Thursday 16 March 2017

Back on the road, amid a self-imposed delay and an arrest...

The way back from Bangkok was a lot more fun than the 26 hour coach journey there. It involved a taxi to the airport, then obviously a plane (with a very nice Indian lunch) then a tuk tuk ride to a 'coach station' where I got into a van with a manic driver with some inner need for high speed overtakes around blind corners to Sinhoukville, and then finally, riding on the back of a bike to Otres Beach. It all took 11 hours.
 I really had a smile once I saw my bike which I left at the hostel, I'm going to miss that thing. Although some tramp stole my mirrors. Cheers. They're only $2 for the pair! There was no room at the inn though so I trudged to the next hostel where I found a very chilled out bar. It was 9:30 pm by this time and to the sorrow of my empty stomach the kitchen had closed. But it was 50 cents a beer that evening, and after a long day of intense travel there's nothing better than to saturate the mind with a few beers and let all the tiredness float away. And so we enter the game of 'I'll go to bed after this beer.' 'I'll go to bed after this beer.' and so on. I wouldn't even say I was drunk, but at the age of thirty one, going to bed on an empty stomach full of beer is not a good thing, and I awoke feeling dire. It was one of those hangovers which comes with an existential crisis where I question everything I've done with my life, accompanied with a lot of fear... I spent most of the following day eating, in between drowning my face into my hands. But all is well come morning!
 I set off kind of early. It's good to know the bike is still working perfect after been left for around two weeks. Yet once I got to the main roundabout in Sinhoukville I heard that ever-pleasant blow of a whistle from a policeman. Usually when they try and stop me I'm already going at quite some speed and I pretend that I hadn't seen them. But seeing that I was stationary it would have been ridiculous if I just drove away. They took me into their back office and was convinced that I had weed on me. I haven't smoked that shit for years and years. Although I did have a massive box of opiate based pain killers - I'm certain I have a fracture somewhere within my ankle. It's been five weeks since I was rammed by the cow and all external injuries have healed, yet deep inside the heel there is still pain. I can't put pressure on it, I'm still limping, and in the morning when all the pain killers have worn off it's aching from the inside like a bitch. It needs rest, but no can do on the road... Maybe when I get home I can go see my old work colleagues in A&E.
 "So what happened?"

"I was rammed by a cow in Cambodia whilst riding at thirty miles per hour six weeks ago, and my ankle still has deep pain. I've been high from Tramadol ever since, but I think it needs looking at properly... health care in those regions leaves much to be desired for". *stitches without anesthetic...*
 But anyway, they wasn't bothered about them, and after a futile look for some none present weed they went onto some other things to which I had 'broken the law'. Riding with no mirrors (thanks, tramp), riding with my light on... surely this can't be true! And then the nail in the head "Do you have an international driving licence..." I used to, but just before I came out here I was bed ridden with pharyngitis on the week I was going to get it... and thus, I don't have one. I'm not too sure whether or not Cambodia requires you to have an international driving licence. Usually I would challenge it, when I had more time than I did money. It's always amusing to become their burden when they're trying to get money from you. I had lots of these moments whilst going through Africa. But on this occasion, I don't have the time. $10 to make the whole situation end so I could be on my way seems a fair exchange. And that was that... The first bribe I have ever paid! I used to like laying on the floor refusing to speak until they told me to get out. But alas, not this time.
 But now, it feels great to be back on the road again for one final time. Just myself and my bike and the open road. I'm going to miss it, and yet, I'm looking forward to going home. I used to think I was one of these people who could travel the world for years on end, and after I returned from been away for a year through Africa, it took me sometime to realise that I am not one of those people. And that's fine. The odd journey for four months or so suits me well. It's a great escape, without the ploughing decent of homesickness. It's a nice amount of time.

All being well I should be back in Vietnam tomorrow, and from there it isn't really long until I'm back at district one in Ho Chi Minh city. All the repairs that I can see needed to be done on the bike have been done, and with any luckk, no nasty surprises should rear their heads on the way there. I'm quite looking forward to seeing what happens at the border with no import permit for the bike, especially as I have dwindling amounts of money in my wallet until I get to Vietnam. But it's a Vietnamese bike, and I'm taking it home. I don't think there will be a problem. Either way, I'm going to cross the border with it.

Cambodia has been great. It holds some of the friendliest people I've met in the region so far, and I'm going to miss it. It's a shame it's so hard to find a guesthouse when you're on the road, harder than anywhere else I've travelled through in this region... but that it the only little annoyance I can find. Vietnam is easy with finding somewhere decent to stay, and I'm glad to be going back there. Yep, it's all falling into place.

I'm going to miss this life... But it won't be long until one of my greatest friends and I circumnavigate Europe this summer once I'm back. It will be the first time I'll be leaving home with company. It'l be a refreshing change.

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