25/10 Monday We’d chosen the 2pm bus for a reason – so that we’d have time to pack up three weeks of life in Mui Ne. Of course everything took longer than we expected, especially at lunch – they brought me the wrong meal, then didn’t have change – but we managed to walk out of the guest house right on time.The bus was waiting for us when we arrived at 1.47 and left three minutes later, and we had a smooth run back to Ho Chi Minh City – except for the 30-minute rest break we had after an hour on the road. But we got back in one piece, and had sushi before heading back to Terrina and Matt’s place – it was great to see them again, and to chat about their recent trip to Cambodia.
26/10 Tuesday Well, the food today was great – pho for lunch and delicious tacos courtesy of Terrina for dinner. The rest of the day wasn’t quite so good – we trekked around the city trying to find someone to fix my computer and Craig’s iPod, but to no avail. Then we headed in the wrong direction while trying to get to the bus stop, and ended up walking around in the heat for about an hour longer than we expected to. Fun. Stumbling into the Holland Village was nice, at least.27/10 Wednesday After yesterday, we decided just to stay at home, with just a quick jaunt to the supermarket (with a stop at an espresso bar) to break the day up. We got a lot of work done and enjoyed hanging out with Terrina and Matt and the kids in the evening.
28/10 Thursday Another travel day. The trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh was nice and smooth, we chatted with a bunch of other travelers and ate lunch with an English couple after a really easy border crossing.
When we arrived in Phnom Penh, we caught a tuktuk to the riverside and had a beer or two while we waited for 7pm to roll around, when we could call our couchsurfing hosts – or we could have if our phone worked! I went on a mission and convinced a hotel receptionist to let me use his phone, and after some interesting negotiating with tuktuk drivers, we made it to Ruta and Tadas’s place. We really enjoyed chatting with them about the problems of the world before turning in.
29/10 Friday We slept in a little then Tadas and I headed to the markets while Ruta and Craig worked. Later we headed out with their flatmate for lunch at their favorite restaurant, which was an adventure in itself – they have one spare bike, not enough for all of us, so Craig took a motorcycle taxi while I braved the congested streets of the city – it was fun and I didn’t die!
Ruta, Craig and I wifi-hunted in the afternoon while Tadas went to an Internet cafe, and we all met up later on to watch some documentaries at the Metahouse (German cultural centre).
30/10 Saturday Another great day. Craig and I slept in a little, then tuktukked into the city where we visited the S21 genocide museum, which was an extremely sobering place. After lunch we visited the audiovisual centre, which houses archives of videos from as far back as 1899 – it was really interesting to see footage as old as that.
The final of the Bledisloe Cup was on in the afternoon, we couldn’t find anywhere to watch it live, but caught the delayed coverage in a pub with about 100 other Kiwis and Aussies. It was an excellent game, even if we lost.
After dinner at the night markets, we headed back for a couple of beers and a chat with Tadas and Ruta before turning in.
31/10 Sunday Our first stop of the day was the bus station, where we bought tickets to Battambang – only 20,000 each, what a steal! We wandered around the Central Market, where we bought Craig a cheap cheap cheap MP3 player to help him survive the bus trip tomorrow, then visited Wat Phnom, on the hill that gives Phnom Penh its name. It was Granny’s for lunch again, then we failed to get Internet access before visiting the Royal Palace in the afternoon. Now, we’re ensconced in the same cafe we found flat whites in yesterday, trying to get some work done before it gets dark.