TravellingStrom

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Caching Day and Lunar New Year Night

Posted by TravellingStrom on February 10, 2013

Saturday 9th February

Yesterday was a rest day for me, it had been a long grim one the previous day and so this gave me a chance to recover. I had used yesterday to sort out some blog posts and also to check out some Geocaching over the next few days. There were quite a number here in Phnom Penh and they were scattered all around. I made up some lists and tried to group them and I should be able to do loop rides to gather them up πŸ™‚ So, first thing after breakfast I asked about a motorbike rental and the hotel staff arranged for a local chap to bring a scooter around. As you may know, the traffic here is chaos and I really struggle with the big bike through that, so a zippy scoot is the way to go. Once that was arranged, I had my back pack packed with water and a few other bits and I was off. If you look at the following map, my first destination was to the bottom right, the furtherest away at the Pagoda, 30km South Of Phnom Penh. There is another one right next to that but the name is covered up called The Lost Orphan. There is no bridge across the river to take a short cut, so it means back tracking all the way back to the hotel point before dropping down to the Near the Killing Fields and Reed Fishermen caches, although there is a new bridge under construction which you will see later.

It was a bit overcast as I headed through town, over the bridge and then followed the road through multiple villages before seeing the new bridge construction. That should free up that main bridge which is the main highway leading to Siem Reap, but a lot of traffic uses the same bridge and comes down here. I didn’t make a mark on the map, but it is where the orange 112 road on the island meets the river and there is another orange line road on the western side, I think the 21a but am not sure.

Obviously the small lower bridge is the materials access bridge. Once I got to this area, the road was less populated but it did get rough at times and the roadworks were making it slippery as usual. I found the turning into the Wat gateway quite easily but then the road turned real nasty, bumpy and potholes and dusty which continued until I found the Wat or Pagoda, 30km South Of Phnom Penh

I had to enter the Wat grounds and work my way around the back and to one side before I located the area where ground zero was. Just for the record, apparently there is no private land here, so access is always easy, but it is nice to say hi to the monks, if there are any. There were and I did πŸ˜‰ I found the correct area, but no cache. It was hidden in a crack in concrete which after the last rains must have filled with mud, which is now rock solid, so a bit of a bummer, 1 down for the day 😦 [Another quick note, Geocaching basic rules for hiding a cache say you cannot create or dig a hole to find a cache. Strictly speaking, this cache was placed in an OK position, but little regard for the wet season was taken into account so in the end, it meant digging to find it]

Mind you it was a nice place, so I am glad I came. They are creative with their temples over here and colourful, here are a few pix of the locality.

Right, that was a DNF, but I may write a cache note for maintenance instead, we shall see πŸ˜‰ The next cache was only about 5 minutes away, well, that is what the info said. If you can find the right turn off that is. I ended up amongst the rice paddies copping strange looks. Then I tried a different road which turned out to be a building site and was told to GO with a pointed arm!!! I went back and tried to find the right place from a different angle and spotted the sign to the power company first then the one for the orphanage, whew πŸ™‚

Once inside the grounds it was a very simple procedure to find the big old tree and Spirit House next to it. But, once again I think I was done in by weather. I had read the logs to all the caches I was attempting, this one specifically mentioned on a few occasions that the rain had washed it to the bottom of the tree, so this location once again is not ideal and very maintenance heavy. Have a look in the following photo, in the middle just above centre on the tree is a clump of green, with a light brown just above it.

Well, the light brown is a termite nest and the green is a bush that happened to start growing here, a very prickly bush as well!! The cache was supposed to be sitting on or tucked in amongst the termite nest and the bush. It was missing, I nearly tore the bush out trying to find the thing, but I didn’t do either. I searched everywhere around the tree moving aside a gazillion dead leaves, but there was nothing, bummer, 2 down for the day 😦 This one is a definite “Needs Maintenance” log.

OK, the next little job was to get back to town and over the bridge and back down near to where I am, which would be easy if I turned west, but the bike cannot swim! I actually popped back to the hotel and had some lunch as it was nearly midday, then I hopped on the bike again and went and chased up the Reed Fisherman cache but on the way, grab the Near the Killing Fields cache as they were so close. The road turned to very normal Cambodian off road track, that has never seen a grader, but has seen plenty of cars and trucks during the wet season. At the moment the river is very low being half way into the dry season, the boats are a long way from water!

The cache called Near the Killing Fields is in a small Spirit House just off a dirt road, the road leads to the main Wat, but this shrine is just a few yards from the intersection and funnily enough there was a muggle nearby. He was a guard and stayed in his little hut and never bothered me as I searched for and found the first cache for the day, about bloody time too πŸ™‚

That was good, now for the next one, basically more crap dirt roads which led me past the very dried up rice paddies, or through them actually and into a shady spot where it looked like fire had been. Funnily enough, the little tracks in the grass were actually represented on my GPS, I was very surprised to find myself routed to the exact spot via these farm tracks. πŸ™‚ I am glad I had the scoot though, the big fella would have been OK through here, but very tiring for the rider, me!

I actually did not find the cache Reed Fishermen initially and thought the fire had got to it, but then coming from a different angle I found it quite easily, yeehaa πŸ™‚

So, that was it for the caching side of things for the day, so it was just a matter of getting myself back to the hotel. When I got there, they had all this food lying around outside the front entrance and when I asked if that was dinner, they said yes!!! But, it seems to be linked to the Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year celebrations, and as this hotel was Chinese, it was decorated as well.

So, I went for a shower as it had been a hot and dusty day and felt a lot better πŸ™‚ On the way back to the hotel I had been past an Aussie sounding pub a few blocks away and decided to go and see what it was like. The staff at the Mittapheap told me that at midnight the Dragon Dances would happen up there, so if I wanted to see them I needed to be sober enough to remember πŸ™‚ I got to the Walkabout Pub GPS – N11.56507 E104.92350 and it was very dark and dingy inside. And the outside was not that much better I guess!

I bought a beer anyway and settled in. One thing I noticed was a sign on the wall saying “Prostitution is Illegal”. Well, obviously nobody here can read because I was asked by many of the girls for some help with their libido and even overheard a few people discussing prices before they ‘left’! I met a couple of expat Brits at one table and had a beer with them, before I decided to go across the road to see what that place was like. It looked like a bikies bar and was called The Lone Brothers Bar. It had a lot of big bikes outside and I figured, hey they ride, so they must be OK, better than sitting in a gloomy dingy whorehouse anyway!

After buying a beer there I sat at the bar by myself, because it looked like all the Brothers were in a meeting, they were in full regalia as well. Once they had finished and were relaxing I went over and introduced myself in this way.

Me- Hi, I am Richard and I also ride.

Sledge – Hi there

Me – I am alone and I have a sister, so that makes me a Lone Brother doesn’t it?

Crash – G’day m8, grab a seat and how are ya?

Or words to that effect, I was then introduced to all the members there and spent a great evening with them. Here are a few photos, the girls for the most part are staff and there were other regular drinkers there as well. I only remember a few names!! The two I remember here are Sledge on the left, and Crash next to him. The two chaps to the extreme right of picture were father and son from WA, here on holiday, but both ride HD. Most of the riders here rode Jap crusisers, TinTin was the only HD rider I saw

Sledge is the President of the club and is from Germany, I am not sure how he got his name. Crash is an Aussie, he got his name by crashing into Sledge and knocking his bike over πŸ˜† It cost him to do the repairs but he is the only person to survive damaging the bosses bike πŸ™‚ I grabbed this next photo as some of the other club members were leaving. From left to right is Ossy, Doc and TinTin

They shouted me a few beers and also called up a chap to bring some kebabs which he did and they were much needed by then πŸ™‚

A couple more photos, Sledge and myself(Crash was drunk when he took this) and then Sledge and Crash πŸ™‚

So the night wore on, and on, and on and I was supposed to be back at the hotel for midnight to see the Dragon Dance but forgot the time(they had cheap rum here as well which may explain it). I finally staggered the two blocks around 1am and was pleasantly surprised to see they had not yet either started, or finished πŸ™‚ So I grabbed some photos and videos which mostly were duds, but I had enough to ‘remember’ by πŸ™‚ This new year is the year of the snake, hence the snake featured prominently in the dancing. I must say I am not a great fan of the music, but it does get them dragons moving πŸ™‚


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The dragons came right inside the hotel to pay homage to the small shrine that was built there, the Chinese characters were made out of orange[mandarin maybe πŸ˜‰ ]

And that was a late night, it was nearly 2am and I was shattered, so today is Sunday and now officially a rest day πŸ™‚

Cheers from Phnom Penh
TravellingStrom

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