18 people, one pickup: the ride of a lifetime
Trip Start Mar 05, 2002
40Trip End Jan 2003
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We booked our trip in Thailand, and were told that we would take an air conditioned minibus to the border, then switch to a full size air conditioned bus when we got to Cambodia. They even showed us a picture of the nice, luxurious VIP bus that we would be taking. Ha! What lies! Sure, we did take an air conditioned minibus to the border, that was true. Yes, the back door of the minibus flew open and somebody's backpack fell out onto the street and the only reason the driver noticed was cause I yelled at him to stop. But otherwise that part of the trip wasn't too bad. But then we got to the border, and sat around in the heat waiting for our visas and then waiting in line to exit Thailand, then waiting in line to get stamped into Cambodia. It was ridiculously hot and miserable. Then we officially got into Cambodia and the real fun began...
We first were uncerimoniously shoved into these pickup trucks that had bench seats on the sides, and taken to a restaurant where we had to wait around. We thought we were waiting for our air conditioned bus. Boy were we wrong. Turns out we were waiting for our
pickup trucks. So picture this. Our luxurious VIP bus turns out to be a normal sized pickup truck, and they shove 18 of us and all our baggage into the truck. Then they tear off down the most terrible road ever. It was hot, miserably uncomfortable and cramped, and generally horrible.
The sun was beating down on us, and breathing and seeing was difficult, due to the dirt and dust flying at us. No matter how we arranged ourselves, we finally realized that we just weren't going to be comfortable when there were 18 of us squeezed into a pickup. After the first ten minutes, my feet and legs were so numb that I couldn't feel them. But that was a blessing, because it meant I couldn't feel the pain. But the pain in my legs was nothing compared to the pain in my butt from slamming up and down on the edge of the truck bed every time the truck went over a bump, which was approximately once per second.
Just when we thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, it got dark and the bugs were flying directly into our faces. Then our truck got stuck in a muddy crater and we all had to get out. Luckily they had it fixed after only a few minutes, and we continued onward.
Fourteen and a half hours after leaving Bangkok, we finally made it to Siam Reap, Cambodia. We were filthy, sore, bruised, and exhausted, but we were alive. My face was covered in dirt, and I literally had dirt lines on my body (kinda like tan lines) when I took off my clothes. It was incredible. I don't think I have ever been so dirty in my entire life. When I shampooed my hair, the lather turned brown! So disgusting! But I am sure one day I will look back at this and laugh.
Today we are going to rest and recover, and tomorrow we will visit the temples of Angkor.