Day 7 – 12 hour bus to Sihanoukville

Ugh today was long. All day on a packed out minibus. We left at 6.30am, arrived at 6.30pm. Not much happened, but travelling around in close vicinity with strangers for hours on end leads to irritation at minute things. I’d like to think we coped well and laughed it all off though. It all adds up to make funny memories. Here they are:

First off we were sat at the back of this minibus. Every row had three seats apart from ours, which had four (extra small) seats. Fantastic.

Then a Scottish / Australian man with his new Cambodian wife came and sat next to us. He just wanted to tell us all about him, showed us endless photos and videos from their trip and boasted about how he could now get the best prices everywhere while we were being ripped off. He was friendly and helped the first 6 hours go past quickly but wow, it was a bit much. It was 6.30am, I just wanted peace. The way he spoke with his wife made us a little uncomfortable, he was obviously very happy with her, but the dynamic was off. He kept referring to her as “good girl” and called her by his dog’s name a few times. They had just met and she was younger than his daughter. I really felt for her. She seemed happy enough though.

We arrived in Phnom Penh at 12.20 and had a 40 minute wait before getting on the next bus. We got some food at a nice restaurant over the road.

There were about 10 waiters buzzing around for 3 tables so they were chatting and giggling. The guy serving us appeared to be quite new or something as he giggled every time he approached us. Not sure why but we all sort of giggled along together. He was very nice, as we were eating we got attacked by a small wasp, and flailed our arms around hopelessly, laughing and squealing like real idiots. He came rushing over, fumbled and gave a feeble swat, managed to get stung and just looked like a sad puppy, nursing his hand and slunk away again. His friends all laughed at him. Bless him.

They were then all huddled round talking and someone was clearly talking big talk and lay down a gauntlet to an arm wrestle. They all waddled off to a table and crowded round to watch the match. At this point our bus was due and needed to run, we were trying to catch their attention but the arm wrestle was too important. Typical boys! I got my stuff and ran over to hold the bus and left Zoe to pay. When they realised we wanted to go they all ran over with sheepish smiles and apologies. It was quite sweet really.

Lunch was great fun and we nearly missed our connecting bus after all this, luckily Cambodian time isn’t entirely rigid. For the second half of the journey we were squashed in the back next to two locals who had no concept of personal space! Within two minutes of sitting down she leant on us to stand up, shoved her hands down her trousers to readjust … thoroughly, and then leant on us again to sit down and reposition. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?! And then just generally using us as an arm rest. Ugh people.
They turned out to be alright, as most people are. The guy, being over 60 for sure was fickle with his choice of seat and decided that whilst bombing down a road, precariously overtaking, he would start hurdling the chairs to find a better spot!

This business of precarious overtaking. Oh my god. Cambodian drivers actually have a death wish, I swear. If you drive fast and honk loudly, almost anything goes! They go flying down the road, on the wrong side, overtaking hordes of vehicles, just zipping back in in time to NARROWLY miss a full on collision with cars, bikes and wagons coming the other way. We ended up swerving off the road twice and almost flying into the ditch at the side because we were going so fast and the driver made a bad call.

Edit: I have a FitBit heart rate monitor on my wrist usually for exercise. I have done nothing whilst out here, but there is one day where my heart rate is particularly elevated. This day. The height of the bar is the time of elevation and the darker colours show which elevated “zone” my heart rate is in. I think it shows how scary the ride was!

The best policy is to just ignore it, but as the other passengers starting to grab their seats, gasp and shout at the driver, we took note and became super alert. It was absolutely chucking it down, you could hardly see out the front, cars didn’t have their lights on and he was still going for the dodgy overtake. Psychopath. Luckily we made it alive and in one piece though. It’ll just go down in history as a funny memory.

We were dropped off at the bus stop outside Sihanoukville, and immediately jumped on by people shouting “tuc tuc? Tuc tuc?”. It was all pretty dodgy and we’re fairly sure we were massively ripped off. But it was getting dark, we had nowhere to stay and just wanted to rest so paid money for a lift. Worlds slowest driver took us to the beach, through some fairly unsettling looking areas. The drive was actually genuinely quite worrying, but turned out to be fine. We got ourselves a rather nice bungalow room to get a good nights sleep and got some food. Now to sleep! Hopefully it will be nice weather tomorrow and we can wander to the beach. No rushing though.

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