We made it home without any broken bones. It has to be said that it definately comes as a relief to me. In the last month especially I was desperate not to have any kind of arse meeting road incident. I was in free fall mode, I wanted everything to be easy for us for the final bit, to hell with it – “let’s go crazy, let’s go mad, let’s spend more than 4 quid on a nights accomodation”.
We had definately had enough of rubbish roads by the eighth month of riding. We only had a couple of days dodgy riding in the last month. They were both in Laos. Infact our first major ride into Laos was pretty kak.
The road in to Laos from the northernmost Thai – Laos border consisted of “bull dust” (imagine very fine saw dust ranging from 3 inches to a foot thick) that made it very hard to see exactly how big the rocks that your tyres are bouncing all over are, to freshly wetted mud (the roads are hard packed dirt and are regularly watered by an oversized watering can – in the shape of a large water sprinkler truck). After this first day of rubbish road we had tarmac…..ahhhh wonderful tarmac.
Laos is a wonderful country – it holds the sad record of being the most bombed country in the world. More bombs rained down on Laos than all the bombs dropped by all sides of the 2nd world war, mostly to rid Vietnam of the start of the Ho Chi Minh trail, thanks to Nixon, Johnson and Kennedy.
There is good feel to Laos, it’s governed losely by communist values but communism does not travel down to the man on the street. It’s kind of seen as a “method of administering the government” and not so much a way of living or philosphy. With Cambodia there was an hidden undercurrent sadness in the people that had been pushed down and squashed by the Khymer Rouge and other crap governments. No so in Laos. Poor yes, happy yes, communist – kind of but not really.
After Laos we screamed it down back to Bangkok and put the bike on a boat to Denmark. It’s going to take a month to get here apparently. Then we had about a week from here to spend about 3 days on an Island called Ko Wai – very quiet and very pretty. After this we got a bus back to Bangkok and checked into a nice posh hotel for our last 2 days on holiday. Jolly nice it was to, quite different from the last 9 months accomodation.
It’s a very different experience to come home this time. I don’t feel that my wings have been clipped like last time, more that they are about to get fluffed up in anticipation of new adventures. So thanks for reading, I hope it’s been of some amusement.
Brian and Fie
We have had an amazing time visiting Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s been an incredible month and I’d thought I might share a little bit with you!
We came into Cambodia on what must be Asia’s worst road. Cambodia has for many years been infamous for its roads – or the lack of them. Our map painted a lovely big red highway going from the North Cambodian/Thai border, right into Siam Reap (where all the temple action is). We passed through the Thai border, into the Cambodia border and our lovely road made of strong shiny new tarmac IMMEDIATELY gave way to sand and rocks. Not good.
We then battled against dodgy bridges (about to fall down) and deep sand. We passed many remote villages and the kids more than made up for our road woes. They are the cutest things Cambodian kids.
Siam Reap was tourist town – The Las Vegas of Asia – all because of the 200 or so incredible temples scattered around, foreign investment and no control of it has ensured that the Las Vegas feel is set to continue.
Then off to Pnom Penh – where we learnt about silk and where to make Fie’s wedding dress. We happened across a wonderful woman called Marie Anne – a fashion designer and specialist in all thing silk! She helped us all the way through the process of buying the silk through to getting the dress designed and made. We owe her a LOT.
Then onto Vietnam where we met up with Marie Anne again – this time to get the dress made. Buy the silk in Cambodia and use the tailors in Vietnam.
We also found a great place to buy our wedding rings – good price for the gold, got our names and wedding date inscribed. We were very happy.
We then took a good 3 day boat trip from Vietnam back to Cambodia after spending a great 2 weeks in Vietnam.
Disaster struck shortly after arriving back into Cambodia – we hired a small scooter to take us around Pnom Penh (the bikes battery had died in the heat after leaving it for 2 weeks in a guesthouse – cant take bikes into Vietnam). No! The battery was not the disaster, but the little shits that stole our bag from Fie’s shoulder were – they were also on a scooter, I tried to chase them on my silly little 50cc scooter. Changing down the gears to get more speed only made the bike SOUND like it went faster. They got away. The police were rubbish, they didn’t even have a phone, just pencil and paper for the police report. We are covered by insurance, but the bag had the ipod, camera (with all the Vietnam pics on) and our lovely wedding rings. I hope they buy enough glue to sniff from selling our stuff to send them to hell.
It gave us an insight into how the people of Cambodia are supported by the government through emergency services (they are not supported at all). Cambodia has a very sad recent history, we learnt a lot through talking to the locals and visiting museums. Infact Vietnam and Cambodia have been through so much, its amazing that they are getting on with things as well as they are (even when their government is still plagued with corruption)
On the brighter side, we have replaced everything apart from the pictures and the rings and met up with a great couple of Americans that have setup a motorbike touring shop in Cambodia. They helped me with some repairs on the bike and took us out on their dirt bikes across the rice paddy fields here (a very memorable day) in exchange for some web site repairs and updates on their site by moi. Oh and they treated us to a posh meal. Cheers guys – it was a pleasure.
Tomorrow we are off to Thailand – up to the north of Thailand and into Laos, then we’ll tour around the golden triangle, then south to some beaches to top up the tan, then our flight for Copenhagen leaves Bangkok on the 20th March. Phew. Must remember to fly the bike home as well, Phew.