Bracing for Typhoon Durian

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December 4th 2006
Published: November 15th 2009
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We had an easy ride down from Phnom Penh over the past two days. Both rides were less than 90 kms and that allowed us to find accommodations before noon and avoid the worst of the heat.

With each riding day, I'm more convinced that Cambodia is one of the best cycling countries in the world. While the roads are not great they are sealed and more importantly the traffic is minimum at best. Combine that with great food, friendly people, fabulous value and you have one great place to cycle.

I have been impressed at the presence of Western Union here. They appear to have hooked up with one of the local banks to offer money transfers locations all around Cambodia. They now have incredible depth in this country. Something that can't be said for other US and European multi-national companies.

I have also been amazed at how much wood and charcoal is used here. Electricity is used sparingly (forget about streetlights outside of Phnom Penh) and very few people own cars. I get the feeling this is how much of Africa operates as well.

Getting cold drinking water on the road has been a challenge on the road. Since no one seems to use much electricitiy out in the country, all vendors have are coolers with drinks and a block of ice in them -- sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't... For what people do use for electricity seems to come mostly from car batteries. Each morning I will pass by a diesel generator recharging dozens of batteries at the same time. I can only assume that these batteries are used to light the one or two light bulbs people seem to have on in their homes.

The other thing that I have been amazed with is the number of people that are piled up on the top of minivans (see photo). I just have to think there are some messy accidents each year with people being catapulted off the top of these vans. However, no one here seems to be too concerned about it.

No entry is complete with some talk about food. The highlight over the past few days has been a seafood meal I had in Takeo (half way between Phnom Penh and Kampot). I had three jumbo prawns (two grilled and one with a soup) that were right out of the tank. You can't beat that kind of freshness! The locals referred to them as lobsters because they are so big. They aren't far from the truth. All of this for $7US...

Shauna has just informed me that we have a Typhoon headed are way. Wouldn't that be ironic given the last time I was in this area of Southeast Asia, I was caught in a severe storm in Central Vietnam that killed 700 people. So much for the dry season...


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