1st of March 2016:
As 6am neared and the sun was rising we pulled up to a metal tin garage. After our adventures the night before I was a bit sceptical of where we were. It looked like the middle of no where. However thankfully we had made it to Siem Reap (Again). Here we were suppose to switch busses to continue our adventure to Bangkok. A young Asian girl was by herself, getting hassled by the locals. I felt so sorry for her, she looked terrified. I would have offered her a lift but unfortunately we needed to stay right where we were. I did however give her advice of where to stay (around Pub Street) and told her about the app, “maps me”. Where she can track exactly where she is without the use of wifi. I have personally found this comforting when in a tuk tuk. I hope she made it to a hostel safe and sound. As the bus pulled up and we got on, Nick exclaimed that it was the exact same bus they just folded our blankets again to make it look clean. I think I would of rather have just stayed on the bus, then wait on the ground for 20 minutes swarmed by 100’s of mosquitos.
We took the same sleeper beds and had another nap. Normally on sleeper buses I’m to scared of my things getting stolen or the road conditions are so bad that I have a terrible sleep. This time I went into a real deep sleep, a sleep I haven’t experienced in a while since being in Asia, but due to it being so deep I jumped up quickly freaking out that I hadn’t been wary of my surroundings. Thankfully we were still driving to the Cambodia and Thailand border. An hour later we stopped only 600m from the border. This is where the real chaos began. Our sleeper beds were on the top directly behind the driver. A man in a single bed next to us on the bottom started saying his phone had been stolen. I do remember a man standing by the door in front of his bed and I felt eerie about him but unless he picked up my head and unlocked the locker on my bag I knew I should be safe. The passenger started to become loud and assertive to the driver, exclaiming that he must give him his phone back, and that he knew that he had it. The guy he was harassing looked no older than 15 and ran off the bus crying. Another man came on board and the whole ordeal began again. The passenger some how snatched the drivers phone and tried to make a swap. However the driver wasn’t playing along and continued saying he didn’t have it. A translator jumped on board, and this is where the scenario changed for the worse. The translator explained he didn’t have the phone nor did he know where it was. Then Nick saw the driver pull out a knife. Not just a butter knife which would hurt anyway but a Crocodile Dundee knife. Nick leaned over and explained this to the passenger and he gave back the phone to the driver. The translator then left a comment saying; “this is not your country!” What a way to say farewell to Cambodia!
We then walked over to the border crossing to what we were hoping to leave the corruption and violence behind. Crossing the border is never easy, because you have to go through so many que’s and stations. From here I was extra careful of my belongings not putting anything down no matter what for a second, and I’m glad I did. Only metres from crossing to Thailand a guy from our bus put his bag down for what he says was a second and his credit cards got stolen. If this had happened to me I would probably have broken down and cried! However this guy was like, “oh sorry it took me so long to get through customs my cards got stolen.” So I asked how much he had left on him… $10 U.S. That was all, and yet he remained calm.
Another 5 hours on a mini bus and we were in Bangkok! It only took us 20 hours to get here. We had pre-booked our accommodation and unfortunately where they had dropped us off was apparently really far (30 minutes). Clearly they don’t understand what we’re use to back home in Australia, really far is an hour in a taxi.
Our hostel, Old Town Hostel was gorgeous and very new. Everyone in this hostel seemed to never leave. They all just laid around on their phones or computers doing absolutely nothing. However I felt as though people were just ending their trip or beginning and therefore those people were jet lagged or lazy. I felt like one of these people, it was as if all the adventure and exhaustion from Cambodia took a toll on me and I was ready to fall asleep at 4pm. However not when Nicks in a exploring mood. We were both starving, having not eaten proper food since dinner the night before, so we headed off down the street for 30 minutes and found nothing. All I was dreaming about was sitting down and eating rice. I wasn’t asking much. So we turned around and headed back to the hostel to ask where the food was. The lady said the other direction so once again we went to look for food. We arrived at river city mall and got distracted by the shops. I was still so hungry, I had gotten to the state of “hangry” where I was angry because I was hungry. Never an ideal place to be in. So we continued walking. I ended up just stopping and eating at a little restaurant on the corner. I became so tired I was holding my head up with my hands whilst trying to eat. You would think once you’ve reached this point you should just go to bed, but no.
Once we got to the hostel we quickly booked tickets to see the Ladyboys. We had 30 minutes to get changed and head out the door. I think this moment goes down in history as the first and more likely last time I will ever beat Nick getting ready. I waited for 10 minutes downstairs. We had a 15 minute walk to the ferry. Little did we know that the line up for this particular ferry was ridiculously long. The line would have consisted of a 100 people. As the line started moving and I watched people endlessly board the boat I started to think when did they reach their capacity? People were squished together like a mosh pit, one person moves we all move. We were so lucky to jump on, as we were the last ones. If we missed this ferry we would have missed half the show! We had no idea where we were running though but we were already 2 minutes late! As we continued running we finally saw a sign and a ticket office.
We were pretty lucky to only miss 5 minutes of the show. The show was interesting to say the least. I probably wouldn’t pay that much money again for the level of acting/ performance skill there was but it was memorable.
I feel like though if your going to do the song, “and all that jazz” all your back up dancers/ singers should probably know all the words. It’s such a huge song that it’s very easy to notice when someone doesn’t know what their doing! It was a long and exhausting day to say the least and I’m happy to go to sleep in a stationary bed tonight!
2nd of March 2016:
Today we had a bit of a slow morning but got the ground running eventually. We wanted to go shopping and buy some things before we headed off. All my life I had heard Bangkok was a good shopping destination so I was excited and determined to buy cheap clothes. We mastered the ferry and jumped on for a 30 minute drive down the river. The ferry is like a bus, it stops off at certain ports along the way. You don’t have much time to get off as there are 50 other people trying to jump on at the same time with only 10 seconds to spare. It’s like a race against the clock! We jumped off at the last port where the markets were. I was so excited I had a list of things that I wanted to buy and I was determined to get them all. Unfortunately unlike what everyone seemed to have told me my whole life it wasn’t that good! Everything seemed to be really cheap and nasty and way over priced for what it was. I was so sad, I had been waiting for this for so long. The night markets in Luang Prabang in Laos was better than this. It’s like they didn’t care because they knew another tourist would come along 30 seconds later and pay for it. Nick however bought a backpack in the end after walking down and back up the street. I was ready to sit down. So we caught the ferry back to our port. We both were so lethargic that we got pizza delivered to our hostel. I couldn’t believe you could do that! Our choices were pizza, Maccas (Mc Donald’s for the non Australians) or KFC, and all deliveries. Honestly I’ve never felt like I had so many options in the world and yet at the same time a fat slob wanting them all. So the man from reception walked the pizza up the stairs to where we were watching movies for us so we didn’t have to wait downstairs. I was astonished, he was such a lovely man and went far beyond his job.
3rd of March 2016:
Today’s the day we head off to Cape Town. However our flight is at 1:55am (4th of March) but we have to get to the airport today. All I could think was, I don’t wanna pack! If anyone knows me they know packing is one of my upmost pet hates. I don’t even enjoy packing for one night. My bag was an absolute mess though, everything was just thrown everywhere. So I took everything out and started again. I had so much rubbish in there, papers and brochures that were so unnecessary. On top I also packed half the islands sand with me. I also had to be a big brave girl and get my legs waxed internationally. I’ve heard so many horrifying stories that I was petrified! There’s always going to be some sort of language barrier and this is the moment you pray she’s fluent in English. I had to take the plunge though… And thankfully I’m alive! It was completely fine. I didn’t need to panic there was nothing different. By the time I got out it was 4pm and we still hadn’t organised when we should leave but before starting another movie we decided on 10pm. It sounded early, and it was but we were over just sitting in the hostel waiting. We put on Wolf Creek 2. We had both seen it so I thought it wouldn’t be so bad the second time… But how I was so wrong! This is a big lesson to anyone travelling, do NOT watch wolf creek! You realise. that everything they were doing is what you do in other countries and when the first lot of people got murdered I was completely done! It seemed way to realistic and scary. It was like the world all of a sudden become a bigger and unknown place. As 9:30pm finally came around we were sitting with our bags waiting with anticipation. Our taxi was already sitting out the front so we jumped in anyway. Lucky we did! It took us an hour to get to the airport with the traffic. As we were discussing what time to organise Nick told me that Bangkok’s airport wasn’t big and that it would take no time at all to get through. Lucky we listened to me. The airport is huge. The check in area alone is as big as our entire airport back home! As we walked all the way to the other end of the airport to check in we joined a huge line. This line to simply check in took us an hour. I felt like we were lining up to go on a roller coaster ride. We then went through security where I had to stand in a circular x-Ray confused as to when I’m supposed to know when I can move. Another check through to get our passports stamped and we were in our terminal.
4th of March 2016:
By this time it was 12pm and we only had an hour until we were boarding. So we grabbed some dinner. Back home Burger King is called Hungry Jacks and it was so expensive! As our plane got called just as we were finishing our burgers we headed down to board. I was excited for Nick as I knew this was going to be one of the biggest planes his been on yet! As we hopped on he looked like it was Christmas morning. Im pretty sure he could catch flies with how his mouth just stayed open. The plane had 10 seats per row, I didn’t think much of it but for him he was astonished as to how it was so big. We were given blankets and a pillow. As the plane set off down the runway and into the sky the air hostess came around with a breakfast menu. We were given breakfast straight away, and Nick was surprised how alcohol was free. I was so excited they had the movie, The Stanford Prison as in uni we learn about it so often that I was excited to see how the movie would go. It met all expectations. The rest of the 6 hour journey consisted of trying 101 ways to sleep, with no success rate. Our stop over in Dubai was only 3 hours, this was perfect timing but we were both absolutely exhausted! After 2 hours we became hungry so for breakfast we had Mc Donald’s. Not only this but they had no breakfast options (at 8am) so I had a cheeseburger. Not one but one and a half cause they accidentally put two in my bag. I felt so ill just from all the junk food from the night before and now for breakfast. We were going to buy a drone, however as we were contemplating spending the $2,000 dollars we heard our flight being called over the speaker. Somehow it was already final call, thankfully we weren’t the only ones and everyone seemed to be running. Also, either they changed the gate on us or we misread what gate we were. We thought it was gate 32 but apparently it was 30. Lucky they were next to each other and not the other side of the airport!
The plane was completely booked out and yet somehow we scored the only free seat. On a 9 hour flight this is complete bliss! We got to spread out and have the middle seat for all our drinks, blankets and other “stuff” that we some how picked up along the way. The flight consisted of endless Disney movies that I could dose in and out of without missing out on much and poker on the computer trying to out beat the other computer players. However I was happy to get out of the plane. As our seats were only a couple rows before the back we were the last ones to reach the customs control. This is the last thing you want, especially when you then have to wait for Nick to get out of the bathroom and 20 Chinese people jump in the line! However thankfully it was only our plane going through customs so it took 30 minutes to get through. As we were close to the front of the line the passport customs lady looked at us and picked us specifically out. I have travelled countless times and this has never happened before. I don’t understand if she just couldn’t be bothered to deal with the Chinese or what, but I was happy to go through non the less.
As we approached the currency exchange to get South African Rhan we became puzzled as to how our Australian dollar had become worse in just one day. However luckily we had extra U.S. Money so exchanged a $100 U.S. We had continuously heard bad and dangerous situations that has occurred in Africa often that I became nervous to catch a taxi. Unfortunately it was either walking or going in a taxi. As we jumped in my mind began to race, not on what you may think but at how I had become accustomed to South East Asia and the driver being on the left. I had to ask Nick if this was like home. I didn’t think I had been away from home that long, but after hiring scooters constantly it felt foreign to me to drive on the left. It was such a strange feeling knowing consciously that this should feel natural but unconsciously feeling like I have stepped into a foreign world, as if I had never seen it before. Our taxi driver was also one of the nicest taxi drivers I think I’ve ever encountered. As soon as he heard we were from Australia, omg the conversation never ended! South Africa and Australian cricket teams were currently travelling Africa in the twenty twenty. Then somehow our conversation turned into how 60 year olds are considered elderly and not many people live beyond this. That is terrifying! Apparently their greatest reason behind deaths is due to heart attacks and strokes. This is not a causation of the stressful lives they have endured but rather the fast food chains that have opened up in every corner. This saddened me that they have huge complications in their country with their economy and malnutrition and most African’s are passing away from the powerful Western countries food chains.
As we arrived it was 5:30pm at night and I was at the point of exhaustion that I didn’t feel tired or hungry, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Our dorm room was so adorable with little bunk beds made out of wood and the bed was so comfortable compared to all of Asia. Nick wanted to explore, so we walked down the road where we found numerous bars and restaurants. At this point exhaustion had well and truly washed over me. It flooded all my muscles and bones and I felt like I was dragging an elephant behind me. We went to a bar where everyone was dressed up so nicely as it was a Friday night. However I looked like two trains had hit me whilst walking through a cyclone. Not an ideal attire to go to a up beat cocktail bar. I hadn’t gotten changed since Bangkok and I was wearing my elephant pants and a sports bra and singlet. I ordered a cocktail and we shared a potato, bacon cheese “thing”. I couldn’t even comprehend having a conversation because to me that required too much energy and drinking alcohol just worsened my symptoms of jet-lag/ lack of sleep. As soon as we got back to the hostel I jumped in bed and don’t even remember falling into a deep sleep. One my mind and body had longed for.