Saras Bike

– Discovering the World

Hallooo Cambodia

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When I think about Cambodia, it is especially all the children who shouted ‘Halloooo!’ after us when we came cycling. They waved their hands and laughed when we shouted a ‘hello’ back at them. Some rushed to hide behind the other children, while some were more courageous and where fooling around. When we stopped to get a some cold to drink, they were often more shy, but stayed nearby and looked curiously at us. But bike wise Cambodia was not the best. Along the main road, which was the route I more or less followed all the way, there was no trees or bushes to give shade or shelter for the wind. It looked like it all was gone to make room for rice fields, that at this time of the year stood empty. The dry fields and no shelter or shade, made the biking very dusty and unbearable hot.
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Når jeg tænker tilbage på Cambodia er det især alle børnene som råbte “Halloooo!” efter os når vi kom cyklende. Der blev vinket og grinet, når vi råbte et “hallo” tilbage til dem. Nogle skyndte at gemme sig bag ved de andre børn, imens nogle var mere modige og lavede tosse streger og fjalede rundt. Når vi stoppede for at få lidt koldt at drikke, var de tit mere generte, men holdte sig i nærheden og kiggede nysgerrigt på os. Men cykelmæssigt var Cambodia ikke det bedste cykelland. Langs hovedvejen, som var den rute jeg mere eller mindre fulgte hele vejen, var stort set al beplantning, som kunne give skygge fældet og gjort plads til rismarkerne, der på denne tid af året stod tomme. De tørre marker og ingen læ eller skygge, gjorde cykeldagene meget støvede og ulidelige varme.

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Shortly after we were crossed over the border, I hit the 5,000 km. But forgot everything about it as it was so exciting to be in a new country. Before we reached the border we had heard a lot of stories about crossing the border to Cambodia. About one could risk having to pay invented fees, and things that had been stolen. Reports from people who I had met earlier in my trip, so we were obviously excited about what would happend when we arrived. I believe our luck, was that we used a less touristy border at Phsar Prum. Everything went fine. Got an out stamp from Thailand. Got a visa to Cambodia. Paid the right price. And then we arrived in Cambodia.
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Kort efter vi var krydset over grænsen, ramte jeg de 5.000 km på km-tælleren. Men glemte alt om det, da det var så spændende nu at være i et nyt land. Inden vi nåede grænsen havde vi hørt en masse historier om at krydse grænsen til Cambodia. Om man kunne risikere at skulle betale opfundne gebyrer, og ting der var blevet stjålet. Beretninger fra folk, som jeg havde mødt tidligere på min rejse, så vi var selvfølgelig spændte på hvad der mødte os ved grænsen. Jeg tro vores held, var at vi benyttede en mindre turistet overgang, ved grænsebyen Phsar Prum. Alt gik som smurt. Fik et ud stempel fra Thailand. Fik et visa til Cambodia. Betalte den rette pris. Og så var vi ankommet til Cambodia.

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There was no doubt that we had arrived to a new country. It was clearly different from the other countries I visited. Nature was different. There were many more bamboo huts, and what could look like a temporary housing, and generally the feeling that it was hardworking people with less money.
In a couple of the cities, they clearly tried to take overprice for drinks and fruit. But between the cities there was no problems with prices. And the deal was always followed by a friendly smile.
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Der var ingen tvivl om, at vi nu var ankommet til et nyt land. Her var helt sikkert anderledes end de andre lande jeg hidtil har været i. Naturen var anderledes. Der var mange flere bambushytter, interimistiske boliger, og generelt en fornemmelse af at flere havde mindre penge imellem hænderne. I et par af byerne, prøvede de klart at tage overpris på fx drikkevarer og frugt. Men imellem byerne var der ingen problemer med priserne. Og handlen blev altid fulgt af et venligt smil.

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One day we decided to stop at a temple, and have a look. We parked the bikes, and saw the monks having lunch. A few of them looked curiously out at us from the little house where they were sitting. Meanwhile we went to take a closer look at the temple. There was a lot of activity from the inside, and when we went up the stairs we nearly got a bucket full of water in the face. Inside was nearly ten boys in process of washing the floor. Outside a big truck pumped water into the large floor of the temple, while the small boys ran back and forth on the floor and pushed the water out of the door.
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En dag valgte vi at gøre holdt ved et tempel, og se nærmere på det. Vi parkerede cyklerne, og så at munkene på daværende tidspunkt var igang med at spise frokost. Et par af dem kiggede nysgerrigt ud på os, fra det lille hus de sad i. Imens gik vi hen og kiggede nærmere på selve templet. Der var en masse aktivitet igang indenfor, og da vi gik op ad trappen havde vi nær fået en spand vand i hovedet. Indenfor var omtrent ti drenge i gang med at gøre hovedrent. Udenfor holdte en lastbil som pumpede vand ind på det store gulv i templet, imens løb de små drenge frem og tilbage på gulvet og skubbede vandet ud af døren.

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In Battambang, we went on a small tour around the city and ended up at ‘the Bat Caves’. Every day at sunset you can see and smell- millions of bats fly out of the caves in search of food. Below the mountain a lady is hammering with a stick on a saucepan lid. The sound makes the bats fly higher up in the air. Her family are employed to preserve the population of the bats. By getting  to fly high it becomes difficult for the local people to shoot them down and eat them. As I mentioned earlier one can smell them. It smells completely horrid when they come out of cave, it is their stools, which also will be collected by the family and sold for fertilizer for expensive money.
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I byen Battambang tog vi på en lille rundtur i oplandet, som bl.a. bragte os til ‘the Bat Caves’. Hver dag ved solnedgang kan man se – og lugte – millionvis af flagermus flyve ud fra grotterne for at finde føde. Nedenfor bjerget står en dame og hamre løs med en pind på et grydelåg. Lyden får flagermusene til at flyve højere op. Hendes familie er ansat til at bevare flagermuse bestanden. Ved at få flagremusene til at flyve højt bliver det svære for lokal befolkningen af skyde dem ned og spise dem. Som jeg nævnte tidligere kan man lugte dem. Det lugter helt fælt når de kommer ud af grotten, det er deres afføring, som også bliver indsamlet af familien og solgt til gødning for dyre penge. 

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On our way to Siem Reap, we found a small refuge along the road. Perfect to take a rest and eat some of the mangoes we brought. The area was well used with paths, etc.. so we were safe by dragging the bikes down there. You must be careful to go out of unknown teritorium as there is still a lot of landmines scattered throughout Cambodia.
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På vej mod Siem Reap fandt vi et lille helle langs vejen. Perfekt til at tage et hvil og spise nogle medbragte mangoer. Området var vel brugt med stier mv. så vi var trygge ved at trække cyklerne derned, selv om man skal være påpasselig med at gå ud på ukendt teritorium, da der stadigvæk er massevis af landminer spredt ud over hele Cambodia.

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