Takeo to Kep
We fell asleep last night in a Takeo ricefield to the hums of the resident farmer tending to his fields perched atop his tractor (at 1am). Joy. Sunrise came quickly, and Sam took advantage of our auspicious location next to a pagoda by finding a moment to kneel, pray and reflect on his journey before setting out on day six of his cross-Cambodian adventure. Following this brief spiritual reprieve, Sam bounded out of the campsite and into the town of Takeo. Scott and Mike were equally spry this morning and dove out of their tents to take full advantage of the beautiful golden hour sunlight.
After departing camp we explored Takeo, a lakeside city that was a stronghold for the Khmer Rouge Regime until 1996. Sam’s route took him past the grounds of one of the most infamous residents of the city, former Khmer Rouge Commander Ta Mok. Ta Mok served as the Khmer Rouge’s Chief of Staff in the 1960s and constructed a chilling Brutalist residence in Takeo surrounded by a moat and accessed only by a long, wooden footbridge.
Sam ran across the bridge and circled the property, now decaying and currently employed as a police training facility. Behind Ta Mok's home we watched women
gracefully gliding across the property’s moat in their palm boats collecting lotus flowers; it was difficult to reconcile this serenity with the horrific atrocities committed by the home’s former resident.
Sam left Takeo, heading for the ocean village of Kep, biking in (literally) asphalt-melting conditions. After nearly a week on the road, unrelenting heat, and countless kilometers, Sam has developed severe saddle sore on his backside. It required immediate (and agonizing) attention at lunch to prevent infection. We were in disbelief that, following a brief lunch break, Sam was ready to pedal for another 20km.
We took our question to the source, asking Sam where on earth his energy came from, to which he responded, “Honestly, I‘m not entirely sure where [it] is coming from. It’s just kind like [I am] on a mission now; it’s uncomfortable but [I] just do it.”
We tipped our hats to Sam as he strode in Kep; six days down and one to go.
Our goal is help Sam raise USD$15,000 for Sala Bai Hotel & Restaurant School before his adventure is over.
As we write this, Sam has raised $10,245 with 24 more hours to go. If you haven’t yet donated, please do so today.
Did you miss our previous posts? Read the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth installments of Sam's adventure.
- Meghan Shea