Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
153Trip End Jan 01, 2007
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The bus took us, no problems at all, as far as a town called Snoul, where we got off for our lunch stop. After food however the Asian travel requirements began to kick in. We were told that this bus in fact didn't go as far as Sen Monorom due to the bad road, and that they had another vehicle for us to go on, us being me, an English guy and 5 Israeli's. Turning around, we saw this 'vehicle'. A red pick up truck, already loaded up to the rooftop with various bags of foods, peoples luggage, people and vehicles (two motorbikes)
The first couple of hours on the top of the pick up; though ridiculously crowded, cramped, painful and tiring, were fine. However as we got further up the roads, they began to disintegrate into boggy marsh, taking our high spirits with them. This Culminated at 7pm, when we arrived at a large hill where 5 pickups were evidently stuck fast in the ludicrous conditions and were going nowhere. It had also been raining, monsoon style, for about four hours by now, and all of us on the back of the pick up were soaked to our skins and freezing cold (lucky for us the climate in this region is soo much cooler than the rest of Cambodia!). This was to be as far as our pickup would go tonight, though we were gonna be the last ones to know this it turned out.
We were left sitting on the luggage on the back, freezing cold, soaking wet, for a good hour whilst debate raged between the drivers about what to do, naturally with nothing being explained to the barang (foreigners).We were marched up and down the hill several times, being told to wait at the top as the car would come up and meet us, when it obviously wouldn't
We had been waiting at the top of the hill for a while in the pitch black, when Steven went down to see what was going on. Two minutes later, i heard him shouting to come down, and we all followed. Upon getting to the pickup, it turned out the bastards had decided that was enough for the night, and were going to sleep in the front of the pickup. Thanks for telling us you wankers! And where do you expect us to sleep? There response to this was that we could sleep in the front of this lorry beside the pick up, which was filthy, wet, freezing cold and had tarpaulin for doors. Two seats for 4 of us to sleep on too.
Anyway, to borrow a phrase from my mother, long story short, we survived the night, the next day lorries came from town to winch the stuck pickups out, and several broken steel winch cables and numerous fuck ups later we arrived in Sen Monorom, brown from head to toe, at 12 midday, a mere 29 hours after leaving Phnom Penh. $10 well spent.
Sen Monorom is a completely different Cambodia: gone are the rice paddies and palm trees that seemingly line every road and walkway elsewhere, here the green forest and shrubbery lining the way make it more like part of the lake district than Cambodia. I spent my time here exploring the local paths and villages by foot, checking out some waterfalls on the way. I wasn't really enamored with sen monorom when i got there, i thought that it didn't have a lot going for it in the end, though the journey there made it worth the visit i suppose. I was told on my way out of town that the day i came was the second last day share taxis would ply that route, as after that the roads are deemed to dangerous and unsuitable for travel up to sen monnorom.
I left for Kratie dirty and tired, a few days after arriving.