“Nobody bikes in Bangkok”

The stark contrast between Cambodia and Thailand was evident the minute we walked into the air-conditioned passport control office on the Thailand side. Outside, a large sign warned that anyone possessing drugs will be sentenced to life in prison or executed. But after 2 weeks of eating ants, crickets and snails we were ready for something different, even if it meant giving up the ‘happy’ pizza (look it up). Fighting the habit of 14 years of right-hand driving proved to be difficult and we narrowly avoided oncoming traffic before swerving to the left-hand side. As a general rule, car exhaust is slightly cleaner here. However, the extra volume of traffic more than compensates for the stricter air-quality standards and we were quickly overwhelmed by the constant stream of diesel trucks and buses belching black smoke. Continue reading

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Chasing the Sun West

A border awaits again. This time it’s not a line we cross, but a zone. On our side: dirt, dust, the smell of burning plastic and human excrement. Prostitutes wander about seeking eye contact in the busy, dilapidated streets that are lit only by the flashing neon signs of businesses with confusing identities. In the border zone sit extravagant, towering air-conditioned casinos. Fancy looking Thais and Cambodian families come here for the scene and the chance to win big, though the gaudy scale of these cheesy buildings seems proof enough that they won’t. And across the border, on the other side, we know nor expect nothing besides the fact that we’ll be riding on the left side of the road from then on. But hope grips us. Continue reading