Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 3: Siem Reap

At breakfast several of us were wearing our nerd specs (a.k.a. glasses). This could only mean one thing = travel by bus day!

We took a mini bus that was nice enough for Marv to comment "This looks like it came from Pimp My Ride". It was nice, and spacious, which lead me to my number one favorite travelin' activity:

Yeah, yeah, beautiful scenery, lots to see, blah blah blah. I was up before my 6:30 a.m. alarm and slept like crap last night (too excited, like a kid on Christmas eve) so I needed the beauty rest.

Before we were even outside of Bangkok city limits we had to stop on the side of the road for another tour mate, David, to stop and puke. Note to self: Do not eat dodgy, undercooked chicken - EVER - not even one bite, which is what he did. We were back on the road in no time and the threat of being vomited on had thankfully diminished.

Around here they call the bathroom "happy room", which we made a pit stop for. Happy room in rural Thailand means squat toilet, with no toilet paper, and no flushing mechanism (you flush by pouring water into the toilet from a nearby bucket and scoop). Sanitary!

The other group members who did not get their Cambodian visa in advance - all 10 of them who are not Marv & I - filled out their visa applications while we went shopping for foreign goodies:

My personal favorite was Yo Friends Cookies which, as the name implies, should be shared with all yo friends. And you get a cup of frosting for dipping!

See, the differences between East and West really aren't that big. We all love cookies dipped in frosting.

We got to the border town and sat down for lunch. This allowed everyones visas to get processed before we made our way across the border. "Everything is quick if you pay enough under the table." That is a direct quote from our tour guide.

I had this:

And Marv had this:

We each had a bottle of water with our lunch. Guess how much our total bill was. Go ahead, guess. $2.79!

Two dollars and seventy-nine freaking cents!!! Holy cheap food, Batman.

Once we ate and everyones passports were returned to them with Cambodian visa included we set off on foot towards the border while our luggage rode in a rickshaw thanks to this dude:

We got to the border and had to first wait in line to get out of Thailand. You had to present a departure card, which is given to you upon arrival. After you have officially left Thailand you need to officially enter Cambodia, which means more lines. Hundreds and hundreds of people in lines. So, so many lines.

Everyone who got their visa over lunch flew through the line to enter Cambodia. Marv & I had ordered online visas ahead of time, and when I did that process it said "bring 2 copies of your visa, one for entry and one for departure" so I had 1 copy for each of us as we entered the country.

The border official said "No, no, you need 2 copies now." Holy shit! My second copy was already across the border in my luggage. What followed was several minutes of sheer bowel liquefying terror. As 200 people stood behind me in line, and I hogging 1 of only 4 lanes of traffic, I thought I was going to shit myself. For reals.

Thankfully Amy (our tour guide, she's Thai and that's her westernized name) knew which backpack was mine and where I kept my binder 'o important documents. She quickly grabbed it and brought it to me. Once I had the second copy of my visa it was smooth sailing, just a few stamps on the visa and in my passport and we were off.

I will be forever bitter that they don't tell you to keep 2 copies of the damn visa when entering the country. I only have 1 more copy left for when we leave so I hope they let me out. Otherwise I will be stuck in Cambodia forever.

The 3 hour drive from the border to our next stop, Siem Reap, went very quickly thanks to this my second nap of the day. I'll go ahead and blame jet lag on all the naps. Besides, I don't need to explain myself to you people! I can't help that every time I enter any mode of transportation I sleep like the dead.

The difference between Thailand and Cambodia is immediate after crossing the border:

We had 2 delightful hours of downtime, in which most of this blog post was written, before heading out for dinner, which was located at (as far as I can see) a local house. It was waaaaay out in the suburbs, and not the McMansion-strip-mall suburbs you're used to. We dined like this:

Which was very delicious and as authentic as we're likely to get. We even rode out to BF Nowhere in a tuk-tuk!

If you don't know what a tuk-tuk is I implore you to immediately watch season 6 of America's Next Top Model. (P.S. Joanie got robbed - damn you, Tyra!)

After dinner it was back into town for a little foot care. Not by licensed cosmetologists, oh no, but something a little more au natural:

I paid $2 USD to sit and soak my feet as long as I wanted to have these little fishies nibble on the dead cells of my feet. The fish were absolutely gaga for my feet, because my skin is considered the sweet delicious to fish. Actually I think it was my position in the pool (smack dab in the middle) more than the nastiness of my feet, since I had a pedicure not 6 weeks ago. Added bonus to the "Dr. Fish massage" - a free can of beer. For $2!

After Dr. Fish foot massage it was time to get our drink on. Take a wild guess how much this puppy cost:

If you guessed more than $1 you are pathetically overestimating the price of things in Cambodia. Between the two of us we had 6 beers, which is $6 USD. Math is fun!

At those prices Marv is liable to be dumb enough to drink this:

Thankfully he hasn't gotten wild enough on $1 beers to embibe in any snake wine. But the trip is young. Time will tell.

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