Bouncing around in a "Kamry" on a dusty road

Bangkok Travel Blog

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San Francisco to Bangkok
After a nice brunch of eggs with mushrooms and ham, Regina and I made a dash to Powell Bart so we could catch the 11:05 train to SFO. Checked in at the elite status line baby! Woo! I knew flying to the Midwest every week for 4 months would pay off. Spent the first leg of my flight poring over my guidebook (Guide to Southeast Asia) that I borrowed from the library and watching the 70+ yr old Japanese couple next to me play video games on Northwest's media system on the flight to Tokyo. Met Regina at my gate in Tokyo and decided that we should probably not stay at Big John's Guest House like we had reserved, but stay instead at a guest house nearer to the train station. Hopped onto our respective last legs of our flights to Bangkok and arrived near midnight. We told the taxi driver we wanted to go to the TT2 Guest House near the Hualamphong Station in the center of Bangkok. He had no idea what we talking about and dropped us off at the station where we proceeded to walk 15 minutes in the middle of the night to the aforementioned guesthouse only to discover that the guest house closed at midnight. Walked back towards the train station, found a guest house in route, woke up the snoring old man at the desk and got dormitory rooms for 200Bhat! (roughly 38 Bhat to the dollar so about $5). By this time it's 1:30am and we have to wake up at 5 to catch the train to Aranyaprathet.

Bangkok to Poipet
The train ride turned out to be a beautiful 5 hour journey passing by lush greenery, frolicking water buffalo and the occasional odd Thai temple of sorts. Our first day off and already Regina and I were exploring what gastrointestinal delights Thailand had to offer us. On the walk to the train station, we stopped 2 women who were selling pork buns. Delicious. Then I bought meat on a skewer two minutes before my train was scheduled to depart from the station. Regina and I hopped onto the train (think hard orange painted seats) and passed the time reading up on Vietnam. Of course food vendors came into the train and I'm never one to miss an opportunity so purchased this rice and spicy beef with egg dish from this one woman carrying all her food in woven baskets up and down the train. We arrived in Aranyaprathet mid day and took a tuk-tuk to the Poipet's market and walked to the border.

Poipet to Siem Reap
We got our exit stamp from Thailand and crossed over into Cambodia where we paid 1000Bhat for our visa and then spent a comical 20 minutes haggling over the price our our taxi to Siem Reap. We ended up going with the most persistent smiling guy who charged us $25 for the two of us for the whole taxi. Not too bad since they usually run for about $40. In all fairness, lest you think we are amazing bargainers, I was crammed in the back seat with a bag full of plastic bottles to be recycle and the trunk was weighed down with something else besides our packs. In our pimping white Camry ("Kamry"in Cambodia) we were blessed to hear Cambodia renditions of "Hey Shorty, it's your birthday" and other delightful R&B songs sung in Khmer as the driver's wife threatened to hit him numerous times up front of the car. A 3 hour car ride on the dustiest road I've ever seen with the most potholes of my life. Leaving Poipet, we passed some nice cartoony signs of guns and hand grenades with friendly public service announcement of "We no longer need guns here. So apparently the drive from Poipet to Siem Reap is like the game Chicken where our driver apparently drove on either side of the rode as he saw fit and honked at everyone we passed which included small children on bicycles, old woman on motor bikes, families of four on motorbikes, cargo trucks, pick up trucks precariously balancing too many people. Regina and I remained amazingly calm, rather laughing at the situation as we were flung across the backseat when we hit another pot hole. We're staying at the Ivy Guesthouse 2, not to be confused with the Ivy guesthouse, at the recommendation of a friend. Surprisngly, they're actually affiliated with each other.

We wandered around looking for a place for dinner and settled on this place that had amazing Khmer food with a set menu for 2 for $5. The only downside is that we sat next to this jerk who told children begging without legs that a lot of people didn't have legs and what did the kid expect from him. I mean, why come to Cambodia if you're going to be an insensitive asshole? We finsihed dinner and stopped by some fruit stalls where I bought a kilo of fresh lychees. Yum. Also bought a couple of scarves at the local market. Of course. Tomorrow we visit the temples.
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photo by: halilee