After my visit to the killing fields, my plan was to move on from Phnom Penh fairly quickly. Unfortunately I came down with something and didn’t really feel like getting on a bus and dealing with the Cambodian roads (and crazy drivers!) for a while :-).
A few days mainly spent in bed, with the occasional pang of guilt forcing me to wander around town and feel more productive by taking a few pics :-)
After a few days, I was back on the mend. Time for another stop before leaving and I make my way down to the town of Kampot on the southern coast, famous for its fish sauce and black pepper :-)
I could tell it was a good decision as soon as I had arrived! Kampot has the riverside, the mountains, the sea, the sunset, and a very chilled and bohemian vibe – It was nice to be out of a city again :-)
There was a lot to see in a short amount of time. I think it’s time to get back on the bike….or scooter…. again for a couple of days. Day one – Kep….where I spotted the most random philosophical looking cow gazing out to sea on an empty stretch of beach.
On another day, me and a new friend who I’d met on the bus to the hostel (Kamille) took a ride up to the beautiful Preah Monivong National Park. Mountains, Temples, Buddhas, Waterfalls….what else do you need on a sunny Cambodian day?
There have been a lot of firsts on this trip, most of which have been great experiences….however, one first which I was hoping to avoid occurred on the way back. A trip to the hospital!
As we were driving back, about 5 minutes from the hostel, the traffic suddenly slowed right down just at the point we hit a really poorly maintained and gravel-y (is that a word?) patch of road. I hear a skid behind me and turn around to see Kamille come off her bike. Those couple of seconds are something that I (and I’m sure Kamille also!) hope not to experience again any time soon! I pull my bike over and shout behind, “Are you ok?”
Kamille, like a badass, is already up, dusting herself off, and walking to the side of the road.
Fortunately, there was enough distance between our bikes and the rest of the traffic that there were no collisions, and the general slowing speed of the traffic probably helped out no end. Luckily for us also, the crash had occurred just outside a local restaurant where a family were in mid-meal, now staring at us with their mouths hanging open.
Kamille had a lot of nasty looking grazes on her elbows and knees but thankfully seemed to have avoided any serious injury or breaks. She was also handling the situation amazingly well considering how much shock and adrenaline she must have had in her system. I ask one of the family members if he can take her to the nearest hospital, with me to follow behind. 5 minutes later he pulls up with Kamille on the back of his bike to the ‘hospital’.
Well, I say hospital!…..it was another wooden store at the side of the road. The only difference between this and the neighbouring snack shop was the hand-painted white cross on the wooden boards! Our local friend was talking to the guy behind the counter in Cambodian explaining the situation. They pull up a chair outside of the stall for Kamille, next to the road and the guy comes from behind the counter with a small metal box. He sits down opposite, opens the box and pulls out a needle with thread attached.
Kamille looks at me, eyes widening. ‘Is this guy planning on stitching me up at the side of the road right now?’ is the shared thought. Luckily he was just moving the needle to get to the alchohol solution, and bandages and after cleaning up the wounds and wrapping them up we were good to go!
All in all, we got really lucky…no serious injuries, a $30 payment for bike damage and an extra ride out later that night to show the shop guys where we’d locked the bike up….but going forward I’ll definitely be treating any bike rides with a bit of extra caution.
Time to say goodbye Cambodia! Time for a bit of consistent BJJ training again – Next stop Malaysia!