Sunday, 26 February 2012

Tall and short and short and tall and innnnn between and IN BETWEEN!

So we left Krabi on the fifteenth of February to head up to Bangkok and on to Cambodia. The trip started off in a crowded mini bus (large van) that had some stinky French men on board. They desperately needed a shower. We were a little frustrated with the van because we really just wanted to take a regular bus but it wasn't to be. We got to Suraythani where we were to transfer to a larger bus, but ended up sitting there for an hour because they didn't realize how many people were travelling with them this day and had to arrange for another bus. This bus showed up and we all piled on. From the get go we did not like this bus. It didn't smell too horrible but all the blankets on the seats were kids blankets (Sponge Bob, Drangon ball Z, Looney Toons etc) but the foot rests were at an extremely uncomfortable height so it put your legs up too high and if the person in front of you put their seat back it would basically rest on your knees. This all seems trivial but after having spent almost a month in Thailand experiencing the good and the bad, we thought we had finally figured out the right questions to ask to get what we wanted: how wrong we were. The bus was uncomfortable, no one could sleep, smelly French men everywhere, some Chilean girls laughing constantly because they were watching 'How I met your Mother' ( I only mention this because I was jealous of them because I really like that show and wanted to watch it as well), and on top of all of this some very disturbing and disgusting smells were bombarding our olfactory senses and the bus driver was crazy. The smells emanating from below decks were ranging from stinky fish, to pee, poop, wet dog, and pad thai. Strange, I know. The ride was supposed to take about 6 hours or so and we were all just trying to persevere and get through this ordeal when all of a sudden the front left tire on the bus popped with a loud bang! Laura was sitting beside me and grabbed my arm so hard I thought she was going to crush it. The driver luckily was good and had the bus under control and drove over to the side of the road. But, they didn't let us out right away and the bus started to fill up with putrid burnt rubber smell and smoke, so some passengers got off and opened the side door for us all to get off ( the Chilean girls were quite thankful because they were really starting to panic and bang on the glass and talk really really fast spanish). Luckily though, buses pulled over and allowed all of us passengers to get on for the rest of the trip to Bangkok, which turned out to be on 45 minutes away. So, we arrived in Bangkok in one piece and very disappointed in the Thai buses and made our next move to Cambodia.

We booked another mini bus (van, urgh!) to take us to the border and then arranged for a taxi to take us from the border to Siem Reap. The drive to the border was uneventful other than good cup of soup and Meg making a friend with a German from frankfurt. We arrived at a place a few kilometres from the border and filled out our visa information and gave up our passports to "Mr. Border" (seriously, that was the name he gave me, and I asked him twice what his name was) which we didn't really like and waited a few minutes. Then we got back on the mini bus and headed to the Cambodian consulate where the visas were processed and then on to the border. The border town on the Thai side was full of markets, I imagined that it looks quite similar to Tijuana. We walked through the Thai departure check and then onto the Cambodian immigration arrivals while passing through 'No Man's Land' that was filled with Casinos and Cigarette and Liquor stands (it was like Niagra Falls meets Asia minus any stunning scenery). Cambodian immigration was a breeze and we gathered our group together and got on another bus that would take us all to our taxi. We arrived at another bus station and got our taxi that was a 93 Toyota Camry LE. I know it was a 93 cause Mom has the 92 LE CE ( that means 6 cylinder, no big deal). Also another funny note about this, our taxi driver was the Cambodian twin of Brian Shelley, no joke! He was the same height, had the same shape, same haircut, laugh, body language and smile. It was crazy. I almost called him Brian a couple times (for those who don't know who Brian Shelley is he is the GM of camping for the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka and has been involved with Kitchi for a long time); he called me big hairy English man and pulled my arm hair and laughed hysterically. The country side on the way to Siem Reap was pretty much flat farm land for as far as you could see and very bright red dirt everywhere. The trip took 2 hours to Siem Reap and we were very relieved to arrive at our highly recommended guest house Siem Reap Rooms. SUCCESS!

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