Sunday, 17 March 2013

Goodbye Vietnam, Hello Cambodia - one hell of a border crossing

So we were awoken and led off the bus at 6am, where we had to get our stamps for leaving Vietnam and then walk over 'no mans land' to the Cambodian crossing, with all our bags, to get our visas and be allowed to enter Cambodia. This whole process took an hour and a half, most of it was just sat around waiting. Luckily I didn't have to pay any visa overstay fees - woo! However, our group leader had failed to tell us that we would be changing buses on the other side, so me and Maura had left a few things on the other bus, thinking we'd be coming back to it. When another bus turned up we shit ourselves and asked to be taken back to it to grab the things we'd left - my teddies included!! Can you imagine what would have happened if I couldn't get those back? I'd be coming home lol.

So we found the old bus, located our stuff and then Maura fell down the steps and sprained her ankle! Made worse by the fact she still had her backpack on, so she got a motorcycle ride back to the bus (or so we thought) and I walked back, but was then picked up by a guy on a motorcycle to get me to the bus quicker -  I wasn't complaining! When I got there, Maura hadn't turned up and the bus started to go, so I shouted at the driver that we were still waiting for one person and he said she would be meeting us at the restaurant we were being dropped off at. Meanwhile Maura is being sped to this restaurant, thinking she was being abducted because she'd just gone past the bus, the guy riding her motorcycle didn't speak English so couldn't tell her the plan and she was screaming at him the whole way, contemplating putting a choke on him to get him to stop!

Got to the restaurant and we all had to get off the bus, our stuff included, for the bus to go back to the border crossing - we are still unsure why. Luckily Maura was there with her ankle propped up, attempted abduction trauma over. We ate, got some ice for her ankle and had a coffee. Met a lovely girl who was headed to Siem Reap for some volunteering so passed the hour and a half we waited for the bus, chatting. Then we had a further 6hr journey to our destination, Phnom Penh, which we mainly just slept through. I did at one point wake up, look out the window in a sleepy haze and see that we (our entire bus) was on a bamboo raft in the middle of a river, and got really disorientated. But you learn to just accept things like that in Asia, and so just went back to sleep until we arrived in Phnom Penh at midday.

We were hassled by tuk tuk drivers the moment we stepped off the bus - welcome back to the land of tuk tuks! So managed to haggle one down to take us to Lazy Gecko guesthouse and booked one night there, and decided to move to a place Maura's friend had recommended, The Laughing Fatman, tomorrow. Then we went for breakfast at one place, then two doors down after paying the bill at the last place, had lunch (we were super hungry lol), then went for body massages as we heard Phnom Penh was Khmer Massage central. A Khmer massage was basically a thai massage, but with more massaging and less contortion. Had some beers, had dinner at our new regular, the Pink Elephant Pub, went back to the Gecko for showers, then headed out for a drink at an Irish bar as it was Paddies day. We ended up drinking draft Ankor beer that was dyed green, the power went off and so the whole street was in darkness, singing Brown Eyed Girl. Then we headed for an early night as we were absolutely knackered and wanted to spend the day sightseeing tomorrow.

Our very lovely tuk tuk driver who took us back, was a great candidate as a driver around the city tomorrow as Maura couldn't walk far on her ankle, so we hired him for the day at a bargain $8 (the currency in Cambodia is all in US dollar, but they don't have cents, instead they use their own currency Riel - it's all very confusing using two currencies!) So we arranged for him to pick us up at 11am as we needed a lie in and then headed for bed. Phew, what a day!

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