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Published: February 4th 2010
We were awake well before dawn, think 3 a.m., thanks to dogs playing ode to the Moon (which was full) in a symphony of howls and barks, one at a time and then all together for the chorus. Roosters eventually joined in for the great finale. Jeff attempted to quiet the noise with his ear plugs but no joy on these enabling a few more hours of sleep. We eventually crawled out of the white heaven, unraveled the mosquito netting and began assembling our gear, tip toeing in the dark.
Breakfast was at a local roadside stand, fried rice with egg was the standard when we could. The day not getting any cooler, we set out for what would eventually turn into a couple hours of walking. As we got further into Preah Vihear province, the children went from laughing and yelling hello at the sight of two spandex clad Barangs to yelling and running away in fear, often with mother and aunties joining the escape! Quite disconcerting.
Entering a larger town, we encountered the K9 anti-Barang enforcement unit. A team of specially trained attack flea carriers attempted a sneak attack on Jeff's ankles. Thankfully a
successful counter attack prevented a donation of skin and blood! Jeff and Mr Slim seriously contemplated spit roasting one of them for lunch....
Lunch provided no rest today. An open field with no real shade prevented any real resting so we waited as long as we could and headed back out onto the road. More walking, then finally the heat slowly subsided and we started running again. It may sound twisted but running has become preferable to walking and actually much easier. The constant camber of the road has started to give us ankle and knee challenges. What to do but continue on, turning up the volume on our iPods to drown out our overheated inner voices. Eventually running resumed and when Mr. Slim gave us the big one kilometer left to the campsite sign, Nat bolted like a horse heading for the barn, remembered her best bud Jeff slowed down, and both of us a sweaty sticky mess, clambered to the chosen open field, our resting spot for the night.
Thankfully and a credit to our awesome crew, Mr Paul, Mr Slim and Ms Alin had been busy at work setting up the tents and starting supper.
When we arrived, a crowd of “neighbors”, the local road construction crew, had already gathered by our campsite and once again we were on review, the newest exhibit in the zoo.
Another amazing dinner by Ms Alin! Fried noodles, Ms Alin soup and rice, nothing could be better! It has been interesting to us to notice how our training paid off (thanks Ray Zahab...) and actually witnessing day after day that our bodies are adapting to the weather, eating real food and not living on 'special endurance goops'. Electrolytes and Recoverite remain a must though. Coffee is something we crave but none to be had, and finally the caffeine headaches are becoming less severe. Daily drinks range from water to Gatorade to more water and the obligatory Angkor beer with a Recoverite chaser at the end of the day. Sprite has become a treat for Jeff (he's had more in the last 3 days then the last 3 years!), any time it can be found and if ice cold. Its lovely sugar rush has prevented more than one complete meltdown!
Dinner complete and our entourage of onlookers gone, we had a special treat of a two bucket bath!
Ok so it was a bit strange washing up in an open field along side the road (Jeff is now Nat's official human shower curtain) but the milk colored water washed off the red dust, dirt and salt that had accumulated during the day.....7 or on a late night 8 pm is bed time these days so we crawl into the trusty tent and talk about the idea of actually being able to complete this journey....
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