Sunday, January 4, 2009

PEPY Ride IV: Phenom Penh to Kep Part I

Hello from Phnom Penh! and Happy New year!

We are now about 2/3 of the way done our trip!  Time has gone by so fast and I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep you as updated as I would have liked.  I will try to go through a quick summary of each day so far.
December 20: Arrived around 11pm in Phnom Penh.  Stayed at a hotel.
December 21:Took a 6 hour bus ride to Siem Reap.  Met PEPY ride leaders and participants of this year's ride for dinner.
December 22nd: Had our first day of Angkor Wat sightseeing with the 4th grade students from the PEPY ride school in Chanleas Dai (a small village close to Kralanh in Cambodia).  Angkor Wat is absolutely incredible.  I guess I didn't have a clear idea of what it was/entailed and was kind of expecting just a big stone temple that was really old.  I didn't understand why we would need 3 day passes or why anyone would want a whole week pass!  Little did I know.  The temple complex is huge!  Even in a week I think it would be impossible to see all the temples and structures within the complex. 
The kids that we met are at one of the schools that PEPY works with and has provided many programs for (literacy, computers, bike-to-school) and because it is expensive to get to Angkor Wat and would require buying food in the temple complex etc. none of the kids have ever been to the temples (although it is free for Cambodian people to go) so it is a big event for them too.  It was really great to hang out with them.  They were all sooooooo cute!  And they taught me how to count in Khmer (their mother tongue) :)

December 23rd: We went to the PEPY office and got our bikes fitted. Then we took them for our first ride to Angkor Wat with our lovely Cambodian tour guide Lucky (conveniently, he happens to be the #1 cyclist in Cambodia).

December 24th: Free day. 2 other participants and I decided to check out the landmine museum, which was very interesting, and another temple inside the complex. At night we had an X-mas eve dinner with the PEPY staff and some of their friends.

December 25th: 60km Ride into Kralanh.  I took off with Lucky and left the rest of the team behind. . .oops.  I had a lot of energy!  We had an X-mas dinner in Kralanh with a number of teachers from the PEPY school and some other PEPY staff before hitting the hay.

December 26th: 8km ride out to the PEPY School in Chanleas Dai.  Taught 2 lessons about biodiversity and how they can help to keep their country clean.  The school is really nice and the students were so excited to see us!  They sang us songs and taught us about their village. Rode back to Kralanh after dinner at the school.  Unfortunately, this day I started to get sick :(

December 27th: 8km ride out to the PEPY school.  Went to the construction site (about 100m away from the PEPY school) for the new Junior Highschool and did some construction work for half the day.  I was still having stomach problems though so it wasn't very fun.  The second half of the day I tried to do more construction work but felt like I was going to pass out. I decided to take a rest until dinner.  Rode back to Kralanh
December 28th:  Woke up feeling really sick, but after breakfast decided to try the 60km ride to Sisophon.  It was a really difficult ride because I had no nutrients in my body but I got through it, had some lunch, was sick again, and pretty much just passed out until the next day.

December 29th: Woke up with very little energy.  Still sick. . .hadn't eaten dinner the previous day.  Decided to try a bit of the 80km ride to Battambang.  Although the terrain was flat with no wind one way or the other, it was a really really really hard ride.  I was definitely the lantern rouge that day.  About 18km from the city I couldn't go any further so we hitched a ride from a truck the rest of the way to Battambang.  I went to see a doctor in Battambang and he gave me some medicine.

Ok. . .sorry but I think the internet place I am at right now is trying to close so I should probably finish there for now.  I will try to do more tomorrow and update you til today!  I am totally better now so don't worry about that part!
 I'm having a really really great and informative time here.  My legs are getting even stronger and I think I have 3 various shades of cycling tan now. . .-__-  That will be awesome when we finally get down to the coast.  I've picked up a few phrases in Khmer and have been trying to use them as much as possible!

Talk to you tomorrow *hopefully*
To PEPY Ride II!

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