Friday, June 25, 2010

Hello, Moto


One of the reasons we have been able to stay in Kampot for so long is the moto. Cale has been determined to learn to drive one since we arrived in Southeast Asia. Kampot was finally the perfect town and Nita obliged Cale's request. Since then we have rented a moto most days.

Having a moto has opened up the countryside to us in a way no other transportation can. We traveled by bike or foot in the other places we have visited and the distance we could travel was limited. It never really occurred to us to rent a car (and not just because of the price), but in a car its more about the destination than the journey. By moto we often simply pick a direction and head out, the scenery along the way is enough excuse for the trip.

We have tooled around Kampot, been out to Kep and Kampong Trach, visited pepper plantations and strange cave shrines. We've swam in resort pools and seen the river views from far out guesthouses. We go to the Wunderbar on the edge of town and eaten mashed potatoes frequently. This was all made possible by moto.

Cale is insistent that when you go to a new country you must begin traveling like the local people as quickly as possible. He is right. It gets you away from the other tourists and the package deals. It lets you see the country more authentically.

I am becoming a better moto passenger. You may remember my first moto ride was by moto-taxi at Mike's site, with a 25 pound pack on my back and at speeds of 60km an hour or more. I held on for dear life and imagined all the horrible things that could happen while convincing myself I wasn't going to throw up. Today, at city speeds, I don't even have to hold on to the sissy bar. I still hate cornering and highway speeds and I still occasionally imagine what would happen if the bike tipped over in a turn or if I fell of the back. But I am showing improvement. Nita keeps insisting I learn to drive. I think it is too early for that. Maybe when we come back for our retirement.

— Sara

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