Published: October 2nd 2008September 26th 2008
What has happened in the last 36 hours, has to be the worst, well it could be worse, time ever.
We set of yesterday at 8am from Surin Beach, Puket, Thailand for Puket Town to catch a bus to Bangkok. That all went well. We took the local bus to Puket Town and managed to get a bus to Bangkok which left at 2pm. Linda and I walked around the market too kill some time and head back to the bus station to get the bus to Bangkok. After a brief downpour, we boarded the bus and set off on our way. Only minutes into the journey, the bus broke down. Not surprising as the windscreen was full of huge cracks and kept together by tape. Anyway, as it turned out, there was a problem with the radiator and this means stopping every 30 min or so to put more water in. The journey was not to bad as it was pretty empty so we had 2 seats each. The only problems was the guy at the back snoring his head off, man it was bad! So we arrived at Bangkok at 4 am at a place not agreed when we
bought our ticket. With very little sleep, we ask around for a bus station to get to Cambodia. No luck, no one at 4 am speaks English; all we got was a vivid idea on where to go. So we cross the road and there is a bus station. We managed to get tickets to the main bus station where we could get the bus to the Cambodian border. As normal, we not to sure and get off at the wrong stop and again in the middle of nowhere. Lucky for us, Linda worked her charm and asked some guys where we need to go. The one guy got us a taxi and away we went. We got to the station and bought our tickets. Lucky for us the bus was leaving at 8am so no long wait, 30min. The bus ride was a painful 4 hours due to the fact that they were showing a DVD which was a Thai sing song show, this has to be the worst music in the world. All the songs sound the same and a very annoying voice, but it killed the time!
Now, this is when all the fun and games started,
well, more like hell and terror!
On the bus was a Dutch guy called Tom who we hooked up when we got off the bus. We decided to share a tuck tuck to the border as the bus drops you off in the town.
All was good up to this point. When we got to the border, we organized our visas and were good to go. Now, when we got to the Thailand border to exit Thailand, there was a short little Vietnamese chap that was oh to friendly. He asked us a hundred questions and also said he worked for the government and was there to help tourists make a smooth entry into Cambodia. Mmmm let's think about that.... Works for the Cambodian government to make sure people have a smooth transition into Cambodia.... I think not! Anyway, this little dwarf followed us from the Thai border to the Cambodian border, Poipet, talking and trying to be our mate.
Once we crossed the border, it was like walking into a different world, almost like the Mad Max movies. Roads screwed, kids begging, traffic going mad, dirt everywhere, just crazy! There is a free bus to the town which is
actually the bus station. We got off and the dwarf was telling us if we need to get to wherever, this is the only place to get out of the town. We went in and asked how much it was to get to Battambang, he said B 2400 for the taxi for the 3 of us. So we said thanks and that we wanted to look around. So in all our wisdom, we told Linda to wait at the station and watch the bags. Tom and I set off to look for other ways to get to Battambang. The dwarf followed us and we told him goodbye and we don't need him.
100m down the road, we found a guy who would take us for B850 so that was a huge saving. We asked if he could drive up the road to fetch Linda then we could be on our way. He said, no, it was better if Linda and the two of us came down to him. Ok, so Tom and I, very happy with the bargain we scored were well happy. We stopped at the bank to change money and had a joke at how rich we were when we got Vietnamese money, which was not much in dollars!
We got back to Linda who was all by here self with the dwarf and his mates as the bus had left with all the tourists. We took our bags and made our way back to the guy who would take us for B850. The little dwarf was still there and followed us. Along the way we told him we did not need a lift and to leave us alone. Bad move, short man syndrome kicked in and he was a different guy. Now he was threatening to hurt us, make our life hell, bla bla bla. While this is going on, his gang of monkeys joined in and then there was a car driving next to us with dirty looks! Now we are shitting! We decide to go into a bank to wait and see if they go, no chance, the dwarf and his monkeys were going no where in a rush! The guy at the bank said not to worry, they won't do anything and it's best to go with them. I think not!
Anyway, we get to the other guy and realize trouble was in the air, there were words exchanged and the police came. Thank god someone to help us in troubling times....
So words were exchanged, tension was high and the dwarf was getting more angry by the second. I went to the cop and asked what the problem was, and that we wanted to go with the guy we chose to go with. Cop says no problem we can go. Then the dwarf says, we can go with him for B1500. Scared and just wanting to get out of this hell hole of a town, we agree. So we all get in and wait. Next the dwarf is giving money to the cop and some other guys. Then we are told to get out and get in one of the dwarfs taxis. Now we are shit scared. We get in and pray for the best. Anyway, the guy takes us on our way, no english and on the phone ever 2 min. In our head we are thinking, he is asking where to dump our bodies? A very long 2 hour drive and we arrive at our hotel, took our stuff and ran inside. Safe at last, for now.....
If that dwarf who had such a big mouth threatening us, was by him self, I would have hung him from a tree and beat him like a piñata until sweets fell from his pocket. But since he had lots of mates and the cops on his side, we sucked it up! So corrupt in this town it's scary!
The hotel was the Royal Hotel and was very nice inside. Outside, a different story. This country is very poor and there is dust everywhere and kids begging, sad.
So we check in and shower then head to the roof for a drink. Linda then points out that his car is still there, 2 hours later. Well it looked like his car. Turns out it wasn't, whew!
Anyway, early bed tonight as we have a 7 hour bat ride to Siem Reap, with doors locked tight......
If you go to Cambodia from Thailand, DO NOT go through the Poipet border. This small dusty town is run by mafia and are not very pleasant people there....