Day 190 - On The Road, Again


Monday, August 15th, 2016
5th Day in Cambodia; Siem Reap - Phnom Penh

The Bus

"Oh man, succulent plants" popped into my head when we were puttering down the highway, flashing back to Lynn in Japan. The only time I'd ever seen succulent used was in the context of a steak, but I had no idea what it really meant. Color me surprised. It refers to retaining juice, as in what desert plants do.


The bus occasionally slowed down for a waddle over moon-pocked road. Get this: fifteen dollars (USD) per person for a 6.5h bus ride to the capital, snacks, water, on-bus universal outlets, air conditioning, and free wifi. Fifteen bucks.

"I think driving here is safe," Shimou stated. She meant the countryside, not the country as a whole, which had caused me to cold-heartedly chuckle like a lifelong smoker on Christmas Day at the homeless, freezing outside his window. 

Overly elaborated prose: part of my entertainment on this 6 hour journey, 1 hour in.

Oreos

I'm eating an oreo on the bus and Shimou tells me about an advertisement that teaches them how to eat them. It had this cute foreign kid, she said. Pretty sure that was the same one the West got, but it could be interpreted differently. In the West, it's like "hey, here's someone like you showing you how to use this product we have", but in China, it could be interpreted like "hey, we get that you guys are a little slow.. So here's one of our children to teach you how to eat a cookie properly... barbarians."

Phnom Penh

First experience with the capital is what they described. The cab driver, who looked strangely like a Cambodian Jemaine Clement, warned us twice about thieves; once about them cutting Shimou's bag from her arm, and another about grabbing the bags from the tuk tuk at a stoplight. 

The Driver

Despite telling us these things, loaded all our stuff into the cart, confirmed he knew the location, sat us down.. And he starts to negotiate price, starting at $3 a head. What. It's 3 to anywhere in Siem Reap. This is far too much. After looking up the distance, we begrudgingly agreed to $5 total. After we agree on this price he lingers, proceeding to try to negotiate a free ride today if we commit to having him tomorrow. Fuck this guy, stop negotiating and take us to the goddamn hotel. I said as much, without swearing, twice and we finally started moving.

On the ride over, he said at least two times "Wow, pretty far!" in what seemed like an attempt to get a tip out of us. Then we stopped. It seems like we're in an abandoned alleyway with no tuk tuks around. I nearly flip at him because I think he might be trying to extort some more money out of us. Luckily, I held off and scanned the environment once more.

We were at the hotel. It was just hard to see and the sign wasn't very noticeable. Needless to say, I was not impressed with him, and definitely would not be hiring him again. Goodbye, Jemaine.

Closing the Final Night

We grabbed Japanese food because the Thai restaurant we wanted was closed. Felt like a shadow of Japan, but the food was quite good. Not cheap, however. It would seem this city is more expensive. Beer is 1.50, 3x siem reap. Then we went back and chilled.

To close: A video from the bus that shows what Cambodia looks like in a small shot. From the fancy big building to the regular ol scenery in Siem Reap.

video









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