Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Arrived here around 6:00 after what had to have been the worst, albeit bumpiest car journey I have ever taken. My brain is still rattling inside my skull nearly three hours later.
Didn’t leave Bangkok until after 8:00. Don’t know what the mix-up was all about. I was a little worried that the driver would have a hard time finding JS Service Tower not to mention fighting the early morning rush hour on Sukhumvit. Turns out he was just late.
It was a straight shot to the border after getting out of Bangkok’s notorious early morning gridlock, but instead of getting there around 10:00, we were about two hours late. Getting the visa was a breeze. The driver took care of everything (even filling out the paperwork and delivering it in person to the officials at Cambodia’s Consular Office not too far from the border.
It’s a pretty lively area with this huge market right next to the border crossing. The place was swarming with tourists as well as shoppers. There was a lot of foot traffic entering and leaving Thailand/Cambodia respectively. Noticed a lot of people pulling carts loaded with down with all sorts of goods. It was very dusty and every time someone passed pulling one of these carts they kicked up more dust.
It was also quite easy crossing the border. After immigration formalities on the Thailand side you had to walk about a 100 meters to Cambodia’s immigration office and then you were in Poi Pet which is nothing more than a dusty, dirty border town. Had to wait for a free tourist shuttle bus which takes you just a few kilometers inside the town to the bus station, where, in my case there was a car waiting for me to take me to Siem Reap 160 kilometers away.
Now, when the roads are good it normally takes about 3-4 hours to get from Poi Pet to Siem Reap. However, from the time we left Poi Pet to we reached the outskirts of Siem Reap it was one pothole after another and in some places the potholes were so deep that the car nearly bottomed out. (I am never going to complain about potholes in Illinois again, especially in Chicago. You know what they say about the seasons in Chicago and other surrounding communities, right? There are five seasons: winter, spring, summer, autumn and pothole.)
Well, the potholes I felt today really rattled my brain and every other part of my body. They were pretty nasty. According to my guide, a lot of big trucks use this main road to Siem Reap and have been wreaking havoc on the pavement. All the rain that hit the region last week made it worse when these big trucks made these potholes even worse in some spots digging these huge ruts.
So, there I was bouncing up and down on my way to Siem Reap for nearly six hours. Beautiful country, the deep green of rice stalks waving gently in the wind juxtaposed with a deep blue sky.