This is the last day of the ride, and clearly the hardest! We did more than 100k again, and reached the town of Sihanuk.
There was an air of competition this morning as we were getting ready for this last day. Robert was willing to beat me again, and Nils was certainly interested in finishing this trip first too 🙂 We left Kampot early to cover the long distance before the usual 4pm.
The first bit proved very tiring to me : my legs had accumulated a lot of fatigue, and it was mostly uphill for the first 20+k. We were going along a mildly busy paved road again, following the coast going west, but not close enough to enjoy it. I tried to stick to Robert and Nils but couldn’t. I was really tired. We finally reached the first stop, at a monastery, once again with lots of children around.
Strangely, but as is often the case, my stamina came back after that, when I was getting used to the action again. The roads were a bit easier, and we did the next 20k much faster. Another monastery, many young or a bit older monks around. I found the closest I ever could to Ikkyu, from the great Japanese comic novel.
As we were going rather fast, we didn’t stop for lunch on the next small town 10k further, did a micro-break, and went on for another 20k! We changed road and plunged into rolling hills, a low and dense forest, and absolutely no one around! Another country again. We were actually skipping the busy road to Sihanuk and going another way.
Going up and down, up and down, was a real challenge under a pressing heat, and it became even more so when I had a flat tire! I tried going on, then walking, thinking maybe the stop would be close, but I got caught up by the van trailing the group, and the mechanic changed the wheel in a couple minutes.
After this much needed break, in the middle of nowhere, we did yet another 20k, still rolling, and with some much steeper hills! We were going back into civilization, as some houses and factories were appearing again. And we reached the ocean! We were almost done. A long white beach, sadly littered with crap, was in front of us.
The last few km’s of the trip were done entering Sihanuk, through a very poor area, with wood and steel panels shack houses, and then the industrial port. There was no real race at this stage as we were in the city, reaching our final hotel of the trip!
As I write this, the rain starts to pour down so hard it blocks the view out of the balcony 🙂 Tomorrow is a free day around town, I’ll use the daily post to collect my thoughts on the culture shock, as I did in the US.
The last blog theme I have planned is teaching about love. It’s the complement version of the first one, learning about love, where you give your children a vision of what it is and what it means. That’s a situation I hope to live someday.
On this subject I can only speculate a few items that I have in mind, and that would guide me. The first one being of course that, as children reproduce what they see, you must be a role model on this point as on any other. That means that you live and experience love, as a couple, and as parents, the way your children can take example of you. Which means in turn that you are confident and stable enough in your couple.
I also think that you have to give them a positive view of life. Life in the modern world is complex, and it’s not changing anytime soon. You have to approach this with a mindset of opportunities, of discoveries, of encounters, and value love as a rewarding method, and a sure fire way of being happy in life. Even if there are certainly risks, they need to be taken, and you have to love like you’ve never been hurt.
Finally I think a discussion about what love means, what caring about someone means, would be necessary. I never had a formal parental lesson or discussion, but I feel that it is critical in a child’s upbringing. Such a subject would need to be done over time certainly, and probably with children that have started to mature a bit about feelings and other people. But it all depends on how they grow up 🙂