Posts Tagged ‘video’

Barang on a motorcycle, day III


It had been raining in the afternoons in Phnom Penh and rained the afternoon  travelling to Kratie so the thought was that an early start would get the travel out of the way by the time the rains came. Unfortunately breakfast took longer than intended as a result of slow service, getting cash etc it was well into the morning before the leaving of Kratie happened. I was not far out of it either when the rains started. Lightly at first, then the heavens opened and, despite taking shelter in a petrol station, I was soaked. I carried on and got to the morning’s destination.

The first thing I saw was the pictures of the dolphins on the sign in the big picture then the gateway in the smaller picture at the bottom. So I stopped and paid for my boat and a drizzle started almost immediately. Then it stopped then we headed into the rain you could see in the picture (top right) and I was wet through again. I even put on the life-jacket to have something for the rain to hit upon.

After about twenty minutes the rain, it stopped (Bottom top right) and then the boat stopped and things went very quiet. The driver indicated something but I could see nothing, then a fin, then the Mekong Dolphins in all their glory.

Everything I had hoped for, to see these rare, threatened, majestic creatures. On the way back we passed islands which were inhabited and being cultivated. People whose existence is said to be threatened, just like the dolphins, by proposals for dams on the river.


Back on the road and it was pretty much as it had been the day before. On the left-hand side properties heading down to the river and on the right ones in the forest or heading out into paddies and cultivated fields. A paved road so danger was less. It was never possible to get up much speed as all the time you were keeping your eyes peeled for animals or children running into the road, slowing down when there was a dog or a chicken, or a child who insisted in remaining in the road. The biggest offenders in staying in the road and staring at you were cows.


As you can see from the map above after a while I moved away from the riverside and traveled through a more rural route which had fewer homesteads alongside the road but more cows in the road. As also seen from the map, at Sangkum I joined National Highway 7 and the quality of the road improved significantly. Most houses were further back and when you went through built up areas people and animals were more aware of the traffic. If they weren’t the lorries screaming through would soon have made sure everyone else didn’t forget. The lorries added to the fun when a hilly stretch came and then they were to be overtaken,  then they would want to pass when heading downhill, and repeat. Then the rain came back.

I dived into the first place I found by the side of the road. Where the above film was taken from. The people running the shop must have been used to giving shelter from the storm to people, I bought some things from them then was offered some food. It was now into the afternoon and I had had nothing since breakfast so the noodles with salad and an omelet was most welcome. You can see how wet I was.



The redcoats are coming! Once the rain stopped most of the journey was uneventful, apart from trying to start in neutral after asking the way in O’Pong Muon and being laughed at  by the local people. Closing in on Stung Treng it started to rain again so I opened the throttle and tried to get there as quickly as possible, finishing up in a pharmacists on the outskirts of town. My thumb on my left, inside just below the knuckle, had got blisters each day from the grip for the handlebars and using the clutch. I had bought the see-through plasters but they had fallen off in the rain and made things worse so I was looking for industrial strength elastoplast type (other plaster types are available) plasters which they had and I was able to put on. Whilst there I rang the guesthouse for directions and, after conversations with a few people, they said someone would come to collect me. Typical of the friendliness I found whilst travelling, the pharmacist brought out a chair for me to sit on whilst waiting and sheltering from the rain.

When the person from the guesthouse arrived the rain had diminished and I followed them to it only to find, coincidence or irony of the day, that there was no water. So, I got moved to their other one which was a result as it was in the centre of town and I could walk to restaurants etc from it. After a shower and change of clothes I walked down to Ponika’s Place, recommended in the guide, for a very nice meal. I was willlingly sold some carry-outs as the owner and partner wanted to get to a birthday party and went back to my room for a read, drink and then sleep.

Is it a bird, is it a plane?


I’m taking a bit of a rest from fist-up at the moment so I thought I would write a few things about the local neighbourhood. There seems to be a new resident across the street and when he moved in work was done to the balcony. Then in the Spring some plant pots arrived. It was touch and go a couple of strong storms and the resident was out on the balcony making sure the pots didn’t go. There wasn’t much really to look at when I went away for work at the end of June. But just look at it now what a wonderful riot of living colour.(TM JTO) You can see what he was doing when he protected the plants from the storm.

I couldn’t write about the wonderousness of the plants opposite without also talking about the ones on our own balcony. The first one you see is the one on the left of our balcony. When I went away it contained two or three onions. Unfortunately they came to nothing which you cannot say about this picture. The second picture is of the flowers in the middle. There are   blue and red flowers in it. The last picture is facing the first picture across the street so it need to put on the best show, which I think it does. The street could be quite grey and drab but with these all along the street it quite lifts the heart.

I was going to write a piece about the wonders of the displays on balconies on the street and on our own balcony. Then yesterday I went out onto the balcony to take in some of the sun and have a watch of things going on up and down the street. I had hardly got out there when something happened which had me rocking back towards the flat and starting to take a defensive position. What was it? Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Look at this clip and you’ll find out:

No, as you can see, it’s a crane. It didn’t help keep up the suspense much that the person who loaded the video up to YouTube titled it the Crane, bit of a give-away that! I walked through the arch of a building opposite to us and a bit further down the street from the one with the display and saw a massive building site I knew nothing of. If you’re talking developments since the end of June well that’s one. I didn’t have my camera with me so you’ll have to wait till another day for pictures. I hope you can.

The people have the power


Tuesday JTO and I had lunch out in Strasbourg which made a nice change.  After it we found a bar in central Strasbourg that was open for a wuick drink before turning up in the room above Librarie Kleber where Patti Smith was due for a book signing as a result of the publication of the French version of her book about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe Just Kids.

The place became very full before her entry and then a great cheer greeted her entry.  She was interviewed in French and sometimes needed the services of the translator to make sure she had understood the French before replying.  After her reply the translator then repeated in French what Patti had said in English.  It was interesting hearing her talk about her early times and being with Robert Mapplethorpe and in the middle she gave an impromptue rendition of ‘The People have the Power’ which I only managed to film the second part of.

After there was a signing and I took along my copy of Horses which now has the autograph of Patti Smith on it.  Most people had bought the book although there were some like me who took other objects, a chap behind me took his guitar which Patti would not sign.

Earlier tickets had been offered to those who wanted them for the civic reception to welcome Patti to Strasbourg so we took them,  A short walk to the Hotel de Ville where it wasn’t the Mayor of Strasbourg but one of his deputies who welcomed the poet and singer to the city.

She was presented with a medal and a sculpture before she signed the visitors book, on a page which had been prepared for her.  As is usual at receptions it was only after the words that we were able to fall on the food and champagne which was provided by the council.  The food was good quality sandwhiches and other nibbles and the champagne was quality stuff too.

Patti Smith then left to go theCite de la Musique et de la danse on the tram.  When we arrived there we saw a big queue to get in and after a while someone came out to tell us that the hall was full up and that we would not get in.  After a great afternoon in the company of Patti Smith it was a shame to miss the final part of the day, but it was still a great time.

I think if there was any lesson it was that it would have been better not to go to the Civic Reception if we had wanted to get into the concert in the evening.

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