No Sleep Till Samraong

Day XXXV – April 22
khmer sky
It took a while before I drifted off.
And before 7am I’m wide-awake again. I figure I might as well get up to sort out all the stuff I didn’t get to these past 2 days.
Two hours later I finally spoke with Green Lion, and have my pick-up arranged for 4pm this afternoon, where I’ll meet the 3 others on the program.

I made it sound pretty bad last night, but actually they’ve been so kind here at No Problem Hostel.
I came in at midnight, but still got serviced. When I was done with the computer an hour later, they still let me grab a cool beer from the fridge and were polite while sharing it in the warm evening air on the terras.
And they were ever so helpful this morning when my attempts to reach Green Lion got desperate.

Anyway, I hit the dusty roads of Siem Reap to find myself some breakfast.
In a local market I find a place that does continental menus, so I go for simple today.
It’s the greasiest, filthiest egg I’ve had in ever, the bacon compares to plastic and the sausage has less taste than the Thai ones. But the tomato looks fresh, the fruit shake is good, and they serve Vietnamese coffee; win!
I pay my 4$ bill with the dollars I just got from the ATM.

Cambodia has their own current; the Riel. But ATMs feature dollars, without option.
I decide to change 50$ anyway, as I’ll be spending 2 weeks in a remote village. And despite it being a bit of a hassle getting used to yet another different unit, I’m convinced it’s part of the whole travel experience.

Next order of business: finding a travelagency, to book that flight to Bali next month. Last time I occupied myself with that was in Luang Prabang, when internet told me it’d be $70 and a travelagency said $115. I didn’t worry about it much anymore, but now I’m afraid I let it linger too long.
After shopping around I go back to the first shop I was, where they book me on the 13/05 Air Asia flight RD3942, dep: Phuket 06.45 arr: Denpasar 11.45.
Thereby it is decided I will not go into Cambodia any further, but will make my way down Southern Thailand after the volunteering.

I’m sorry the read is getting this boring and matter-of-factly. Ever since Hoi An it’s been feeling like there wasn’t a lot of fun stuff to write about, but a lot of numbers, calculations and budget-worries. I’m sure it’ll get better again starting tonight!

I spend the rest of my day wandering around this friendly and rather quiet town. I’m asked if I need a ride more often than anywhere else, and the tuktukdrivers are a little more hands on, but I suppose that’s part of the local friendliness.
I do feel the need to buy this shirt I see all over the local market: “no tuktuk today & not tomorrow”. Yes, if you decline the ride now they enquire after your plans for tomorrow, and if they may pick you up somewhere.
I guess there isn’t a lot to do for them here, as it is mainly the gateway to Angkor Wat, that is a full day trip for which people leave at dawn. Even the salesladies ask me to please come into their shop and please buy something for them.

On the other side of the river I find a stray hammock. I check with a park caretaker but it seems to be fine for me to get in and chill out for a bit in this exhausting heat.
About an hour later a local who was selling jewelry comes over to collect it. I tell him I’m sorry for just taking it, but he smiles and tells me it was perfectly fine.

One last time before making a 2 week camp, I swing on my 13k backpack, making the heat unbearable, to meet my pick-up 2 dirtroads down town.
The taxi is airconned and Yun [18, NL] Mariella [29, Austria] and Ingrid [39, NL] are already in the backseat.
room ya
Two hours later we arrive in Samraong, Oddar Meanchey, Greenway Homestay, the home of Mr. Ya and his family, who live downstairs.
The lady of the house, Anette, shows me to my room in the upstairs guest department. There are 5 rooms and I get my very own, with double bed, net, fan and a table. Simple but excelent! I am Jill’s perfect contentment.

It still happens. Last night I texted him “Long busrides like this always take me into daydreams of when I get back home… Sometimes I can’t wait.” and during today’s drive out of Siem Reap I got back “I know that type of daydreaming well these days, especially on lazy Sundaymornings. Come back safe and stop getting robbed.” and I smile the whole way though.
It’s weird, with all this time difference and these worlds apart. But this is what connects me to back home every now and then.

Of course it comes up, especially when you put a bunch of girls together; “Do you have a man back home?”
I explain I did sort of meet someone right before I left, though we said “we’ll see when I get back.”
In this particular group there is one lady engaged, and her travelbuddy has a boyfriend, and the two of them have been faithful.
But I’ve also met a lot of girls that are attached back home, yet go around with an attitude of what happens in Asia stays in Asia.

After those traveller pants I bought in Hoi An, I stooped to a new level of hippieness today: I put a bracelet that gives my wrist rashes, on my ankle, where it seems to be doing fine. And ehm, it has bells…

There’s another sound I haven’t heard in a while; geckos! And how I’ve missed it!
ya balcony
We spend our evening on the balcony where a slight breeze cools the air as I gaze at this amazing sky.
These stars! They shine so bright, like little diamonds, dangling down from a ceiling of black velvet.

calendarMeanwhile we exchange travelling experiences and plans, browse through our Lonely Planets, every now and then interrupted by a gecko.
I always seem to be one or two destinations ahead at nights like these. Don’t get me wrong, I never forget to enjoy the moment –as I just loved simply crawling under my net and listening to the click of my fan- but I’m having trouble at the same time putting my LP down and stop dreaming of future destinations.

I have 2 more weeks to do so though, and only 7 hours till breakfast. And last night I had no more than 5…
So much to see, so much to do, so little time! Ah man, this trip is just getting better and better!

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