Posted in Cambodia

Saying Good-bye to Cambodia

Morning traffic in Siem Reap

I could have gotten used to the good breakfast at one of the local restaurants near the Siem Reap night market. Especially after I found out that in the morning shortly after sunrise you can still relax along the east bank of the small Siem Reap River. After a half-hour jog in the heat that is not yet so oppressive in the morning, the omelette and the muesli with fresh fruits are a great way to start the otherwise hot day. Later I cycled more than 30 km to the Angkor Park and back.

Omlett and muesli with fruits at Dam Nak Ana Restaurant, Siem Reap

From northwest of Siem Reap, where one of the two international airports of Cambodia is located, I fly back home over three stages and within about 20 hours via Bangkok and Frankfurt to Berlin. This more or less simple connection is taking a bit of the myth of a clean kind of traveling, on the other hand wouldn’t it be possible to travel in this way at all.
The bicycle goes as special baggage onto the journey and as Bangkok Airways has different demands for the transport of a bicycle (the part of Lufthansa first starts in Bangkok), I have to dismantle the bike and pack it with more effort than for the flight to Singapore. When I was in Bangkok 2 weeks before, I already found a robust canvas of 2.5 x 3 mtr. at a local manufacturer about 4km away from Wongwian Yai Station, that I carry since then on my bicycle with its 3 kg of mass. It took me half a day to find this small workshop, to ask and ask again at the shops and little craft-stalls in the region, along Somdet Phra Chao Tak Sin. Sometimes it helps to ask the right question to the right person.

Under the roof of the small court of the hotel in Siem Reap, district Nam Dak, I then need about one hour to get teh bicycle ‘ready for shipping’. Some fragments of used cartonage, that I had collected during the last days, help protect parts of the contour of the bike. The front wheel has to be taken off the fork and I wrap the bicycle then with the canvas and use my laundry rope to wrap and fix it. Ready for transport is the package of about 23 kg. This shows the meter later at the airport and this is also a surprise for me. I’m sweatened after this little work and the temperature now around noon has reached 37° while I’m waiting for the Tuk Tuk that’ll bring me to the airport.
They are everywhere in the streets, used as taxi’s, I often had to deal with them when riding on my bike throuhg the city and the Angkor Park an now, for the few kilometers to the airport, I can enjoy one of these all-purpose vehicles. The driver takes care about the overload, because the bike hangs over both sides of the Tuk Tuk. So it takes about half an hour to come to the airport, and I really enjoy the time sitting in this small vehicle, despite the dusty air and the heat of the afternoon. It’s like a little goodbye from this interesting country, that still has to develop so many things.

Taxis are rare – Tuk Tuk is first choice, here

The next morning my baggage really is dis-embarqued in an undamaged condition, what not always happend in such a good way in the past. But I don’t unwrap and reassemble the bicycle on site, even the sun is shining and laughing in a similar manner, as it did at last in Cambodia. Only similar, because at -6°C I quickly take and wear all layers of my thin clothes and move the baggage (incl. the packed bike) out of the terminal building and into the sun, where I’m lucky enough that both supervisers at the taxi kai, also packed into thick, warm clothes, organise a big taxi within minutes for me. Winter-wonder city Berlin, nice to see you again – but must it be at these deep temperatures ?…

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