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Published: February 7th 2016
Ok so it doesn't rhyme. It's pronounced "crotchy." And this one time Mom and I went to Sugarloaf in Maine and while we were there we decided to go look at some schools. The GPS took us a really weird back roads way. And one of the roads was called "Katie Crotch Road." Actually. So the name of this place was too perfect and I decided to go here based entirely on that.
There was a rooster on our bus. But it only crowed at the beginning of the trip. Not a sound you expect to hear on a bus. At the Cambodian border, a lot of people got off the bus to do the visas on their own. We had handed ours in at the bus station, so I stayed on the bus until I was told to get off. They handed me a yellow paper with a health warning that said, "there is a chance you will get sick in Cambodia. Here are numbers to call." That's reassuring. We met the other buses at a market and hung out there for a while until we were told to get back on the bus. There was a shuffling of
people based on where they were going and what color tickets they had. Thankfully, Hayley and I knew we were supposed to stay on that bus. Easy. We waited on the bus and started to get nervous that we didn't have our passports. After what seemed like an eternity, we got our passports back. I'm almost out of room in my passport because the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos visas each take up their own page. First world problems.
We arrived in Kratie and got dumped on the side of the road in town. Kratie is TINY. We immediately got harassed about hotels, but we needed to find internet and get in touch with Diana, the Irish woman, who was coming on a different bus. We found a place with better internet than all of Laos, so I started booking the flights that I couldn't book in Laos. And now all my flights are booked for the rest of my trip! You people get to find out about it as it happens, though. We found Diana, who had found a hotel. About a minute later, a man showed up and asked if we were Diana's friends. Then he took us
in his tuktuk back to the hotel. It was $7 for a hotel room for 3 of us. Not $7 each. All together. I had no money, so we went to the only ATM. It was out of money, so Diana had to lend me some for the night. We spent the evening walking around. We got dinner at a restaurant called Tokae. I had chicken oak oak, which is chicken with a good lime sesame sauce, rice, veggies, and a fried egg. We split a bottle of wine because it was cold and we were hot and it was cheap and we hadn't had wine in ages. It was so tasty.
We went back to the hotel and watched Making a Murderer. Don't tell me what happens. I'm only on the third episode.
The next day we did things. We started at the ATM. The ATMs in Cambodia actually dispense 100s and 50s. It's really annoying. We got breakfast at the cafe Hayley and I had gone to the day before--Red Sun Falling. We rented bikes from our hotel for $2 and took the ferry across the river for 1500 riel. In Cambodia they use USD and
Riel. It's 4000 riel to USD, so they use the riel instead of coins. For example, if something costs $1.50 and you give them $2, they'll give you back 2000 riel. It's weird to get used to, but then it's easy. They usually work in 25 or 50 cents. So we bring our bikes down a long flight of stairs and sit in the hot sun on benches on a boat. The boat ride was really short, and then we walked our bikes across the incredibly wide beach on wooden planks, dodging motorbikes. We found a road and started riding around. I can't stress enough how hot it was. Like, in the 90s (high 30s). Humid. So much sweat. We biked a bit and found the end of the road where there was a floating village in the river. We rode to the other side of the island (the whole island is 9km around) and found a pool for $5. We didn't care. It was so inviting and it was just us, and we were HOT. We spent a few hours lying around the pool and going in when we got hot, and I listened to Serial.
we left and got back on our bikes. We rode the rest of the loop around the island through lots of little villages and rice paddies, saying hi to children on the side of the road the whole way. By the time we got back to the boat and then the hostel, we were exhausted. We took showers to cool off and then watched Making A Murderer until we went back to Tokae for dinner to meet up with Diana's friends. While we were waiting for our food, I ran into my friend Wietse on the street!
Here's the story of Wietse. I met him in Hanoi. He's from Belgium, and a whole group of us hung out in Hanoi for a few days at See You At Lily's (hostel). I left Hanoi at 4am and left my fitbit in my bed. When I realized that, I messaged Wietse because I knew he was going to be in Bangkok at the same time as me. He said he'd bring the fitbit to Bangkok. The one day I was there (the second time) I messaged him and he was in Chiang Mai. I said, "oh! I'm going there next! Leave
it at your hostel!" He then realized he had left it in his hostel in Bangkok in a locker. So he asked me when I'd be in Cambodia. I said in a few weeks. About a week and a half ago he messaged me and said, "your fitbit is in Top Banana Guesthouse in Phnom Penh." Great. I'm flying out of there on the 15th, so I'll just get in then.
So of course I run into him on the street in the tiniest town ever in Cambodia. It was great to catch up, though. I left dinner early because we had bought tickets to Siem Reap for the next day and I had to call my yoga retreat and ask to move it. Thankfully they had space and I could start my retreat the day after I arrived in Siem Reap. So I watched Making A Murderer.
The next morning we got up wicked early to get our 7am bus to Siem Reap. I went next door and bought 3 breakfasts to go (eggs and baguettes) and we got in our cramped van to head to Siem Reap.
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