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Backpacking Cambodia: Day 06 (17-Feb-2019)
A long Journey to the coast
This day was entirely spent traveling from the west to the south. At 6:30 AM, I checked out of my hostel and went to a bus service office on the next street. They had a bus leaving to Phnom Penh at 7 AM. I had to change a bus there to head to Sihanoukville. The bus was full. there were a few travellers and many locals. But this bus service, unlike Capitol seemed a bit unprofessional. They would stop at various location and pick up people or goods. If you are ever to travel within the country, I would highly recommend choosing Capitol.
Anyways, among the passengers was a French couple with whom I conversed while buying some fruit that was really strange in both appearance and taste. We both bought it but I for sure disliked the taste. It was extremely sour.
There was an old Spanish man who was sceptical about everything. He disliked this country and told me that everyone here were money minded. "They want nothing but your money" He said. He was waiting to cross the border to Vietnam. Apparently, he has travelled many times to India. He said he liked it sometimes and sometimes not. Of all the states, he had loved being in Karnataka. He said the people there are kind and friendly. He had visited Hampi. He also told me that now the visa fee has been increased and its very expensive for him. Though I do agree on his point that people here are money minded, I would refuse to generalise that opinion. In the cities, perhaps that is mostly the case but in the villages, I have had great experiences where I was offered food and drink fo free. So I guess its all about our perspective and individual experiences.
Wherever the bus stopped, I found nothing vegetarian to eat. I had to fill my stomach with some fruits and snacks. Also in our bus was an old white man and his middle aged Cambodian wife and a toddler. This seemed like a strange couple. The man was at least in his late 60’s and the woman was in her mid 40’s and the baby perhaps an year old. It is common to find such couples in Cambodia. Many aging foreigners here seem to have a relatively younger Cambodian wife or partner.
At Phnom Penh, I got off at the station and waited for the next bus. Most of them were heading to a different location. The French couple asked me if I was going to Kampot too like them. I shook my head. The Spanish traveller was heading there as well. I boarded my next bus at around 3:30 PM. My co-passenger was a Cambodian local, a civil engineer who had some auto-cad work to be done on his laptop. Opposite to me a young couple sat cuddling each other. A young passenger had a special chair placed next to the driver and the driver played an Indian movie - Magadheera. He also played a funny Cambodian old film.
After a long and tiring journey, I reached Sihanoukville at around 9PM. I walked about a kilometre to the Golden lions roundabout. It was bit of a challenge to find my hostel - Hostel Onederz at that busy junction. If you read reviews about sihanoukville, you would only read how bad this place is - full of trash, dust and construction work. The chinese are changing the shape of this town by constructing Casinos. Everywhere, there is construction work in progress. Most backpackers use this only as a transit point to get to the islands. Very few really stay here to explore the area. The casinos are only frequented by Chinese tourists.
While I was still struggling to locate the hostel, a tuk-tuk driver having realised this common problem among travellers, pointed me towards a narrow street. Apparently, there was a sign board that is hardly visible.
The hostel though was very neat and cosy. I actually loved the place a lot. It has a nice indoor swimming pool and a sit out area around it. I freshened and then headed to a mediterranean restaurant at the circle. They made me some vegetarian pasta.
Back in the hostel, I sat in the common area and sketched till midnight to finish my work - Henri Mouhot’s Angkor.
My Route -