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    Tropical Storm Tour: Cambodia Part 17

    Sunday, July 19, 2015
    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    A tuk-tuk ride to the Attakan bus stop in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
    A tuk-tuk ride to the Attakan bus stop in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    I pried myself out of bed at 5:30 am today to get ready for a tuk-tuk ride from the Golden Takeo Guesthouse over to the bus stop at 7:00 am. The tuk-tuk driver was a half hour late, but I couldn’t complain because it was included in the price of my bus ticket. Ironically, my throat felt a little bit better. I wonder if the Metronidazole antibiotics will clear it up after all? If so, that means I booked a trip back to Bangkok for nothing, and I won’t have time to visit Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam like I had planned. Better safe than sorry, though. If my throat doesn’t improve, at least I’ll get top notch medical care, and hopefully my travel insurance will cover it.

    The bus company I booked a ticket with, Attakan, offers a non-stop service for $28.00 from Siem Reap to Bangkok, which means I don’t have to change buses at the border. It’s worth the extra cost to avoid haggling with touts. After everyone checked in their passports and luggage, we were off and rolling away from Siem Reap around 8:30 am. Straight off the bat, two young American guys sitting straight across the aisle from me would not stop talking. One of them was a total motormouth who talked super fast, so I was afraid he would jabber on for the whole day. Luckily, he and his buddy finally clammed up and fell asleep after an hour or so. Then there was the young guy sitting right next to me who could not sit still. He constantly fidgeted and kept changing positions, putting his feet and legs all over the place like he wished so bad he was still in bed. He also kept manspreading and pressing his leg against mine, which was really annoying. But, at least he would move his leg away a little whenever he realized he was doing it, so he wasn’t completely evil.

    Boarding the Attakan bus from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand.
    Boarding the Attakan bus from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand.

    Around 11:00 am, we reached the border at Poipet, Cambodia. The lines to get our visas stamped out of Cambodia were really short and went quickly. Back outside on the dusty, chaotic border road, I spied some comically overloaded carts and trailers–each pulled by just one motorcycle or even one human. I wanted to get a photo of a couple of them, but everything was too hectic. Proceeding through the Thailand checkpoint was a breeze: just a quick visa stamp, no fingerprinting, and a simple x-ray of my luggage. That’s it–just like the good old days. After about an hour, everyone made it through immigration and re-boarded the bus. Then the crew handed us each a little plastic container full of rice and vegetables for lunch. A minute later, before we could even finish it, they stopped at 7-Eleven so we could buy a snack.

    Around 4:30 pm, we finally pulled into the big, dusty Mo Chit bus station, where I donned a much too small headache-inducing helmet and climbed onto the back of a motorcycle for a two kilometer lift to the Mo Chit SkyTrain station. The Sunday afternoon was a busy one, with hordes of people out shopping at street markets. The motorcycle ride darting through all of the vehicular traffic was typically harrowing, complete with all kinds of unexpected starts and stops. It was a challenge to keep myself from falling backward off the motorcycle thanks to my big, heavy backpack, and I thought my knees were going to get smashed a few times as we repeatedly and narrowly snaked our way in between two stopped cars. It was an exhilarating ride, to say the least.

    Next came the usual sardine-packed, air con-blasted Skytrain to Siam, followed by a hot, crowded bus number 15 to Bakglamphu. As said bus careened around one corner, I smelled rain. So, I looked up and noticed the sky, which had been sunny all day, suddenly turned black. Sure enough, it started pouring rain just a few minutes before I disembarked by the Democracy Monument. After seeking shelter under an overhang to wait out the rain for a few minutes, I walked west for a block under the cover of more overhanging roofs. By then, the rain had lightened up into a slight drizzle, so I hightailed it over to the At Home Guesthouse, where I scored a fan room for $9.50. This place–the rooms and the people–are much nicer than the Nat 2 Guesthouse, where I always stayed before. Right after I threw my bags in the room, I walked three doors down to my favorite food in Thailand–and maybe anywhere–May Kaidee’s for a plate of delicious Pad Thai.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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