8. Sihanoukville - Kirirom National Park
Before I left Sihanoukville this morning, and after an excellent breakfast at "The Villa", a joint run by an interesting Austrian expat and with even more interesting clientele, I had to call the Royal Cambodian Police, since a small dog urinated on the front tire of the motorcycle. After a thorough and expedited investigation the perpetrator was caught and brought to justice. The lead investigator of the Sihanoukville Police wanted to have his picture taken with the motorcycle.
Of course this was a joke, no such thing happened, but the police came by this morning, I don't know why, and the picture was taken.
The ride across Highway 4 from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, the capital, is one of the most dangerous in this rough, dangerous country. On two wheels you don't seem to exist much, busses, cars, and especially big, black SUV such as Lexus, Range Rover and Landcruisers I found out, will pass cars or trucks in front of them on the opposite lane, whether you are coming, or not. It is either expected that you brake fully, or leave the road. Sometimes it is less nerve wrecking to just pick an adequately quick car or minibus in front of you and ride in his shadow. This typically doesn't last long, since especially the mini busses stop in every other town to unload or pick up passengers. Dangerous is also the fact that most big trucks have the steering wheel on the right hand side (they are imported from Thailand), however this country has right hand traffic. Unless they are out and completely in the opposite lane they won't see much with this wheel arrangement.
Leaving Nr. 4 for a rural road leading up into the mountains was a big relief. On roads such as those you learn one of the most important lessons life has to offer:
"DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING!"
In case of these roads it simply means, that a road with OK pavement cannot be assumed to go on like that forever, there might be sudden changes to big holes, ditches, to gravel or sand, or a funky, wooden bridge, leading over a 25 meter deep ravine. I stopped and checked first before I crossed. It is also good to see what the locals are doing (however on a much lighter vehicle.) But wait! Here comes a truck! If he can do it, I might cross as well!
I arrived safely at the lodge, where I was the only guest. Relaxing on a sleeping platform, looking at the lake and the kids washing their two horses, a beer, very good!