Mar
25

Two days thru Cambodia

As you are all aware we have not been too good at keeping this up to date recently due to bone idleness and visitors, however, this is well over due. Al started writing this along time back but I decided I would finish it so you had something to read. So Italics is Al and the rest is me (sometimes pretending to be Al).

Well we made it back to Thailand after a whistle stop drink fest in Cambodia and are currently residing in Koh Chang. I must mention that we have been rather lax recently with the blog updates and our return comments, so please accept our humblest apologies. I reckon that after six months of marriage I am finally managing to get Sarah to fall into my way of thinking – “manyana”

This section got its name as we thought that we could get cheap passage thru Cambodia and into Thailand in two days, including a flying visit to the Angkor Wat. How wrong we were - welcome to the Hotel California…

Anyway the story continues where we last left it. We exited Vietnam on the 5th of February, knowing full well that we were a day over the date that stamped in our visa. The bus set off and first stop was a floating market at the bottom of the Mekong. Got off bus and were piled onto a little boat and floated along to see said market. The only thing they seemed to sell was watermelons but hey ho…

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We then went off to a small island where we were told we would be cycling to lunch. The bikes were too big for me so much to my horror I had to go on a moto. However I was grateful as the bike ride to lunch took about 20 minutes in 35 degree heat. After lunch it was back on the bikes and back to the boat. We rejoined the bus up stream and travelled for about 3 hours picking up some others en route. Then it was onto a ferry then back on the road. We reached another boat after another hour and boarded this tiny vessel at sunset – very pretty. We were cruising down the Mekong watching kids wash in the river and all waving and shouting Hello at us. Was like something out of National Geographic.

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After several hours we reached Chou Doc, where we were spending the night. Hotel pretty shit and went off in search of food. The only restaurant nearby had on its menu fried mouse, goats’ udders, rat, pigs’ trotter and many other specialities that weren’t appealing. Wandered round and found a woman selling stuff in a roll so Al had one and I picked at a plain roll.

The next morning it was an early start, a runny omelette and back on the bus. This time it was a floating village.

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Got into 2 man boats, rowed by a woman with 2 big ores and set off. River filthy and Al moaned bitterly saying “why would I want to see a floating village?” He also commented to the fisherman that the only thing they would catch in there was the plague. The floating houses were really used to store fish under and we got to see one – millions of fish all jammed together fighting for air and food. All the crap in the water would not make them overly appealing for dinner.

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Then had to go and see some Muslim village and got pestered by kids until finally we rebaorded the boat to go to Cambodia.

At this point we were on the river boat heading towards the border. The girl in charge of the cruise was collecting everyone’s passport and checking the visa dates and departure paperwork. As she cast her eyes over my passport she asked me if I had changed the exit date on the passport (when we arrived in Hanoi the immigration girl stamped us into the 1st of February then changed mine to the 4th of February when we asked if we could have a few more days – then after she wrote in the 4th on Sarahs). I relayed the story of the immigration girl at Hanoi but she seemed sceptical that we hadn’t done it ourselves, so I pointed to Sarahs saying that hers was fine and we came in together on the same flights. All seemed well as she ran off with all the boats passport on a moto and we continued the cruise down to the border.
When we arrived at noon she immediately told us that the immigration guys had a problem with the passport, saying we had ‘repaired’ both passports (our visas only valid till the 1st of February). The rest of the cruise was due to leave in an hour, so the assholes at the immigration said that we were to wait till 1:30 then be interviewed. The time ticked by in the scorching sun and finally we went into see them. The boat said it could hold on till 2:30, however nothing was happening quickly today. The head honcho came in with three increasing sizes of magnifying glasses, one of them equipped with a small torch, then proceeded to examine them for a half hour, all the while saying (through an interpreter) “you are in big trouble, you must admit that you did this”
What a crock of shit, however I’m sure this is a scam that starts with the immigration at Hanoi deliberately fudging exit dates then getting tourist stung at the border. Absolutely raging at the assholes in the aiport and the twats here.

So had to then wait 2 hours while he phoned the airport and apparently spoke to every immigration person there who all obviously denied this “violation” to a passport. All the while stuck in a stinky interogation room, with no A/C, no fags and no water. Eventually some other dude turned up who said we would have to pay a fine varying between 500,000 Dong (16 quid) to 2,000,000 Dong (70 quid) each. This was clearly pointed out to us on some piece of Vietnamese paperwork where only the amounts were legible. Cunningly before we had gone into the office we had decided to only keep about 20 dollars worth in Als’ pocket and hide the rest if the money incase they tried something like this. So we pleaded poverty and said all we had was the 40 dollars for the Cambodian visas plus the 20 dollars in the pocket. Your man was not happy but agreed to take it all.

At this point some random bystander piped up that he would give us the 40 dollars from his own pocket so that we could enter Cambodia and that he would drive us on his speed boat to Cambodia, then transfer us on to Phnom Penh in his mini bus to an ATM, where we could pay him 60 dollars for the priveledge, plus repay the 40 he’d leant us. We had to agree to this as out tour had left hours ago and we were in the middle of no where, so had to get to Phnom Penh.

So the saga continued and 2 other guys turned up who bought out a load of paper work and started to fill it in. They looked at our passports as if they were pieces of human excrement that they could barely touch and spent 1 hour filling in said form. When they had finally finished and we had signed the form another idiot turned up with new forms telling the first idiots that they had pain stakingly filled in the wrong f##king forms. At this point tempers were at boiling point and it was 17:00. With the Cambodian border closing in 30 minutes we had to leave immediately and our transport man explained we must go now or have to stay the night. Also at this point the original Head honcho had returned, now wearing his tennis whites, holding his racket and clearly keen to get us away so he could start serving!! Under much duress we filled in the new blank forms (what everyone tells you never to do) and got a receipt to say we had outstayed our visa by 4 days (even though it was only 2) and that we had paid 500,000 Dong each (we hoped this receipt would prove we had not just dmitted to murder or something and if it had we got off with a 16 quid fine).

We left pissed off, short of cash (although we still had 200 dollars in the bag) and boarded our deluxe speed boat for 1 hour, which was more like a bath tub than a boat.

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However the scenery en route was beautifull and within 1 hour we were laughing about it (just).

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So we arrived in PP weary after the 5 hour border dealing,  seeing one guy dead on the side of the road after coming off his bike, being bounced to death and being dripped on by dysfunctional air conditioning unit in the mini bus. We went to our hostel the “Wolly Rhino” where we pretended to meet a friend and manged to produce the money to repay the boat dude.That evening it was dinner & bed. Shattered.

Awoke the next morning with a spring in our steps and went off to look about and book the bus to Siam Reap to get the hell out of this place. With tickets booked to leave we went back to the hostel where we bumped into Irish Tony the owner. Within minutes we were drinking Jagermeister and beer and going off to eat ribs with 2 of his friends, Jason and Phil. Went to an American owned rib shack where we proceeded to eat meat and drink excessively. Several moto rides and pubs later we arrived home (circa 05:00) and needless to say the 09:00 bus was not gonna happen. 

After a day of suffering we decided we’d definelty go the next day but didn’t as we got drunk again that night and this process was repeated for 5 days, with 2 more buses missed, during which ….

Jason got made up..

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Jason lost an Eyebrow…

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I made some friends

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Al made some friends…

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So despite a weeks madness we did get to see some sights and Chris, the new Wolly Rhino manager showed us about…or at least Al - that day I was unwell.

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We finally left PP with a heavy heart and headed off to Siam Reap - arteries a little more clogged and minus a few brain cells but what a laugh!! Got the bus up to Siam Reap which was not bad and took about 7 hours. Stayed at the “Rosie” hostel, owned by and English couple, Rachel and Simon and their dog “Branston” and cat “pickle”. Within minutes of arriving we had met up with Jess & John (2 of Simon’s English mates) and began another “Tiger” adventure. So many Tigers later we were yet again drunk. We were supposed to be going to see the Angkor Wat the next day but needless to say didn’t. However the next night was sober and we went off to one of the wonders of the world.

This place was amazing, you could get either a 1 day or 3 day pass to go in to the park. The temple of Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century for King Suryavarman II as his state temple and capital city. It is based on traditional Khmer architecture and has survived numerous attacks. Angkor Wat is the main temple….

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and is fairly impressive and very tall,

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with some interesting statues…

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Next was on to the Temple of Elephants, which was a 12 m wall designed around elephants…

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Anyway lots of impressive structures, but as it was roasting (late 30s) it was too hot to climb up and down all the buildings. Here’s a few more pictures but you can see the rest on our flickr site if you want!!!

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Most impressive was the temple used in “Tomb Raider” which had beenleft untouched for so long that it now had huge trees growing out the walls. Amazing.

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Anyway a few more nights drinking and then we were off Thailand bound again for a weeks chilling prior to meeting Paul and Pauline in Bangkok. So our 2 days cheap visit to Cambodia ended up 2 weeks and expensive - but never mind - you only live once!!! Our next adventures will continue in Koh Chang.

10 Responses to “Two days thru Cambodia”

BOB & ACE said:

The hairy blond is gorgeous but dont rate old blue eyes much.

Posted on March 31st, 2007.

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