Wednesday, 16 October 2013

monday 14th october - off to Cambodia

Adele dutifully woke me up at 6am sharp, by which time Bart was already showered and cleaned. I the took my turn in the shower / wet room area before assimilating all my belongings into my bag again and heading downstairs for a spot of breakfast to try to ready myself for the long trip to cambodia that lay ahead. Cutting it a little fine to the 7am departure time, it turned out to be a rushed affair consisting of eggs, toast, a little fruit juice and black coffee which I finished whilst standing before walking out to join the others, load up the baggage and jumpinto the white toyota people carrier. It took us half an hour to clear bangkok traffic control, with only the one accident infront of us with a car slamming into the side of another before vering across a couple of lanes. With the city behind us we began to slice our way accross Thailand heading for the border town Poipet which lay 5 hours away. This initial part of the journey would be broken up by 3 stops.

The first stop was for us to refuel and fill in the visa forms for Cambodia.
The second was to refuel tbe toyota.
The third was at the cambodian embassy to get the visas, which our guide did whilst we all stayed in the van. We then carried on the rest of the way to Poipet.

Leaving the van behind we all grabbed our bags and cases and wandered through market stalls, past fried insects and scorpions before lining up to get through border control. First of all,we all stood in lines to get passports and departure forms checked. The tapping of the officials finger on my departure card brought attention to my departure form not being signed, but rather than just having a pen available that desk I had to go to the far end of the room again, sign it and then rejoin the queue again. It didn't take long and the next official checked it again before nonchalently throwing it down and letting me past.

Cambodian entry went a little smoother, but I needed to scan the finger prints from both hands, have my picture taken and have lots of forms stamped, but the whole crossing had only taken around 30 minutes before we boarded a public bus to the central depot where another van was waiting to take us the rest of the way to our hotel at Siem Reap. Stopping briefly en-route for our first group meal on cambodian soil we arrived at the Victory Guest House by mid afternoon and would have the rest of the day to relax and settle before the group meal in he evening.

Siem Reap is much smaller and manageable than Bangkok and Cambodia in places had reminded me of video footage I had seen of Cuba, all dusty edged roads and a sleepy manner. The currency used here is primarily the US dollar with change of under a dollar being then delivered in the cambodian reil.

At rougly 4000 of these to the dollar it basically equates to being given your chanhe in cheap toilet paper, which your better off getting rid of as soon as you can.

A brief stoll in the evening into the town for food showed us that this area was quite similair in feel to the Khao San road area of Bangkok, with plenty of life, bars,street food and markets offering clothing, art and massages which could either be performed by either attractive local ladies or not so attractive fish.

I opted for an earlyish night.

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