Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Lake day 2day. We went off down to our good friends at the motor bike shop to rent some more bikes for the day. I got my red and black bike (which i appropriately called ladybug ;D ), emily called hers 'big red' and alec got some massive blue bike. It was down to us to fill em up with petrol so we rode 'our hogs' to the petrol station where emily realised her brakes didnt work and the bike wouldnt get out of first gear. So we took the bikes back and alec and emily ended up sharing. After missing the turning to the lake and ending up about 10km out of town, we EVENTUALLY got there, had some lunch and in we jumped. We swam in for a bit and I was taught/forced to dive in from the steps. I even had an audience in the form of a small bus load of cambodians and a monk, who refused to take their eyes off us as i belly flopped and flailed to my hearts content.

After some good lake action as the sun was starting to set, we got out to get changed into dry shorts - again watched by our friendly audience of a small bus load of cambodians and a monk (maybe they were simlpy in awe of our pasty and general overweightedness bodies). Anyhoo, after taking the bikes back to the shop (alec runnin out of petrol halfway so having to walk it some of the way) we went back to the hostel to pack. Spirits were particularly low as we were faced with the prospect of a 11 hour bus journey back to phnom penh.

At the bus station (dirt track and a few parasols) at 6am, we boarded the bus and off we went. We even befriended some aussie guy who taled for a goof 6 hours of the trip about his 11 month travels, and also a dutch mum who was telling us about how wen she was taking the bus from phnom pen to ratanakiri, the bags/chairs/rice sacks/general crap piled on the back seat caught fire and the bus had to be evacuated out the single exit at the front of the bus - as she said, it wasnt easy wen the bsu was loaded to double its capacity, with people sitting on plastic chairs in the aisles. So anyway, with that little horros story, thwere was only about 10 hours left of the journey anyway.

Pulling into phnom penh around 7ish, sprirts were particularly low. Home sickness was kicking in, all our stomachs were feeling particualrly dodgy and we were all hot and sticky from the dam bus. We got a tuk tuk to the nearest hostel, paid extra for air conditioning (which doesnt so much air condition as blow cold humid air into a small corner of the room), got sum pizza and went to sleep. We decided to stay and extra day in phnom pen to recover and just do nothing.

Next day, we woke up, went to the russion market to b rowse for some knock off clothes and bought our tickets to ho chi minh city on VIP buses (VIP meaning you dont have to sit on plastic lawn chairs in the aisle if the bus is overbooked). So up at 8 and 6 hours to vietnam. We have done SO much actual travelling over the past month but then we have covered a hell of a lot of ground and seen so much. The culture shocks keep on coming, from the local cambodia hospitals (a bed in the backroom of a pharmacy) to the general state of the roads (people dont actually drive on the right side, they just drive where ever there is room for their car/tuk tuk/mule, and just because a motor bike only has one saddle it doesnt mean you cant fit a family of 10, the family dog and the kitchen sink to the back of one. Through the middle of phnom penh we saw a motorbike being driven with 2 woman knitting on the back, and a bike going a good 30mph with thwe back guy holding a 15 foot ladder in the air. Vietnam is apparently no different, The guide book insists that if you walk with confidence into the road then at least ONE thing will stop for you, and if not, then just run. O well. Lets hope this isnt the last blog i write. Ive done well enough so far.....

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