### Be warned of a photo just below the map photo. ###
Our first Cambodian coffee with breakfast. Hopes were high but quickly dashed. Thick, sticky, dark and horrid.
Unusually cool starting out at only low 20’s made cycling easy. Rolling countryside demonstrating more slash and burn, more smouldering fires and disappearing forest. Vast tracts of land are cleared of all but a handful of tall skeleton trees. Depressing to see but understandable and no different to the path followed by the USA and Europe in its time. Traffic is very light, the occasional large truck stacked high with sacks of cassava and labourers pulling more teak logs or planks on their two-wheel tractors. We do pass through some villages and the children do call out “hello” but it doesn’t sound as spontaneous or friendly as the “sabadees” in Laos. We have seen our first overweight children and commonly more overweight adults than in Laos There appears to be more affluence here than in many parts of Laos we cycled through, but also less charming. Early days, and lots more to see.
Our big decision today was do we trust the map? It says there is one guest house in Svey Leu at 98 kms or bed down for the night in Xam Coong Thmay at 57 kms which allegedly has three, according to Paul’s iPhone based map. No internet so it isn’t reliable. With internet it’s not reliable, either. Doesn’t help our confidence that Xam Coong Thamy is now actually called Saamven. Found a roadside stand offering us fried rice at midday, which was rather tasty. Didn’t really want to hang around the rest of the day so pressed on to Svey Leu. Good decision as only 65 km tomorrow to Siem Reap.
Pedalled into Svey Leu and were promptly escorted through town by man with Police helmet accompanied by chap wearing combat fatigues on a moped, both carrying AK47’s. Paul was asked where was he going?. Helpfully, we were shown to the “guest house” – stalag 13, but the only bed in town. Clean, ish, with a tap and a toilet, we are settled for the night for $8. After a sluice down with the bucket and pail, happily managed to find a bread roll seller and some beers so supped on more banana sandwiches and watched the sun set.
Very excited to get to Siem Reap tomorrow, hopefully in time for some lunch. We think we will have deserved something rather nice. Like a warm shower, in clear water.
I feel sure the bucket of water is full of special mineral enhancements. It would cost a fortune to be bathed in it in some health spa!! But I am not too sure about the steamed chick.