Taking the bus to Phnom Penh
07.09.2011 - 07.09.2011 29 °C
With our bus to Phnom Penh not departing until the early afternoon we were able to spend a pleasant morning relaxing by our hotels pool. As the only guests now staying at the hotel our view over the port of Sihanoukville and to the ocean beyond did not require sharing with anyone. The cool, inviting pool allowed us to spend a few relatively rare hours simply swimming, reading and drinking in the view.
Yet by early afternoon our relaxation time was over, much to Trey’s disappointment, and we were back travelling once again on the excellent Mekong Express Bus Service. This time our journey would be non-stop to Phnom Penh. No stop to leave offerings for the Black Lady on our return. Travelling to Sihanoukville we had been subjected to Khmer karaoke and the Stallone film Rambo (in English!) on the large TV, at the front of the bus. For the return journey some version of Cambodian ballroom dancing was shown. A large, generally overweight middle-aged singer would carouse a traditional sounding song whilst surrounded by young Cambodian girls and boys dressed as if for an American prom. Their dancing, however, whilst in ballroom style, did not allow for any physical contact. The required motion was simply a continuous sway left then right, along with a rolling hand movement. Even the dancers looked bored to death. Fortunately, we had good books and a DVD player. Not sure either of us could have sustained over 4 hours on a bus watching the Cambodian version of MTV!
Of course the Cambodians watched this painful performance avidly. As in Myanmar, Cambodian TV is not quite to our tastes or expectations. The remainder of the westerns sat around us were left playing on their iPad’s. As yet on this trip we have yet to see any traveler using this new and expensive device for anything other than playing games!
Arriving in Phnom Penh we were met by the usual gaggle of tuk-tuk drivers offering us ‘very cheap’ rides to wherever we wanted to go. Feeling akin to an animal in a zoo we sidestepped the melee and retired to a local restaurant for supper.
Finally ready to check in at the hotel our tuk-tuk driver contrived all manner of excuses as to why it was not a good hotel. From being too expensive, not having swimming pool and dirty we went through the entire play book. Clearly, having stayed there on our previous trips to Phnom Penh this was going to be an impossible sell. Growing both annoyed and impatient with the constant attempts to change our destination he seemed genuinely confused when on arriving at hotel we showed no interest in his offer to take us sightseeing around the city the following day.
Finally at our hotel we settled down in the now familiar room ready for sleep after a not particularly challenging travel day.