Down below, my jeep was the center of attention, which made it the more painful when, after an easy start, the engine suddenly stopped when I turned the car around. Even though the entire village population helped push, the engine refused to turn on, so finally an old truck had to tow me back to Siem Reap. It was an unforgettable trip with a glorious fire red sunset which put the entire Western skies aflame. We did get some unexpected rain, and the tow cable broke a few times, but for the rest everything went well.
I left the jeep at a Chinese garage and changed to long khaki, because the mosquitoes were very bothersome. After a plate of rice and a short walk, I found a hotel, with a small, narrow and hard bed under a giant mosquito net. The next morning, the mosquitoes sat , satiated and fat , on the wrong side of the screen.
While I had breakfast of coffee and stickbread, two heavy motorcycles slowly puffed their way through the street. On it, two Iranian students - which I met again in Bangkok a few weeks later - who were on a ten-year tour around the world. They carried along a small expo of Iranian art products and were particularly interested in the various cultures of the countries they visited.
Fixing the jeep took a few more hours than I expected, so I killed the time walking around and eating white beans in coconutmilk ice. A rare thing had happened in the jeep's engine: a rod in the distributor had broken which had taken the Chinese hours to diagnose. But in the early afternoon I was able to go on, at the score of 535. The next few villages boasted such names as Ang Krong (546), Damdek (556)[N 13.25 E 104.12, alt.17m] , Phoun Our (564), Kompong Koki (574), Spean Thnok (579, ... (583) and Staung (598) [anno 2002:13 communes, service code 06300]
The land was flat and the road pretty decent except on some stretches which were under repair. People were all dressed in black, and their skin color seemed a few grades darker than the average Thai. They were busy at work in the rice fields or fishing in the many ditches, canals and ponds. I saw a kind of marabou -a bird I never noticed in Thailand - helping to fish behind a group of nonchalantly dressed women wading through the water.