I'm just in the process of sending the newsletter and I remembered the following email we got from last month's effort. I forgot to post it at the time, so here it is:
"Early this year, on January 25th (2009), just over one year since I began my travels through Asia, and on the day before Chinese New Year no less, I was cycling around Battambang. As I was about to cross the river by way of an iron bridge, an opening suddenly appeared - probably a negligently exposed part of the structure, which I could not avoid; causing the bike and I to plummet through together.
I blacked out instantaneously, and miraculously survived, landing on the riverbank about 10 metres below. Even more miraculously, I did not sustain any brain or spine injuries; though the fractures and other injuries (neurological and otherwise) have kept me in enough pain and treatments these past 6-1/2 months. Now that I'm dealing with the healing back here in Canada, I figured I ought to pass the word on so other travellers don't meet the same fate as I did - or worse.
I later heard at the hospital (kudos to the staff at the surgical centre of Emergency Hospital/Ilaria Api Hospital) that many other people are known to have fallen through that opening, some were badly injured, others died. I am still waiting to get word back from someone in Battambang, to hear whether something has been done... but unlikely.
Perhaps you can put the word out -- not to freak anyone out, because the city is quite a lovely stopover between Siem Reap and Phnomh Penh (which I obviously never got to) -- that they should not only be on the lookout for landmines/UXOs and malaria... but bridges as well."
Thanks for the message -- and get well (and travelling) soon!
Thanks -- the old pic was a temple guardian at Pak Tha in Laos (midway between Huay Xai and Pakbeng ).
Story was from a recipient of the newsletter, but nor overly active on the messageboard. Assuming they read the latest edition, I'll leave it to them to pipe in. :-)
I'm a fellow Canadian travelling to Cambodia in early 2010. I'll be spending at least 3 nights in Battambang - where is this bridge? Are there many bridges, or will this one stick out like a sore thumb?
Appreciate the heads up, and hope your recovery is going well.
#5 cdnexplorer has been a member since 19/8/2009. Posts: 28
I might be heading that way next winter (not this one coming up), but that is not why I asked. I asked because a friend of mine is cycling through that area and I hadn't heard from him for a bit. Thought it might have been him.
Quite a tumble you took. Glad you're on the mend.
I did a trip along parts of the Mekong last year. I'm putting a journal together on Crazy Guy on a Bike and can let you know when I post it if you want. I'll probably stick it in the cycling forum.
Hope the healing continues nicely.
To cdnexplorer: From what I recall, the bridge is south of the psar chas (old market), and south still of the wooden loo hanging out over the river (funny-looking thing with vines growing!). I think it might be the only bridge on which cars do not travel; I think it might be too narrow (or unstable), so I remember only seeing bikes and motorbikes crossing. If I get any more details from my contact at the hospital, I'll pass them on. Anyways, let me just suggest that you keep your eyes open and dismount your bike while crossing ANY bridge... Perhaps you can get in touch with me when you get to Battambang, as I'm still trying to get some info about that very bridge. Thnx.
To Tilapia: First of all, I'm glad that my two-cents allayed your concern over your friend. It's not always the easiest country to get online. Please do let me know about your posting, I'll be curious to read all about the parts I never (yet) got around to visiting... :)
#7 peripatete has been a member since 4/9/2009. Posts: 3
I have been in siem reap on June 09. I really did a cycling tour from town of siem reap to angkor complex for one day. It was exciting during the tour cycling through jungle temples from Ta prohm to preah kan temple.
You should try that any day you want when you being there.
#8 sarah365 has been a member since 7/9/2009. Posts: 2
..or if you'd rather stay away from the hordes of Angkor and don't mind venturing out a bit further, I would recommend you hire a tuktuk and driver for the day and head out about 60k east to Beng Melea. Not only are the ruins spectacular, but the crowds are practically nonexistent and the journey itself, there and back, is an adventure itself: I saw at least 2 weddings taking place, a home being built by an entire family, hogs strapped to the back of motorbikes, and so much more!!
Happy & safe travels!
#9 peripatete has been a member since 4/9/2009. Posts: 3