Luxury Buses and Border Crossings

{Written on the 23rd. The Himawari aka Micasa hotel had NO wifi! Horrors!}

Remember how we decided to take a bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh because some of us are not big fans of flying and the bus seemed safer? Ha. Ha Ha.

No worries. I am fine. So far. However I would suggest that perhaps the word “luxury” as in “Luxury Bus Limousine” is being used improperly. And it may be that certain bus companies are not using honest photographs on their websites. This bus has a few years on it. One of the staff is currently tinkering with something just inside the door, as we barrel down the road, coming dangerously close to head-on collisions with giant trucks. And just now? The door opened. And he nearly fell out. Twice. I don’t know if he’s trying to fix the door or the air conditioning, but in either case, I’m thinking it’s not the best thing to do whilst the bus is in motion. Call me crazy.

This six hour ride is turning out to be closer to 7+ hours. The border crossing was an experience in and of itself. First, we had to all get out and go into a building and wait in a crowd (lines are for wussies) while our “bus attendant” (She’s basically like a flight attendant, but on the bus) brought everyone’s passports and paperwork to some guy behind a high desk. And because Leah and Luke are under 12, their passports were processed differently, and first. She said they had to go through the door on the other side, without us. I called to Leah to watch out for Luke. (Figuring they would board the bus after they left the building. I wasn’t really that worried.) A kind Australian woman offered to “look after them” for me because her passport had already been called. Turns out they sat just outside the door waiting for us and she regaled them with stories of kangaroos living in her backyard and they thought it was all very cool. So we got through there, boarded the bus and then… drove about 50 yards to the Cambodian side of the border. Where we got off the bus again and went into a more ornate Cambodian style building to do a similar song and dance to get our Cambodian visas. (But with hand and thumb scans this time). Again the littles’ visas were different. Technically under 12 is supposed to be free, but they charged us $5 a piece for the stamp, or some such nonsense.

After that, we drove a very short distance past the large casino hotels that dot the Cambodian side of the border to a “rest stop”. Sadly, the awesome rest stop in Vietnam ruined me to such things and this one didn’t come close to measuring up. But it wasn’t bad. We had some rice with cooked meat and green beans and back on the bus we went.

Turns out, this part of Cambodia is considered no-man’s land and mostly people just drive right through it on the way to the capital. It’s got some very pretty views and I kind of wished I could stop and take pictures. Now here I am stopped whilst they attempt to tie the door shut (Now that’s luxury!) and the only view I have is of some scrawny trees planted as a windbreak.

We should have flown. I’m an idiot sometimes. And am also reconsidering our bus ride to Siem Reap. Think they still have flights on reputable airlines available?

Did you know that the yellow lines in the road are just for decoration? Yep. We are most definitely in Cambodia now my friends.

I didn’t even mention the ferry. I’ve ridden a lot of ferries, being from the Seattle area. This wasn’t so much like those. It wasn’t a raft or anything, but I wasn’t all that confident it could hold the weight of all the vehicles, most especially our large bus. I think I held my breath the whole time we crossed the Mekong. Thank goodness the river isn’t so wide there. Apparently (according to my 2010 guide book) there was supposed to be a bridge there by now. Hmmm… wonder what could have happened to the funds for that project?


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