Friday 3 March 2017

From Battambang to Cambodia's southern coast.

I had a dream in Siem Reap whilst I was resting my ankle from the 'cow attack' about swimming in phosphorescent plankton... and I hadn't been able to get it out of my mind since! I really don't have many days left on this trip before I have to leave - which I am ready to do, but I need to stick to strict itinerary if I'm going to get everything done that I want to do in time... and riding to the southern coast to swim with this plankton is one of those things.

I left Battambang with 'Norah the explorer', and gave her a lift south until she had to go her own way by bus. I like ferrying people around on my bike... especially with how ridiculous it looks with so much weight piled onto a little 110cc bike. It's nice to be able to have a chat in the evening too, in all the obscure places you find in between the tourist towns. Not to say locals aren't good company... they are on many occasions - except when they try and take you into brothels...

Hmm, cow signs...

It's easy to know where you're going from reading the road signs here.

We stumbled upon a fishing village by a lake which held some pretty impressive mountain scenery around its outskirts.

Resident frog in the guesthouse.

I feel the general happiness of Cambodians, which is impressively lovely, starts quite early on...

Temples, temples, temples by the road side.

There seems to be quite an obsession with burning many parts of the landscape here - a common practice in many developing, rural nations.

Taking yet another break for the engines sake. Poor thing.

Hmm, cows...

My initial plan was to find a cargo ship to take my bike and I over to Kho Rong island from the mainland.

And this was it... It's far away from all the tourist speed ferries that ship people to an fro from the island. It only would have been $2.50 for my bike and $5 to add myself to the cargo, but then when I glanced at the gradient of that thin gang plank I'd had to get my bike up - it did bring back some quite uncomfortable memories from the Congo River... Plus, I thought, I have limited time here, and my main plan is to find phosphorescent plankton; something that I didn't need to spend the best part of a day each way on a boat to get to an island to find. I could find it anywhere along the coast. So I took the advice from a friend who'd been there before and headed to the coastal beach of Otres instead.

Otres beach is beautiful... but the best part of it all (for me at least) is the phosphorescent plankton. There's only so much enjoyment I can get from the comforts of what is essentially a beach resort, but swimming within that plankton is nothing short of amazing. Once night descends all you have to do is walk into the water and then it just starts sparkling around you. Moving your arms in the water is like creating galaxies full of starts within your hands. It's hard to put into words how happy it made me feel, and it's definitely hard to get bored of. Swimming within it has been one of the definite highlights of the entire trip for me. A life goal accomplished. I think I spent three hours swimming alone in the 'dark sea' the first night I was here.

I am leaving Cambodia tomorrow though, and for the first time will be taking public transport to Bangkok. The logistics and time and hand have ruled out taking my bike into the Thailand, but I am very much looking forward to seeing a good friend again. For those of you who followed my blog whilst I was travelling through Africa at that time when my passport was stolen from the Benin embassy in Accra (yes, really!), I'll be seeing Will again, a man who kindly took me into his home for three whole months whilst all that mess eventually became sorted out. I'm sure he is having much more fun living in Bangkok now, rather than the past two years he's spent working at the US embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan...

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