January 11, 2013
The wind was working with us today and we plowed through the first 20 or so miles. We enjoyed smooth asphalt with a good shoulder and light traffic. Then we hit road construction. For the next 25 miles, we rode through red dust clouds and mud in a tangle of trucks, cars, tuk tuks and semis sporadically moving towards the city. Chandler’s sunglasses broke a few days before so he was having an especially difficult time seeing, which is obviously an unfortunate sense to have dulled while riding a bike in chaotic Cambodian traffic. He ended up wrapping a scarf around his face which improved things very slightly.
We were both so happy to finally reach Phnom Penh and dust free asphalt with a massive shoulder. Chandler’s bike computer, which has logged most of our miles ridden, both loaded and unloaded around town, hit 1,000 miles, a milestone only with us Americans who still use the “English” system. (Chandler will note that the “megameter” (Mm) milestone was reached unceremoniously just west of Siem Reap) The guide book had a number of suggestions for lodging and we picked out an area at random. The hotel we picked was actually in a Muslim neighborhood with several falafel restaurants and a mosque under construction nearby.
The hotel used to be situated adjacent to a lake which has since been drained. Along with the lake the tourist amenities in the area also dried up. We read a couple reviews online of the hotel and they were mostly bad. People complaining that there wasn’t enough happening and it was too far away from the bars. Sounded like the perfect place for us. The reviews were pretty accurate and the place was nearly deserted and slummy, but they had cheap rooms, good food and wifi, which are our chief concerns. We settled in and watched the sunset over the vacant lakebed before turning in.