Along the way we passed and turned round to meet another cyclist coming the other way. An old guy called Frank Van Rijn (http://www.frankvanrijn.nl/?page_id=4). I recognised him from blogs I had read on the internet. He is an eccentric guy who has quite literally cycled the world. He started when he left school with a cycle of 30,000km in one year and just kept going, only going back to his native Holland to work as a teacher of science before he can save enough money to set off again, these days also making money from books he has written and speaking at cycling conventions. In his time he has done all of South America, Africa and Asia. He was last in Cambodia 11 years ago. We had a coke with him and chatted for a while. He really wanted us to stop for the day and find a hotel so we could continue swapping stories at a guesthouse (we told him about a good one we passed about 20km before) but we had to decline due to the distance we had planned for tomorrow, and we had already booked a hotel in Siam Reap. Before we went our ways he asked for one last favour - could I show him how to read a text on his first ever mobile phone! He had bought it in Mongolia a few months earlier and could make calls but could not read or write a text! He got it after a few attempts and wrote down all the steps in his little notebook. It was a very old Nokia phone and not entirely intuitive to his defence but still surpising he does all this without using a phone, GPS and very rarely the internet.
The last few KM into Kampong Thom we passed a few hundred metres of stone carving workshops who were carving Buddha's and other statues by hand, well mostly using grinders. They were real artists though. The finished big Buddah's were quite impressive.
The hotel was the only main one in town and we were surprised by the size and quality. It turned out that almost all the tourist buses stopped by here so they had a good trade. It must have been 5 stories though and 250 rooms. They also had a restaurant on the bottom floor which was good if a little expensive. After a shower and a change we had some lunch there and watched the tourists coming in and out looking bemused and commenting on how different the place was - this would have been their story from their bus travelling about how Cambodia was really adventurous. They obviously were not planning to stay in Skun as well!
Later we went for a Pizza in a place that was run by a Kiwi bloke and his Cambodian partner. It was a nice change of food, but we didn't socialise too much as the bar seats had already been taken up by self infatuated tattooed traveller types whose every sentence starts with "Oh yeah, well when I was there..." who we generally try to avoid.
|Cambodian cows look more like horses|
|By jove - He's got it!|
|Ahhh, very dusty this one...|