domingo, 16 de novembro de 2014

Day 16 - Phnom Penh - 4,27km

Dear all,


One more morning withoit alarm clock! I feel rested now!

When we woke up in the morning, it was our expectation that we would need to book the hotel for one more night, but Maria, a Argentinian girl living now in Phnom Penh invited us to surf her couch! Great news!!

We phonned her from Skype and we settled to meet at 13h close to the Russian Market. Time to pack our stuff, carrying the bikes and find our way to the Russian Market.

Marta & Peter

We are more and more used to ride the bikes through the traffic, so we reached the place we settled ina question of minutes. Maria arrived a bit after, in her bike and took us to her place. We left the bikes at the building's entrance where more bikes are stored and we took our bags to her place. She lives on the 4th floor and the interesting thing is that the staircase is only about 60 cm wide and around the building, i.e., outside from the builing itself. She is sharing the flat with a french couple that was out of town.

We stayed a bit chatting on the livingroom and then we went out to explore the market. Maria told us that she would be in the pool that is somehow near to her place, so we would probably meet there.

The market is full of vendors, but all of this area is more and more common for tourists, so you get a lot of tourist prices and it is difficult to make them lower. We were looking for a simple t-shirt for Marta to cycle in Malaysia (as it is a mostly muslim country we thought it would be better for her to cycle with a t-shirt rather than with a sleeveless shirt). The first vendors we asked for the price, they wanted 5 USD. Really? 5 USD for a simple t-shirt in Cambodia? We walked around and around and we only could see tourists, that's why!

Finally we could find a shop where we could lower the prices to the fair price, and we took one pair of trousers and 2 t-shirts for 6USD.

Marta buying her new clothes

After the market we tried to find the pool and it was just a few meters away, so we took a smaller street (you can see the staircases out of the building).

Narrow street

Turned out that the access to the pool is quite expensive (we did not ask Maria if we needed to pay or we just would simply get in assuming that we knew the way) so we waited a bit by the lobby. Maria was not feeling that good so we headed home soon!


We asked Maria if we could cook something, afterall we are missing some home made food. She agreed, so me and Marta went (quite far) to the mall where we went to cinema last night as we knew that they have a bigger supermarket to buy supplies.

I worte this before, and I will write it once more: couchsurfing is not only a way to sleep for free. We ended up paying more for the food than a night in the hotel, but nothing pays off the nice meal we prepared for Maria and the nice chat we had by her terrace during dinner and after!

Maria, thank you so much for being part of your journey and we wish you all the best!


What a shame, we did not take a single picture with our host, Maria!


Summary of the day:

  • Daily distance: 4,27 km (I forgot the GPS gadget on the way to supermarket)
  • Daily time: 17m20s
  • Average speed: TBA
  • Maximum speed: TBA


Total travelled so far: 661,02 km

Total time cycling: 39h25m31s


And that is all for now folks!





sábado, 15 de novembro de 2014

Day 15 - Phnom Penh - 11,6 km

Dear all,


It was soooooo nice not be woken up by an alarm clock! I am not sure how long we slept, but I think it was till about 9h30.

As we still did not have any positive reply from couchsurfers, we decided to book the hotel for one more night still hoping that someone woud invite us to stay with them the following day.

As we would like to see the city without beeing on a tuktuk, which would not allow us to stop here and there, we took our bikes for a tour around the city.

Peter & Marta at the central market
Stop sign in Cambodia (most of them only uses Cambodian letters)

In Phnom Penh, the lake Tonle Sap (that is by far the largest lake in Cambodia, coming all the way from Sieam Reap) merges with Mekong river (that comes from Laos).

Have you noticed that most of the capitals has rivers (Lisbon, Paris, London, Vienna, Budapest, Riga, Vilnius, Rome, Prague, Bangkok...). Probably it is easy to explain as back in time it was the easiest and probably only way that the goods were transported. Well, I never have thought about it before.

It was built a walking path by the river and it was nice to take that our bikes through that path.

Cycling slowly by the lake
Marta in Phnom Penh
Peter Lamb in Phnom Penh

By the river they have a lot of flags from different countries (I do not know for which reason, neither its order because they are not in alphabetic order). It was a shame to see that the Portuguese flag was not correct! The green and red colours did not seem to have the dimensions that should and the "yellow part of the flag" was definatly not the original. I cannot consider myself patriot or that I care too much of the country, but there is whom is resposible for diplomatic issues and the flag that is stand next to the other ones, should be the original and no other. Is not that the responsability of our diplomacy abroad?


By the river You can find the parliament and also the royal palace. Pictures are not that great as in were taking facing the sun.

The royal palace

We cycled as well to the monument of the independence that was built after Cambodia beimg independent of French occupation.

Monument of independence

You still find here and there some aspects that shows that France took over Cambodia, as some neighbourhoods have the architecture that undoubtly has french influence (sometimes it reaaly seems that you are in Alger or Marseille - only the Arabs are missing), and also you can spot a lot of french influence on some names for shops.

We had luch at a "touristic pub" owned by a french guy, although all the staff being Cambodian.

Lunch time

Some of the streets has names, but most of them has numbers. So all they city is a complex grid of numbers, that most of the times has some logic but there is a gap here and there, and for that reason you need a map to get through it.

I was impressed as well by the amount of construction they have this days with some quite huge buildings as well.

Large buildings being constructed in Phnom Penh

We had dinner at a local restaurant, quite early. I would say around 18h. Only the owner spoke some English and the restaurant is full of staff just sitting and staring at you. It made me feel quite uncomfortable. Well, we ordered some steak for the two of us, but it came to our table almos raw. Well, I like to eat meat medium, but raw meat in Cambodia after seeing the market, no thank you very much. Maybe what they have done with the steak after we send it back was even worse, but lets not think about it, ok?


We decided to go to cinema in the evening. We had the option of going to a smaller, independent movie hall, but we did not like that much the movie they were showing in the evening. So we took the second option and went to a bigger mall, to see the Jodie Foster's movie "Before I go to sleep".

It was a quite nice thriller, but for us, the most thrilling thing was our way there. We decided to walk (something that almost no one does there, as the locals have their scooters and the tourists take the tuktuk. When me and Marta were crossing a smaller street a scooter with two guys let us start crossing and as soon as we took somthing like two or three steps into the crossing they drove the scooter just behind us and the scooter's passenger grabbed Marta's purse. Luckly he did not catched it well and Marta's stripe is quite strong, so they did not take the bag (and Marta was not pulled from the scooter). Well, the following seconds are hard to describe, you tend to go for another street, as you have no clue if it was only a imexperienced first timer thief, or if they will come back and make a second round stopping this time and somehow threaten you this time. Nothing more happened and it was nice to get to the movie hall, adter being lost in small streets for a while.

For the way back we took a tuktuk ride. First the driver wanted 4 USD, we said no way!! We offered 2, and that it was already too much, as it is quite close and we know it. he insisted on 3, we were inflexible on 2, but we could finally agree. 2,25USD. Jesus, it is tiring to be "negotiating" all the time!


Summary of the day:

  • Daily distance: 11,6 km
  • Daily time: 1h06m36s
  • Average speed: TBA
  • Maximum speed: TBA


Total travelled so far: 656,75 km

Total time cycling: 39h08m11s


And that is all for now folks!





sexta-feira, 14 de novembro de 2014

Day 14 - Sala Lekh Pram - Phnom Penh - 55,5 km

Dear all,


Despite being quite tired after the 100 km cycled yesterday, our plan was to get up before the sunrise and cycle into the capital while the temperature allows to have a pleasent ride.

Peter Lamb and the first sunrays, early morning

We stopped at a local market to buy some food for breakfast (I found some grapes for about 4€/kg, but it was exactly what I wanted)! We bought also some bread, which I think that they add some cocconut milk or something similar, as the bread is quite sweet. They have written in the bread something in red ink but we could not really understand what was it.

we saw as well how the ice is distributed around here. Unfortunatly we have no pictures, but the procedure is quite simple.

The ice is brought in small sized trucks and it comes in bars, about 30x30 cm and about 5 meters long. Then the buyer (usually a person who sells cold drinks) asks for some ice and that long bar is cut by using a manual saw. We have been told that the ice machines are really old, used since the French were colonizing Cambodia.

The local market where we stopped for some food

There was also another thing which was quite shockimg to us. Imagine the following: about 20 small trucks just with the cabin and with the back open. Now imagine between 30 to 50 persons, mostly women, standing in there, some holding some bars to keep the balance and some holding to the ones holding the bars. And this is how factory workers come to work every day. We do not have pictures of it.

The cycling day would not have much to tell, but then suddenly Chan showed up on his scooter, having his grandmother as passenger. Chan was quite talkative and it was nice to have a chat while ridding.

Peter Lamb & Chan

Chan speaks good English and he is going to improve ot even better as he is going to Australia next year to be with his family and study English. Cheers to that Chan!

Marta, Chan & Peter Lamb

We found a coffe in the outskirts of Phnom Penh with internet, so we stayed for some time, waiting for the temperature to lower a little bit, as it would be hard to get into the city in rush hour and under the intense sun and temperature it was.

We found out that the couch request we have sent has been declined, as he was already hosting some other couchsurfers. We sent some more requests, knowing that it would be hard to get accepted for the same day, but maybe we would be lucky for the following ones.

As the time was passing by and we did not have any positive answers, we decided to head to the city, going first to a bike shop and asking if they would have two bike boxes that they could give us or sell to pack the bikes on Monday for the flight to Singapore.

The traffic is very intense and it does not really help that on the street shoulders (which does not reaaly exist, there are comming loads of scooters on the opposite direction. Of course that they do not use helmets and they hirn all the time, wich makes it very tiring after 15 minutes ridding in such an environment)! The videos shows much more than the pictures, but here it goes some of the pictures taken

Peter Lamb & Marta trying to cycle withing the intense traffic
One scooter facing us
Traffic in Phnom Penh


We found on internet the shop Vicious bike shop, located on street 144, which would be quite convinient for us, as would be on our way to the city.

They said that they could disassemble the bikes and put them in bike boxes for 12 Dollars per bike (not a really bad price, but could be chaper I think). We asked if they could arrange some transportation to the airport and they asked for 25 dollars. Ouch, that will bring the total cost up to 48USD! Ok, let us think about it and if we accept we will be here on Monday morning!

As we still did not have any positive answer from couchsurfers we head to a hotel and we found out that the rate for walk-ins was lower than on (15USD for a double room with Aircon and ensuite bathroom. Ah, the hotel has a swimming pool, but we did not use it).

We booked just for one night, hoping that maybe some couchsurfers would invite us to their homes the following day.


Summary of the day:

  • Daily distance: 55,5 km
  • Daily time: 3h10m10s
  • Average speed: TBA
  • Maximum speed: TBA


Total travelled so far: 645,15 km

Total time cycling: 38h01m35s


And that is all for now folks!






quinta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2014

Day 13 - Krakor - Sala Lekh Pram - 100,3 km

Dear all,


We could not get up and be ready early in the morning, afterall we needed some more rest.

We were ready to go at around 7AM and in Cambodia that is way too late to start a cycling day!

Peter lamb in front of the guesthouse

The guesthouse was quite ok and the owner's sun spoke quite good English.

I often take pictures of the road signs to remember where I stayed overnight. As I think that this one is quite nice, here it is (unfortunatly the kid's bicycle is cropped):

Road sign, Peter Lamb's shadow and a fellow cycler

As the road sign shows, we are still 152 km short from Phnom Penh.

It was a rather uneventeful morning of cycling, taking some pictures along the way. Here you are some of the morning pictures:

Cambodia countryside
Some people sell little sets of wood
Primary school
What's up Peter Lamb?
Cycling on road number 5


This trip has been way different from last year's one, when I was cycling through the Baltic countries. In that trip I could cycle at any given time during the day. On this trip we have to cycle early in the morning (we try to cycle around 50km non stop - or short stops only for picture, or buy some water), followed by an extended break (I would say from about 10h30 to 15h30), and then cycle a bit more till we find a guesthouse.

For today's break we found a great spot, about 500 meters off the main road. There was a house, about 50 meters from the shoreline of a large lake and the house itself is supported by 9 colloums, creating a great place to set the hammicks under the house.

Having a rest
Great spot for blogging, right?

The wind was blowing from the lake, so the breeze even helped a bit more to cool us down.

Marta having a nap

Just before leaving a couple of pictures more, from the best resting spot we have found so far!

Peter lamb
Peter Lamb & Marta ready to cycle again

After some kilometers of cycling we passed through a major city. We had cycled around 70km since our departure in the morning and it is that distance that it is still not enough to finish the cycling day, but you are crossing your fingers that a guesthouse will show up in the next 20km.

Independence monument

Marta was getting hungry so we stopped by a restaurant for her dinner.

Marta having her dinner

We got back to cycling, trying to speed up a bit to avoid cycling sfter the sunset, but that was not possible and eventually we cycled about 1 hour in the dark. The positive side of it is that the sky was full of stars. Pity that some cars were passing by from time to time, so the eyes connot really see all the visible stars in the sky.

In small villages we were asking people where we could find a place to sleep, but it was hard to understand if it was a matter of meters or still some kilometers left... When you have no other choice, you simply have to keep cycling till you find a guesthouse (and it was the second time I regreted that I did not bring my small tent for this trip)!

In one of the villages there was a young man that spoke some English and told us that the next guesthouse would be in Sala Lekh Pram, about 12 km away, so we still had about 40 to 45 minutes of cycling ahaed. I had my dinner, and we hit the road for the final kilometers of the day.

The guesthouse was very basic, but well, the cost was 5 USD!

Peter lamb, exhausted at the guesthouse door


Summary of the day:

  • Daily distance: 100,3 km
  • Daily time: 5h41m23s
  • Average speed: TBA
  • Maximum speed: TBA


Total travelled so far: 589,65 km

Total time cycling: 34h51m25s


And that is all for now folks!






quarta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2014

Day 12 - Boeng Khnar - Krakor - 59,7km

Dear all,


We woke up early and we were able to start cycling at the sunrise, slightly after 5AM.

As these guesthouses are no more than a place to sleep, we cycled untill we find the first place where we could buy some food.

Marta & Peter, still sleepy, at a local market

We found a place to sit at the other side of the road, at the front of a shop that was not yet open.

Peter & Marta having breakfast

The breakfast was orange juice (25% juice, they probably add water and it is quite sweet, so I assume that they add sugar too), and a set of fried sweets (one was for sure banana, my favourite, the others we were not sure what we were eating).

Back to cycling, our pace was not that good, so we were cycling slower than usual and the kilometers did not seem to flow as we were used to.

When we passed through Pursat, which is the capital of the region we were cycling, we stopped for a bit and I found exactly what I was looking for, a place to cut my hair!

The hair advisor saloon

The guy did not speak any English, so I adressed him with my good Cambodian skills:

- Susdai (I do not know how it is written, but it sounds like Sucedai, and it means hello)

After that, it was just mimics, but the conversation was sort of:

- how are you? Good!

- well, I came to cut my hair.

- would you like to be shaved as well?

- Sure, how much does it cost?

- 4000 Riels

- Deal!

- Have a sit.

- Okhun (means thank you in Cambodian).


So, to get this right: one hair cut and shave (old style, with new raiser) costs 1 USD!!!

The previous costumer
Peter Lamb in need of an haircut
Let the show begin!
Yeah baby, cut it!
Shaving time!
Workstation, red bull powered
The final result

The temperature was quite high, despite of being early in the morning. We decided to cycle through the city, somehow leaving the road number 5 for some time and coming back for it at the other side of the city.

Finding the market was not difficult as the street paralel to the road 5 gets us through the market.

The market itself runs inside a building, but there are loads of vendors outside as well, making it almost as large as double of the building's size.

Market in Pursat
Market in Pursat
Fish vendors in Pursta Market
Some locals buying their goods in the market

What we found out to be interesting is that they do not run it by sections. What I mean is: one vendor sells meat, close to the next one that sells vegetable, which is close to another that sells fish.

The smell of somehow spoiled meat is very intense, as the vendors just have some shade over the products, they have absolutely no cooling or even ice. The products are just there, exposed to temperatures around 30 degrees and the products get spoiled very quickly.

Inside the market it is even worse, as the temperature is very high and the mixture of smell really difficult to stand (and I am not a picky person, at all)!

We tried to buy some grapes, as we were not eating fruits for a long time, but I inly found one vendor with grapes. They asked for 25 000 Riels per kilo, about 4€ per kilo, so we ended up not taking it. Later that day we ended up buying some grapes somewhere else and the price was 20 000 Riel per kilo. I do not know if the grapes are imported, or it is just not the season for it, but well, we really wanted to eat grapes that day, no matter of the price!

Back to the road again, Marta had a flat tire. My father's bike does not have a quick release on the back wheel, so it takes a bit longer to disassemble the wheel.

I do not remember the last time I had a flat tire and needed to fix it. To be very honest I do not even remember that I ever had a flat tire! Well, it is not rocket science, so lets get the job done! Taking out the wheel, take the tire off the wheel, look for the hole in the tube, scratch it a little bit, put some glue and wait 3 minutes and then press the patch for one minute. After that examine the tire and look for what it may cause the flat tire.

It was a tinypiece of metal, about 3 milimeters long that caused the flat tire! It was not difficult to remove it from the tire, so I assembled back the wheel and pumped some air into the tube. I have no idea how much time we took for all the process, but I would say that took us around 20 to 25 minutes. Marta has to take the bags the bike and put them on the bike as well after this, and that is somehow time consuming as well.

The place where we slept last night, only 35 km away

Back to the road again it was difficult to build up some distance and I was feeling quite weak. We stopped and decided that the best would be to find a good spot to set the hammicks and have a rest. Maybe closer to the sunset we would feel with more energy.

Road 5 with almost no shadows, making it difficult to cycle

Finding a good spot to rest is not always easy. First thing we look for is to go out of the mais road to find a place where we can rest from the traffic's noise. Sometimes you take some small roads that leads to people's houses, sometimes there is almost no trees...

This time we got lucky, althought we had to ride about 3 km off-road.

The road towards our resting spot
Marta preparing our food
The surroundings of our resting spot
Peter Lamb blogging before his nap time!

After our rest, we came back to the main road, but today cycling was not really what we wanted the most. As we would have more than enough time to make it into the capital, we decided to look for a guesthouse a bit earlier than usual.

Fully loaded truck with no windows or windshield!

Summary of the day:

  • Daily distance: 59,7 km
  • Daily time: 3h38m10s
  • Average speed: TBA
  • Maximum speed: TBA


Total travelled so far: 489,35km

Total time cycling: 29h10m02s


And that is all for now folks!