Day 89: The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round … And Round, And Round, And Round

The three of us got up early at 6am. It made me regret staying up until quarter past twelve that morning to watch the movie “Going The Distance”. Curse you HBO! I jumped in the shower, packed my bag, then all 3 of us checked out. We had all of 15 minutes to burn before our ride appeared, so we thought we’d try and find some place to eat. Unfortunately because it was so early all we could find was a convenience store, which inconveniently all we could buy were Oreos. It’s funny that the people of Cambodia are willing to start construction in the wee hours, but not get out of bed to cook. We returned to the hotel with our goods and at 7am, bang on time, a local man on his tuktuk showed up to take us to the bus station. It turned out it was only 500 metres down the road, so we could have walked. Nevertheless the bus driver took our bags, and within 5 minutes of arrival we were setting off to our first stop, Phnom Penh.

It was a 2 and a half hour journey that lay ahead, and was a shame we had to return there in order to head north to Siem Reap. The first leg of the journey went perfectly, in fact I think we even gained time where we got there so fast. At the bus station we moved our bags over to a second bus and bought some breakfast in the form of baguettes, crisps and nuts (nobody said travelling would be easy, you gotta eat however you can). 15 minutes later we were back on the road for another long journey, a 6 and a half hour journey.

I was watching tv shows or movies for the best part of the ride, so I was blissfully unaware when our bus ran into some problems. Initially I thought we had made a stop, as some passengers were getting off one by one to stretch their legs. When we hadn’t moved for 10 minutes, and I looked out the window, I noticed the bus driver and his buddy were staring at either the side of the bus or one of its wheels. It was then I realised we wouldn’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. Another bus was called and for the third time that day we chucked our bags under the carriage. The rest of the journey went fine, even if one male passenger shouted at the driver for his excessive use of the horn.

We made a couple stops to service stations along the way, and I made several adjustments to my seating position to avoid numb bum syndrome (its a killer of guys my size on small buses). Around 6:30pm we had arrived in Siem Reap. I missed it, but Jamie claims he saw lots of male tuktuk drivers running to their vehicles in order to beat the bus to the station. When my bag was eventually removed from the undercarriage, it was filthy. All the dust from the roads must have blown underneath with all the bags and collected there. Sarah and Jamie’s were fine though. They had negotiated with a tuktuk driver during my absence, then we set off to our German titled hotel, Welkommen.

During the ride we got the opportunity to admire countless large buildings. Each ones architecture was unique. When we arrived at the doors our driver told us we were 3.5 km away from the centre, aptly named Pub Road. He offered to take us there free of charge, as we had agreed he could be the driver to take us to Angkor Wat (our main reason for being in Siem Reap). He would take us there in two days time at 5am, that way we could see sunrise. He then told us he’d wait for us while we went inside, dropped off our bags and Got ready. Inside, the building was huge, so spacious that they could probably convert the ground floor into a car park and still have room for a lobby. We were soon shown to our room, and as promised on their website they did have super fast Internet. We didn’t hang about and soon returned to our driver within 20-25 minutes. He then took us to Pub Road free of charge. When we stepped out from the confines of the tuktuk it became evidently clear why it was named Pub Road. The streets (yes plural) were lined with bars and restaurants which were filled with people. We promised ourselves we’d have a night out at some point. First port of call was to find a cash machine, we passed several until we finally found one that worked. We then located a place to eat, of which I had an ok meal, then came every guys enjoyment, the exploring of yet another bloody market!!!!!

This time Sarah was in the market for a new pair of flip flops, claiming that the deet in the mosquito repellent had damaged her old ones. Even though she was looking for flip flops that didn’t stop her from looking at everything else on offer. The one main annoying factor about this particular market, it was dotted about all over the place. Meaning we would be making several return visits until we saw the best part of it all!!! Sarah then spotted a beauty parlour (I think that’s the title of a shop which does manicures, pedicures, foot scrubs, etc) so she decided to stop in for some form of treatment. That left Jamie and I only one option, to visit the bar next door. While we were there we spotted what looked like the Australian couple we had met in Koh Rong. We didn’t bother saying hello, as we were unsure if it was them. Sarah confirmed that it was when she eventually came back from her foot scrub (of which she was disappointed with).

The three amigos then went about finding a tuktuk to get back back. During the walk Sarah was shouted at by local women and men. The reason being, not to compliment her on her looks (like they always do) but to inform her she had dropped her wallet. This is what I mean when I say the people of Cambodia are lovely, caring people, had that been anywhere else like Vietnam, Sarah could have forgotten about that 100 dollars she had in there. After Sarah walked back to pick it up, with her head hanging low, we found a tuktuk, who said he’d take us back for a small price of $2. At the hotel I took advantage of the quick Internet by trying to Skype my mum, but to my frustration (like usual) Skype started playing up. Never have I ever found it so difficult to talk to family as I have when I use Skype. You end up swearing and shouting at it in an attempt to be heard the other end. After a failed conversation I returned to the dorm room. Sarah and I then fell asleep attempting to watch the last 40 minutes of a film we were watching earlier that day.

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