We’re notorious for getting up early on a day of travelling. Nervous of sleeping in and missing a bus/train/ferry/flight we prefer to be up and chatting or surfing Facebook than stressing about packing and running late. But, after a year of travelling, we should give ourselves a bit more credit. Washed, dressed and packed within the hour, we hit the street at 7bells to look for breakfast. We say look loosely, cause we knew we were going to make a beeline directly across the road to the bakery. Some pastries, donuts and cakes for the day (not just brekkie) and a wander through the market to look for loo roll (just in case) we were back in the room with plenty of time to kick back, relax and wait for the bus. The mini van turned up just as we were leaving the hotel lobby. Perfect timing! We were at the ticket office only a few minutes later to transfer to another bus. Well, they called it a bus because they fit 5 foreign adults in to the vehicle, but it was a small jeep. Katherine luckily had the front seat – advantages of being polite to the ticket office staff – and 4 of us got ‘familiar’ in the beak seat. The 40mins, typical Cambodian time, took 1hr20 to arrive at Sisophon. Half way to Siem Reap in a fraction of the time as he drove like a lunatic, we were now only 57km from Poipet. But, we had to wait for the main bus to arrive first. Almost an hour later we jumped on the bus, nestled our ass in the air-conditioned seats and chugged along to the border. We got through passport control and immigration without a hitch, but we did sigh a lot at the people taking photos and videos in areas where it said not to, and people managing to get to the front of the queue after 45mins waiting, to then stand aside and fill in their immigration form that they were presented before entering the building. WTF!!??
A small bit of a wait in the car park for everyone to get back on the bus, we had now safely traversed the notorious Poipet border crossing twice without hassle. A weird moment when military got on the bus and demanded to see passports was about the only bit of drama before we stopped at a nice garage with a 7 Eleven, shops, restaurants and sparkly clean bathrooms. Oh to be back in Thailand. We got off at the railway station, a more convenient stop than Khao San Rd where we were destined. As such, we built up an appetite by walking to our hostel. Dumped the bags and enjoyed noodles, curry and salad at our usual restaurant. We tried to watch a bit of telly, but every channel was showing the same piece on the Thai King. An unusual thing to do on tv, we were unable to check what that meant with the poor wifi in the room so we turned off the lights and passed out. Thursday 13th October 2016
There were 4 heaters on the ceiling of the bathroom that give out a nice warmth before and after your shower. Discovering these unique features the night before was helpful when getting up at 04:15, when the surprisingly very inactive day yesterday had left us really tired and wanting to stay curled up in bed. But, we managed to hop on the shuttle bus for 05:30 and zip back to Melbourne airport for attempt #2 at leaving the country. The gentlemen that were before us yesterday at ticket desk, at the same hotel and on the same shuttle bus, went their own way and joined the queue for check in much later than we did. In fact, the queue became mental and the regular 07:00 flight for business people flying to Sydney for meetings was delayed as JetStar hijackers took all the spare seats and were checking in late. In defence, we were told to check in at 06:00, Katherine and I wanted to be earlier for safety sake.
We were given breakfast on the short haul flight to Sydney and loved the space, comfort, sophistication, et cetera of the Qantas flight. We were eagerly hopeful that the next flight would be equally luxurious, so we wrote missing blogs and listened to music. A throng of eager people buzzed through the domestic lounge to gate 15, where the shuttle bus took us to the international terminal. Through security again, the staff weren’t as pleasant as the domestic crew, but maybe they have tougher jobs dealing with different languages and more baggage trying to be taken as hand luggage? They certainly had a rough time at the boarding gate where a gent was f*ing and blinding about something. The guys behind us on the plane (seat monkeys) were also loud and we heard that the gentleman outside was rather irate as he felt that, due to the flight cancellation yesterday, he deserved to be upgraded to business class and wasn’t boarding the plane unless it happened… I believe his bags were removed from the hold! Also, someone they knew lost their passport somewhere between checking in at Melbourne yesterday and this morning and couldn’t even make it to Sydney. The whole scene was a small Month Python sketch and we were lucky to have a pleasant passenger next to us for the flight. A delectable homemade drink of orange and hibiscus was served before a choice of lunch – Katherine ordered the pork chop, I had the beef curry. With a garlic bread bun and rhubarb desert we had struck out big time. So, when the drinks trolley came through and we were on film numero duo we were now sipping G&T’s. It’s a tough life as an international drifter.
Skip ahead some easy trips to the bathroom as we didn’t block anyone, sparkling wines, more films and to series, a flat beard cheese concoction for an amuse bouche and we touched down in Bangkok, a day later than planned and a longer flight than anticipated. We knew the airport well and self guided went through immigration, collected bags and were on a train in to the city.
In the space of dumping bags in the room and returning to our infamous street restaurant the heavens had opened and the rain was pouring down. But, nothing, not even the smell of sewage from the flowing sewers could ruin the papaya salad and green curry to finish a perfect day. Plus, a private room to snuggle up and drift asleep. Wednesday 7th September 2016