I am the original 'Uneasy Rider' .. not especially blessed with much natural motorcycling talent, nor am I a particularly courageous motorcycle rider.
Nevertheless I went 'Right Way Round' New Zealand (at least twice) followed by a wonderful ride around Australia.

Then it was up to southeast Asia, around Indo-China, across southern Central Asia to the Middle East, Asia Minor .. and finally into Europe.

Right Way Round - all the way home .. from New Zealand to England, 2-up on a Honda Transalp.


PROGRESS SO FAR - Distance covered across Western Europe: 6,411 km [3,984 miles] - as at Thursday, October-22nd, 2015

Saturday 26 October 2013

Back on the Banks of the Mekong


I sometimes wonder why I maintain a travel blog, to the point of obsession. Is it simply vanity? Self-centred navel gazing; an assertion of myself? Here I am. Look at me. This is what I’m doing.

Or is it more about preserving the moments, which I can revisit, reclaim and reminisce over in the future? A good enough reason, surely?

But if I’m honest, I think that I record my travels in photos and captions because it makes me feel more aware of what’s happening to me at the time, more real. It’s like checking in the mirror to make sure I am still where I am, so far away from my familiar surroundings and lifestyle - and to be reasonably comfortable with what I see.

Whatever the reasons, here, for the next two months, is yet another slice of the preserved travels of a Cornish baby boomer; formerly an average insurance salesman (on a good day), sometimes husband, a father of two ... and, at least twice a year, a compulsive blogger.

I'll thank you now, if I may, for clicking onto this tiny corner of the blogosphere. Thank you for displaying these words on your computer’s monitor (or your i-Thingy). Thank you for reading them. Indeed, thank you for being interested at all.


But ahead of getting away .. here's what happened just beforehand:

We had the pleasure of hosting Clive and Christine (British ex-pats living in Brisbane, Aus) ..
.. who we first met - by pure chance and coincidence on three separate occasions - in-and-around northern Thailand during March of this year (2013); the last moment occurring at the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai.

Clive and Chris have just completed their round-the-world motorcycle ride, from Brisbane2Bristol, about 10 days ago.

It was great to see them again .. and I have a sneaking feeling that we will all meet-up again one day in the future .. probably somewhere out there on-the-road.


Sunday, 27th October 2013

7,123 miles [11,461 kilometres]


Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong (and Tonle Sap) River. Once known as the "Pearl of Asia".

From November to May, the mighty Mekong is quiet. So is life for the hundreds of thousands of people who live along its banks, which in Cambodia, forms a 155,000 square km* basin covering ten provinces including Phnom Penh. During these months, the river provides nearby communities with a fertile land, food and much needed income.

* 1km² = 100 hectares


And we arrive during the aftermath of the most severe flooding seen in years!

Barely reported in the West, if at all, at the last count a total 139 people - including too many children - have died as a result of floods this October. Heavy rains which started in the the third week of September, followed by Typhoon Wutip at the beginning of the month (Oct), have drowned provinces along the Mekong, which burst its banks in several places, forcing hundreds of thousands of Cambodians to higher ground. Here are the latest statistics:
  • 241 km of national roads and over 3,100 km of gravel roads submerged
  • 418,770 families affected
  • 208,200 houses, 1,390 schools, and 500 Buddhist pagodas flooded
  • 27,500 families actually displaced
  • 300,500 hectares of rice padi fields inundated 
  • 28,100 hectares of padi completely wiped-out.
Source: CRI
     ... and it's been a similar story in neighbouring Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, which were also hit by Typhoon Wutip.


    WOZZUPPP with us over the next week or so?

    Well, our intended primary objectives whilst here in Cambodia for the next week or so, is to revisit the attractions around the cities of (a) Phnom Penh, the Pearl - and (b) Siem Reap, the Great Gate to Angkor. Unfortunately, neither escaped the deluge and inundations, although nearly all of flood waters have now receded from these two great cities.

    Then it's a southern ride down to the Thai border, stopping at Battambang along the way - to Ko Chang, the second largest island in Thailand .. where we intend doing bugger'all for 4-5 days.

    Time to get on with it all then, eh?