December 29, 2012
Towns in western Cambodia are a little more spread out than Thailand which meant we had another long day in the saddle.
We had a little trouble leaving early as we lingered over our breakfast of omelettes with fresh baguettes. We also spent a while socializing with the staff at the guesthouse.
Finally we got on the road and pedaled through Pailin towards Battambang. At one point Chandler stopped to take some pictures of a truck and I had a wonderful round of the “hello” game with some kids. They were just so darn cute and excited, I didn’t care if they said hello a hundred times.
We made it to Battambang around 1pm and checked into one of the first guesthouses we came across. For $6 a room, it was clean and they had really good cable. We ended up watching Kindergarten Cop, the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic while relaxing before dinner.
After our siesta we went looking for food. Battambang is home to not one but two vegetarian restaurants. For less than $4 we had fruit ice shakes and solid meals of noodles with some sort of meat substitute that we couldn’t identify. It had a similar texture to seitan, but was darker colored and looked like mushroom stems. It was a nice recharge from a long day of riding.
At this point it was getting dark so we headed right back to our guesthouse. Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia so there was quite a bit of traffic. The side roads were pretty rough tracks and there were lots of bored looking teenagers hanging around on their motorbikes. We got a vibe that the city was a bit rough around the edges and probably best not to explore at night. Tomorrow the plan is to ride up Highway 5 to Sisophon on the way to Siem Reap. There is a boat that goes there from Battambang, crossing the Tonle Sap, but we have heard it takes up to 10 hours or so which is not much quicker than the 12 hours of biking spread over two days we estimated to ride around.