16. Goodbye Phnom Penh - for now.
Things seem to get nasty around here. Although the violence takes place far from were I live it is still a concern that the demonstrations which were peaceful until now could get out of hand. I will leave Phnom penh first thing tomorrow morning.
Last night the police/military starting to use not only tear gas but also live ammunition and automatic rifles to shoot into the crowds of protesting workers. Until this moment (Friday, 4 p.m.) at least four people were killed and many more injured. The fighting is still underway, the demonstrators are using ball bearing slingshots and Molotov cocktails.
Although I was downtown all day I haven't seen any demonstrations, or any police on the streets.
A real danger lies in the fact that currently two neighboring countries, Thailand and Cambodia, are shaken by political unrest. The Cambodian camp seems to get encouraged and stimulated by the hundreds and thousands who are on the streets in Thailand's capital at the moment. I am pretty sure that not such large-scale demonstrations as seen recently would take place here if it wouldn't be for the Thai example.
My activities are far more benign, you may say banal, than the issues currently at the base of this violent dispute. I finally found a small software company, ARUNA technologies Ltd., which provides seemingly reliable GPS maps, much more accurate than the 'home-brew' map I use currently, which is in fact worthless. I went to their shop last night, and picked up the mini-SD card this morning. The smart young geek at the shop showed me the level of detail of the map, and I keep my fingers crossed that it will perform well on my ride to Siem Reap tomorrow. I am happy about the find.
Another success today was to track down a (wonderful) MICHELIN Anakee 2 rear tire, Made in Thailand, in exactly the right size. No front tire, though. Vay, the owner of the shop, seems to be a trustworthy, knowledgeable mechanic and will reserve the tire until I come back to Phnom Penh.
Vay also sells a beautiful BMW R60/2, Number 627293, still made at the BMW factory in Munich before production of motorcycles moved to Berlin-Spandau (into the former SIEMENS-Halske factory), which means it was produced prior to 1968.
|Showroom condition BMW R60, 7,646 km on the odometer. Please note my matching T-shirt. A coincidence?|
|Closeup of the rubber seat, passenger.|
Rear seat springs, chromed.
Some miscellaneous images will conclude my current stay in Phnom Penh. I will return in a few weeks. For now the plans are to get my Cambodian Visa renewed (Unbelievable, I am almost here for one month! Time flies!), see friends in Siem Reap who visit from Germany, re-visit Angkor Wat and surrounding historic sites, visit Preah Vihear, near the Thai border, and cross into Laos.
|BMW of Cambodia (Of course not)|
|Pickup looses softdrink boxes. The scooters are just driving over them.|
|Porta-potties at demonstrator camp site Freedom park, Phnom Penh.|