Once again, we got up early and packed our bags. We enjoyed seeing the Angkor Wat and loved Siem Reap, but decided it was time to move on to Phnom Penh. We've considered varying our schedule some, but we were both pretty eager to see the Killing Fields. Hm. Maybe eager is not the right word. It feels like one of those things you do because it is human. We care about the suffering of people and are willing to revisit suffering of others to mourn the loss to all humanity and to assure it doesn't happen again. Or so I would hope. We humans are capable of horrendous acts and we never seem to get our bellies full of it.
We booked bus tickets yesterday. Unbelieveably the tickets seem to have come with a van ride to the bus. So, at 8:30, a van driver showed up, grabbed up our stuff, and shuttled us off to what passes as a Siem Reap bus station. It's really more like a parking lot with a vendor selling snacks outside. The bus was air conditioned and relatively comfortable. We settled in for the 7 hour trek over highways, gravel roads, country roads, and foot paths. Tyler and I talked, slept, played games, stared out the window, slept some more and talked some more.
At one point we got stuck in a particularly ticklish traffic jam. A dump truck full of dirt was laying on it's side in the middle of the street with its dirt heaped onto the road. Apparently, the truck had pulled out to fast and gotten unbalanced. Made me more concerned about the fact that our bus felt sort of unbalanced...well, most of the time to me. Somehow we managed to stay up right.
We stopped at a couple of little road side cafe-ish places. They seemed to specialize in hot and spicy crickets. I tried to get Tyler to try them, but he wasn't hungry for bugs. It was enough just to get off the bus and walk around a bit. Two chinese guys that had boarded the bus with us sucked down cigarettes as fast as they could before the bus driver started blowing his horn. At one stop, the fiench couple sitting behind us disappeared. I'm not sure if they missed the bus or found the stop quaint enough for further exploration. I'm expecting to see them on dateline.
Eventually, the roadside huts turned into wareshouses, business, and a lot more people. We were in the capitol. Our friend Sam from Siem Reap had told us he would arrange for a friend of his to pick us up in his tuk tuk. He said the guy would get us to a cheap hotel and get us settled. Sounded good, but his friend was a no-show. This guy named Vita kept trying to get us to take his tuk tuk. With fiew alternatives, we followed Vita. OK, partly because he had my suitcase. I told him we wanted a cheap hotel. He took us to the Queen Wood Hotel...or something like that. They offered us a room at $45/ night. OK, yes that would be quite cheap in San Francisco, but we were expecting something in the teens in Phnom Penh. I offered them $20/night and thought for a minute they would go for it. They countered with $30 as their lowest price and we walked. However, we didn't get more than two blocks before we decided we liked the place and, yes, $30/night would be quite cheap enough indeed. Vita gave us a bit of a turned down smile when he had to turn the tuk tuk around, but he seemed happy enough by the time we got back.
After settling into our room, we walked to a local pizza place for some supper. We strolled along the river after dinner, with every one we passed offering to sell Tyler weed. "I guess I just look like a guy who likes weed," he told me. Young. American. Yeah, probably. He didn't buy any. Just so you know.
We came to the rooftop restaurant and pool at our hotel. I wanted to do a little work on the Internet and Tyler wanted to catch a gecko. He got a tail.