Welcome to Week Seven of The IndoChina Expedition
We rushed to get out to the ruins at Angkor, just outside of Siem Reap. The race was, as so many times, a race for capturing video and photos in the best light of the day. Twenty dollars for entrance tickets for each of us to ride through the gate, and we had arrived at this world reknown ruin just in time to enjoy perfect light for photography. A wonderful sky highlighted the Angkor ruins as they reflected in the canal surrounding the city. If you look at the banner picture at the top of this page, you will understand what I am talking about. It was a wonderful experience that made us very excited to see more of this beautiful place.
The following day, we had more time to enjoy the ruins, and as the sun once again prepared to set over western Cambodia, we had made it to a floating city just a few miles south of Siem Reap. We had a front seat view of the life in the village as our hired boat made its way through narrow canals lined with houseboats on each side. Sterling and I had a field day capturing life in the village as we saw it this beautiful evening. To us, the lifestyle appeared to be very romantic and colorful. Dogs and chickens restricted to their small places looked as comfortable as the kid paddling across the channel in a small washing-tub borrowed from his mother. Others were preparing dinner or taking a bath using a bucket to pour water over their bodies. The water comes from the canal where they live. At this time of year there is plenty of water, but this will change as the river that feeds the lake will change direction in the dry season and start to empty the lake.
Our guide told us that he had done a study of this village through the local university and among other facts, found that 95% of the people in the village would rather live on solid ground if they had the chance. Having to moor their homes as the water resided and other issues has made this a tough place to raise a family.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia had a lot in common s seen from a traveler’s viewpoint.
Thailand, on the other hand, was like another world and immediately, I did not like the change. Everything was so modern and fast, too many 7/11 stores, not to mention the two and tree laned highways we traveled on. Huge double-decker buses zoomed by us filled with partygoers. I must admit that the paint job on some of these buses was quite impressive, with their cartoon-story graphics painted on all sides.
Bangkok was another hassle for a biker, since we cannot ride our bikes on the expressways. So, we took the secondary roads and they were filled with all kinds of traffic, so much that I did see my oil warning lamp light up due to low oil pressure caused by high temperatures come on a couple of times. But with the bikes parked safely at the hotel, we actually did enjoy the big city. Our favorite, at least mine, were the reclining Buddha followed by the Flower Market.
Cooler weather and less rain made the following days of riding north from Bangkok quite pleasant. We forced ourselves to take back roads and that way made the day's ride much more interesting.
Well this is all for now, we have more places to ride and stuff to see on this incredible journey of IndoChina.
Until next time, take care.