Day 3 already! Our group arrived in dribs and drabs on day 1, flying into Cambodia’s capital from Sydney, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. One intrepid teacher even braved the roads and arrived from Vietnam by car!
Despite our varying degrees of travel-induced exhaustion, we managed to be up bright and early on Day 2 for our cycling tour. After doing some carb/caffeine loading at Browns we were all on our bikes and ready to go. The weather was perfect for riding (overcast and breezy) and as we pedalled along dirt tracks and rickety bridges we were given a rare glimpse of rural Cambodian life and we never tired of answering the constant greetings from children on the side of the road.
After a hard day of riding a few of us decided to treat our aching limbs to a massage. That evening we piled into tuk tuks and headed for the river. Driving in Cambodia is something of a mystery to us. It is organised chaos where drivers are both cordial and extremely daring at the same time. After a while it became clear that we were in the midst of a Phenom Penh traffic jam. We were a little unsettled when we heard that the traffic build up was due to another protest road block. As Ed had predicted, Phenom Penh had shown no signs of any unrest since we had arrived. Having made it safely to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club and quickly taking advantage of the 2 for 1 happy-hour deal we were able to watch the small crowd disperse peacefully.
Dinner at ‘Friends’, a restaurant that trains disadvantaged young people in hospitality skills, brought a different kind of excitement – a rare delicacy – stir fried red tree ants with beef and basil. Surprisingly it didn’t taste like chicken! This afternoon we head off to Siem Reap and tomorrow the teaching and project team will start work! Stay tuned, the hard work begins!