Due to the lack of internet access at the beach (There should be NO internet at the beach), this is a recap of the long road trip down to Sihanoukville on Sunday, May 29th.
So it’s 9am on Sunday morning. We are all packed and ready to go down to the beach for a few days! The night before, we were out ‘exploring the city’s nightlife’ until 4 in the morning so we were all pretty tired. When we get to the bus station (not really a station – more like the corner where the bus companies are), there is a HUGE 2-storey hot pink bus waiting for us. As we walk in, there’s music blasting through the massive speakers. Woo! Party bus! There’s nice and cool AC, pretty big seats, not many people – this trip’s going to be pretty comfortable. (I also can’t wait to pass out and get some sleep).
So much for being comfortable and sleeping. The music was fun for the first few minutes. They were playing music videos like Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP’s We No Speak Americano, Afrojack’s Take Over Control & of course, to satisfy Khmer’s recent obsession of Korean pop music, Bigbang’s remix of Like a G6. I don’t recommend this bus for anyone who likes to listen to their own music, read, take a nap or just relax. After the crazy party music ended, then came Khmer songs followed by Khmer comedy shows. But you know what, I can tolerate this much. I can nap when I get to the beach.
Here comes the better part. The bus for some reason keeps stopping in the middle. It’s been an hour and we are still in Phnom Penh – and Phnom Penh is not that big. After about 3 stops, the driver starts turning the AC off, opening the windows and the door. I knew the AC had to be too good to be true – this has happened to me a lot – I remember being stuck in a tiny van with 20 people on our school trips without AC ever working so I’m thinking ‘I can tolerate this. It sucks but I kinda like having the fresh air instead of the AC.” By the time we get to the half-way point, 3 hours had passed. This whole trip is supposed to take us 4 hours in total so clearly, we are not going to be getting to the beach on time.
Thinking we won’t be stopping for too long, we sit waiting in the hot bus. After an hour, we couldn’t take the heat anymore and hopped out of the bus. Turns out, there’s something wrong with the engine. Oh, great. Altogether, there are 8 foreigners (Including the 4 of us, me, my sister and our 2 friends). One of the backpackers try to help them solve the engine problem. The engine starts again, and we’re good to go.. Thank Go…..d?
The bus runs for about 20 more minutes and we come to a complete stop in the middle of nowhere. NOWHERE. The bus driver gives up fiddling with the engine and we are now sitting by the side of the road watching cars zoom by while honking and laughing at us obnoxiously.
2 hours later…
At this point, I’m done being frustrated. It’s been 5 hours and we are stuck in the middle of nowhere – 100km away from the beach. We are apparently waiting for another bus to come pick us up. I’m guessing that means that we would have to wait umm…3 more hours on the road?
Suddenly, one of the backpackers whips out a bunch of cash and starts waving at the road. I thought, ‘good luck with that – hitch hiking is not the best idea in Cambodia.’ But a random container truck stops and he runs over to ‘negotiate.’ After a few minutes, he runs toward the bus, turns around to us and says: “He’ll take us for $7 per person in his container box. He’ll keep one of the doors open. You in?”
“ummmm….. WHY NOT?!” So all of us, 8 foreigners, grab our bags and jump into the container with Khmer people saying ‘you crazy, be careful!’ We climb into this giant container box big enough to fit 4o people. “oh, look, dead rat in the corner.”
We make sure the door is secured open and sit ourselves in the container. So the trip took us 8 hours in total as we spent 3 hours in the container. Cars behind us had a good laugh watching 8 foreigners being carried off in a container. I was so glad that we weren’t shipped overseas or anything.
Lessons from the trip:
NEVER take the Angkor Express Bus: Apparently we are not the only ones who have experienced problems with this bus. At least our bus didn’t turn over like this one.
Money solves everything (next time you hitch hike, whip out some cash)
It’s not too bad being in a container – but I probably won’t do it again.