I am writing this as I sit on the side of a rural road west of Pousat town.
Music from a Buddhist wedding is playing in the distance but can be heard easily here. No mp3 player is required for today’s ride. Music seems to fill the entire countryside. The sound melds with the landscape of coconut trees, rice fields, and water buffaloes … like a movie soundtrack is playing.
The ride today has been wonderful. My bicycle from halfway around the world has seen a lot of Cambodia and has seen a lot of special things on roads like these.
I have made it a practice to spend extra time in towns such as Pousat. Pousat is the type of place that other travelers simply juggernaut through but never stay or really visit if they do spend a night. My way of traveling has allowed me to find the magic in towns like Pousat. And I have found that the magic comes easy. Like today.
Cycling a dusty dirt road, I discovered a forgotten but beautiful pagoda, visited one of Cambodia’s historical sites that few see, and simply enjoyed seeing daily life in rural Cambodia.
Today has been a wonderful day.
[NOTE: This is where I had to stop writing the above snippet. Several of the locals from the houses across the street came over to say hello, so I had to stop and greet them.
First, an older gentleman came walking from his home across the street. Probably in his eighties, he was so friendly and wanted to see the bicycle. We were joined a moment later by his friend who rode up on a motorbike, who also wanted to see the bicycle. They were interested in the bike’s narrow tires, the brake levers, and laughed about the light on the handlebars. (Most Khmer bikes do not have lights or reflectors. A basket is usually the only accessory.)
Then a mother from across the street brought her little boy over to stare at me in wonder. A few more people joined as well as well and soon a small group had formed. They laughed at this foreigner on his bike with goodhearted giggles.
I used whatever Khmer I could conjure in my efforts to converse. Then, I parted. It really was a wonderful day.]