Day XXXIV – April 21
Another early morning at 6.30am, I wake up under crispy white sheets in the middle bed. I’m in a 3 bunkbed hostelroom with 4 dudes snorring. My alarm wakes me, as does the bright morning shouting from outside. I swing my legs over the side and start some quick packing. I’ve gotten so routined at it that all the 14 kilos I carried out of Hanoi airport a week ago, I have ready to go in less than 10 minutes. I pay a quick visite to the bathroom and I’m on my way.
At 7 I’m back at the bus agency where once again I’m told to wait – why not just let me sleep that extra hour?!
To kill the time I try the street vendors coffee, and sweet momma why didn’t I before?! Vietnamese coffee is the best. Coffee. EVER! Why do I discover this only on the last morning?!
I get on the bus to find Harry and the Korean that was in our room, who turn out to be on the same one, as well as a latino dude I’m sure I’ve seen before… You just keep bumping in to people on the Southeast Asain Backpack track.
We’re asked by the steward to fill out a Cambodia visa form and pay $25. Sais in Lonely Planet is should be $20.
It’s then that I find out. Money is missing from my moneybelt.
A $50 note, and one of €50. I know for sure it was right there just last night, and I made very sure not to loose the bag out of my sight. Except for when I put my eyelids in between…
So it was either one of the hostel ladies or one of my roommates.
Either way, the thought is making me sick! FCK! Most likely it was someone in my room, and I can’t wrap my head around it. Why the HELL would you steal from a fellow traveller?! You know how tough things can be?! I am Jacks inflamed disappointment! Already the bus is moving and there is absolutely nothing I can do.
I guess whoever did it was sort of courteous by leaving one €50 note at least… All I can do is hope karma will serve them right. Once again I’ve been confirmed; big cities suck!
This is where it becomes so obvious again: I’m just a little girl traveling alone, and have nobody to watch over me, nobody that I actually know or can trust.
I find this one a little harder to let go than the bananasceme in Hanoi. But there’s nothing else left for me to do.
Life goes on.
Around noon we get to the border, which we have to cross by feet. Turns out the visa was $20, but the busguide assures us he wasn’t ripping us off – so what was it the $5 was for then? But I just can’t get upset over such a small amount right now.
On top of things the aircon just broke down, and the heat is smothering.
It’s hot and sunny and in dry shades of orange, yellow and green. And flat, too.
Another note on the eternal Saturday: sleeping in doesn’t go beyond 11 o’clock. Due to check-out, or just the day being too hot by then. And most of all: there’s too much fun to be had to waist your time lying around in bed, better spend it snoozing in the shade or a hammock.
I wonder how much of that is going to change over these next 2 weeks when I’ll be volunteering, with a steady alarm and regularity introduced into my days. It will be so nice not to have to pack for such a long time!
When we get to Phnom Penh I’m left with the Korean, who’s also continuing to Siem Reap. Our connection just left, so we have to wait 4 hours for our connecting bus. I have to give it to those Aussies, the ride from Saigon to Siem Reap takes well over 16 hours.
No, today is not the best of days.
We set out to find a not-too-expensive airconned bar, and end up in an icecream parlor where I find broodje bal and kroket on the menu, typical Dutch fastfood. Makes me laugh and sad at the same time.
Afterwards we go for a walk around and look for this park I found on the map, but upon asking a local, hear it’s been overbuilt.
This town doesn’t strike us that charming either…
I’ve been on the lookout for a blond tuktuk driver, but I guess Levi didn’t make it out this far yet. Or maybe he hasn’t bought his tuktuk yet… He was most serious about buying one to go pick up his friends who were coming over to Phnom Pehn.
Splotta splotta splotta! The dark grey sky is breaking over Phnom Penh as I settle into yet another crowded bus at 6pm, and it’s completely dark before we’re out of the city.
The downpour doesn’t stop all night, all the way from one to the other side of the country. The massive rain is accompanied by the most amazing lightning I have ever seen. More than to the ground, the fulminations are thrown between layers of clouds, creeping out in flowers spreading over the entire sky, like the fireworks they save for the end of the show.
In the mean time the telly’s been tuned to this show that reminds me of those 70’s dance-alongs, sound over the speakers; no sleep till Siem Reap.
We get there around midnight, and I get the promised tuktuk to make up for the 4 hour delay in Phnom Penh. He takes me to Garden Village Guesthouse, the one that everyone’s been talking about. But at the gate I’m told they’re full.
He tells me he knows another hostel, and takes me to No Problem Guesthouse, one that does have vacancy and a dorm.
Weirdest place I’ve been in so far; a Beach-like crapshack with ceiling fans in a dirty dorm and no bathroom. Just after I lie down, a local (?) walks in to fall flat on his face on an empty bed –no sign of life follows- minutes before the boy that checked me in and his girlfriend come in… How nice it would be if I could just pass out now.
But I’ve lost my fatigue, and I still haven’t heard from Green Lion, so there’s that to worry about.