Mondulkiri Province, Nat and the Pnoung

So, a couple of days ago we left Dan and Steff behind in Phnom Pehn and headed for Mondulkiri Province, a pretty remote area in the South East of Cambodia. Steff and Dan had to sell their bikes and getto Thailand, but me, Rhys and Pasquale wanted to go and see the “real” Cambodia. So we set off for 2 days of riding to get there.

Stop with scenery along the way. Pasquale thinks this shot really shows off her chin in a good light.

We left late on the first day, and only managed to get as far as Kompong Cham. Which did have its benefits, we ate fried crickets and street food, and we got a room with a balcony, which meant a view of sunrise over the Mekong.

Lunchstop near the border of Mondulkiri. The day was going pretty well till just after this, when we got ripped off for food (always ask the price first!). Then we went 20kms the wrong way. Then Rhys got his first of 2 punctures. The second one was in the middle of a protected jungle area, with no-one around. We had to flag down a lorry and stick the bike in the back. So Rhys spent the last 30kms of the journey in the back of a truck with some locals drinking beers and passing them to me and Pasquale riding along behind. A pretty good first experience of Mondulkiri, i think. Pasquale took some photos and video of that too, so i’ll have to get them off her.

Board at the hotel where we’re staying. No humour should be derived from the English on display here.

Rhys’ tyre upgrade. Should come in useful.

Pooey’s upgrade Mark 2. Speedo AND compass, the extravagance…

We took a 1 day 1 night tour with the hotel to a waterfall and a remote village. This first entailed a 15 minute 3-up ride to the start point.

Where there were actual elephants wandering around, since the locals dont really use vehicles much. They also dont allow them to mate, which means this guy’s effort is entirely in vain.

This, apparently, is a bridge. Also in this photo, is Nat, greatest and worst of guides, as should become clear shortly.

Actual swinging off a liana, Tarzan style. When i tried this, i did not, in any way, half fall in the water like a knobend.

The locals make holes in the trees and then collect a kind of rubber used for sealing boats. Looks pretty damaging, but actually all of the trees looked really healthy.

Nat knowingly lead us into a bog, and then laughed at us when we fell in. This was only the start.

The waterfall. We went in for a swim obviously.

An elephant, wandering around eating in its natural environment. And then you see it has a chain around its back leg, and its front legs are tied so it cant wander too far. Beautiful and depressing.

Then we hiked 10km uphill to the local village of the Pnoung people. It almost killed Rhys, who spent most of it shuffling like a zombie. And once we got there, Nat really set to work. We had food there and he told Pasquale they would be very offended if she didnt eat vast quantities of the green stuff. Then just said good luck as she went to tuck in. It was, obviously,hotter than the surface of the sun.

We responded by making sure he got absolutely hammered. This is actually the best pic of the nights proceedings by far. Half the village turned up for a drink. In the foreground, in the jar, is Pnoung wine, made from fermented wine and herbs left to ferment for at least 3 weeks. We all had to drink vast quantities. There was singing (with Nat, here, on drums). And once we were hammered on Pnoung wine, they got out the normal rice wine. It was messy. Also, during the course of this chaotic evening, something landed on my leg. I thought it was an ember from the fire, so i went to brush it off and recieved excruciating pain. I honestly thought id been burned at first, then they thought i’d been bitten by one of the local bugs, and then 20 minutes later one of them found the scorpion wandering round on the floor of the hut. I was shitting myself, and my finger was incredibly painful. Nat talked with the locals, and then told me that the villagers said they would say prayers for me at my funeral. Bastard. Then they went and got some lemon juice, traditional medicine (which looked like wet chalk), soaked it into a rag and wrapped it round my finger. It worked though, as an hour later i was drinking again (this may also have helped).

Pic which actually shows Rhys in position, next to the head of the house, from where he was forced to drink even more rice wine. He insisted thatwe drink at least 2 litres, even after all the Pnoung wine. Rhys’ tried to at least get the head guy to drink some of the drink by indicating that we should drink together, but after a few the bugger actually started faking it!

Even more rice wine (which i didnt realise was a delightful brown colour at the time), when we were forced to drink even more together. After this,its all a blur, me and Rhys got in hammocks, and Pasquale got off with Nat in hut full of sleeping locals. Epic.

We’ve spent all day today just recovering.


~ by zendog888 on 21/12/2010.

5 Responses to “Mondulkiri Province, Nat and the Pnoung”

  1. Brilliant

  2. Sounds like a normal night out in Tynte.

  3. Tidy!

  4. hahahaha my god!! awesome!
    your comments are briliant! jezus I miss you guys 😦
    it’s been amazing traveling with you guys, thanx for the great time
    take care

    • Hey Pasquale! It was a really brilliant time, its a bugger we had to go our separate ways, but i hope you really enjoy Thailand, and let me know when you want to come and ride bikes in Wales!

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