Doom n Gloom
After a rather bumpy journey from Siam Reap we arrived at the capitol Phnom Penh,and what a rabble of touts we had awaiting us,we have never seen anything like this,perhaps 100 or so guys waiving signs and shouting at us and just getting in your face,they were all trying to get us to go with them in their tuk tuk and take us to a guesthouse,but as we had already decided on a place to stay we just grabbed a guy with a tuk tuk,fixed a price and got the hell away.
After we got checked in to our guesthouse we went looking for the russian market,now this place was meant to be where you can buy everything and anything,this is the country after all where next and gap amongst others exploit the cambodians.the market was a crazy place,old women killing fish next to the underpants stall,which was next to the gap and next stalls,right next to the raw meat stall,it was just a random mish mash of a market.But we did pick up a few wee bargains.
Next day we were off to S-21,it used to be high school but was made infamous during the Pol Pot regime as a torture and detention camp,a lot of the rooms have been turned into museums housing photos of all the people who were tortured and killed,and some of the rooms have been left just as they were found still with bloody handprints on the walls.It was a very grim affair going around here.
So after all the horrors of S-21 we headed to the killing fields just outside of Phnom Penh for another history lesson again,but this place really was horrific.we decided to get a guide to show us around and we were all pretty shocked by what he told us,but even more shocking was that there were clothes and bits of bones even peoples teeth jutting out from the soil.It really was grim.
We decided that we had seen and heard enough horror stories so we headed back to town for some drinks.Next day we had a another mini drama involving the cursed mastercard,i wont go into too much detail but it involved a phone call to dad and a moneygram sent to us..
After a day of utter frustration with the mastercard we decided to get a tuk tuk and go to the shooting range and let of some steam,we locked and loaded,well the cambodian special forces guy actually locked and loaded us a ruger .22 pistol.So we put the ear protectors on and started blasting away at the target.......didn't hit a thing.But it was pretty good fun.was tempted by the rocket launcher and the grenade but thought they were a bit extreme.
That night we treated ourselves with our new found wealth(cheers pop)and went for a fantastic meal at the foreign correspondents club.Bit of a budget buster but it was our last night with sarah and chris as they were in need of a beach and we were heading back to Bangkok the following day.
We decided to break the journey up back to Bangkok as it would have been a 15 hour bus ride so we stopped at Battambang for the night.This is Cambodia's second biggest city and the most heavily mind area in country.So it came as no surprise that we didn't see one westerner all day.We set off to see what the city had to offer and went in search of a driver and found one within about 5 seconds,his name was salon and was a real nice guy,he took us in his tiny wee car to see the sights.
The sights were as grim as Phnom Penh,more killing fields but this time it was a series of caves on top of a hill.What made it even more chilling was that this place was for killing children.We had had our fill of death so our man salon took us to the bat cave,now this was cool,every day at sunset thousands and thousands of bats fly out of their cave and go out for the night then come back the following morning,so we watched this really cool spectacle for a while then headed back to our hotel for food and en early night as we had a full days travel ahead the next day.
We definitely got unlucky with our driver on this day,he was a total speed freak,it went straight to our number 1 slot on scariest journeys,the road was a dirt track for most of the way and at one point when he was trying to avoid a pothole this truck just slammed into the back of us.That set us back a bit of time as he and the other driver couldn't decide on a price for the damage.Anyhoo we did arrive at the border safe and sound and encountered no further drama until we got into Bangkok.We got of the bus during the mother of all thunderstorms,it was hammering it down the roads were like rivers,the taxi queue was enormous.So we decided to pay a wee bit extra and not wait in line and were whisked away to the completely wrong place we told the guy to go to.Bangkok can be the most frustrating place in the world at times.
Anyway we did find our own way to our guesthouse and slept like babies