Cambodia Road Trip Part 2
Julia talks about her daily routine of her bike journey across Cambodia.
Todd: What were the road conditions like that you were riding on?
Julia: I'd say at least half, maybe more than half were unpaved roads. Thankfully Cambodia is very flat so it wasn't so difficult. We averaged about seventy, eighty kilometres a day but on some days it was like thirty five degrees so it was hot, so we'd try to leave at around six o'clock in the morning. A lot of mornings we saw the sun rise. We'd grab some breakfast at a roadside market or something, noodles that kind of stuff and so the roads were unpaved and the dirt in Cambodia is very red. It's like a red clay and...
Todd: But very dusty though right?
Julia: Very dusty so we had to wear scarves round our faces. When we arrived in the evenings at our destination, we were absolutely filthy and I always looked at myself and thought wow I've got such a great tan today and then I got out of the shower and realized it was all dirt, completely dirt, so we'd have to, yeah, a lot of Cambodians, I think it's called a krama, it's a kind of scarf they were around the mouth and when they travel in the back of trucks and things because the dust is phenomenal.
Todd: The dust in some ways might have helped with maybe sun protection from the rays? Did you find that because you were covered in dust that maybe like you didn't get sunburn?
Julia: I did put a lot of sunscreen on every day because I was worried about that and perhaps it did protect us yeah in that way. It just made us dirtier.
Todd: So what did the locals think? So you're driving through this, you know Cambodia is a very rural country.
Julia: It is and we chose some of the most rural areas because we wanted to see some of the more picturesque areas. I mean it's stunning, the landscape there was stunning. There's a word in Cambodian language for foreigner which is barang and we got very used to hearing this word. Kids would come running across the fields shouting barang, barang, barang and they'd line the roads and they'd be going hello, hello, hello, I love you, I love you, hello, hello, so we got used to this waving and cheering. I think they probably thought we looked like from another planet because we were on these quite high-tech mountain bikes, laden with front and rear panniers. We had some film equipment with us. A friend of ours had put a bracket on the front of his handlebars with a camera on it and we often would have our iPods, our digital cameras out. They probably had never seen anything like us coming through and then when we'd stop at this roadside kind of cafes, we'd just lie our bikes down beside the road and they'd all come round but they were so polite and courteous and very reserved people. They never touched any of our stuff. They were always very respectful and I had a very positive experience. Before we went there, I met quite a few people, quite a few Cambodians even who said you can't do it, it's dangerous, you know you can't do it, you're going to get robbed, there's bandits. It's going to be really dangerous and we didn't encounter a single danger and in the whole two months, six riders, we had one puncture in the whole time. It was amazing. It was absolutely amazing.
Todd: You only had one flat tire?
Julia: One flat tire, that was it, one and we had no problems with the bikes.
Todd: And these are bumpy roads.
Julia: Bumpy roads, yeah, we were blessed. We actually we went and had a blessing in a Buddhist temple before we set out and the monk blessed us and blessed us for safe travel, blessed our bikes and that was a nice ritual to do before we embarked on the, but it worked.
Todd: That's fantastic.
When we arrived in the evenings, we were absolutely filthy.
When a person is 'filthy,' she is really dirty. In this case, Julia was covered with dust from the road. Notice the following:
- How did this jacket get so filthy?
- Our car was filthy after the road trip.
I mean, it's stunning; the landscape there was stunning.
Something or someone that is 'stunning' is very beautiful.Notice the following:
- She looked stunning on her wedding day.
- She is stunning, even without make-up.
We were on these quite high-tech mountain bikes.
If something is 'high-tech,' it means that is has a high level of recent technology.. Notice the following:
- He always has the most high-tech computers.
- I don't think I could ever learn how to work all this
...laden with front and rear panniers.
When something is 'laden', it is carrying a lot of extra weight. Notice the following:
- When we moved, this whole car was completely laden with
- He walked into the house, laden with gifts.
You're going to get robbed.
A 'bandit' is another word for a 'robber' or 'thief.' Notice the following:
- There have been some bandits stealing things from
people's cars outside this store recently.
- Bandits are a big problem in the jungle areas.
In the whole two months, we had one puncture
in the whole time.
Here, 'puncture' refers to a hole in a tire that lets all the air go out. Notice the following:
- I can't believe you rode 2,000 kilometers and you never
got a puncture.
- We hit the only pothole in the hole road and got a
laden • puncture • bandits • blessed