I’ve always fancied myself looking stellar on a motorbike.
I regularly imagine myself sitting astride a Harley Davidson looking very, very sexy. In these dreams I race through town, leaning into corners and overtaking Audis. When I take my helmet off I shake my hair out quite seductively as traffic stops around me. Sometimes there are bad accidents, but I cannot help that. I’m usually blonde in these dreams, too, and wearing some tight leather outfit. My breasts are bigger, obviously.
Of course, Asia is the perfect place to turn these dreams into a freshly-minted reality.
The beaches in the south of Cambodia, around Sihanoukville especially, provide a spanking location for the transformation from daggy backpacker to sexy biker. A local election also meant a 48-hour drinking ban, so the timing was nice, too.
A $6-a-day 125cc scooter and a stripey helmet completed an already-amazing set of circumstances.
The Swedes planned to rev the engines early in the morning, possibly even catching a sunrise. At 2pm we set off, dust flying behind us, loving the freedom our new wheels provided.
We’d decided that it would be more adventurous and spontaneous if we avoided maps and any comprehensive advice regarding directions. We had no wanky getting-lost-is-the-best-way-to-find-yourself-ambitions, but were keen on finding something interesting and unplanned.
However, with a long-armed navigator pointing out the best directions from the back of the second scooter, we failed to lose the way. He could spot a bar flouting the beer-ban from miles away.
We found a plethora of stunning tropical beaches as we hugged the coastline, palm trees lining the turquoise water. Some were packed with tourists and aggressive bracelet-vending touts while others just had a handful of local tourists peacefully building sandcastles. Others were dominated by imposing resorts that restricted access to the paradise on their doorstep. Clearly, Cambodia’s beaches are a hot-spot on the cusp of hitting the big time. For now, they’re still relatively untouched.
We skidded out of the soft sand, watching the landscape change as we ventured away from the peaceful Otres beach we’d called home for a few days.
We tapped into a bit of culture, too, at a few local villages. The diversity of wealth astounded me. We’d pass roadside slums just metres from larger houses with manicured gardens, and then modest villages showed us the farming way.
I loved waving at the cute little kids as they ran out smiling and yelling hello. It is every biker’s dream to have some groupies.
There were monkeys, too, of course. We came across a bunch of the cheeky creatures after testing out our skills on some wicked bends. A few were casually tucking into bright yellow bananas, others were wrestling on the road, oblivious to the passing trucks and scooters. One of the more vain in the tribe had perched himself (or herself, I guess) on a stationary bike and was devoting some serious time to gazing into their own eyes in the mirror. I think the Swedes were doing a fair bit of that on their bike, too.
Perhaps the best sensation was the freedom to go wherever we wanted, pointing the handlebars down dirt roads and highways at will. After months of cramped, leaking buses and ridiculously comfortable trains, it was a treat to be the master of the road, owning the bitumen, following the random gestures of the long-armed Swede.
Of course, the roads were perilous in places, further enhancing our exhilaration. Semi-trailers would scream up behind, honking at us as if we were flies the driver craved to swat away. Occasionally a normal car would try to run us off the road, honking viciously as if we’d stolen their last portion of amok and rice. Interestingly, all of the cars drove around with their boot’s up; air conditioning, perhaps?
One thing is certain, none of the other motorists looked as cool as the serious Aussie/Swedish biker crew. And, of course, when we got back I shook my hair out of my helmet very sensuously.
I’m told I looked just like a brunette version of Claudia Schiffer. Or, maybe some dreams will never cut it in the real world.