Greyhound is Luxurious
Trip Start Dec 31, 2004
71Trip End Apr 22, 2005
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After six hours on the bus from Phnom Penh if the first stop had been Hell I'd have been thrilled to get off and roast in eternal damnation. First of all let me make one thing perfectly clear -- Greyhound is the Concord of the bus world. This Chinese monster of a bus was hilarious. I sat across from and next to two Japanese Catholic nuns and though we couldn't speak the same language the fact that we'd all been raised in civilization gave us many opportunities for shared glances and laughter
But wait ladies and gentlemen the hits just keep on coming
We stopped for a few bathroom breaks (though I was promised a Coke and a toilet onboard when I booked my 8 dollar trip but nevermind I wouldn't have used it anyway) and those produced hawkers lingering by the toilets like you wouldn't believe. One woman was selling whole barbecued baby chickens. No, these were not those cute little Cornish rock game hens my grandmother would roast for me for my birthday these things were maybe a week out of their shell and I saw a woman gnawing on one of their feet. That's nothing! The best part is something that I've heard about and knew that I'd get to see but I didn't think they'd be offered in such abundance and they were much larger than I thought they'd be: deep fried black spiders! Yes for the love of Almighty God these women were parading about with trays piled high of crunchy spiders and the locals were tearing those things up like rednecks on a bag of chitlins.
Another rest stop was not planned but half the bus decided to take advantage of it and there were no toilets in sight just bushes and fields. Do you know what country is one of the most heavily land mined in the world? Do you know which country is crawling (and I mean that) with land mine victims everywhere you turn? You guessed it! God Bless the USA we've done a great job, by God
The oddest aspect about this journey today is that after I stopped looking out of the window every time he honked the horn and grew numb to the "music" videos I was actually able to read and block it out. Oh there were still times that I was ripped from the pages by a blast of sound or fear of imminent death but I didn't let it get to me anymore. At one point though I did have to interfere and that was a difficult decision because I do not want to interfere into other people's world because I am a guest in their country but this was too much. For about 10 minutes a segment of video repeated roughly 50 times and jumped halfway through each word and then restarted. I had to say something because I knew that this was wrong but no one else was saying anything and then I thought how most people will put up with anything and I'm the one who usually has to jump up and look like the asshole. I got up and hunched over and tried to explain and then the "steward" finally turned it off. Mercifully no one tried to kill me and the lady in the front row thanked me
Arriving in the town of Siem Reap after dark was thrilling simply because it wasn't a bus. Then I hired a nice tuk-tuk driver to take me to my hotel and I love it -- it's so charming and has wooden shutters that lead onto a balcony. I immediately headed out for a gin and tonic and strolled around this amazingly quaint and rather quiet town packed with beautiful restaurants and shops. This town is more or less the only place people stay when they come to see the temples outside of town so it's teaming with travelers but it's still incredibly charming.
Seeing how one needs at least three days for these temples and most people say that you should spend at least 12 hours there each day this is going to be an early night town for me I suspect. I may have to stay extra days just for the late nights cocktailing.