Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cambodia – following the border

Clarification: I am already more than three weeks in Laos, but this is the last story from Cambodia. I did not have access to internet beforehand.

Lisu on Cambodian road.
After leaving Prasat Vihear me and Lisu headed in direction to Laos, East, with the aim to first cross the Mekong and then a border to Laos. The order of this action metered a lot since the official border crossing is on the other side of the Mekong. I tried very much to get the best Cambodian map available, but I was not too lucky. There was no publishing date on my map but it had to be old. Half of the time I was biking on the roads that were not marked on my map... I tried to follow the advices that I received from local people, but it was challenging. In Cambodia people were completely not used to maps and they knew they neighborhood only in the radius of 40 km. They usually also did not know till which city or town the road is leading, they only knew to which province is going. And the province were not marked on my map. Luckily I navigated quite a bit with my small pocket compass – I knew the direction East.

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Men's Land - The Boarder experience

Preah Vihear
I did not really plan to get to Preah Vihear but I was misdirected and I was lucky enough to meet again Cambodian Easy Riders in Sra Am.

Preah Vihear are the Khmer ruins on the Cambodia and Thailand border and for many years Thailand and Cambodia is arguing for the ownership. In 2008 it was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which caused some increase tension in this spot including some shooting and military troops movement.

Abandoned gun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Łódź in the middle of Cambodia

Josephine and Cambodian Easy Riders
When you are traveling, usually the first question that one gets: "Where are you from?". Majority of people are satisfied with the answer: "I come from Poland." But next to the main temple in Koh Ker I met Josephine, American women that was not satisfied with this answer. She asked from which city I come from. "I come from Łódź" - I answered. And if someone is not a film freak (in Łódź there is famous film school), one never heard this name before. But Josephine instead smiled and said unexpected that she loved this city!!! She said that it was one of her favorite cities around the world and that her dream was to retire in Łódź. I was astonished to hear it in the middle of Cambodia.
Josephine is an English teacher and journalist and she usually stays one year in one country and than she moves to other place. She stayed one year in Tarnów (not very far from Łódź) and spent almost every weekend in her beloved Łódź. Apparently one of her favorite place in Łódź is Dętka, underground water tank that was recently transform into exhibition hall. I have to admit that I have not been there yet, but I promise that I will use first opportunity to go there.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Power of Nature

Jungle cables.
How would Eiffel Tower look like if it would be left alone for several centuries? How would Dresden Zwinger and Warsaw Palac Cultury look like if the nature could overtake it? Those buildings could look even more impressive.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mine the step

Two years ago there were mines here...
On every step one can see that the war in Cambodia ended quite recently. Only 20 years ago Khmer Rouge ended.
Till today Cambodia is country with the highest number of land mines laying around predominately in jungle. I was shocked that the area around one of the temples was clear out from mines only two years ago.

Land mine are very cruel. They are designed to seriously injured the soldier and not to kill him, since injured soldier is more expensive for the enemy army than the killed one. Land mines are also not retracing and surrounding like the soldiers. They can stay in jungle and fields for years waiting for its victim.