While I was sad to leave my idea of tropical paradise on that little Cambodian island, I think Jeff was glad. He was still feeling a little ill from the jellyfish sting, and hanging out in salt water and sand really isn’t his jam. Late one afternoon we took the Dive Shop boat back to Sihanoukville. It was an extremely rough 3 hours back to the mainland (hello Dramamine), but the sunset was gorgeous and we got to see some cool looking boats. We were curious about the navy ships we saw off the coast and took note of the hull numbers to look up later, they looked too big and nice to be Cambodian navy ships, but we couldn’t see any flags. Turns out they were US Navy ships!
We have been traveling in Asia long enough to be sick of rice and noodles with every meal. (Literally EVERY meal- noodle soup is popular for breakfast.) The entire week we were on the island I had been dreaming about the hamburgers they served at the hostel we were staying at in Sihanoukville, as we saw some people order them when we stayed there before going out to the island. They did not disappoint once we were back in town!
The next morning, we boarded a bus back to Phnom Penh. We split up our trip to Siem Reap (Ankgor Wat) because we wanted to split up the long bus rides, as we have done enough all day rides on this trip. After what was supposed to be a short 4 hour bus (thank you to the 2 older English ladies who had us stop 2 extra times to pee), we made it back to Phnom Penh in 6 hours. I talked Jeff into early dinner and ice cream!
The entertainment that accompanied our ice cream was fabulous:
Group exercise was happening in the park!
Early the next day we got on a bus to Siem Reap. This was (fingers crossed) our last long bus ride for awhile. We made it from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in just under 6 hours thanks to the maniac driver after the lunch stop. Note: Cambodian rest stops are soooooo much nicer than Vietnamese rest stops- in case you were keeping track, and they are also much nicer than those in Africa and India. Jeff even ordered lunch at one stop! Basically the nicest we have seen, even better than some we’ve been to in the USA (everybody knows that nasty gas station you only stopped at because you had too).
What does a couple have to talk about if they spend every waking moment together? Well, most of the time I ask Jeff weird questions to keep the conversation going. The other day I asked. ‘Do you think that because we have been traveling for so long that each place we go isn’t as exciting as it would be if we had just gone there for a week-long vacation?’
Our answer: Yes.
Why? Well, we have been trying to spend longer in certain places in order to save money, and reduce burn out. If we moved quickly and tried to see all of the tourist highlights in each country we have visited we would be broke and exhausted. Staying in a town for at least a week is perfect for us because we have time to explore, relax and plenty of time to plan the logistics for our next stops. I realize we haven’t talked much about our travel planning on this blog because, it’s well…boring. My brother Phil asked us what we were going to do for the 8 days we stayed in Thailand after he left. He was kind of shocked and thought we were crazy when we told him we weren’t going to do anything for that week. No motobiking, no seeing more waterfalls, no temples, no other touristy sights. Granted we did still explore town a little, but mostly we took the time to figure out what we were doing a few months out. In those 9 days, we planned and made reservations for a 14-day trip to Japan, a 3-week trip to Australia and a 2-week trip to New Zealand (well, at least some of the Australia and New Zealand stuff got done…). So while we didn’t do everything most tourists would have done in Thailand (or Singapore, or Dubai, or Tanzania…..the list goes on), we feel like we got enough out of our time there.
We are doing the exact same thing in Siem Reap- home of Angkor Wat. We have 9 nights here. We will not be exploring ancient temples the whole time, instead we opted for a 3 day pass to the temples. We will get a chance to experience local flavor, see a few of the other sights around town (like the circus!) and have a time to catch up on travel planning (and blog writing like I’m doing now!).
More sights from around Phnom Penh: