old man decided to break the bearing of the exit shaft of my gearbox! As i accelerated on the highway out of town, i suddenly felt some strange vibrations on the footpegs. Something was out of balance and was wobbling according to the speed i was driving. As i had no intention to test how long it would take until the whole gearbox would implode into a heap of metal shavings i stopped at the next gas station and informed Flo about the bad news. There would be no more tour with me on this side. After a long break, we parted and Flo left me to continue the tour alone.
In the meantime i had called Tim for assistance and he managed to organize me a minivan which would transport my bike and myself back to Otres. Thank you very much Tim!
Since the van was still 2h away from my location i started to make myself comfortable and started to socialize with the family running the gas station. As the mom brought out lunch i was kindly invited to share the meal and i was once again lucky to be fed with delicious Khmer food.
Arriving slitly depressed in Otres i decided not to bother about my bike until new year and i started to enjoy the village during my free days. The village community is like a family. Everybody helps everybody and i got to know most of its inhabitants. From long nights in the Klubhaus and Neverland to the delicious steaks at Fadjer’s place, the Oasis in Otres. What a wonderful place to be!
Here some pics of the Otres life from my friend Flo Wehrli.