Day 5 Blog – Canal Ride

Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Blogger3 | 0 comments


I hear it’s pretty chilly, chilly in Britain right now – which means another instalment of Tales From a Hot Place must be just what you want to reading after a morning sliding around on black ice, trudging through sludge and generally wishing you’d put on more layers.  Still, here’s another heart rending tale of how hot it is here, to you in cold snap Britain…

Today was a good ride.  Great scenery, historical significance and a reasonably good road surface – for the most part.  We managed a stonking 85km, with only the final 20km being arm shatteringly awful, as well as being into a head wind!

We started off and after a stretch along the lesser spotted road surface ‘tarmac’ we turned off to the spend nearly the rest of the day on the track running alongside a canal.  In many respects it was like other canals, an impressive feat of engineering  with water locks and a seemingly endless stretch into the distance.  By way of a frame of reference I’d say this was, in terms of scale, less impressive than the Suez Canal, whilst being dotted by significantly fewer pubs than the Grand Union Canal – although with lots more rice than either.  The canal quietly carried with it the echoes of Cambodia’s quite incredibly recent past, as it was constructed entirely by hand, in 1976, or Year 1 as it would have been under Cambodia’s regime at the time, the Khmer Rouge.  A further reminder came in the form a more recent government sign, notifying us with little fanfare that this former mine field has now been cleared.  Although god to know, it’s a sobering thought to know that between the mines, the forced labour of an entire population, the purges, the malnutrition… that conservative estimates put the death toll presided over by the Khmer Rouge administration at 1 million, in the just under 3 years and 9 months they were in power.

The route along the canal offered the greenest slice of Cambodia we’ve seen so far.  Lined on either side with paddy fields, the water from the canal is pumped up and over the walls by the farmers to create a positively verdant surrounding.  Combine that with today’s clear blue skies and you’ve got some eye candy in today’s photos.


Other stuff:

Bug Catchers lined sections of the canal.  Yep, Bug Catchers.  Not people, simple but clever little setups involving a fluorescent strip light, two small steaks and a plastic bag with some water in.  The bug fly for the light, hit the back of the bag and fall into the water.  The water stop them from flying, so then he bug harvester (?) can come along, collect up the tasty ones and sauté them lightly wit a chilli jus.

My left knee now has a new best friend.  He’s a support bandage.  He’s called Steve.  With Steve’s help I was able to participate in a small and impromptu break-away group with Mattius and Jonny this afternoon.  Enjoyably silly and adrenalin inducing to be going so quick on these roads.  So much so that as the video  clip shows, I nearly fell off when stopped (again).  Thanks Steve, I couldn’t have done it without you.


Finger numbness has broken out among the group.  A little disconcerting, with the universally affected finger being the ring finger.  We’re  guessing the vibrations, but suggestions on a postcard to the usual address.

We arrived today in fabulous style, riding directly to the hotel through the market and in through the front door.  Taking into account that today we’re in the smallest, least touristy town on the trip, this was met with gratifyingly little consternation or excitement.  Clearly it was just another one of those things.

Quick shout out to: Frederick – out rider and documenter!  All those fabulous photos and video clips aren’t just happening, they’re being shot and painstakingly edited and uploaded on less than reliable wifi nightly by very own 5th Beatle.  Whilst out and about he also keep us on the right track (mostly) shooting ahead on the motorbike to act as a human signpost.  Thanks Fredrick!

‘Hello hellos’ took something of a dip today, with a grand total being estimated at 17.  Yeah, 17.  It was sort of quiet out.

Weather:  Sorchio

Falls: Zero (but only just) and, for the first time I have been surpassed!  Mattius, my comrade in collapsing has taken the lead on the board!

Blood spilt: None.  Sorry.

And finally… You’ve obviously all been wondering so here it is, the update on my tan:  It’s ridiculous.  It starts and stops on my thighs with a crispness only lycra can command.  Save one calve, it not on the back of my legs at all.  My sock and glove marks will take years to disappear and my fore arms are actually striped due to my watch and Team B4C bracelet.

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