Day 16 – Drive to Siem Reap

10 Mar

An early start with a wake up call at 6am. Actually managed some sleep last night, and didn’t fall asleep with the TV on for the first time this trip.

Instantly regretted not packing my bag the night before. Rushed out the room at 6:50am to get some breakfast before meeting our new guide, Huat, and the bus.

Slight panic as I realised I didn’t have my sunglasses.  Back into the pitch black room (I’d already handed my key in), using only my phone to illuminate it, only confirmed that they weren’t there. This left only one place – the masseurs.  I tiptoed up the stairs trying not to waken the sleeping people who were ready to pounce on unsuspecting foreigners and carefully retrieved my glasses from the hat stand that I must have run away from the day before.

All on board the happy bus, with a chilled bottle of rum and a bottle of coke.  To early to open, or is it?

Less than an hour into the journey and Dave requested an emergency stop. A happy tree may well have had to do, but he made it to a petrol station and dashed off the bus, bog roll in hand. Margaret took the opportunity to lead a pilates warm up class.  I kept on doing the timewarp instead.

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As the road descended into a dust track, we stopped for a scheduled rest stop at “spider town”. As soon as we left the bus we were each escorted by 2 children, all very good at English. One of mine was 14 but looked about 8 and was very aware that Scotland was cold with snow and that skiing was a popular pastime!

Anyway, for sale was deep fried fare – spiders, crickets, silkworms, frogs and water beetles. Not quite the HSBC advert. Our guide had advised not to eat them on hygiene grounds.  Spoilsport.

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We continued along the dusty road, passing duck farms and stilt houses, with car horns being blasted and ignored with regular occurrence. Hit a Mexican stand off when we tried to negotiate roadworks with oncoming traffic and a brick wall.  Our tour guide donned his metaphorical fluorescent jacket and instructed the traffic behind to reverse.  Much beeping of horns. Cyclists didn’t seem to have a problem.

The next stop was at another petrol station this time for an emergency loo for Jane. The bus driver took the opportunity to check the tyres with a screwdriver and drove off to get a puncture fixed. Jacky couldn’t stand still long enough when she discovered a wifi hotspot, and off we went. Discovered I had numbered the days of this blog incorrectly as I worked out what we were supposed to be doing today. Driving and toilet stopping apparently.
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Made it to the lunch stop overlooking the Tonle Sap river. Very bad service, but very good food. Unfortunately they were all out of fire ant eggs, so I had to settle for chicken and chips. The nicest chips in the world. Only $5, including a coke. Others beginning to wilt substantially.

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Back on the bus I poured the rum and coke with the assistance of lookout man Julian – the roads are very bumpy! No ice though.

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We stopped unexpectedly for a true emergency as one of us took a dehydration turn. Decided to forego the river boat at this point and head straight to the hotel. Boat trip rearranged for later in the tour.
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Arrived safely at the hotel and stowed the rest of the rum and coke in the fridge. Shower most welcome, even though we hadn’t done much today. The tour of the countryside certainly showed another side to Cambodia. Poverty far more evident than in Vietnam. Improvements in roads and infrastructure seem to be happening.

Booked a table for the Butterflies Garden Restaurant and got a tuk tuk to it. Unfortunately there are two with similar names and we had booked the wrong one. Wasn’t busy though, so we had some nice nosh.

On our return to the hotel we discovered that one of us had been taken to hospital and was being kept in overnight due to the earlier dehydration.
Long day tomorrow visiting 6 temples, so off to bed.

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