The day started well; loading the minibus up with the bags, grabbing a quick breakfast and then heading to the airport to pick up Tom, the last member of our ten person team.
However, it was only 15mins out of Phnom Penh that the trouble began. The minibus, travelling at 70mph hit a huge double bump in the road, created by erosion each side of an old disused railway line that ran across the road. The sunk guard on the bottom of the bus wasn't complete it seems and the impact that the bus took smashed open a tank full of oil at the base of the engine. Losing oil rapidly all over the road, we pulled over and (while lighting up a cigarette!) the Cambodian bus driver inspected the damage. He said it should take 30mins to fix - yeah right! It took 3hours: including three mechanics and a moto bringing spare parts out from Phnom Penh. We passed the time listening to music and playing with a shuttlecock in the sun at the side of the road.
Back on the road, passing through a huge rainstorm (glad we weren't waiting at the side of the road in that) we made decent progress and were just pleased to be underway. We stopped for lunch around 2 at a roadside restaurant. We tried deepfried spiders - which weren't too bad actually, but we weren't going to make them our primary food! So we had plenty of Khmer dishes to stock up energy levels for the long bus journey still ahead.
As I write this we are travelling through a dramatic lightning storm. We should arrive in Ban Lung in about three hours (11pm local time) and have a late dinner before crashing.
An eventful day, but you have to see the funny side, and at least we are going to get there, at one point it looked like we might be back in Phnom Penh! - Always Travel With Optimism!