On my last post I wrote about doing the famous visa run to Cambodia. Do you remember that I wrote about the Scam with a capital S?? Uuuuf I really hate to admit this, but Mrs Clever Cloggs alias Moi ! (Oh sorry -to all my non-french speaking friends.. Moi is Me in English) Got caught at the Poipet bus station on the way to Siem Reap.. They actually sold me a ticket for 350 Thai baht equivalent to the enormous sum of nearly 9 euros.. God really unbelievable and even more unbelievable that I was actually taken in.. it should have cost me about 3 euros..when I realized I had been had..I was simply furious and still haven't recovered from this exhorbenant lay out on my arrival to the Khmer country. Now let me tell you that the bus was.. OMG, with all due respect to Noah, out of the ark!!! and that is being kind to the bus!!! Anyway to continue. Along with a relatively large group of foreigners consisting of Spanish, Italians, and Asians I boarded the rotten vehicle!!! Oh heavens it gets even worse.. To top it all we had this awful Cambodian "Mr Wise Guy" who thought he was God's answer to the top tour companies for a perfect guide!! Not not not.. Can you believe that this simpleton started to give us a running commentary on the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge regime, He was so obviously taking a delight in going into all the horrific details of the tortures and what happened at the killing fields.! For goodness sake please..I have read the book, seen the film and been there on one of my visits to Phnom Penh..Apart from the fact that people don't need to hear all this on their arrival into the country. I was on the point of saying to him "Hey Prat head can't you talk about something a little more pleasant.. E.G.. "Angkor Wat" (At the end of the day that is where in theory we were heading).. But sadly my staunch English upbringing of the stiff upper lip syndrome prevailed and I remained mute.
In spite of a grim beginning We finally arrived to our destination. Did I say destination? Well if you can call a very long four kilometer trek to the centre of the town destination.. !! Sorry but this is so bad and just creates a nasty first impression for people visiting this country.
Well well well how about that! Naturally we were invaded by Tuk Tuk drivers who were waiting like vultures for the kill!!! No need to mention that Mr Con (Prat H) would get a nice lump of commission for bringing all this custom to them... No way Jose!!! I was not going to let him get away it! considering he was so rude and obnoxious! Honestly there only so much C..p that a little lady like me will take.. Stiff upper etc was thrown by the board and I told this nincompoop in no uncertain terms that his bus was the biggest load of S..t and a compete rip off..plus plus plus.. uuum I won't tell you what else I said but believe me it wasn't the Queens English..After I had had my say and left the PH dumbstruck, I promptly proceeded to gather together the Spanish, the Italians and even the Asians and told them to follow me to the main road where we would get cheaper Tuk Tuks.. I felt like the Pied Piper of Hamelin leading the way.. I know now that I missed my mission in life! I should have been Mother Backpacker Teresa Granny for cheap Tuks Tuks and protector against scammers in Cambodia !!!!
Once again here I am in this awesome and stunningly beautiful country..Yes dear friends, in spite of what I have written above I really love this place.. I have visited Cambodia many times and it never fails to surprise me, delight me, enchant me and drive me to total distraction, naturally in the nicest way possible.. Well just about!
On arrival my first port of call is Siem Reap which is home of the famous Angkor Wat UNESCO World Heritage site. It goes without saying that this is a "Must See Before you Die" (Just click on the phoro to read more) While I get on with writing my stories about my travels..
After spending several days in Siem Reap, whiling my time away, taking wonderful photos and just generally chilling, I finally decided it was time that I took my body down to Kampot! Which is the capital of Kampot province in southern Cambodia. As it is rather a long way and I can't be into spending an eternity caged in a coach, just to break up the journey I decided to go to Phnom Penh first. Of course I had no intention of roughing it, hence I purchased a ticket on a V.I.P bus.. The description sounded awesome! Toilet, Television, Air-con, luxury seats blah blah blah.. Amazing how reality can be so different to what one is told!!! specially in this adorable country.. oh well Granny G go with the flow!!! All I can say is that there is definitely no loo, unless there was a hole somewhere on the floor of the bus that I missed!! Television?? Some poor attempt at a screen meaning just an old fashioned square box of sorts.. Air-con that barely worked meaning sweat sweat sweat!!!, and just forget the word Luxury.. please don't be ridiculous.. la la la... Most of the passengers were local and we stopped every second minute of the journey.. I mean.. any reason why we wouldn't ??? Fortunately there was one other backpacker on the bus so we spent the time chatting and exchanging anecdotes of our experiences in this crazy country. It worked out she was a nurse from Holland and had been doing a months voluntary work for a health center in one of the outlying villages of Siem Reap. After listening to her I came to the conclusion that whatever happened I did not want to be ill in Cambodia.. Give me Thailand any day where the medical treatment is second to none.
Please take note: Do not take V.I.P bus as it is no different to the normal bus.. who knows it may even be a dammed site worse..
After an uneventful journey we arrived in Phnom Penh, without much ado I checked into my usual hostel, which actually is in decline and no big shakes! fed my sweet little face in a lovely little Thai restaurant round the corner .. booked a ticket to Kampot for the following morning and then proptly threw myself onto my very welcome bed till the next morning..
Hey folks.. I got there.. I made it to Kampot.. When they say "A quiet riverside town" Believe me they ain't flipping well joking.. Mon Dieu (My God) sorry but a lot of french influence in Cambodia meaning lots of those French baggits or is it baguettes.. for the ignorant that is actually bread!! but not that plastic stuff that comes sliced like we have in the UK.. :(((
Ooops I am getting carried away.. so back to Kampot..!!!
Together with another couple of backpackers Chris and Sophie, I ended up at the (please remember this name) "Magic Sponge hostel" Who in heavens name would call a flipping hostel "Magic Sponge???" perhaps it's because they soaked up all our dollars or riels for food which was terribly overpriced!!! As we approached this hostel.. we saw that they had this amazing sign up saying " $3 for a dorm bed".. Very well, lets live dangerously and try it.. In we went to reception where there was this totally wacky guy called William..he looked very oriental but informed us that he came from the States.... OK whatever.. we asked him if we could see the dorms to which he showed us this amazing photo on an enormous flat screened TV sitting on the wall of the bar...Now just in case you don't know, I am into photography and I have to admit that the picture was awesome. No question about it, photoshop at its very best.. ha ha ha .. Remember what I said about reality being far removed from the description? Hey ho here we go. We decided to take it on the strength of the photo and up the lousy spiral staircase the three of us struggled to the top floor where the dorms awaited us.... Dam dorm didn't look even remotely like the imitation National Geographic photo downstairs.! To crown it there was William with unashamed audacity telling us that the dorms were in point of fact called "The Penthouse" I honestly can think of lots of other more appropriate words that end with ... house!! I know from experience that when one is tired after a long journey one settles for practically anything just to crash out and rest.. So that is what we did.
The Penthouse was really strange.. on one side there were all these windows with mosquito blinds in them.. and the other side of the room was completely unclosed with . no windows .. no doors.. honestly all open to the world.and sundry.. Now hang on, I asked myself .. do the mosquitoes only come in on the side of the windows.. ??? Thank goodness there were mosquito nets, but dread to think how long they had been there without seeing water or washing powder! What joy to be a backpacker.. such fun 🙂
.Oh dear here it comes.. The next morning Chris mentioned to me, that he had seen a rat running along the rafts in the ceiling of the dorm.. Naturally I couldn't wait to inform William what Chris had told me.. William looked mortified and insisted that they never had rats at the hostel..Please who did he think he was kidding??? Now get a load of this.. he actually added that the rats didn't react to rat poison anymore and that the only thing to give them was Aspirin!!! Oh holy S..t we now have rats with headaches!!! But you know how it is . until you see something for yourself.it doesn't bother you..so I stayed another night.. Chris and Sophie left and Jenny from Germany and Michael from UK arrived in the dorm..
I went for a meal with Jenny and Michael informed us that he was off to Bondi Villas to listen to a live band.. Bondi villas is another hostel approx two kilometres out of town.. Oh gosh almost forgot. Michael had been allocated to a bed by the window and asked us if we minded if he changed beds. as he was afraid of coming home drunk and falling out the window!!! Jesuuuus C.. I did say to him that he should not worry, because if he dropped out the window I personally would come and drag his body back into the dorm..and added that neither Jenny nor I were all that bothered where he fell so long as it wasn't on top of either of us! He was most adamant that that would certainly NOT happen.. Was he trying to tell us something???
Michael went off to his live band and Jenny opted to stay downstairs at the bar.. I decided to get an early night as I was catching the 6.45 bus the next morning.. I had a more or less book I was reading so off I toddled or should I say climbed up to the famous penthouse.. Oh golly gosh there I was reading my rotten book when I heard a patter patter ..Hello am I hearing things??? I looked across the room and there in the middle of the bed in front of my very eyes.. was this Rat.. yes a flipping rat!!! My first reaction was to shout ssssh ssssh get lost you dirty rat! well it scuttled to the head of the bed.. and had the cold blooded nerve to stare back at me from behind the pillow.. OMG.. Now I consider myself a pretty cool lady .. but honestly I am not all that keen on rodents at the best of times.. let alone have one sharing my sleeping quarters. .. (although between you and I.. I have shared bedrooms with rats in the past.. but they have always been two legged ones) As you can well imagine sleep was without a doubt a no-go consequently I kept vigil till Jenny arrived back from the bar.. Without a moment to waste I declared to her that we had a undesirable rat in the dorm.. "Oh Nooooo " she cried.." this is too much! how an earth are we going to sleep?" .. Then Michael returned telling us how he was truly pissed.. to which we both ignored and promptly informed him or our visitor that was lurking in some dark corner of the D.. house.. .I will never forget Michael's words when he said.. "I have spent a whole two frigging dollars on a Tuk Tuk to come home to a F..... g Rat." Jenny and I just burst out laughing and our little creature didn't seem so important.. (Meaning rat, not Michael ) and what the heck! we were all leaving the next day.