Lets take this gig global!!
Alright folks. Sua s'dei from Cambodia!! Its been a turbulent few days but enjoyable all the way! The bus journey took about 9 hrs in the end but most of that was waiting around. The border crossing was as stringent as predicted and took a total of 2 hrs!! But we met a group of English lads so it was pure banter in the queues! The only worry was that we were about 45 mins behind the rest of our bus and were having doubts that it would still be there on the other side, but indeed it was (luckily) and once we got underway the change in presense (for want of a better word) was unbelievable. Even though we were only a few miles over the border it really felt like we had flown in from some far away land as the difference and feel of the place was graphically evident. The scenery was similar to what we had seen before just a few hours before in Vietnam with long flat marsh soaked fields (pure snake territory!!) but the people and villages we passed through reminded me more of India than south east Asia. Lots of little huts all on stilts along the roadside and the level of poverty is far more ubiquitous than Vietnam. This really hit us when we had to wait for about half an hour to catch a ferry across the (heavily polluted) river. When leaving the bus to stretch the legs we were mobbed by kids and street sellers planting cans, birds and even fried frogs in our faces!! The attention was probs even on a greater scale than India!! People gave out half empty bottles of water and cans tho and it was nice to see their little faces light up and they became pretty playfull after that. The infamous roads lived up to their reputation aswell and it felt more like you were sat on a bucking bronco at times but my famous sleeping also lived upto its own reputation and I still managed to get a couple more hours in!! The arrival into Phnom Penh was also surreal as normally when entering a city you gradually make your way in passing all sorts of sights but here one minute you are in the sticks, the next it was the city. Bizarre! I guess its testament to how relatively small a capital it is. We found a place to stay easy enough (The King Guesthouse where we were dropped off!) then thought we'd take a nice little stroll around and maybe get some money out on the way........however this turned into about a 10 km trek!!!! and a mini adventure for sure! Lets just say we defo got a good idea of the city at night! Eventually I found an ATM and we chilled in a bar on the Tonle river front with a cool Angkor beer!! There is something very different about Cambodia (which I like!) and to be honest I cant quite put my finger on it just yet. I'm hoping it may become clearer over the next few days. Oh, and one bonus is that the food again is stunning! I'm a big fan of the Khmer cuisine already, especially the free friut at the end of each meal!! Anyways first impressions (mostly in the dark) of Phnom Penh are good. I'll update again soon Dan