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Text and pictures by Bernhard Heiser

    Part 9:  From Sen Monorom to Phnom Penh  -  The New Road
After a relaxed day in Sen Monorom it's today time to say goodbye to the very friendly owners of the Pech Kiri guesthouse. At 8 am the pickup arrives at the guesthouse and we stow away our backpacks and ourselves in the back. Fabrice and Jade have chosen to ride in the cabin today. With only Andre and a Cambodian guy in army uniform in the back we have plenty of space. It's going to be a very convenient ride, compared with the jungle trip...
We are surprised about the excellent road conditions, for Cambodian scale this is a real superhighway! As you can see here it's still dusty, but we can drive very fast and do not jump like popcorn in the pickup bed. The road works on road no. 7 are not completed yet, the Japanese construction project is still going on. We can see huge building machinery everywhere. Some bridges are still missing, so we have to use the old road from time to time.
Hey, dusty Bernie on the pickup. It's a real luxury do do it like this instead of being cramped there with 25 ore more other people! By the way, we paid $8 for this direct ride from Sen Monorom straight to Phnom Penh.
After passing the Snuol crossing we reach Memot at noon and have a 30 minutes lunch break at the market. After a warm meal and a cold coke in a little restaurant I buy my daily sugarcane juice. In a small music shop I buy a tape with cambodian Pop for the walkman.
After Memot some sections of the road are sealed and we can drive faster. We reach the fertile Mekong plains with rice fields and thousands of sugar palm trees. Later we arrive at the new bridge that spans the Mekong in Kampong Cham.

On the photo you can see one of the fast boats from Kampong Cham to Kratie.

On the other side of the Mekong, we feel like back in civilization again. It's almost like coming back to Thailand from Laos or Cambodia. We ride on an excellent tar road with dense traffic now. We see many trucks with people coming back from field work.
Do you like spiders? These huge black beauties are for sale on the roadside. They are cheap, why not try one?
The last part of the journey is along the Tonle Sab. Like everywhere in these days, roads any many bridges are under construction. The landscape has changed again, it's completely flat now and the colours green and blue dominate everything.
In a wonderful evening light we reach the capital at 4:30 pm. We are glad to return to this charming city and hope to spend a couple of interesting days here. We stay at the OK Guesthouse. The rooms are quite good here, but I don't like the atmosphere. Most of the backpackers here remind of of package tourists, but we don't care so much. Today we have dinner in an Italian restaurant at Sisowath Quai and later take a beer in Sharkeys.

Read more about our activities in Phnom Penh on the next page.


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© 2003 by Bernhard Heiser
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