This weekend, 9 of us biked 180km round trip to some temple ruins (Angkor Borei) in southern Cambodia. It was an amazing adventure – such a great way to see Cambodia from a completely different, slower, perspective. Of course, when you set off the beaten path in this Kingdom of Wonder, you really never know what adventures you're going to run into…during this trip, we began to expect the unexpected…
After a breakfast feast at Kamworks where we'd spent the night, the crew set off for a Saturday of cycling. All was going smoothly until the trail we were following ended and we found ourselves unexpectedly needing to cross a small river. Luckily there was a wooden raft/ferry to get us across. Unfortunately, there was no motor on the ferry. There was, however, a long rope hanging between two posts – one on each side of the river. Seriously, once people have piled onto the ferry, the raft owner uses the rope to pull the boat, people and cargo across the river. So, as Cambodians have done for decades, we piled all of our bikes on the raft and got on (leaving hardly any more space).
Being the kind foreigners that we are, we thought we would help the raft guy out. Everyone grabbed a bit of rope and started to heave us across the river.
Except, the current picked up and the boat started to float a bit downstream. As helpful as we tried to be, our big barang bodies got in the way of the rope and once we were halfway across the river, the rope got caught on a few of us whities and sent the boat operator INTO the river – still hanging onto the rope for dear live.
Now we were in a conundrum as the boat started floating downstream away from the boat. (Raft man is still hanging on in the middle of the river). It was so ridiculous and unbelievable all of us started laughing. Paralyzed by laughter! To save the day and the raft, three in our group jumped in the river and started to paddle the boat back to towards the rope. Once we rescued the raft guy, we allowed him to do what he does best – navigate across the river – without our "help".
After so much excitement in one day, we hardly expected what would happen on Sunday. After a long ride along the railroad tracks in desperate search for a bamboo train (construction on the Cambodian railroad is making them much less frequent)