We sorted out our flight check in for Kuala Lumpur and Heathrow the night before. The facade of continuing our journey still going strong to surprise people when we got back to London. We chilled out with magazines and social media for a few hours before getting ready to head out.
Walking to the train station, we reminisced about our trip to Myanmar, with locals queuing up at the embassy for photos and visas. We thought about the dodgey, fishy food along the northwest of the country and agreed that Green Curry and Pad Thai would always be well up there with our favourite cuisine dishes. But, a bucket of popcorn is also a big thumbs up and we treated ourselves to the overpriced white snack at the cinema.
The first film we saw (yep! the first one) was Ms. Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. The film continues past the end point of the first book and while I thought the film was ok, at best, Katherine didn’t like it at all. I think that somehow they wrapped up the last book in about 2mins of dialogue in the silver screen, but that is pure speculation. Having no desire to read said books, I shall never prove myself right or wrong – a proverbial Schrodinger’s Cat, so to speak.
The second film, albeit without the popcorn, was Doctor Strange. A marvel universe inspired film, it brought another chapter together with the appearance of another infinity stone – spoiler alert! The critics (aka, Katherine and I) enjoyed it in so much as it was something to watch, better than Captain America Civil War, and passed away an afternoon in comfy chairs and out of the hostel. The franchise is doing well hooking people in to the continuity of the comics and we are caught up in it just like everyone else. Roll on the Harry Potter inspired spin off coming out in November.
Wandering through the shopping centre and marvelling at various stores, artwork and queues for t-shirts, we eventually got back to Mile Map Hostel and our favourite restaurant… we were emotional. Less than 24 hrs and we would be on a flight back home. For myself, I was back in the UK in June/July; Katherine being away for almost 13 months. We chatted about highs, lows and everything in between. A surreal dinner and evening and the penultimate packing of bags (there’s always a last reshuffle in reception).Wednesday 26th October 2016
Since we had an early bus, we had to get up early to pack away the clothes that we had hung up around our room last night. Most things had dried, I think – or maybe they still have some moisture in them… I’m sure we will smell delightful in a few days!! We had waited to do Jayne’s injection until we could find a safe place to dispose of the needle – fortunately, the pharmacy attached to the guesthouse had a sharps box so I was good to stab her with sharp needles!!! Managed to get everything sorted and we were ready with enough time to eat our slightly stale generic brand cornflakes with Milo chocolate milk.
The mini bus drive to Sihanoukville was easy except for the three irritating Australians sat behind us. Even our headphones and loud music could barely drown out their ridiculous conversation and frustrating travel bragging. It was made even worse by the metre by metre run down of how close they were getting to their hostel only to then be subjected to repeats of ‘where are we going?’, ‘It’s too far away!’ and ‘Oh no, we’ll have to get a TukTuk’ for the last ten minutes of the journey as we drove further away from it. When we arrived, they even refused to get out of the minibus as we weren’t at the bus station. Had to point out that we weren’t on a BUS and that’s why we weren’t at the BUS station. We chucked our bags on our backs and walked quickly away from them and up the hill to our guesthouse. Must have been there for all of two minutes when it began raining – and it wasn’t light rain. It was full-on typhoon type rain, so relentless that with the pounding of raindrops on the roof we could barely hear each other speak! From previous experience, the rain in SE Asia usually stops after a while. However, this was clearly no usual SE Asian rain storm – it went on all afternoon! Just when we thought it was slowing down a bit, it would pick up again with incredible gusto! Even the guesthouse staff seemed surprised at how long it was lasting. Fortunately, the guesthouse has a bar, restaurant, pool table and decent wifi so we were able to entertain ourselves for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. The guesthouse manager was apologetic about the rain but, actually, it suited us fine. There isn’t much to do in Sihanoukville apart from go to the beach or get wasted. We had come so we could see the beach in Cambodia and to visit Narae’s friends vegan cafe (which was closed on Mondays) but we weren’t too disappointed that we couldn’t even get there. We are both tired and could definitely do with taking it slower than we have done in the past.A little bit of google searching and we found a cinema just opposite our guesthouse. I say a cinema but it was a place where you rented a private room full of sofas and a huge screen to watch any film from their collection. It was actually kind of amazing and makes me really tempted to turn our spare room into a cinema when we get home…We choose to watch ‘Mike and Dave need wedding dates’ and ordered a four cheese pizza too, although we declined the offer to make it a ‘happy’ pizza.
The film was funnier than either of us expected and it was a great way to waste away a wet afternoon.
When we left the cinema, the rain had slowed to a light drizzle so we headed to the beach to have a look. The people stood outside each restaurant and bar trying to entice people in as they walked past with special food or drink offers seemed more in keeping with Magaluf than with Cambodia but I guess it is known for being a bit of a party place in the high season.
Back to the guesthouse for a couple of games of pool – Jayne beat me both times. In fact, on the first game, she had managed to pot all her balls and the black before I even got a chance to pot one of mine! An episode of ‘Quantico’ before snuggling down in our bed with comfy mattresses – it must be a southern Cambodia thing.
Monday 10th October 2016
With the room in near pitch blackness, the hostel pretty much empty and quiet and the air con stuck on a comfortable setting and a nice sized bed, we both slept beautifully and awoke fresh as daisies. So, custardy bread and water for breakfast we set about doing a bit of planning for the coming weeks. We can’t stay here indefinitely catching up on blogs and eating curries. Can we?? However after a hour or so with little motivation to do any productive research, we decided to stay here an extra night and go to the cinema instead… Oops!!
A familiar walk to the Surasak station, we walked the last bit at Siam station to the mall and cinema, not bothering with the convoluted change of lines and queueing up to be squeezed on. No, we walked a few hundred metres and you can tell where we walked from the puddles we left behind. Humidity and heat in the middle of the day, bad combination. Totally different to the heat of the Northern Territory in Oz, this was bordering on silly. Stupid weather in an beautiful city. It means it’s hard to walk around and explore at this time of year. Probably something we’ll regret in the coming ventures.
With a sneaky small burger before the cinema and a large popcorn we sat down in an almost empty theatre. But, other people sandwiched us in? I don’t get that. Half way through the salty popcorn we remembered the M&M’s from aunty Alita and suddenly the magic combo of salty and sweet was perfect. The film, ‘Secret Life of Pets’, had me giggling non-stop and there were moments where I could totally imagining it happening once owners had left for the day.Just outside the cinema, the Made In Candy shop, dedicated to creating bespoke works of art, personalised to however you wanted it, we’re making BMW candies for the event being held on the ground floor. The staff twisted and rolled the sugar to a sausage shape and then two more staff pulled the end to a diameter that was suitable (without compromising image or text) and snapped the canes into sticks. The sticks, once set and cooled a bit from all the working, were chopped in to small pieces. The process of make rock candy that one buys on holiday was no longer a mystery, but damned if I knew how they managed to start the process or get it perfect. A real craft and we couldn’t believe the end result. Back at the hostel we hadn’t long to go before it was dinner time. We may have wandered the shopping mall, with indoor ice rink, a bit too long and lost track of time. Still, with nowhere to be and no schedule it was a nice feeling. Certainly it felt stress free when we ordered 2x pad Thai noodles for a change and it didn’t rain. The street was busier and the fruit sellers kept their produce out later than usual in anticipation of more sales. We Skyped Martin and Anne-Marie and having not spoken to them in ages it felt good to catch up on gossip and hear about upcoming trips. With the air con still stuck at a nice level we soon called it a night and went to bed.
Friday 9th September 2016
A weird day – knowing that this was the last full day that we were going to spend together in over three weeks yet we had to get from Ayutthaya to Bangkok before we could actually make any plans on what to do. After our usual breakfast at the hostel, we said goodbye and walked to the mini bus station. Should have been relatively easy but, as we had repacked the bags so Jayne could return stuff to the UK, she was struggling with her heavy bag as I practically skipped, jumped and hoped down the road with my new (much lighter) load! Arrived at the mini bus, with Jayne looking considerably worse for wear having literally melted in the heat. Fortunately, we took the last three seats (one for our bag) and were quickly on our way back to Bangkok. Chatted the entire journey back to a Dutch man and his daughter who were on holiday celebrating the end of her exams and the imminent start of her medicine course in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Arrived at Victory Monument and made our way via the sky train to the airport to avail of their transfer service and check into our hotel. Decided to spend our last afternoon together at the cinema (so we can now OFFICIALLY say that we have visited a cinema in every country we have been to!). Tried to organise a taxi through the hotel to get us to the nearest train station but, since they wanted to charge us an extortionate price, we walked to the cross roads and got a motorbike taxi instead. Glad that they had helmets for the both of us, as I felt less safe travelling through the streets of Bangkok on a motorbike than I have on any other of our journeys! Got the sky train back into central Bangkok and headed to the mall to the cinema. Sorted out tickets before having the mammoth task of choosing a restaurant to have lunch from the hundreds of choices on offer. Choose a Japanese udon noodle bar which also did tempura items before stocking up on a massive Fanta and popcorn to watch ‘Now You See Me 2’.Not as good as the first film (although sequels rarely are) although it was funny to see Daniel Radcliffe making jokes about magic in his adolescent years… I’m always up for a Harry Potter reference! Headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon snuggled up in bed, watching episodes of ‘Friends’.
Monday 13th June 2016