After a rush tour around Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Thommanon, and Ta Prohm, we immediately returned to our hotel, packed some of our loose belongings, and checked out. We then waited for our contact to pick us up.
In ten minutes, a van came and brought us to the terminal of Rith Mony Transport. We paid US$15 for our tickets from a third party agent – the same person who offered us the Angkor Tour.
We left 30 mins late from our scheduled departure and I thought it wasn’t that bad. I read stories that some bus companies are delayed for hours. Travel time is supposed to be 6-7 hours only – as many travellers of the same route told (via blogs or forums).
Battling to Sleep
I was seated in a window seat, a preferred seat since I wanted to see the countryside while journeying across the territory. During the first few minutes, the AC is working well but as we moved further, it turned really sultry. Since I was stationed in the window, the sun also added the discomfort and the curtain wasn’t enough to cover me from the penetrating heat. I was thinking to change seat but the bus was full and mostly with locals.
I did not mind taking a little sleep the night before (to spend some ample night in Siem Reap) because I was thinking that I can sleep comfortably in the bus. Then, it turned out into a real nightmare.
Though I was in the most uncomfortable situation, I tried to convince myself (mentally) to sleep and forget the horrors. Unfortunately, the scorch woke me up – then I fight – but it was strong. The battle lasted for hours.
I finally got the elusive nap when the sun set.
Entangled in a Ruckus
While we were in the middle of somewhere, a commotion broke and it awakened me.
The two young ladies seated in front of me were blabbering of something, which of course, I couldn’t understand. Those seated in front of them joined the chat, and then some of those seating close them including the one beside me. They called the conductor and he joined the tense conversation. The atmosphere inside the jam-packed transport started to become perturbed.
Everybody, except me, my companions Aaron and Roderick, and few foreign nationals, took part in the bus-wide discussion. The driver then steered slower and joined the rest too.
I did not try to ask the person beside me during the early stage of the ruckus. I tried to grasp the root of the stir even though I couldn’t comprehend a single word they spattered. They were looking for something below the seats and the bags of some unlucky random guys they picked. The cause was a newly purchased iPhone 5S which was lost when the two returned from a break from the last bus stop.
Some were suggesting to inspect the passengers. Yes, I understood that because the two moved to the front (well, not the extreme front) and inspected the belonging of the guys seated on the second row. I had no idea why they picked only the guys but they stopped before they reached Aaron and Roderick who were seating in the row before me (just opposite of the ladies seated in front of me). Probably they realized that they were unlikely suspects.
By the way, Aaron was still asleep albeit the atmosphere was oddly noisy.
Someone pointed a finger to the lady who just embarked and sat on the flip-and-fold seat in the isle, between the two ladies and Aaron and Roderick’s. The lasses did not mind it.
After few kilometers, the lady got off from the bus then the left people started talking about her (I know since they kept on pointing that seat) and it raised the doubts. How unlucky, the lady can no longer prove her innocence (if she is) and will never know that she was suspected (if she really is innocent). Well, even me, I couldn’t confirm if I was suspected.
The commotion continued for hours and I really wanted to get off the bus. Ever since the driver slowed down, he did not sped up. These people still continued to went up and down (the lower portion of the bus is a baggage area), rowdy!
Then I realized, we took longer than usual. We were suppose to arrive by 7PM in Phnom Penh. It was already passed 09:00PM and I still couldn’t see a well-illuminated area, which I guessed an indication that a city is close.
Finding our Guesthouse
We arrived passed 10PM in our destination then walked to the the Spring Guesthouse, that I thought was close. Well, it took us 20 minutes to reach the guesthouse – an eerie walk in the silent and dark alleys of Phnom Pehn.
We arrived late and the guesthouse refused to honor our bookings. So we looked for another cheap options. We settled to two non-A/C twin rooms each for US$7/per night. In fact, we can’t be choosy – it was already late at night and we were in an unfamiliar place.
There was a hand of bananas displayed in the reception and Aaron asked how much each. The guy told him that it wasn’t for sale but he gave Aaron two pieces (that was the number he wanted). The next day we found out that most establishments in Phnom Penh displayed those bananas as offerings for the gods <Poor Aaron>.
Anyway, Aaron chose to stay in the guesthouse while Roderick and myself scouted for a good place to eat. We settled at Tai Tai Seafood Restaurant along Preah Monivong Boulevard.
The lost phone, by the way, was not found.