Today, after having some more banana pancakes (this time with actual bananas inside it) we hugged goodbye with the hostel owners. They really looked out for us well.
A tuktuk driver brought us to our bus. This tuktuk wasn’t as comfortable as the other one, so apparently there are differences with these vehicles also.
On the picture of our ticket were two busses. Of course, we only had eyes for the big modern looking one and so we were somewhat taken aback when we saw the small Turkish Dolmush/schoolbus looking vehicle.
We were the second ones there and thought oh nice, we take the two seats in the front because they had more room for the legs. Until our starting time at 8am the bus was more than packed with bags and tourists and the people even had to sit on seats that you could fold out from below the other seats. At least there was airconditioning!
One usher at the bus parking lot liked to speak really loud, yell at people and thought he was being funny by showing that he is the boss. When he first looked into our bus he had a laughing fit in a high voice (I’ve noticed that Cambodian men have a rather high voice compared to European men) because we had to travel for 8h on such little space. At least I thought he was laughing about that…But the very nice woman from the Philippines in front of me then made it clear that he wasn’t as funny as he thought he was. That little bruise on his pride was probably necessary and hopefully he won’t confuse the next poor tourists who don’t understand his English.
The bus ride actually wasn’t too bad except that there were no seat belts (tense moments every time our driver honked or braked a little briskly). But looking out of the window was so fascinating. There were many green fields of which many were under water. Perhaps they were rice fields. There were water buffalos and people ploughing the fields with them or other people working and wearing these typical big straw hats. Like in Siem Reap, we passed motorcycles with whole families on them, colorful temples and shrines, wooden huts where one side was open and probably the whole family lived in, commercials for the political party of the people of Cambodia and once in a while even a hill. The schools were always nice houses (like on the pictures from SOS or similar organizations) and the students looked cute in their blue and white uniform.
We made two 15min stopps at places where we could buy snacks and drinks. I now officially have a new favorite ice tea!
The second stop was 5min before the boarder but of course no one told us that beforehand because with that knowledge, the stop wouldn’t have been necessary. We had to hand in our ticket and received a red sticker in exchange which we had to wear visibly.
In Poipet, we had to wait in a line until we got to the booth to receive our departure stamp. Then, for the first time, we had to carry our backpacks for a longer amount of time. Phew, they are heavy! I will contemplate taking a suitcase on my mext trip.
After following the group from our bus for about 700m, we reached the Thai office, where we had to fill out several new forms with pretty much the same information. Then, we were ushered out the back into the heat and the dust of the roads again. Under a pavillon, we recognized a Japanese and a few Australian guys that were on the bus with us. So, after buying two corn on the cob for our first 40 Bht, we waited with everyone else. Someone drew numbers on each red sticker and after a while it was our turn to follow a guy to the bus. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there yet and we had to wait another 15min like unclaimed bagage (in the sun and bad emissions from the cars). Finally, our car arrived. That had to be a joke!!! It was a car with an open back and two side banks. No way this would fit 20 people and all our bags. Oh wait, people can stand in the middle and hang out the back, right. We didn’t know how long this ride would go but at the beginning it was quite fun because it was such a different experience. And it only lasted for 5 min where we stopped at a restaurant and had another 30min wait.
The roads felt bumpier in Thailand and we saw many more of these “bench taxis” crammed with people. At one gas station there was a 7/11 in which you could even buy instant soups in cups, you just needed to add the hot water. However, we had just eaten chicken nuggets and dumplings on a stick at the gas station before this one. Closer to Bangkok, it started raining cats and dogs again and when we finally arrived at Khaosan Road after a 30min traffic jam, it still drizzled a little. A woman who lived here for 8 years told us a taxi from there to the hostel would cost 40 Bht but they didn’t want to take us because it was too close (she said it would be a 20min walk), so we finally took a tuktuk and bargained it down from 70 to 60, which is about 3 Chf. The driver found the hostel on the first try and who do you think was standing in the hallway, figuring out how the washing machine works? Moritz 🙂 I study with his girlfriend Hedi and the four of us arranged to travel together for the next two weeks. Was good to see that they got here without any problems either and that we found each other so easily. Since we all hadn’t eaten yet, we went looking for a restaurant. Close to the hostel, in a clean and air-conditioned room, I had noodels with vegetables and beef. I especially asked for it to be very little spicy and the waitress understood what I said but I guess from now on I have to settle on “not spicy at all”. My mouth feels still swollen. They even offered to exchange the plate against an EVEN less spicy one (they thought it was rather funny) but I wanted to be strong and adapt myself to Thai spices. On the other hand, the drink I had was extremely delicious!!!! I thought I ordered tea but then it was like a cold chai latte but such a good flavor! I’m sure I will have more of this 🙂
Now, I’m tired and excited for the palaces tomorrow. The temperature here is agreeable (perhaps because of the rain? It also doesn’t smell bad in contrast to what everyone I know has told me about Bangkok). So, maybe we can even sleep without the fan on tonight.
I guessed that this said 2 for 20 bht and to my luck, I was right 🙂 I made a real bargain with the water bottles today!
Naughty detail of the day: Myriam didn’t shower alone!