Beng Mealea

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We start getting serious today, with 90kms in four segments, mostly in the countryside, going east.

  
We leave Siem Reap for good this time, no circle, a direct route east to start the large curve that will bring us through Phnom Penh and then to the seaside. We continue moving and stopping every 20kms or so, about one hour of cycling. I start getting back in shape, not leaving the front pack anymore.

  

We mostly ride through the countryside, generally on good, firm dirt road, which is surprisingly nicer than paved road. The texture and feeling is much more appeasing, and when it’s flat and hard enough, you can move at about the same speed. There are always houses around this time, we never completely leave civilization. Shack houses made of straw or wood sit side by side to very modern, even impressive brick houses, with many decorations. There are also small shops everywhere, selling food and water, and gas in plastic bottles.

   
And there are children in all places ! Two, three, four very young kids, waving at us a mix of hello – bye bye, as we ride past them. With that many children, it is also comforting to see so many schools here and there, in very good conditions.

  
After the third leg, we stop for lunch and to do a quick tour of the Beng Mealea temple. This one was built by the same king who erected Angkor Wat, right before it (the guy lived to be very old, as each temple took 20 to 40 years to build). It is a massive temple, totally fallen to the ground, another giant jigsaw puzzle left to be solved. Trees have started claiming back the land, and this is a testament to the ruin of civilizations, as well as a strong Tomb Raider feeling!

  
After that, we do a final 20-something ride, and stop when we reach the outskirts of a city. The team breaks down the bikes, to put them on a trailer, and we are carried to our next rest. Driving in Cambodia is a real challenge. The main roads are really wide, but most vehicles drive in the center, as there are motorcycles on each side, and going in both directions, on each side! Plus you have to be careful of dogs or cows crossing without warning. Plus of course the regular pothole or jump in the pavement. I can’t remember where I had the same feeling of chaos on the road. It was either Algeria or Mauritius.

  
On my bucket list today is expressing love. It seems to be the easiest theme I have written down, although it is probably very different from one person to the next.

  
I’ve read that there is no love, only proofs of love. To me that’s how you espress your feelings that really matters. Anything you don’t say or express in some way, doesn’t exist for the other.

  
Besides saying it obviously, I feel the best expression of love is in the day to day details. When you care about someone deeply, you have a lot of minuscule attentions that build up. There are physical expressions of course, through touch, kiss, smile, embrace or others. But I think it is when you take the other into account during any routine activity that you give the best of yourself. Remembering about coffee brand, breakfast details, special bathrooms quirks, packing for a holiday, searching online for details, all the little things help. It’s how you live for yourself and for the other one at the same time, and make her feel that way.

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