Blink of the Eye - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

December 12, 2023

Blink of the Eye

Chhlong to Kratie, Cambodia

A road off into the hinterlands.
Heart 8 Comment 1
Ron SuchanekI like that.
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2 months ago

Blink of the Eye

I don't know when we last had a fan room and no air conditioning but it may have had something to do with how quickly we were on the road.  That, and the fact that we didn't have a pre-purchased papaya or bananas to make into breakfast.  Since we had only about 23 miles to Kratie we thought we might blast through and eat breakfast there knowing that there would be much better restaurants than in Chhlong or anywhere since Phnom Penh.  

There wasn't as much to see along the way either, which meant that we did make good time.  We were getting a little bit worn down, it being the fifth day in a row of riding.  It's the heat and humidity that take a toll on us and not so much our strength or endurance.  We are feeling stronger each day but boo on climate change.  It's nearly impossible to fully enjoy being here with temperatures the way they have been.  

A small village's morning market.
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I think these are little plastic bags full of banana chips.
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Probably the owners get some money for displaying advertisements but I hate how it looks. I'd much rather look at the weathered wood of the old buildings.
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A typical school and its soccer field. We have seen a lot of brand new schools too.
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I hadn't been seeing any crematories but finally here is one.
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Monks receiving their morning alms. The two younger women were having a really hard time looking at the monks because they really wanted to look at the foreigners whom they rarely see. Monks any day, foreigners almost never.
Heart 9 Comment 2
Ron SuchanekThe monks are probably a little unsettled having to compete with you guys for attention.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekIt gives the monks an opportunity to work on getting rid of competitiveness, jealousy, vanity, and a whole bunch of other stuff that Buddha taught to be free from.
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2 months ago
She smiled a big smile when I smiled at her. That's the way it always is. They wonder who we are and then immediately smile as if we are old friends.
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But there are always fun little things that I wish I could take photos of by blinking my eyes a certain way.  Why haven't they come up with that yet?  A SD card in my brain wired to my eyelids.  No problem I would think.  I've always said the best photos I've ever taken are in my memory and not in my camera.  Today was no exception.  The two that stand out for me:  Two middle school Muslim girls were walking to school alongside the road. Both were wearing immaculate and beautiful violet colored hijab.   Not one wrinkle in the fabric.  The girls were walking heads upright and looking at me.  I gave a smile and immediately they both smiled widely, the most beautiful smiles.  They didn't have to look at one another to see if she was going to smile or not, they were spontaneously in unison.  Absolutely adorable. The people in this part of Cambodia are really good looking and those girls were no exception.  I just love how open they all are, not questioning my smile, not questioning my intentions.  This is the way it should be everywhere but I understand why it isn't.  It's just refreshing to be here.

The other thing I wish I had a photo of.....By the side of the road a beef cart had stopped to sell some meat to a small group in front of their houses.  Lots of things are sold by traveling salespeople.  Lots of things.  This time it was a freshly butchered cow.  The seller was holding up an enormous leg bone, the whole leg. including the knee.  There was some bloody meat sticking to it.  Right behind the crook of the knee, as he was holding it, were two little kids watching the selling of the meat.  They saw us and if you can imagine this scene....an enormous bloody leg bone and two little kids smiling and waving at us from behind it.  They had to crouch a tiny bit to get around the bloody mess to have a good look at us!  Priceless.

These "missed" photos happen all the time.  Yes, we can see a lot by bike and yes, we can stop and take a lot more photos than if on a bus or car but still, I feel the best shots are always missed.  I think because they are missed they increase in importance with each memory of them.  Therefore, because they don't exist physically, they become the best shots ever, in our minds.  

I've been feeling a lack of power lately. I should drink more Krud I guess.
Heart 8 Comment 2
Mark LellmanPower overpowers Quality I see. Maybe they are separate entities.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Mark LellmanI think when the quality is this low they had to come up with some distraction. Who ever heard of a beer giving you power?
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1 month ago
Apparently there might be something under Krud pop tops. I feel I better start drinking a lot of this stuff. I could get rich.
Heart 1 Comment 2
Ron SuchanekYou're losing money for every Krud you don't drink.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekI know!
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2 months ago

We were both tired today as we rode.  I think the fan room was the cause.  It's not that we were very hot all night because if any place could have stayed rather cool in this heat, it was that hotel.  It did not face south and it had an enormous metal enclosure that nearly covered the entire hotel.  Heat at night was not a big issue, it was the dampness.  Dampness can wear you down I'm finding.    I'm also finding that everytime I look in my mirror as I ride I see Andrea and it seems she is always coasting!  Here I am pedaling constantly but every time I look back at her she is coasting?  What's that all about?!!

From a distance I thought this wooden cart was for transporting coffins but it was for bloody meat.
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Speaking of death, how is this motorcycle still running?
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The map showed an actual jungle we'd be skirting.  I mean, it said "Kratie Jungle," but there was no jungle.  Maybe the road didn't come close enough to it and the jungle does exist in the distance.  Unfortunately, I was all set for a jungle experience imagining snakes and monkeys and other nasty jungle animals but then, nothing.  One has to be ready for anything on a bike trip including nothing.  Adjust oneself at a moment's notice or even no notice.  I contented myself with looking on the other side of the road at the Mekong River which always makes me happy; one of the great rivers of the world!

No jungle here.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Kristen ArnimI would have chosen this road for the jungle as well and been very disappointed.
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2 months ago
See that ridge in the distance. That's the area where the Kratie Jungle is.
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So, the rear portion of this animal could be a rhino and the snout could be a moose. Maybe the front-middle could be what it was supposed to represent.
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We had been in Kratie fifteen years ago and loved it, therefore we were looking forward to being there and seeing how things had progressed, or, in Kampong Cham's case, not progressed the way we thought it might.  Kratie is on the east bank of the Mekong and is sort of famous for being a great place to view sunsets.  A large island, Kaoh Trong, is in the middle of the Mekong in front of the town and last time we were in Kratie we took rented bicycles on a little ferry to the island and rode around it all day.  There are little villages and hard dirt paths everywhere and no motorized vehicles.  We didn't feel we needed to return.  

On the outskirts of Kratie are floating Vietnamese homes. They are fishers.
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Also, 10 miles upstream is an area where the last of the Irrawaddy River dolphins in the Mekong hang out.  We went to see them last time also.  It wasn't a super fulfilling experience since you don't know if you will see anything from the boat and if you do it will be a very brief moment when they surface for air.  They don't come up to the boat to say hello or anything like that so we had already decided we wouldn't go see them again either.  It was definitely going to be a rest day.  By the way, here in Cambodia they call the Irrawaddy River dolphins the Mekong River dolphins.  Same cute species but they are officially the Irrawaddy River dolphins.  And, sadly, they are extremely endangered. 

This statue of an Irrawaddy River dolphin used to stand in front of the Silver Dolphin Guest House but it has been shoved behind a bunch of junk. It, too, seems to be endangered.
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Just entering the lovely town of Kratie.
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We arrived in Kratie at 8:30AM and went directly to a fancy coffee place.  When I say fancy I mean it cost $1.50, way more than normal.  Then we got beautiful fruit at the market and then we ate breakfast.  We found a hotel room and when we realized that the balcony right outside our room was like a furnace we did a lot of laundry which was dry in ten minutes.  Then we found the best Khmer food we have ever eaten at Street Three Eatery.  The owners are Australian but the food is mostly Khmer made to perfection obviously using high quality organic ingredients.  What a treat for us!!  We talked to one of the owners for a long time.  He is a lover of cats and one was draped around his neck most of the time.  He also has great taste in music and we enjoyed that as well.  What a great find.  He and his partner are just opening a second restaurant in Siem Reap (home to the Angkor Wat complex).  I'm sure that one will do even better since many thousands of tourists go there every year.  

Tomorrow = rest day.

lovebruce

Heart 7 Comment 2
John SolemYour flash went off? Nice.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo John SolemNo, actually. I think it's from a street light or something.
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2 months ago

Today's ride: 23 miles (37 km)
Total: 332 miles (534 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 4
Rachael AndersonLooks like a very nice place to stay for a well deserved rest day!
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2 months ago
Kristen ArnimI have also noticed that I coast more than Jeff on trips but never figured out why. Weight difference? Maybe he uses a more difficult gear? Maybe I pedal more intensely to get going?
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2 months ago
Lisa LeslieI was just telling a friend today that I always missed the best pictures of my kids because no one had yet invented the camera implant that would let me just tap a button on my temple and snap a shot of whatever was in my view.

...and the Irrawaddy. I will always think of Juju when I hear that river name.
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Lisa LeslieWe quote Juju constantly, Lisa. We just change the location/context.

“Have fun riding on the Mekong/Mun/beach!” It is great encouragement when things get tough.
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1 month ago