Nine backpackers, Paul and Linda and two bikes doesn’t leave much room on the narrow “ferry” boats for our crossing of the Mekong back to the mainland. Pedalled off the dock at 9:00 am, already 29 degrees. Easy cycling as mostly flat, heading for the border. We had been warned of the rip off. $2 each for the privilege of leaving Laos, $2 each for a “temperature” check by quarantine on the Cambodian side. The biggest one though, an additional $15 each for our 30 day visas. All handed over with a smile and our new word -Orkun (thank you). We could winge but the border crossing would then take hours, and it was hot … it carries on.
Weren’t expecting it to be so bleak, dry and barren. Always smouldering fires burning the scrub, not quite sure why. National Highway 7 is in pretty bad shape with long stretches of dusty sand. Makeshift facemasks a necessity to avoid choking on the clouds of hot dust billowing up from passing trucks. Nothing to see. Very few houses and not even the chickens, pigs, goats and cows we have become accustomed to seeing on the roads. Pushed on harder even though it got hotter, to Stung Treng, and to our guest house for the night. Hadn’t had any opportunity to buy any riel (Cambodian currency, of course). Discovered the ATM gave out USD and not riel and the bank had a 30 minute queue. All really frustrating when we were desperate to buy water/drink/food and to get out of the heat, up to 48 degrees in the full sun.
Have drunk iced water with our supper of chicken noodles as no beer available, convincing ourselves, well everyone else is drinking it. After some evening shopping, we are now loaded up with lots of fruit and even found some bread rolls for tomorrow and an early start.
Hope the roads are OK. And there is a guesthouse. And water.