Motorcycle mayhem

31 Mar

It’s been interesting being on ‘stop’ for a few days. I’ve done a lot of reading, a little bit of walking, I’ve written lots in my journal, and I have even done a bit of technology work too (great getting my book out!!)

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the guesthouse just watching the world go by. I’ve seen a lot of motorbikes, scooters and mopeds go pat, with various numbers of people on them. Over here, it’s transport for the entire family. On one bike. Or for six sacks of rice.. or a pig or two.. there are transport photos that I wish I had captured, but I was too busy watching in fascination as the precarious constructions carefully balance down the street. I certainly didn’t feel all that safe on the back of a scooter with 20 kilos of rucksack attached… but I made it OK.  Occasionally it’s a remork instead, that crazy combination of motorcycle and trailer….

DSCF2680Polly Bike (1)

Bikes are just a mobile social platform anyway.. bikes will zip by three abreast with an animated conversation going on.. or someone will be on the phone while driving. That said, it’s all a pretty sedate pace.

Pyjamas seem to be a pretty standard form of dress for the girls – preferably with cute cuddly toy pictures on them..

Rubbish is everywhere – every now and again it gets collected into a pile and set fire to – food, paper, plastic, anything…. sometimes those fires get a little out of control too…

Every now and then a palm branch falls on the restaurant, provoking much excitement – although now they’ve harvested the coconuts we should be OK…


They’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, you know…





There are lots of dogs – the restaurant has three, including one called Tony. He’s nearly as cute as me. And a terrific rooster…


They come and sit at my feet and occasionally get trodden on when I forget they are there (the dogs, not the rooster). Cows amble down the street in unattended herds, while the local kids dig for freshwater snails. The snails end up being consumed at little lakeside restaurants, where the pavements are covered with mats and makeshift lighting provides a little illumination. As I walked past the locals invited me to try – but the last time I had snails (admittedly in a posh restaurant in London where a lot of wine was consumed) I was ill for days… so I politely declined, with a smile…


There’s even a funfair….DSCF2706

DSCF2696 and I found this beautiful artwork making up the wall of a new building – must be something special….done in cement and then painted. Or at least I think that’s how they did it.




There must be fish in the lake too..


All the children wave madly ‘Hello’.. occasionally ‘Suosdai’ but mostly just ‘Hellooooo…….’

Last night the whole town lost power – everywhere went black, apart from one or two places that must have had generators – a strange peace came over Ban Luang, and the stars are clear in the inky darkness of the sky.

I learn how to write my name… and, by accident, my sister in law’s name – one of the staff members is called Dyna…


(my attempt on the right, Dyna’s version on the left – it’s a bit like the Lao version but not quite – and I find out how to count (interesting, Kmer has base 5 counting, so we have one to five, then ‘five plus one’, ‘five plus two’..  it adds a new melody to counting that’s missing with base 10 counting…. and there are four fewer numbers to learn!

1    Muoy    
2     Pee    
3     Bey    
4     Buon    
5     Pram    
6     Pram-muoy    
7     Pram-pee    
8     Pram-bey    
9     Pram Buon    
10     Dorp 

Bet you can work out what happens after /Dorp’!!

And I think I’ve tested the whole menu here now. The spring rolls are delicious, so’s the Amok. Love the mango shakes with an egg in them. Not so keen on the Khmer salad with fatty pork that the host’s mother gave me as a gift – but I did try my best… and the pancakes with honey are very yummy indeed….although I feel the need to test all the varieties..

Despondent at not getting my credit card (apparently it was too late for the bus) I decide to go for a bike ride… there’s quite a nice lake nearby, and it’s fun watching everyone on a day out (monks included) and splashing in the water. Mind you, it was a long old ride, some of it on half a road (due to roadworks) – after dodging traffic for half a mile, I decided to ride on the bit of road that no-one else was on, and risk the wrath of the road building gang…


And then, finally, a big DHL envelope arrived, containing a little blue card. House arrest is over, and I can get to Phnom Penh, next stop, the British Embassy and the next phase of ‘get this trip back on track’ . . .

(PS those who know me will realise I actually don’t do ‘despondent’ particularly well.


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