12.04.2013 30 °C
After spending about 15 hours on the road, a new personal record of some sort, I'm feeling a bit tired to say the least. The original plan was that I would be in Siem Reap at 17.00 but as expected things didn't really go as planned. The train ride from Bangkok took a little bit longer and additionally the train was filled to the brim, probably because of Songkran aka the Thai new year. I got lucky though when a Thai guy drag me into the seat next to him when I got on the train, otherwise a would probably had to stand most of the trip. One couple got unlucky and had to stand for 3 hours with their backpacks on until enough people had gotten off. However, I met some American girls at the border who took the same train who stood for 5 hours straight in the train. After hearing this I felt a little bit bad when I had complained about the benches being so uncomfortable. Well, the price was 50 baht so the cheap price overrides all the bad stuff.
After going through the border procedures with relative ease and meeting quite a lot of different people, one Dutch fellow who was here 21 years ago during the war as a UN soldier who came to relive (?) some memories, he was really proud of pointing out how much had changed especially at the border. After getting to the transport center for tourists, which is apparently run by a large cartel, I managed to barely miss one bus which meant I had to wait for 1½ hours until the next one finally left after it had filled up with enough people. The seats were more comfy than in the train though, however after 1½ hours on the bus the driver insisted that we would have an one hour pit-stop at some small road side diner, conveniently equipped with a money exchange counter, overpriced food and children who could speak fluent English and tried to sell some bracelet. It was so apparent that this is common practice with this cartel. Well, once again the price was cheap enough so I wasn't too bothered with it.
Driving to Siem Reap in a bus when it's dark was quite interesting. There are no traffic lights and flashing your lights frenetically to the traffic coming towards you is common practice to indicate that you are overtaking someone and probably have a larger vehicle than you so you better beware. The trip even got better when a storm was brewing right when we arrived to Siem Reap with lightning in the sky and as icing on the cake it started pouring with rain just before I got to the hostel I'm staying at which resulted in me getting a little bit soaked.
Anyways, I'm here now and tomorrow a day of temple trekking awaits.