Finally the girls and I found a chance to get out to the forest. Last week the sun was out enough to dry up the roads and to lull us into thinking that dry season was finally here. Ben had been home for a few days and was taking a couple of workers out from Rovieng to help him. The rice harvest is in full swing so the locals there aren't too free to help. He managed to find two guys to help him and left home on Tuesday. We planned to head out on Wednesday – giving him enough time to set up camp and get the guys going on the jobs to do. Well the trip out didn't go to plan. Well I should say the trip out went as expected. The truck made it to the village. They loaded up some stuff they wanted to take out to the work-site. Drove up the road about twenty metres and stalled there in a mud puddle. The fuel tank lines were a bit clogged apparently and our mechanic friend suggested the car needed a repair job done in Kompong Thom, three hours away. Ah. So. Get off the truck. Take only essentials which can be carried on a motorbike and workers head out of foot. That was the plan. Ben made two trips on the bike to take out stuff. He got to the campsite and waited for the two men. Oh, I need to digress here – and recall what happened earlier.
On Sunday night, one of the guys visited us. He was very chatty and happy. Said he’d be happy to stay out there two or three months. Said he needed an advance. Asked if it was OK to have a little drink after work. He said lots of things. He was a bit intoxicated. On Tuesday morning, Ben was latish in leaving. By the time he picked them up, this one guy again had been imbibing.
Well, by the time they got out to the village, he had sobered up a little. They were supposed to walk out to the campsite and normally this takes about one and a half hours – it is about 8 km. Ben had been back to the village twice and was waiting for them for quite a while at the camp. He went out and found them on the road discussing whether to take the road that had the motorbike tracks or the road that the drunk guy thought was the right road. He had been out before – so he “knew”. He had drunk up his one litre of rice wine, which he had brought, on the road out and was more intoxicated than when Ben had last left him. Ben offloaded their packs and went back. He waited and waited. Eventually they turned up just before it turned dark. The workday was done. We decided to give them another day to get started before we headed out – so that would take us through till Thursday. Wednesday night it poured rain. It had been a few days of sunny, sunny weather – getting cool but those lovely sunny winter days that I love about living here. Well Thursday was a dreary day with rainstorms on and off. A curl up in bed hot chocolate day. We did school though. On Friday morning, however, the sun was out and we started off. I had loaded into the car two single mattresses and my extra stove and a gas tank. Just in case the road had dried up enough to cross the river (creek really but they call it a river). We met Ben in the village at midday. The road was still slippery at that one place. Sad. So we drove out to the river-creek and parked the car. Taking essentials only. Ben had the motorbike so we didn't have to backpack everything in. We hiked a little ways and got to ride on the bike the rest of the way. And finally, we are in the forest.
The hike out was beautiful. We crossed the swinging bridge which Ben built last April.
I finally saw the corduroy road which he built to cross the swampy part of the road. Looks like fun in a car!
The dryland forest is in full bloom. These are mostly tiny little ground cover flowers of many different kinds. Jarrah was stopping and picking them all. I tried to take pictures of each kind.
Forest on the hike out – this is mostly a monoforest of Trike (the English or the Latin name I do not know!)
So, here is the campsite from afar which I took as I walked in–you can see the in construction building on the right, the temporary shack in the middle and the warehouse on the left.
So, that afternoon we went for a walk on the new trails which they had been building and went to see the site for the lodge which was off-trail through nice tall itchy grass!
We came back – had a dinner of canned fish fried with tomatoes and garlic and rice and we had a lovely bathe in the little creek there by the campsite. We all four slept in one mossie net on a queen sized mattress. The stars that night were all out and shining.
This is getting rather long so I’ll keep the rest of our adventures for another post.