Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cambodia - Part 3

Are we there yet? 

Siem Reap International Airport
Two hours of flight is just like shooting straight to Bangkok, Thailand via KLIA.
As a matter of fact, this was my first overseas trip for the year. Earlier, I was offered a junket to Vietnam to cover a cycling event. 
Since I had to take my day off and couldn't claim any travel allowance, I'd pass it off. It was work and I had to pay to write a story for the newspaper out of my own pocket. That is a bucket of shit! 
Anyways, I can afford my own holidays and adventures, so, nothing beats owning my time and in such a case: traveling at my own leisure in Cambodia.
We sat on the front row of the aircraft and it was rather easy to exit the plane.
Once on the tarmac, we headed straight to the arrival hall and had our travel documents processed.

Walking to the arrival hall in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Waiting for our ride..
Queuing up to purchase a traveler's SIM card and data plan at the airport
Getting in touch with the rest of the world and to Siem Reap town..

The first thing I noticed at the entrance of the arrival hall at the airport were counters selling cellular services.
There was a company offering a 3GB data including voice and SMS plan for US$5 a pop. That's roughly about RM20 and since we need to get a fix on our location via Google Maps, it's a viable plan.
I waited for the counter guy to activate the SIM card and data services and once it's gone live, we headed towards the taxi counter.
"Where you go Sir?", asked the clerk.
"Karavansara Retreat, Road 25, Siem Reap," I said.
"Okay, seven dollar," he responded.
I grabbed the ticket (roughly around RM24) and waited for our driver to pull over.
He drove a van and loaded our luggage into the back of the car.
"You very lucky, you pay seven dollar, I charge ten for big luggage. You have bicycle inside, yes?," said the driver.
"Hey, how did you know?," I responded.
"I taxi driver. I know..," said the confident guy.
It took about 10-minutes for the van to enter the town area and I could barely recognize the landmark in this town having been there more than 14 years ago.
Things have changed. A lot!
The van made its was to a narrow road across a bridge and stopped. 
We have arrived at the Karavansara retreat, which I had booked through Expedia.com. But we had to cut our stay shorter due to a cancelled flight on Aug 14, and Expedia has yet to offer any refund for this.
That said, we went on with the formalities. One of the staff had helped us with the bikes and showed us to our room.
It was a very decent place to stay and the first order of the day, was to set up our bikes.

Waiting for our van in Siem Reap Intl Airport

Our driver, he knows a bike when he sees one..
The boss is pretty pleased with the accommodation.. 

An exterior view of the retreat

The rooms.. 
Setting up the Jetstream P8

Working on my bike

We are good to go!
Oh no....

The first thing I did, was to unpack Michelle's bike.
It was my priority to set up the bike. I assembled the fork and mounted the wheels in place and inflated the tires to about 85psi.
Once her bike was ready, the Jetstream EX was next.
I noticed that the brake calipers were extended and literally locked shut.
It could be from the pressurized cargo hold causing the hydraulic fluid to "swell".
This could mean only one thing: brake drag. And it's a dreadful thing which I learned the following day.
Having wasted time figuring out what to do, it finally dawned on me that the immediate remedy was to bleed the brake fluid. And it worked!
We have lost a bit of time doing up the Jetstream EX and once our rides are all roadworthy, it's time to head out to town to buy some provisions.
Water is on our list and some food.

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