Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cambodia's Capital, Briefly

We had three main goals for our time in Cambodia: visit Angkor Wat, procure visas to Vietnam for TJ and myself, and drop Jamie off at the Phnom Penh airport for her flight back to Bangkok. To accomplish all of that, we spent a total of about a week in Cambodia.

First piece of advice: don't spend a week in Cambodia.

A lot of travelers seem to whisk through this country, stopping for a day or two at Siem Reap to get a quick view of the temples between Thailand and Vietnam. That wasn't quite the experience I wanted, so we stayed for a few extra days. With two more days before Jamie's flight back to Bangkok, we didn't have time to go far, and we had to be Phnom Penh long enough to get our visas processed anyway.

So the bus we met at midnight in Siem Reap was a sleeper bus that would take us to Phnom Penh. Our first choice bus, the one that left at 1pm and would provide us with air conditioning in the hottest part of the day, was already booked, so we got three seats on the sleeper bus instead. The guy who booked the tickets told us the bus had beds instead of seats, and we were intrigued.

The concept of beds on the bus was less intriguing when we saw it in practice. It looked like the seats were placed directly on the floor, with no legs, and extended to allow room for your legs in front of you. Scratch that - to allow room for a small, Asian person's legs in front of you. None of us fit! The seats were organized as bunks, with two seats above and two seats below. We were all on the bottom bunk, which meant no windows or lights. The top bunks had both, but no ladder to climb. We watched several people fail to get in their seats on their first launch, so they had to gear up for a second or third jump from the armrests below.

Jamie put us in fits of laughter with this face. She looked like this for the first hour of our trip!

Despite all odds, Jamie ended up with a double seat to herself, and even TJ and I managed to find a comfortable position to get some sleep. We arrived in Phnom Penh at 7 am, tired but coherent.

We made a beeline to our hotel, where they offered us breakfast while we waited for our room to be ready. At 9 am, TJ and I handed over our passports for visa applications, and then we all crashed. With comfortable beds, good air conditioning, and full stomachs, we slept most of the day.

The heat of Cambodia and the constant attention of vendors had us worn out, so we spent our time in Phnom Penh recovering rather than touring. We rarely ventured far from our hotel's pool or our air-conditioned room, and only then to view the palace a short tuk tuk ride away. Instead, we watched movies, ordered fast food delivery, and enjoyed each other's company.

A model of Angkor Wat

Then we dropped Jamie off at the airport for her trip home! We have an early bus to Vietnam in the morning, but we stayed in Phnom Penh just long enough to know that she got out of Cambodia safely and to pick up our passports. The rest of our trip is just the two of us!

Ordered a pizza, and this is what we got: sausage, pineapple, and raisin. Surprisingly delicious!

No comments:

Post a Comment