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Published: January 14th 2007
I woke up, got ready, and was waiting for my bus 15 minutes before I was supposed to get picked up by my Victory Guesthouse. Had I known more about the day ahead, I would have been running in the other direction. My 'pickup' amounted to a motorbike coming by and telling me to walk over to this stretched minibus that looked like it mus have been 20 years old. I was directed next to a young guy that turned out to be a surfer hippie type from Northern Ireland. Mark added a lot to the trip, and did make the ordeal more bearable. At last, we departed about a half hour late, and the trip was forming up be uneventful until a few passengers started yelling "hit the car, hit the car". I was thinking, 'why are we wanting to hit the car?' Then, bang, we hit the car. Ok, just after that, we started sliding down towards a river. We sure got out of that bus faster than we got in! To make a long story short, our bus suffered from brake failure as we were approaching a bridge, and the front passengers saw the drivers indecision on whether
to hit are car in front of us or hope that he would stop before going into the river. Passengers lobbied hard for the former option. Once stopped, we backed up, and then stayed there blocking the bridge for a solid hour before the police came and did their report. He all took in the sight, and started talking amongst ourselves a whole lot more than before. Turned out that our driver spoke no English, the police spoke no English, so our sole point of communication was the driver of the car we hit, who spoke fairly good English. We did have the unifying feeling of being mad at the bus company! Working brakes are always a good thing when driving tourists around. After the whole mess was taken care of, we were told by our contact person that we had to get back on the bus, go back 20ks, and then wait for the brakes to get fixed. I spoke for the whole group when I questioned why we were going to get on bus that did not have working brakes? After that, the police officer checked the brakes for a few minutes, and announced via our translator that
the brakes where fine if our driver went slowly, so we could continue on to the border. What? Is he a cop or a mechanic? However, at this point, we just wanted to get to Bangkok today, so I had the driver of the car teach me how to say 'slow down' in Khmer, and we got on and headed toward the border. All drivers seem to have arrangements with eateries along the road to give them free food if they take their buses there, so we made our obligatory stop on the way to the border, which all of us knew would take 45 minutes if we got off. So, now with the new seating arrangement, a Canadian, Venezuelan, American and I blocked off the exit and told the driver to keep moving. We rallied support from the back of the bus, and when the Restaurant owner came out to give his pitch, we all answered his question about lunch with a solid, "no, we want go now." Message carried load and clear, and while our drivers hated us, we went straight to the border and off to Bangkok without further incident. Well, other than the fact that the
road was so horrid that it was impossible to do anything but sit there. Even the most hardy of bus readers gave up. The video does not do it justice, but it was the bumpiest highway I have ever been on, with seats that lost all comfort 2 hours into the 10 hour trip, and no headrests. The good news was that once we got to Thailand, our bus was the most comfortable of the trip so far.
Tot: 0.028s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 9; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0062s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb