Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Just capital (part one)

When last we met, dear friends, I was happily situated in a beautiful bungalow at the edge of the jungle, after intrepid meanderings through foliage.
The following morning saw Eva, Leon, Benno and me at breakfast, with Benno preparing to head for Koh Krong and the Thai border, and the remainder of us to Andoung Tuek for the bus to Phnom Penh. Transport to AT was again by moto-taxi, unhappily, but happily this driver knew the road, and it was only 20 minutes of slewing tyres along red dirt tracks that saw me safely back on heavily rutted tarmac to await four-wheeled transport.

As a brief note, my moto driver knew not only where Wales is, but it's population, and the fact that it ranks very highly in some random international scale of peaceful countries (which I guess when your country has spent it's recent history embroiled in civil war, genocide and civic strife, is the sort of thing you look up). He attributes all of this to the existence of Ryan Giggs.

This pattern has repeated itself in other small towns in Cambodia. I may have to get someone to send me a Wales football shirt... It feels anathema. Why do so few countries love rugby? The world, it is a silly place...

This is Andoung Tuek. 

When we collected our tickets from the ticket office (the red cooler to the right of the above picture), the bus turned out to be an hour later than advertised, at 10.30 rather than 9.30. This should be unsurprising, as Cambodians are very keen for you to be somewhere early enough to have a good long time to wait for whatever it is you're expecting to happen there.

Waiting is important, and ideally to be carried out while in a hammock.
When in Cambodia, always carry a book. And, if possible, a hammock.

The bus turned up nominally on time, and it was merely late lunch when we arrived in Phnom Penh. Avoiding the tuk-tuk and moto drivers at the bus station, we wended our way to a lunch spot mentioned in my Lonely Planet guide: Sam Doo Restaurant. Looking for something not made of rice, we ordered sandwiches that - on the menu - looked like they would contain some kind of roast duck, but actually turned out to just be toast with honey. So we ordered some dim sum also, which was actually very good. No-one starved, although I don't think Eva was entirely satisfied with the experience.

Over dinner, we looked for accommodation on the internet (this having been absent over our three days in the jungle). Sadly, Phnom Penh appeared to be full.
I managed to get a dorm bed for a couple of nights on Hostelbookers, but it meant changing dorms during my stay (no great hardship, but a bit of a potch, onetheless). Eva and Leon spent some time calling places from a coffee shop opposite my hostel, before giving up, and getting a tuk-tuk to drive them round until they found somewhere. We agreed to meet up at 10.30 the next morning to share a tuk-tuk to Choeung Ek. I spent the evening meandering around Phnom Penh...

I will hopefully do another post tomorrow, about Choeung Ek.
Stay tuned...

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