Erica are you sure we can afford this?

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Hotel 89

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, July 2, 2010

Waking at 03:50 Erica was going nuts, the room had been too hot, she had been bitten by "I don't know what", this was quickly followed up by “I am never staying in the kind of place you want to stay in again tomorrow we are staying at the place Rorie and Emer recommend in Siem Reap”. The thing Erica is not understanding is that backpacking on a budget means staying in budget accommodation, some will be great some will be ... well shit I suppose. I do agree it was shit but it was almost half the price of anywhere else we could find. You had to climb up a wooden staircase into the loft to get to our room. Oddly they put a strip light on the upper architrave of the door frame to ensure maximum bug activity as soon as you open your door. I still think that with the money we have spent speed tripping on flights and things we need to try and save somewhere. We are so far over budget that we are now looking at working in Australia.

We went out to find a tuk tuk driver we agreed a price with yesterday and apart from a few hookahs there was no-one to be seen. The woman from the hotel offered us a rip off 50k to drive us herself and in the end we took it (that was only after Erica kept telling her how many times she was bitten).

We got dropped at the airport at 04:20 for our 06:30 flight and the airport was shut. After about 30 minutes someone else turned up and at about 05:30 the airport opened. Check in opened about 35 minutes before flying despite the usual advice to arrive at least 2 hours before flying. As Stevie J’s comments Laos Airlines is 'rumoured’ to be very unsafe and we read on other websites that the British and American embassies advise against flying with them. The other rumour raise by Steve is that they have destroyed all records or they refuse to make them public any information about deaths or crashes so nobody knows how many people they have killed. To be fair though they were a lot cheaper than anyone else so stuff it.

One of the most bizarre things we have seen on any flight and certainly a way to evade the excess luggage or any premium charges is to dress up as a monk. This guy arrived in a 4x4 and got out a huge gold thing about 2 or 3 metres in length, instead of the old sleazy jet "right thats another 60 quid, they unloaded it carried it for him and instead of checking it in carried it straight out to the plane to be stored in a safe area. I think when we sent back the suitcase of opium to Erica's Mum and Dad I should have dressed up as a monk and stuffed it in a lizzy duke jewellery case. (Steve, that is argos's own brand of jewellery). I hope Erica's parents haven't got banged up!!

One week after vowing never to fly on a propeller plane again we were airborn. We briefly landed at Pakse in the south of Laos and a long line of people were there to greet one of the guys on the plane. There were flowers, lots of handshakes and introductions before a motorcade pulled up with a police escort and quickly shot off. We were soon airborne again and by about one hour later we landed in Siem Reap.

Now being overly competitive has its upsides and downsides. Today even I was ashamed. You see Rorie and Emer recommended this hotel as being fantastic (V) value for money. I thought they had said they found an option to book it online for $16 and the owner had agreed to reduce the $25 price to $16 provided they stayed a certain number of nights. As usual I was wrong with this recollection they found the room online for $18 turned up and did a bit of a deal to get to $16. I therefore in my eager need to pay less only booked a single room (and don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a mistake it clearly said room big enough for 1 adult or 1 adult and 1 child, come on I have the mind of a child and Erica is the same size as one). We were met for a free airport pickup by a lovely man on a whole new type of tuk tuk. This was a motorbike with a carriage attached to the back that you sit in. This thing has full suspension, Erica looked like a princess in this thing and I felt like a Queen, erm, erm, ermmmm.

We got dropped off at the hotel and the people were so friendly and welcoming. The owner arrived and confirmed that unfortunately they thought I had booked a single room, the double rooms were $25. I am now ashamed to have suggested that unless we got $15 we may have to go somewhere else but we would stay for 4 days (This price included breako for two though as well). The man eventually agreed and someone then carried our bags upstairs to an airconditioned room with an ensuite, and the towels folded into interesting shapes on the bed. I felt even worse.

Erica had a sleep for a few hours (Erica edit:  Safe in the knowledge that I wasn't going to be an all you can eat buffet again for whatever it was that feasted on me last night) and then we headed into town. The central part of Siem Reap is very touristy but very likeable. A major influencing factor is the price of booze. A pint is $0.5 or about 30p and our bar did frozen margeritas for 60p so we smashed a few of those in as well as a few pints.

We watched a few people getting a fish massage, yes that is a fish massage and also visited the night markets as well.

We booked with the hotel to get us a driver to start doing the Angkor temples tomorrow before heading back into town for a bite to eat and a few more swigs. I was as usual knackered having been up since 3:45 and not having any more sleep so I was asleep by 22:30 and missed Andy Murray get knocked out of Wimbledon (although it was on in our hotel).
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