Today we followed the Mekong river for 80kms, until Phnom Penh, on tough and tiring mud roads, but with a happy ending!

Leaving Kampong Cham a bit later than usual, it was another overcast day, with rain looming on the horizon. So I put on the rain gear and prepared for that. We followed the river all the way, but it can be only seen from time to time, mostly when we passed small to very large bridges, with the Mekong on our left.

The paved road quickly gave way to a dirt road, laced with mud. At this stage the goal is to avoid the potholes filled with water, and not get creamed by mud too much ! I was a bit worried about my stamina, as my legs were aching a bit very early on. The rhythm of cycling on such roads is very random, with a lot of focus needed on all details.

The road was becoming more and more difficult, blocked with construction engines, small useable paths, and at other times, filled with rocks or deformed by engines. We were not going very fast, probably less than 15km/h. So the second stop turned into the lunch break, sometime after noon, as we were getting late. We did all our stops in monasteries along the way, filled with children as always.

The arch at the entrance of this monastery is covered with the names and donations made to the temple. Many children were in the area, Jennifer and I gave them our lunch box (sandwich and fries, unusual for the country!), and so we made a lot of new friends at once!

The road was still difficult on the third leg, but not as much. It was a bit smoother. There was always quite a bit of traffic, always houses all along the way, and of course children waving at us. It is really unbelievable to see wooden shacks side by side with modern houses, and all so far out of towns or villages.

Right at the third break, as we were getting closer to the main road and the capital, the rain started falling very, very hard. It was a choice of going to the planified stop, or getting all in the van. Six of us wanted to keep going, and I was one of them. Cycling under warm rain is fantastic, especially when you don’t have to worry about your gear! It was another happy rain puddle session, me getting brown from the mud, and wet to the bone 🙂 We reached the main road, as close to a highway as it can get here, and there was still small shops all along! How many drivers get to stop here, so close to the city?

About 10kms from Phnom Penh, we stopped and got all in the van, to avoid the city traffic. Approaching it was another experience by itself. Small houses gave way to small, then larger factories, and then to construction sites of shopping malls, luxury condos, etc. And a hundred meters later, a group of metal shack houses, right by another furnace factory. This went on for a few kilometers, then we entered the city center, with a chaotic traffic as it is expected to be.

I wrote down for today : preventing love voluntarily or unconsciously. Could be like a strange question, except that it is one that buzzes around for me, for quite a few months 🙂

As a direct question, I know very well that it is possible to prevent oneself to fall in love. I had this direct experience a few times. I voluntarily chose to avoid any romantic feeling, when I suspected that 1. romance was out of the equation anyway for the other person, 2. there was a mismatch somehow, or that a strong difference in character that would get me crushed, and 3. the current relationship was good already and more fruitful. So, even for someone like me, who seeks and needs love to live, it is sometimes better to avoid it entirely, and possible to achieve it.

From that point on, I assume it is even more possible to do it unconsciously. The subconscious is much stronger at directing subtle feelings like love, to provoke it or quell it altogether. What can be done voluntarily, when it concerns the inner persona, is done by the unconscious with ease : it has all the local connections and can work 24/7, even when you sleep or think about something else.

But why would it do that ? Logically, to protect oneself. If it evaluates that there is a risk, or if it not at ease with a situation, it will send the fire brigade and drown the starting fire at once. Then you are left with an incomprehensible feeling that something should have happened, but did not, and you don’t know why.