It's now 2 pm on Tuesday 22 May and we're dripping with sweat and surrounded by flies and the sweet smell of stale urine at a bus station (I use the term loosely) in Phnom Penh.
We were led to believe (as is the case with a few more backpackers) that we were on a ten-hour bus trip to Sihanoukville, via PP as there's no other "road". But after six hours or so we arrived here to be told we've to change bus and wait another 75 mins. The joys of travelling in third world countries! So now we just sit around and wait, getting sweater and stickier!
The journey so far was actually not too bad. The bus was a double height one with the storage space underneath; our bags shared the space with at least four mopeds and some giant sacks of food. We had the front seats upstairs so a good view. About five hours in, the road just ran out of tarmac and we were on an even bumpier uneven surface, the road here was raised up between paddy fields at either side. The country is really flat. Then the road became tarmaced (?) again. I don't know if it was because of the suspension, the road surface or the fact that we were so high up or indeed a combination of all of these but for the whole journey we were bounced around in our seats - if the bus had been a ship we'd have been in a violent current!!!!! And to cap it all we had two seats with broken backs so they were at a constant 45 degree tilt, but if you put your head on the head rest it just got bounced off again! Let's see how the second leg goes! We're supposed to be picked up at 5.30 by the Orchidee Guest House so I hope they wait or find out we probably won't arrive until 7 now.
Sihanoukville, after 8 pm: well we made it. The 4 hour journey took just over 5 hours so it was really dark when we arrived but luckily the tuk tuk from the Orchidee was there to meet us. The journey was hot and sticky as again the air con was useless and this time my seat wouldn't recline at all - divine retribution! And our seats must have been over the toilet as the smell worsened throughout the journey! Anyway, we're here!
But alas the Orchidee does not live up to its reviews on Tripadvisor. The room is reasonably clean but too sticky as the air con is useless. As is the fridge and the shower. The shower's ok if you want to wash the wall; if you want to wash yourself you have to take it off the holder and manage with one hand. We've been in it about 30 mins now and the air has not cooled down. Plus there's mosquitoes or similar flying round. Compared to what we've just left at $18 a night, this is bobbins at $30. And as the restaurant was empty we opted for a meal up the road, spicy fried rice and cold beers for hardly anything, excellent. We also checked out rooms at the Beach Club Resort up the road and will move there tomorrow, far superior to there for almost the same price.
So all in all a major disappointment today, over 12 hours to get here ands big let down. The redeeming feature was being collected off the bus. Ah well, Tomorrow's another day!