Monday, July 5, 2010

Thirteen Hours

We we set out for Siem Reap by bus we weren't 100% how long it was going to take. We hadn't come straight to Kampot from Phnom Penh, so we had no idea how long that bus ride was. We also couldn't remember how long the trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh had been the first time. However, in our minds we thought it might be eight hours or so. We were wrong.

Our bus left at 6:45 in the morning. We had with us just over a half loaf of Sisters II bread for snacking and didn't bother to eat when the bus stopped later in the morning for breakfast. Our second set of tickets (from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap) said the bus left at 12pm. At it approached 11am and we were still not in sight of the city, we began to grow concerned. We had thought the ride to the capital would be about three hours and it had now been four. We finally pulled into the bus station at 11:55am. Cale leapt from the bus and found the baggage handler unloading the luggage. He needed to figure out where our next bus was and get us and our baggage there; we only had five minutes. However, after a little initial confusion we learned the bus wouldn't leave until 12:45pm (I am sure they wanted to know why this barang was so up in arms over a bus that wasn't leaving for an hour).

We got on the next bus thinking this ride was four hours. Under the impression we would be in Siem Reap for dinner time we didn't get food when the bus stopped along the way. Though I had complained I was hungry, the easily portable and familiar foods were always over priced at these stops. Can o' Pringles-like chips? $4. Bag of unidentifiable fish products? $0.50. We could wait to eat in town. But the hours kept ticking by and we didn't appear to be any closer.

When we finally arrived in Siem Reap it was after 7pm and raining hard. Cale had called
Sophara from outside of town to tell him we were arriving by bus and to ask if he could give us a ride to our guesthouse. He met us at the bus station outside of town and drove us to Happy Guesthouse in the pouring rain. Because we were friends he kept insisting we couldn't pay him and Cale practically had to wrestle the cash into his hands.

We dropped our things in our room and immediately went down stairs to order food. It was a replay of our first night in Siem Reap almost two months earlier. We arrived late and famished. I ordered the fried rice, Cale the amok (strangely enough, none of the info on amok I can find on the internet sounds or looks anything like any of the amok we ate while in Cambodia). We stuffed ourselves and then immediately to sleep. It was barely after 9pm.

— Sara

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