Continuing in the scary vein, on Halloween day, we all decided to save a little money by taking a "local bus" from Kampot heading north. Big mistake. Let me set the stage, one Toyota miny-van, 19 people inside, 3 on the roof, locals glaring at me because my legs are too long.
Two hours through the journey, after dangerously averaging a suspension bottoming warp speed, we came to an abrupt stop in a small town in the middle of nowhere
. Phew, I thought, heart still pounding, I thought we were going to flip a couple of times back there. Turn around to scan the faces of Caroline, Rich, and Hailey, looking amazed to be alive. That's when the arguing began, now keep in mind, people in SE Asia tend to settle everything with a smile, even when they are angry, this is not New York, people don't just go waving their hands around and talking loudly as a matter or course. So, when we see the money collector from our bus, wearing black, let's call him Mr. Black, waving money at a bigger guy in Orange, that's right Mr. Orange, the whole bus took notice. It's about then that I notice Mr. Orange's 15 or so friends surrounding the bus, finger pointing at the farangs (that's us), hands beginning to wave and voicing getting louder and louder. This went on for some time, until, Mr. Orange shoves his way past Mr. Black, opens the vans doors and promptly removes the keys. Well this can't be good; I think to myself, this can't be good at all. Then the grabbing started, mostly around the throat areas between Mr.'s Orange and Black, and Mr. Orange's friends start to close in, but the bus driver jumped in the middle just in time, and pulled them apart. Just in time, actually, for Mr. Orange to get on his motorcycle and ride away. With our keys.
After awhile, Rich decided to get out for a sec' and stretch the 'ol legs, he's British so that's how he might of said it. A Cambodian lady in the bus quickly motions for him to get back in the bus. Sage advice I agree to myself as I savor a lime Tic Tac and weigh the odds of defending the girls with my Leatherman Micra. Not good I decide, while continuing to nod and smile at Mr. Oranges buddies now guarding the buss.
Twenty minutes later Mr. Black returned, cursing, with the keys. Since nobody spoke any English, we never did find out what the hell had just happened. But one thing was for sure, I was very happy to once again reach warp speed.
The day before Halloween we decided, again at the urgings of Rich and Hailey, to travel to Bokor. Bokor was once a very lavish resort, built by the French in 1930's, on a mountain top overlooking the sea. Years after the French were thrown out (viva la France polo), the Khmer Rouge (US backed, Pol Pot goons) took it over and blasted the hell out of some buildings while fighting the Vietnamese. Lonely Planet says the place is, "...straight out of The Shining." I say it's a great sight for the next Scooby Doo movie.