17.04.2010 - 26.04.2010 41 °C
Given that our taxi to begin our 26 hour journey to Kuala Lumpur was at 6am...we decided that the best idea would be to go out, get on the buckets and play drinking games the night before. This resulted in some rather painful packing and an equally painful journey on the ferry off the island. Donna threw up in a bin and Laura slept on the floor of the boat. Luckily we thought the rest of the journey would be a straight forward two coaches all the way. We've clearly learnt nothing from our time travelling through Asia. We got on the first bus to find out that there were no seats for us and so instead of the driver telling us what to do, he just walked straight past us and started driving. Once again we slept on the floor. We were slightly concerned that we arrived in Surat Thani half an hour after our bus from there was supposed to leave. When we were dropped off we were thrown into a taxi with other people going to completely different places and taken to a sandwich shop in the middle of nowhere. After another half an hour, another tuk tuk turned up, to take us to another shop in the middle of nowhere. However, the woman in this shop was angry that we were late and told us that we would need at leasat 300 Malaysian Ringots each to be able to cross the border. Of course we weren't happy with this but were left with no choice as she was in charge of the transport. We were frogmarched to an ATM to withdraw the money to return and be told that we were supposed to have taken out that much each. We told her where to go and managed to lose the minumum amount we could due to her appauling exchange rate. When we eventually did reach the border our belief that everything she had told us was a lie was confirmed as noone asked to see any money. We were then put in a minibus full of Asian people and of course the obligatory loud Thai music stopping us listening to our ipods to be driven to another minibus which took us across the border. We were delighted to be in Malaysia but still 450km from Kuala Lumpur.
The minibus took us to another bus station for the night coach supoosedly the last leg of the journey. We had time to kill before this left so induldged in noodles from Noodle Station. Donna was thrilled. We were really impressed by the new coach which could not have been more comfortable so were shocked to be thrown off it at half 4am instead of 8am like we had been told. We looked around for the next bus but couldn't see anything and having asked a number of people how to get to Kuala Lumpur discovered that we were actually already in Kuala Lumpur four hours early. An Asian miracle had occured. We then got a taxi to China town to be marched by a drunk man to a guesthouse. A hideous guesthouse. We weren't pleased to learn that the door did not lock from the inside and made plans to find another guesthouse the following day.
After our 4 hour power nap, we head out to find breakfast and found a place that served massive plates of noodle soup for around a dollar. Both of us were defeated, much to Laura's disgust. We then went to the Lake Gardens where Laura was delighted to stumble across a massive playgournd. Chucking the bag and camera at Donna she ran off to play on the slides glaring at any children in her path. Merely for research purposes due to her future as a teacher, of course. We also were forced into half an hour of fun on the pedalos. Unfortunately neither of us fell in. In the lake gardens there were supposedly a bird park, butterfly park, deer park and orchid park. The only one we managed to find was the deer park. Just as Donna declared that she could have been in England given the deer and the squirrels, we turned around to see a crocodile sized lizard climbing the tree. The day wasn't wasted.
We also discovered that Malaysia tells you when you've done enough sight-seeing for the day and that it's beer o clock by raining at approximately 5pm every day.
The next couple of days were taken up by visiting the Petronas towers, lots of shopping, going up KL tower and exploring the rainforest around it. The ticket to go up KL tower included a pony ride. Laura was the only one delighted by this...until she was passed a cowboy hat and waited on the pony for the ride to get underway. She was soon informed that she could only have a picture on the pony and could not ride it as she was too heavy. Donna and Jamie (Laura's boyfriend) are still on the floor from laughing and needless to say didn't want a picture as well. Shopping was a lot of fun as we have mastered the art of bartering and are often told we are 'hard ladies'. The high point was Laura being chased down the road with the Chanel bag she wanted for 12 pounds, having been refused moments before.
When we hit the rainforest, our monkey fears were finally realised. Jamie ran over to take pictures which we hung back refusing to risk rabies just two weeks before we are due to leave Asia. Obviously this rule didn't apply to the baby monkey as far as Laura was concerned. She ran towards it with Donna screaming 'They'll be more protective of the babies!'.
She still managed to avoid being bitten G, don't worry.
The next day we were due to fly to Siem Reap disgustingly early in the morning. We managed to make it to the airport, although not all of us were fully awake yet, a point Laura illustrated by thrusting her hand into glass trying to reach the tuna sandwich resting behind it. She was confused, but only for a few moments when embarassment took over. The morning continued badly for her as when she went to dispose of her coffee cup in the bin accidentally spilling a tiny bit on the edge of the bin. Out of nowhere a cleaning man appeared, standing right in front of Laura, glaring at her in disgust for her accidental spillage. Donna helpfully moved away whilst Laura stared back at him in confusion as she had only dropped a teardrop of coffee.
We had hoped to be able to relax during the flight but were sat next to an oddly chatty Scouser who refused to answer any questions himself but bombarded Laura with questions about our trip. Once again, Donna helpfully fell asleep. We had to hand over our passports for Cambodian visas, a job which apparently requires 12 people. They pass your passports down the line, just staring at it and then the person at the end calls your name and hands it back to you. Laura and Donna were delighted when they looked at Jamie's passport photo, looked at him, and just pointed at his now bald head exclaiming 'No hair now!'.
Having found a nice guesthouse we went exploring the town, and since we'd been up since half 4, decided 10am was perfectly acceptable for beer. We were right, although it was apparently still too early for dumplings. Once again we went for a foot massage as we thought Jamie should experience the wonderful feeling. Donna's legs were pointed at by the masseuse as she declared 'White skin! Cambodians love white skin.' She has since understood what this means more fully as Jamie and Laura revealed that everywhere we have been she has been stared at and pointed at.
The next day was another early start as we wanted to see Angkor Wat at sunrise. It was a really good decision as it was beautiful and the other temples of Angkor are also amazing. Whilst in a tuk tuk going to another temple someone shouted Donna from an overtaking tuk tuk. It was someone she knew from Uni, and we luckily saw her again at the top of a death-defyingly tall and steep temple making plans to meet her later on Pub Street. We went out for cocktails at a bar that constantly serves popcorn before moving on for Cambodian barbeque and beer. Deciding we wanted more food we went to a fantastic place on Pub Street where you barbeque your own food and make your own soup to go with it. Donna took charge of the soup whilst Laura took charge of the barbeque to prove to Jamie that we are as good as qualified chefs ater our Thai Cookery course. We barbequed beef, chicken, squid, snake and crocodile. Yum. Liisa, Donna's friend from the temple appeared and we forced her into drinking games and a jug of alcohol to herself. Laura had been thrilled when she saw buckets on the menu but disappointed when it turned up in a jug. She did declare there was no alcohol in it before looking around to see everyone else gasping from its strength. The evening went downhill from there and culminated in Laura getting a burn from a motorbike exhast whilst posing for a picture with the tuk tuk driver.
The next day we went to see a floating village which was breathtaking especially when the sun set. We were slightly concerned when the boat appeared to be being driven by two children. Our fears were not abated when our boat broke down and they had to get out and push us back off the rocks. Thank goodness we're not fat Americans. We went to a really nice street restaurant for dinner after which was ruined by one of the child sellers claiming that Jamie had promised to come back to buy his postcards the day before. When Jamie explained that that was not what he had said and that he wouldn't be buying nay postcards, the boy burst into tears and spent the next 20 minutes throwing insults as Jamie going from bad to worse including Ýou're an ugly guy' (which is hilarious considering his surname is Guy), that he was a liar, not helped when Laura chimed in with 'Ýeah he does lie about a lot of things' and to 'Fuck off and get out of his country'. A thouroughly enjoyable evening, luckily the food was amazing and he finally got the hint when we started eating. His friend then came and did an impression of him to Laura before breaking into a wide grin and pretending to shake our hands.
The following day we moved onto Phnom Penh where we saw more monkeys and an elephant at the main Temple and managed to catch up with Liisa again, who coincidentally wasn't even staying in the same guesthouse as us in a very large city, but was only two doors down from Laura and Jamie in a very large guesthouse.
The next day we went to the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum, which although really interseting made for a fairly depressing day. It was really strange to us that we didn't know anything at all about it and were shocked to see the extent of what had happened so very recently. In the evening we went to a place called 'Beef Good Soup' where you make your own soup. As the only Westerners in the place we had at least two waitresses to ourselves who cooked our soup for us, letting the Asians cook for themselves. It was a lot of fun though and our waitress seemed to find us hilarious. Again, she was fascinated by Donna's freckles poking her arm and smiling. Laura was annoyed since she is now thrilled to have freckles on her nose and no one seems to be noticing them, even though there were at least three.
Our final morning dawned and we went for a truely hysterical breakfast. Laura had declared she was starving after not having much soup the night before but was slightly confused when the waitress took only Donna and Jamie's orders before looking at Laura and walking off. We caught the attention of another waiter who was shooed aside by our original waitress who burst out laughing and took Laura's order. As if this wasn't enough, Donna and Laura had both ordered exactly the same thing, a chicken sandwich. Laura's came first and she was not impressed by either the size or the filling, it was truely the most anorexic sandwich any of us had ever seen. Just as she joked that I would probably get a much bigger one, the waitress appeared with Donna's plate which was literally a double portion of two sandwiches. Laura was not impressed. Donna and Jamie were thrilled.
Once again, our experience of Asian travel has been shown not to have reached our brains, we embarked upon our 4 hour journey to Kampot. Having left at 1pm, we finally arrived at half 6. Having been sold a guesthouse with free taxi to it we got in the car with the guesthouse owner only to hear one of his friends shouting 'Ýou're going to die'. Luckily we didn't, although the Riverside guesthouse wasn't really how he sold it to us in the pictures. Nevertheless it wasn't too bad so we head out for dinner and drinks, bearing in mind that we needed to return before midnight. At about half ten we started our journey back and were slightly concerned to see the gates locked over an hour early after making our way down the completely unlit street to the guesthouse. Jamie pushed on the gates and found that they were open, but also discovered the guesthouse had three very angry dogs that began barking furiously. We retreated until we saw one of the guesthouse owners appear on the balcony attempting to calm the dogs. This was the extent of her effort and did very little as we were left to sidestep around the dogs to our rooms. We changed guesthouses this morning.