Monday, May 11, 2009

Part I - Goodbye Cambodia

Stung Treng, Cambodia - We have made it to Laos and it was definitely an adventure getting here. We left Phnom Penh at 645am on Saturday morning and hopped in a minibus to where our big bus was supposed to leave at 7am.

We were underway by 730am (not too bad) and on our way to Stung Treng which is the last major town before you hit the Lao-Cambodian border. Once again we were the only non-locals on the bus which was completely full. This was also our first bus with chickens on board. We were in our usual first row seats (the Oh Sh*t! seats) but could hear baby chicks in the back of the bus chirping off and on.

We had a 10 hour ride ahead of us and had bought some supplies (i.e. food) for the journey not knowing what kind of stops we would have along the way.

Our first stop was only two hours in and was again in the town of Skuon (aka Spiderville, see earlier post).

We made a few stops along the way picking up and dropping off people but didn't stop for an extended period until we made our lunch stop about 130pm in the town of Snuol only a few kilometers from the Cambodia/Vietnam border.

Lonely Planet describes Snuol as a dirty, dusty town that time has forgotten and I think they are being kind. We weren't about to partake in the gruel they were serving as lunch so we pulled out the cheese and crackers we had with us and Betsy went to buy a coke, only they didn't have coke, all they had was something called Winter Melon Tea. What it tasted like was maple syrup juice! Blech!

Fortified by our granola bars, cheese and crackers Betsy decided to hit the loo before the bus left. What she wasn't prepared for was her first squat toilet and the lineup to use it!

The bus started honking its horn while she was still inside, lets just say by the way she was running her ankle is feeling much better!

Four hours later we arrived in the dusty outpost of Stung Treng. We were immediately accosted by several guys who said we had to come with them to get tickets to Laos or see their guest house but we just ignored them and headed to a guest house we had researched before we got there.

After getting into our room and settling in we organized our bus tickets to Laos and headed over to a little restaurant right on the Mekong where we had a quick meal, a couple of beers and called it a night.

Up Next Part II - Welcome to Laos

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