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Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 30

This smile masks much of the pain and sweat from climbing hills in 98 plus degree heat, with enough humidity to swim in. We found the smallest patch of shade, parked our bikes, and drank warm water and chased it with peanuts and a cliff bar that had managed to live at the bottom of my pannier for over two months. No coconut or cane juice vendors in sight. Just another climb, waiting to extract the water we drank. Sweat equity. -w

We’ve spent some long, hot days in the saddle on the south coast of Cambodia and a sugarcane stop refreshes like no other. A day without sugarcane is like a day without sunshine. -k.

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 29

Coconut, the fuel for sweaty cyclists! The giant green orbs piled on the side of the road are a welcome sight in the heat of the day. We need fuel, and a fresh coconut water is packed with electrolytes and the meat is pure, healthy fats. Beats Gatorade and Snickers by a long shot. -k.

The day the kilometers died. Kat has a cyclometer. I don’t. Late in the morning, after pedaling out of Sihanoukville, Kat cursed after looking down at her handlebar where her cyclometer used to be. She remembered having checked it 10 kilometers back. I offered to retrace our route along the bumby, dusty road. I reached ten k, and nothing. I turned to head back and noticed a black rectangle in the dust and gravel. I’d found it … but not until after a petroleum truck had crushed the life out of it. -w

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 28

I’m sure I appeared to be yet another drunk tourist crawling along the beach. But no. I was on my hands and knees, completely transfixed by observing up close the small crabs feed. They gather up sand, sift through it for microorganisms, and then take the emerging sand bubble from their mouth and flick it behind them. I’d swear some of them are painting pictures on the beach. OK. Maybe I had one too many beers. -w

Rarely do we spend a day lounging at the beach, but we made a day of it at Victory Beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It’s known as a “Russian” and “family-friendly” beach and both descriptions turned out to be true. It was a relaxing way to finish a book and start another … while taking an occasional dip in the ocean to cool and refresh. -k.

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 27

In some places, the Cambodian coast highway passes just a few meters from the edge of the sea. We watch a fisherman preparing bait and tending his nets. -k.

The road can be pretty desolate along portions of the Cambodian coast. Then you come upon a river that offers moorage for fishing boats and villages thrive. We often wish we could swap our bicycles for kayaks or canoes and go explore these river/sea based communities. -w

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 26

Until Kampot, Cambodia, I had never given pepper much thought. It is a staple on most tables at home in America, but I had no idea how fruity and fiery freshly dried pepper can be. The aroma is intoxicating! Rather like smelling tobacco leaves drying, there is a richer level of aroma than the familiar smell. Kampot pepper received a Geographic Indication, giving it a protected status similar to Champagne or Feta cheese. And so it should be. -k.

The light from fishing boats and houses on stilts creates a holiday red and green tapestry – at least to this western traveler. -w

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 25

Good food is a glorious gift I always appreciate. In fact, discovering good food prepared well is one of my main motivations for travel. The crab with Kampot green peppercorns at the Kimly crab shack in Kep, Cambodia, was gift worthy of Christmas day. We shared the meal with fellow-cyclist and food-lover, Tibor Barna, from Hungary. Our animated conversation turned to silent reverence as we gave this gift our full attention. -k.

Holiday meals are best shared! Tibor, Kat and I shared one of the finest meals one could imagine. This is the aftermath. -w

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 24

Our day starts early to get a few kilometers down the road in the fresh and cool morning hours. That means we are often looking for breakfast before dawn and before the soup pots and coffee are ready. We wait expectantly for Cambodia to wake and greet the day. -k.

After many days pedaling along the Mekong, and then splitting off and continuing south, we finally reached the ocean. Along the way we met another cyclist (Tibor, from Hungary), and we all had a ceremonial dip in the Gulf of Thailand off a small beach in Kep, Cambodia.

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 23

On a hot, humid day, dodging pot holes in the semi-paved road, we almost missed this grand entry gate. It brought back memories of our visit to Ankor Wat seven years ago. The vast temple complex made us want to spend more time in Cambodia. I’m glad we made it happen. -w

There is a limit to maximizing potential and this truck driver went over the line. The cargo not only extended twice the height but twice the length of the truck bed too. Unfortunately the extended supports broke, the load shifted and it was going to be long night of repairs or restacking. -k.

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 22

The lotus flower thrives in the water collected in ditches and canals on the side of the road. Often the grand view is tarnished with litter, especially plastic bags. It is then that it is best to focus closely on the flower itself. Beautiful in any surrounding. -w

Roadside cookery is often a mystery, and I’m sorry to say I don’t always have the courage to give it a try. This lovely lady did give us a taste of an unidentifiable fruit she was also selling. Fruit, I’ll always try. -k.

Willie Weir : January 1st, 2013

Photos of the Day — Dec 21

A day after visiting the genocide museum in Phnom Penh, it’s good to see beauty in everyday things. Life continues and the pendulum swings in the search for balance. -k.

We experience little of the Christmas retail insanity here in Cambodia. So seeing three girls on a scooter gazing in at the Christmas display, brings memories of of the best the holidays bring … and not the worst. -w