Trip Start Apr 12, 2010
95Trip End Apr 12, 2011
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Where I stayed
You Hong Guesthouse
We checked in to a friendly guesthouse for 4 nights and spent our days sleeping, reading, swimming and watching the sunset over the Mekong with a couple of beers. I got my hair cut again, which resulted in the buzz cut Matt had originally wanted and I now have to fight the urge to drop and do 50. Our peaceful recuperation was interrupted however by the arrival of the Laos, Thai and Vietnamese Prime Ministers for Asia's version of the G8 summit. Unwittingly we had infiltrated the hive and suddenly found ourselves hemmed in, with police on every street corner
To escape the red flashing lights we took a boat to a small island in the Mekong. Our fellow passengers seemed to be accompanied by a film crew. Ironically, they were from the Ministry of Information and were filming a piece on tourism in Kratie. We were filmed, our names were taken and are probably showing on Cambodian TV near you!
We packed our gear and left Kratie early on the 5th day. As we pottered up the scenic Mekong road we stopped to ask a local where we could get more krolang bamboo snacks. As we went to pull off, something went very floppy on Frank's left side. The wear and tear of the offroad bashing had finally taken it's toll - Frank's gear selector shaft was broken clean in two - leaving us stranded 7km out of town and stuck in neutral. We wheeled him to the nearest mechanic who, through his pubescent acne, usefully told us it was broken. He arranged for a local with a truck to transport us into town for a fairly extortionate fee. When we tried to negotiate he hopped into the truck and made to drive off. Clearly he knew who had the stronger bargaining position!
In town, local mechanics refused to even attempt a fix on the gear selector. The sunglasses salesman at the front of the guesthouse (which we had to stay in for another night) offered an alternative solution. We found ourselves with a man with gold teeth, who could only speak French, who believed he could weld it. US$10, a mouthful of petrol and 2 hours later Frank was changing gears again. Who knows how long before this snaps again!