Tonight is the last day we booked the hotel for. Pub Street isn’t as busy during the day so we head in to get a bus ticket and gravol for Jays motion sickness for the six to eight hour bus ride.
The signs around the city say Phnom Penh is about 300 km away, so logically, that should take about three hours. Why it’s going to take almost triple the time is a mystery. My only reasoning is that the roads suck (like everything else in Siem Reap) and they lack highways.
The streets are now slippery underfoot as you walk on a layer of wet baby powder mud.
We duck into a travel agency to inquire about tickets to Phnom Penh. Our bus line of choice doesn’t have any available seats. A call to our second choice proves fruitless as well. As the agent calls a third, Jay and I converse about somewhere else we can go instead. The agent found us a seat on another bus line.
In his binder, the price is listed as seven dollars. Of course, it’s an old book, so the price is actually nine. When he gets off the phone, he informs us the price is ten dollars. Then he tells us to get out and he’ll be back in three minutes and hops on his motorbike and leaves.
This city has made me so skeptical, I can’t help but think this is another scam. For our three minute break we go across the street to a pharmacy for the gravol which comes to two dollars and change. I gave her a two dollar bill and a one dollar bill. The pharmacist doesn’t accept two dollar bills. Now I have to break another twenty and get more ridiculous Riel back. This isn’t even the first time I’ve had bills that weren’t accepted.
I’ve had a dollar bill rejected because it was too worn, as well as Riel. Why it’s okay to give me these bills as change when they’re widely not accepted is pretty shitty and pisses me off. They might as well give me Monopoly money, pat me on the head, and send me on my way, stupid white tourist.
Instead of going back to three minute man, we head off to find another travel agency. We fight traffic and duck into one, sitting on the couch to wait our turn. We’re not even acknowledged, and when a place with an agent opens up, a woman literally walks in the store and takes that seat. We wait a couple minutes before moving on to another agency.
To say I’m in a bad mood at this point is an understatement. Jay is pretty rad for being as cool as she has been with my fairly consistent flux into pissy mood territory.
The third agency we go in is empty and the lady is fairly nice. Our tickets are ten dollars, just like three minute man quoted us. Siem Reap, you’ve turned me into such a cynical dick.
Walking back to our hotel is more of a trial of bravery than our venture out, which was treacherous itself. I’ve already talked about the chaotic traffic, and from what I can gather, you just do what you want when you want. So for pedestrians like us, you wait for a little gap, then go.
There were numerous occasions where both cars and motorbikes drove by within inches of us. Bikes and cars that were supposed to stop didn’t, and had it not been for us yielding in the middle of the street, our kneecaps would be broken.
The festival seems to now be incorporating soaking people with water via squirt guns and buckets, as well as the antiquing practice. We were lucky to avoid this as neither of us were in the mood. Now we stand and wait to get out of this hellhole, praying nothing goes wrong with our escape tomorrow.
Siem Reap obviously isn’t for us. Outside of visiting the temples and forays out for food, we didn’t leave the hotel much, choosing instead to catch up on Animal Planet and Discovery. Today we were lucky that Memento was on TV. We feel a little old and boring for staying in most of the time, but there’s little to do outside of the temples unless being harassed is your bag.
If you’re here just to sight-see, don’t stay longer than three days. You can do the temples in that time, as well as other sights if you’re so inclined. If you’re young and obnoxious and here to spend money and get drunk/ high, this is absolutely the place for you. The place is built around you and your disposable cash.
Our problem is that we were here to visit, sure, but it’s an extended visit to maybe call this place home for awhile. For that purpose, well, I feel as if I’m hooked up to an IV with Dr. Acula controlling the drip.