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Old 10-16-2012, 09:09 PM   #436
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Laugh

I think you forget to feed the goats

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Old 10-17-2012, 03:04 AM   #437
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... at this stage, I'm stuck with what's on the 'puter. Feed the goats?

Setting out from Champasak, the bike had a failry flat front tyre, but I wasn't in the mood to fix it just then. I'd pumped it and ridden the day day before... and decided to do the same again until I see a bike shop or it starts going down too fast. That turned out to be a big mistake two days later. I gave the adrenaline system a workout when I discovered the air had all gone away.... in a 95kph left hander. But I'll get to that.

The ride from Champasak was one I put together on Basecamp, using the Laos GPS map. I really liked that map and going back to Garmin's crap in Cambodia is a real downer. I wanted to avoid the bitumen as much as possible and to take in a bit of the 4,000 islands area.... so I stayed on the western side of the Mekong as close to the river as I could.

I'll admit to being less than friendly in my last Laotian encounter... just a few km from the border. I'm pretty relaxed about most things and try not to be the ugly tourist. I saw a sign for the cascades, which are the largest in SE Asia... where the kilometre wide Mekong drops 15 metres. Its a lot of water. I arced up when faced with a sign that said Entry, locals 5,000 kip... foreigners 30,000 kip. I ended up throwing 5,000 at the guy's feet and riding in (he wouldn't take it out of my hand). They had a go at me at the falls too and we had a "discussion" about racism... although, I guess if they charge Cambodians and Thais as foreigners, maybe it isn't racism. Nothing pisses me off more than this sort of tripe. Its illegal in Thailand.

Anyhow... the day was long and good - I rode alongside the Mekong from Pakse to near the border. Did stick bridges, cable bridges, including one with a BIG sway, three small ferries and so on. Single track to no track in parts - riding through paddocks. Bumpy, muddy, dusty and every variety in between. Stopped at a temple fund raiser and just escaped after two Lao Lao shots that would have melted a breathalyser.

There's plenty of rice being harvested now. They don't compost the rubbish.... they burn it



I had the odd interesting moment, trying to follow the Mekong south. This one took me through some paddocks and up some thorny single track



Lots of small bridges during the day... of varying quality. One of the cable suspension bridges was a shocker. I hit it at a reasonable pace and it did its best to pitch me off. The others were rock steady. The worst of the bridges had very thin planks and one gap of about 12" where three planks were missing.





Stick bridges are fun











They got better



There were three moving bridges too. This one was a rope pull



This one, back across the Mekong onto one of the islands was only 10,000 kip. Driven by a kid.





Hard to see it there, but the wheel was made of reinforcement rod and the steering column was a tree trunk

I came across this truck along the way... having a bit of trouble



... and the temple building fundraiser. Sometime in the future, my name will be on the wall. They write the donations up. I didn't twig to why they asked my name at first.



Its hard to convince the kids to get onto the bike... but once you do, they are a hero with the other kids. The 27 is there as a quasi Aussie flag. Its well known anywhere with tv



Another charcoal producer. They load it with wood, seal it off and burn the wood in a low oxygen environment to produce charcoal



The track got dodgy at times



and disappeared. I got directed around a washout by the locals, lost the GPS route, but eventually got sorted out

This was pretty typical. Service time. Dump the oil and fill it up again. Pity about the ground.



It was Sunday and there were four distinct groups.... those working the rice paddies, those lounging around under their houses, the temple fundraisers and these.... community groups out repairing the roads at the end of the wet season.



I stopped for fluid intake and got mobbed, as usual. Cost me about 3 times as much, as I bought all the kids a small orange juice.





This is a kid going for his bath in the Mekong.



Its a big river by this point



I was watching this guy as I crossed the river. I saw him haul a lot of net, but didn't see any fish. There's no doubt they are there... the markets are full of some decent sized fish



Another crossing, to get off the (big) island. That's my ferry on the left.



That ferry wasn't exactly symetrical



Once off the island, it was a bitumen run for the border. I had to stop and take a snap of these little tackers, who were having fun in a buffalo wallow



This was the Mekong doing the big drop at the Khone Kha Pheng falls.



The falls are 1km wide... but its hard to see more than a bit at a time



Its sure thundering down....







.... and here we are at the exit point from Laos. I had to pay the cop to stamp my passport. $2.60. Not sure that's an official tax btw. If it isn't, its a breach of an Oz law to pay it. They know where to find me.

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Old 10-17-2012, 03:36 AM   #438
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Border control was at an old shack, but like most border crossings I've seen, big dollars are being spent on making things look flash....



All the Laos cops were in watching a kick boxing tournament on tv. One of them finally wandered out and opened the barrier. I loved the multi-use approach for the satellite dish



The Cambodian side was a bit problematic. I got directed to customs first... and I'd intended to ignore their existence. Luckily they were playing cards and just glanced at my stuff and I got waved over to the visa mob... and made it through unscathed. It could have been uglier.

Cambodian roads and drivers are "interesting"





I made it through to Stung Treng, and ran into the fellow Aussie from hell



I'm coming back to Laos. I want to have a more leisurely ride up the HCM Trail before they destroy it. More village stays.

It was "one of those days" Monday morning. I bought this fellow Aussie breakfast... and I'd bought her dinner Sunday night too because she had no money. Her scamming got up my nose a bit and I ended up refusing her request for a loan. The government have cut her unemployment benefits and her tour of Asia is turning ugly. Stupid woman (40yo). Thinks the world owes her a living. She's lived all over the world and discovered a gold mine in Oz 12 years ago... but they've finally had a gutful of her and Centrelink have refused her appeal.

I told her to contact the Oz embassy.. "they won't talk to me because I owe them money from when they flew me back to Oz from Taiwan".

Her argument is that she should be on a disability support pension and that there's no decent health care in Australia, so she's got to travel to southern Taiwan for treatment. You can't fly to southern Taiwan from Oz, only northern Taiwan and "its too hard to get to the south from there". Bullshit. So... she, with the supposed bad back that's scored her 12 years on the dole at disability rates... is backpacking from Cambodia via Laos to Hanoi so that she can get to her medical treatment in Taiwan. Yeah... sure. She'd been out on the back roads (read really rough) on a motorbike for 5 hours that day. Yep... my heart bleeds for her. How do I get 12 years of taxpayer funding..... nah.... I couldn't do it... I just couldn't do it. Her back's no worse that mine's ever been.

So, I wheeled the bike out of the lobby on Monday morning, pumped up the half flat tyre and decided that I'd replace the tube during a lay day in Kratie - before or after a Mekong cruise to see the dolphins. They appear to be making a comeback after the Khmer Rouge almost wiped them out... killing them and rendering them for their oil.

37km out, my front tube decided that it didn't want to hold air any more. I'd done 200+ on it Sunday, with only one pump up. It decided to do it on a 95kph corner... which was "interesting" to say the least. I couldn't believe I finally wobbled to a halt without dropping it. I wheeled in beside a house with a "shop" out front and set to on it... with too much help from the locals. This is the second time I've had a local help me and the replacement tube has ended up pinched... which almost pitched me off again 15km down the road. I'd have discovered the leak before I set out again, but they packed my tools into my Giant Loop while I wasn't looking and the tyre guage ended up in there. They also did some other damage... and I had to keep stopping them trying to help. They were bashing away with a hammer, trying to get the axle in, but the disk was wedged outside the caliper... very ugly.

Anyhow... I made it to Kratie, got a room and I'm smelling the roses. I bought 10 or so beers for the "helpers" and a soft drink for the kid who actually did help... and one of the women packed me off with a couple of banana leaf rolls of sticky rice stuffed with banana in one and beans in the other. It was lunch in the end. Lovely. Photos of all that lot another time.

I better update folks on the current situation in Cambodia. The ex-King is dead. Monday I believe. I didn't quite pick up on it at the market earlier on when a woman took my banknote (they use both their own currency, the Riel, and the US$ here)... she pointed to the King's image, made the sleeping sign (I use it often... two hands under an inclined head) and pointed to the ground. Yeah, OK, so its an old banknote. Nope. Flags are half mast now.

I just hope I'm out of Thailand when it happens there. Could be anarchy there.

So, I've stayed on in Kratie, been out in a nice wooden boat and seen the dolphins and I've put (another) set of bearings in the rear wheel of the KTM. I'd scored one Japanese Koyo and one unbranded, presumably Chinese, bearing in Attapeu. The unbranded one was stuffed at 200km... but I've run it for 500. I've kept the Koyo as my now only spare. I'm not overly happy that the ones that have gone in are Chinese. I've lost one of my spare fronts too.... so its fingers crossed from here. The roads aren't good, so they cop a real pounding, but it seems the monsoon is over.... I haven't had rain since I got to Pakse, and it was raining every day (or night) up until then.

The spots for the dolphins are where the river is a bit quieter. There's a broadwater about 15km north of Kratie and that's the local spot... across the other side of the Mekong around some flooded islands. The boats are all pretty much the same and its a regulated enterprise. I pulled into the carpark and a cop came over and told me, nicely, to go buy a ticket AusAid have a sign up, so presumably Oz had some input into saving the dolphins.

The Khmer Rouge slaughtered thousands and rendered them down for oil. Its lucky they survived. Wiki says there are between 78 and 91 of the freshwater population of the Irrawaddy Dolphin, all in a 190km stretch of the Mekong in Cambodia and Laos.... and they are regarded as critically endangered.

Here's "my" boat. Just me. Its $7 a head for 3 or more... or $9 if you are by yourself. I was impressed by my boat skipper's attitude and unobtrusiveness with the dolphins. He killed the engine early and sculled us around... and even in the quieter areas, there's a fair flow to the river.



Some locals fishing with rods near the dolphins



They are hard buggers to photograph. They are slow swimmers, stay down a long time.... sometimes many minutes and don't show much of themselves mostly. You have to be quick when you hear them blow.



There were at least three in the area, maybe more. They are slate grey on top and a much lighter colour underneath



They rarely show the tail fluke... only when doing a deep dive (up o 12 minutes)



There's two in this shot too...



Very blunt head, no beak



and a view of another boat



The planks were all chainsaw hewn

I got on the piss out of town a bit yesterday with the guy who runs the guesthouse here and half a dozen of his mates. We took a slab and 5kg of ice... and some local snacks. Added to that was a whole heap more snacks... everything from garlic cloves (I bet I reek), dried deer (it stank but tasted good), fried catfish and so on. Then it was off to the Karaoke. Nothing naughty, but the lads enjoyed themselves.

I've spent the day lazing around on the balcony overlooking the Mekong and had lunch with a French woman who works for a large NGO working with poverty-stricken and at-risk children. They've got 500 staff and 2,500 kids they work with. They target kids whose family income is below 50c a day. Tossed around a few project ideas with her.

.... and tomorrow, I'm going to do another "local roads" day and head down the other side of the Mekong again... towards Phnom Penh. The run to Kratie from the border was on bitumen and I've had a gutful of that.

Incidentally, I spotted 3 guys on chook chasers heading out of Kratie yesterday... going north, wearing full dirt bike gear. I got a wave off to one and stopped... but they didn't. Foreigners on hire bikes by the look of it.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:09 AM   #439
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The double pricing isn't illegal here in Thailand Bigfella. The national parks are 100b for a Thai and 500b for a farang. Same as admission to zoos, museums, aquariums etc.

Wonderful pics again, I always look forward to your updates!

Good on ya :)

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:52 AM   #440
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I reckon you'd get in at the lower price if you argued. They are only allowed to display one price....

" PRICING POLICY AND GUIDELINES FOR TOURISM ATTRACTIONS IN THAILAND

The pricing policy and guidelines for tourism attractions, both public and private, around Thailand are all based in law.
There are specific legal guidelines that apply for natural and cultural attractions under the supervision of the various state agencies belonging to the Royal Thai Government
versus those applicable for tourism attractions that are wholly-owned, funded and operated by private sector operators. Any changes to these laws are a matter for parliamentary deliberation,
and not for the state agencies charged with their correct application.
* Pricing guidelines for natural and cultural attractions under the supervision of the various state agencies under the Royal Thai Government

The pricing for natural and cultural attractions supervised by the various state agencies belonging to the Royal Thai Government, and funded by the national budget,
are governed by ministerial orders and announcements issued by the respective ministries based on various acts of parliament that have already been promulgated.The spirit of the law assumes that natural and cultural attractions, including sacred and historic sites, nationwide are part of the national heritage, belonging to all Thais equally.
The provisions set out in the ministerial orders are designed to ensure fair and equal opportunity for each and every individual Thai to have access to national treasures,
and the natural and cultural heritage inherited from their forefathers.
The rationale underpinning existing legislation argues that each and every individual of Thai nationality is an equal stakeholder within the community.
Fair and equal access must be granted to all Thai nationals, regardless of their social and economic status. Entrance fees to such attractions must therefore be made affordable for Thai citizensfrom all walks of life. Thai citizenship is determined by the presentation of a valid identification card issued by Thai district or provincial authorities.

National parks and natural heritage sites come under the supervision of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
Places of cultural or historic importance, including archaeological sites, come under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture.
An example of existing legislation is the National Park Act 2504 BE (Buddhist Era) for natural attractions under the supervision of state agencies under the Royal Thai Government.
NATIONAL PARK ACT,
2504 BE
-------------------
BHUMIBOL ADULYADEJ, REX. NATIONAL PARK ACT
CHAPTER 3
Protection and Maintenance of the National Park
Section 18. Any person entering the national park must comply with the order of the competent official given in compliance with the rule prescribed by the Director-General and approved by the Minister.
CHAPTER 4
Miscellaneous
Section 23.

If the Director-General thinks it appropriate to require from the public any payment for services of facilities given by the competent official in the national park,
or to require any person to pay a fee or remuneration for permission to carry on any activity or to sojourn therein, he is empowered to fix the rates and lay down rules concerning
the collection of the said service charge, fee or remuneration, with the approval of the Minister.

Money collected under the preceding paragraph, funds donated for maintenance of the national park, fines accruing from settlement of the case conducted by the competent official
under Section 28 and other kinds of income shall be exempted from any tax or duty, and kept as the expenditure for maintenance of the national park according to the rules and methods prescribed
by the Director General and approved by the Minister.
“Director-General” means the Director-General of the Forestry Department.

In the case of temples and shrines, Thais do not regard these sites as tourist attractions. They are sacred places of worship they visit to practice their faith.
Places of worship in Thailand of all denominations are generally open to the public at various times of day and welcoming. Most happen to be Buddhist.
Buddhist practice embraces all individuals and does not exclude the participation of individuals who are non-Thai or non-Buddhist.

All visitors to Thailand who wish to learn more about the country and its culture, Thai customs, tradition and Thai ways are welcome to witness and experience all aspects of Thai life
up close and personal. It is hoped that their experiences are positive and memorable, and that they will be happy to make a small donation to help keep alive Thai customs and traditions, and generally support the country’s cultural heritage.

Fees charged and voluntary donations go towards the maintenance, conservation and care of the sites.
In the case of Thai citizens, their share of the contribution to the state budget is made through the payment of income tax and regular payment of other forms of indirect taxation.
The payment of entrance fees, where applicable, is therefore in addition to the payments they have already made as taxpayers.
Following the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in 2002, various regulatory duties have been transferred from TAT to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Office of Tourism Development.

Contact information:
Ministry of Tourism and Sports Office of Tourism Development
The Office of Tourism Development
National Stadium, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.
Tel: +66 (0) 2283 1500
Web site: www.mots.go.th
For specific enquiries, or to report specific incidents, please contact the Ministry or state agency responsible for overseeing the particular attraction directly.

* Pricing guidelines for tourism attractions that are wholly-owned, funded and operated by private sector operators

Current legal guidelines on pricing stipulate unequivocally that there can only be one price charged for entrance/admission fees and that this must also be prominently displayed upfront.
Businesses are, however, granted the freedom to undertake marketing and promotional activities, and may for example legally offer non-discriminatory group discounts.
Thailand abides by internationally-recognized consumer protection practices. In the event that an individual consumer feels that they have been subject to unfair business practices,
these grievances can be filed with the Consumer Protection Board for Thai nationals or the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Office of Tourism Development for visitors to Thailand. "

Reporting unethical practice
Tel/Fax: +66 (0) 2216 6512
E-mail: co_service@tourism.go.th
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:31 AM   #441
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keep up the good work mate. loving it
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:03 AM   #442
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Bloody Hell Bigfella.

Have just picked up on your travels, have looked at the last 2 pages of your tour. Gob smacked!

Very impressive, great photo's, well done

Makes my travels incidental.

And inspires my next travels into South East Asia

Thank you!
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #443
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post







I made it through to Stung Treng, and ran into the fellow Aussie from hell

It was "one of those days" Monday morning. I bought this fellow Aussie breakfast... and I'd bought her dinner Sunday night too because she had no money. Her scamming got up my nose a bit and I ended up refusing her request for a loan. The government have cut her unemployment benefits and her tour of Asia is turning ugly. Stupid woman (40yo). Thinks the world owes her a living. She's lived all over the world and discovered a gold mine in Oz 12 years ago... but they've finally had a gutful of her and Centrelink have refused her appeal.

I told her to contact the Oz embassy.. "they won't talk to me because I owe them money from when they flew me back to Oz from Taiwan".

Her argument is that she should be on a disability support pension and that there's no decent health care in Australia, so she's got to travel to southern Taiwan for treatment. You can't fly to southern Taiwan from Oz, only northern Taiwan and "its too hard to get to the south from there". Bullshit. So... she, with the supposed bad back that's scored her 12 years on the dole at disability rates... is backpacking from Cambodia via Laos to Hanoi so that she can get to her medical treatment in Taiwan. Yeah... sure. She'd been out on the back roads (read really rough) on a motorbike for 5 hours that day. Yep... my heart bleeds for her. How do I get 12 years of taxpayer funding..... nah.... I couldn't do it... I just couldn't do it. Her back's no worse that mine's ever been.

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Old 10-19-2012, 09:18 PM   #444
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Awesome trip, stunning pics!
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #445
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I'm in Phnom Penh. I'm enjoying it a lot more than when I was here a couple of years back. I'm in a hotel with good staff, well away from the bars... reasonably quiet area and only $15 a night. More on that later

Its funny how they keep tabs on you here though. Maybe I stand out a bit.? A tuk tuk driver I've used a couple of times said the other day.... after I'd been out on the bike to watch the Rugby test at the sports bar "I see you buy that beggar lunch". Strange. The beggar was a landmine victim... one leg. I'll give any hungry bugger a feed.. but not cash. There's dozens of beggars down at the riverfront though and its all a bit of an industry. This particular guy, said he was hungry, so we ordered up some fried rice with pork... and he buggered off... went begging down the street. His meal sat on my table for 10 minutes before I ate it. Silly old bugger. I told him as much too, when he eventually came back. The chances of my hotel guy seeing it? Pretty slim. Guess he just followed me for something to do... there's so many of them sitting around waiting for a fare.

My dining companion last night was a girl with a horribly sick looking baby. He was too young to feed - still on the boob, but she got into it. Hopefully the kid is OK. Kid pissed all over her and the chair in the end.

Some spares for the bike would be nice... but the KTM shop here is still setting up... and they didn't want to place a spares order for me. Such is life. I'll source them through my normal sources I think and bring them back with me.

Here's the sales manager at the shop



Plenty of bikes... about 15, mostly Dukes, but with some dirt bikes and a 990 Adventure.



If he'd been keener, I'd have ordered in $1000 or so of bits. I'm not too worried though, Siem Reap isn't far up the road and I'll only be riding local around there before I head home for Christmas, via Chiang Mai to get the Super Enduro. I did pick up another 4 wheel bearings yesterday. $6.50 for 4 at the Russian Market. Bet they'll be good for at least 200km if I need them.

There's plenty of bikes for hire.. 250cc dirt bikes galore

This place was on 51 Street,



The ride here was "interesting", as usual. I did a ferry crossing of the Mekong, just south of Kratie, and followed the river for about 3 hours on local roads of varying quality. I bottomed out the rear suspension numerous times, as I was hammering it a bit. That's 13" of suspension travel IIRC. Part of the issue is I'm down to no glasses again. I've still got the ones I bought 5 weeks ago, but the mud and slush, etc has them so scratched now that I see better without them. Hammering along the track, one occasionally misses seeing a deep hole in time.... ker bloody thump. Ouch. I'm thinking I may need a rear shock rebuild sometime soon too.

Some photos from the last few days. Gecko lizards are common in SE Asia... sometimes making a nuisance of themselves in your room at night. This bloke was unusual. About 12" long. Eating crickets in the bar at my guesthouse in Kratie.



and here's something you don't see every day. A better mousetrap. Maybe. He's smearing contact cement all over this... and presumably he adds some sort of tempter to it



That was out at Pheak's mates place... where we sat in the kitchen, took in the view... the kitchen has two open walls.... and chewed the fat



Speaking of which... deer jerky



Dried shrimp



.... and a bit of pork on its way to market



I saw another trailer behind a bike the other day and I was trying to decide whether it had 3 cows in it or 4. 3 I think, but hard to tell as it was crowded. Bikes with trailers are everywhere here. Other parts of Asia, its sidecars.

Riding south from Stung Treng further north in Cambodia, the landscape had that raped rainforest look to it.



If this next photo isn't shaky, it should be.



There's not a lot of air in that tyre and I'd just wrestled it around a 95 kph corner. It sure as hell wasn't a smooth line around the corner. I really did go close to dropping it... at speed. Silly prick. I don't know how it stayed on the rim. No trouble breaking the bead to change it.

Worked up a sweat none the less



But the locals wanted to help. Here's my spare tube being pinched ...



Terrorising the local kids



Thank you beers for the lads



One of the women came out with these two rolls of sticky rice. They were terrific. One had a cooked banana core... red in colour, the other some sort of bean mix.



All packed in banana leaf wrapping.

Here I am... 15 km up the road, doing it all again.



I'd hit the brake to slow down for the town and nearly pitched it again on a flat front from the tube they pinched.

They do love their weird statues in Asia. I think this one is a pigeon crapping on the world



Two different styles of net fishing on the Mekong. This first one was a boat just out from my guesthouse in Kratie



Small boat, small net.

And, a bigger setup from down the river, between Kratie and Phnom Penh



The track was reasonable in places south of Kratie... but none of the wet season damage had been repaired, so it was holed, rutted and bumpy. It was much better than barrelling down the main highway



I saw a fair few of these in one area. I'm presuming they are for storing cattle fodder or for drying things. Its mud daubed woven bamboo. Open at the bottom



It really is like stepping back 100 years in time



A bit more modern here... one of the utlilitarian farm trucks... with its chugging diesel and lots of school kids on pushbikes on their way home



I've seen dozens of these shelters erected on roads this last week. All for the religious ceremonies going on here



My water bottle punctured, so I stopped to drink it. A couple of kids came up looking for money I think, but I just said G'day. Then Mum turned up and grabbed my arm. She wouldn't let go. Kept holding one finger up... presumably asking for a dollar. Quite persistent. Not a tourist area, so I dunno.



Quite a lot of traffic in places... then this. Hardly anyone. My map here's crap, so I was just asking people at intersections which way it was to Phnom Penh by this stage. I ended up near half way to Siem Reap, I see now, looking at a better map.



At one t intersection, I got told both ways to PP. I asked a few more people and took the most popular answer. That's when I went towards Siem Reap for a while. Not an issue.

I went through a few rubber plantations




I ended up doing about 5 1/2 hours in the saddle on the way to PP from Kratie. About 3 hours on local roads and then I plugged PP into the GPS and headed where told to by Mr Garmin.... down the main roads, which are pretty sad affairs. LOTS of potholes and the traffic is crazy in the way that is Asia. Drivers who overtake around corners or pull out to overtake while you are going past them, drivers and riders who simply pull onto the roads.... kids, animals, leftover stuff all over the road and so on.

I had a couple of bikes pull out of nowhere onto the road in front of me from the other side. I'm hurtling along at 95 kph and suddenly two bikes are coming across at right angles. I ended up going through the 6' gap between them... with half my speed knocked off. I could have gone into the dirt instead, but sheesh. A Lexus did the same thing to me at a petrol station... just pulled out, so I gave him the finger. I got the feeling he was chasing me... lights on, etc (daytime lights are illegal here)... and I thought I heard a siren, so I got into it and left him well behind. Another driver just pulled out to overtake while I was overtaking him... and I had my thumb on the horn... so I gave his mirror a bash. It was quite funny really... his female passenger threw her knees up and her arms up over her head. Sorry luv... didn't mean to scare you... its him that needs to know he's got a mirror for a reason.

Most times when an oncoming vehicle... car, truck, bus... is on my side of the road now, I lift my boot up and out... so that its at mirror height. A lot of them pull back a few inches which gives a bit more room... but the odd few will swerve at you. I really do prefer the back roads. The sights are interesting though



I reckon Ive seen these vans with at least 40 people in and on them. About 10 hanging out the back, 6-8 on top and the rest crowded inside. I'll try and get a better photo. There's heaps of them out there... I've even seen a passenger in the front steering... with about 6 or so crammed in the front, and the driver texting while someone else steers. Normally the driver just texts and steers

The Mekong floodplain was quite extensive coming into PP. There were dozens of motorbikes beside the road with poles that had dead birds for sale hanging from them. Damned if I know what they are. Beak is a bit duck-like but the feet aren't webbed.





It felt a bit funny when my GPS delivered me to a street that I recognised from a couple of years ago. I pulled up at the same cafe where I'd watched a world cup soccer game with my tuktuk driver.... but gave up on them when my noodles hadn't arrived after 40 minutes. The tea and coffee was good though. The staff moved my bike....



I'd parked in front of the next cafe. Bit naughty that, it would seem.

I'm actually enjoying Phnom Penh this time. I didn't two years ago. I saw young kids offering it for sale then. Haven't seen that this time. I've seen more adults doing it though. There's quite a bar scene here now. I've got a hotel well away from that - down towards the S-21 Toul Sieng Genocide Museum. Haven't revisited it yet. Might do. Might not.

My hotel, the Starwood, is a good 3-4 star guesthouse . 1st floor room (a bonus) $15. No girls in the foyer... a good, relaxing place. Bike security seems OK... they park it in behind other bikes and there's staff there 24 hours a day. Nice local noodles just around the corner for brekkie (2 coffees and noodles with meatballs is $3.50). Two massage places... one's a club affair, with Lexii and Range Rovers... I had to go there last night as the other place was flat out. Cost me $7 for a sauna and one hour massage. The other place was $8 for 2 hours the other day. No sleaze at either (sign at the club says "No drugs, no arms, no sex trafficking"

The town's still a bit of a hassle with the extended funeral for the King. I got through 6 out of 8 police barricades I encountered the other day. I ran one of the outer ones yesterday and ignored the police whistles.... and got through them all after that.

Spent Saturday afternoon at Paddy's Rice Sports Bar and watched the rugby. I went to the Russian Market in the morning. There's some brilliant shopping there. Some of the best I've seen. I bought some Mont Blanc pens as bag stuffers for Christmas.... and those extra wheel bearings (I'm not sure they'll ever go in the bike unless absolutely needed).

Yesterday, it was back to Paddy's for the MotoGP. I got a bit annoyed with my local massage place last night though... I came out and the bike was leaning on the wall. Some clod had climbed on it and the sidestand had busted right off. I'd taken the bike in to be washed the other day... and they got a bit over enthusiastic




Oops.



They didn't lay the bike over btw... I did, so we could work on it



The mechanic there tried a whole heap of different things, but we welded it in the end. Welding aluminium weakens it, of course... It would have been OK if no-one climbed on it, but this is Asia. I guess today's priorities have changed. I was going to go out to the Steung Meanchey rubbish dump. Now I get to try and find a workshop to fabricate a new sidestand.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:02 AM   #446
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Brilliant ! ! !

Absolutely brilliant RR ! ! ! ! ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Love SE Asia . . . . . . .

Thanks for the great pix and write-up.

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:00 AM   #447
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Thanks Watercat. You wouldn't be a sailor by any chance? We used to race a Tornado many a long year ago.

Meanwhile... here's the ride this morning from my guesthouse to the bike shop. About 9:15am in Phnom Penh, so peak hour's over and there's no kids around.



I've had a couple of issues with the 570 lately... and I've paid the bike shop a couple of visits to get them sorted.

I think I've done 4,000km since leaving Chiang Mai, about 100 hours extra on the hour meter.

I've just put the 4th axle load of wheel bearings in this morning.... replacing the fronts again. The Koyo (Japanese) bearings that were the first to go in, up near Nakia in Laos. They'd loosened up to a fair old wobble when you grabbed the front wheel. Not sure of the distance... maybe 1,000 miles. Not being able to source new seals when I did them last time didn't help. Here's the spacer tube... covered in mud and showing the pressure the bearings have been under.



I think its time for new spacers too... there's some nasty wear on this one



I couldn't source more Japanese bearings, but I'd have to think the Korean ones we got today are better than Chinese? I'm carrying spare Chinese bearings that I'll only use if I have to. The good news is I sourced and installed new seals with these bearings - and have new rear seals for when I next do the rear bearings. The rears (1 x Japanese and 1 x Chinese) that I fitted in Attapeu were shot at 250 km... well, the Chinese one was, but I didn't replace them with 2 x Chinese bearings until I got to around 500km from there. Great eh? This mud is tough.

I came out from a massage the other night and found the bike leaning on a wall. My guess is someone climbed on and the weakened/welded sidestand that I showed in my last post snapped in half. I was a bit pissed off that they tucked it into the retaining strap and pretended it hadn't happened.

That welding failure raises an issue I've covered over on OC in the past. Welding aluminium... specifically, the rear subframe on the Super Enduros. I built a carbon fibre rear rack for my SE because those subframes have a reputation for cracking at a place where its drilled for a bolt. My subframe is still solid. I've seen others weld theirs and I wonder how many fail when that's done? Not a good move... welding aluminium really weakens it.... and trying to get it properly tempered even at home is nigh on impossible... and KTM aren't about to tell us what its tempered to. So... think about that if you are tempted to weld your subframe (yeah the 525's is cracked where they all crack.... I'll look at a solution there another year)

Back to the sidestand. She's welded up again... and I'm warning folks about climbing on...



Had to use a different bolt after this... head ground down to clear the spring because we added more metal and took out the insert.

Gotta keep an eye on your bike in the shops here. Glad it wasn't my forks being serviced here while the bolt got ground down



and the stand got "adjusted"



I had one of the guys washing out the air filter... and I turned around to see him with an air hose, blowing the dirt in. Um, hang on mate... why don't we blow it out... not in? He got the message.

I wandered over the road yesterday to another bike shop and had a chat to Dave, a Californian who's brought in a 990 Adventure as his "company car" here. He was fitting a decent set of horns



"My" bike shop was selling this BM 650 for about $8,500



I saw a Honda 230 dirt bike for sale elsewhere. Good secondhand condition $2,700.

I've decided not to re-visit either the S-21 Tuol Sleng Genocide museum or the Killing Fields again. Once is enough and I did that when I came through here on my way to Vietnam a couple of years back. Here's a shot from S-21 then. Not sure if I took it or Kylie.



Hopefully I'm back on the road again tomorrow... once this green rocket propelled stuff that keeps ejecting from my body disappears. I'm just doing an easy run to Siem Reap and tootling around there for a week or so before storing the bike there for 4 months or so. I'll come back with brakes, sprockets, etc for some more riding some time in the New Year or later. I've got to get back to Chiang Mai and somehow get the Super Enduro back to Oz.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:37 AM   #448
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great adventure, bigfella
well, I do miss your SE but.......don´t you?



I wonder how many hours can they be working in that position
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:27 PM   #449
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
Thanks Watercat. You wouldn't be a sailor by any chance? We used to race a Tornado many a long year ago.

Na, but I spent a few years in Alaska learning the ropes on work boats, etc. . . . . .

Hopefully I'm back on the road again tomorrow... once this green rocket propelled stuff that keeps ejecting from my body disappears.
Salad shooooter ? ? ?
I'm just doing an easy run to Siem Reap and tootling around there for a week or so before storing the bike there for 4 months or so. I'll come back with brakes, sprockets, etc for some more riding some time in the New Year or later. I've got to get back to Chiang Mai and somehow get the Super Enduro back to Oz.
Back to the RR . . . . .

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:01 AM   #450
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I'm suffering from sensory deprivation.

Where's this weeks adventure, Ian?

SJ
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