Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 12: Back to Siem Reap

Leaving Phnom Penh

Our morning started with breakfast at the Pavilion. Uncle was waiting for us when we emerged with our bags in tow. He had been so patient and accommodating that we thought it fitting to give our business to him on our last journey.

The journey to the bus station though turned out a little more harrowing than expected. One moment we were trundling merrily along Sisowath Quay, the next moment traffic came to a halt and a figure of authority in uniform waved us into a side road, along with other vehicles. There was obviously some kind of public event up ahead. What would happen to our bus ride?

I called the bus company on my mobile phone and got Uncle to speak to the staff. He eventually explained that the bus to Phnom Penh would depart from another location nearby and that, under the circumstances, the bus company would wait for latecomers. Despite the reassurance, I had my reservations. The smaller side roads were jam packed with all manner of vehicles trying to escape the road block.

through the streets of Phnom Penh

glitz amidst the muck - Phnom Penh in a nutshell

two's company, three's a...

Finally, we pulled into a carpark of sorts where the Mekong Express bus was waiting. As it turned out, we weren't the last to arrive which was a relief.

Uncle and his chariot

We transferred our luggage into the underbelly of the bus, said our goodbyes to Uncle (and greased his palm of course), and still had time to twiddle our thumbs and take in the view, such as it was.

reading the papers

We finally got underway, 45 minutes late.

our lunchbox

inside our lunchboxes

the host with the most

The journey was a comfortable, uneventful one, punctuated only by a meal or two.

Arunras Restaurant in Kompong Thom

the lunch crowd

We stopped at THE restaurant in Kompong Thom, the pitstop de rigeur on Highway 6, and had us a bowl of pork noodle soup each.

pork noodle soup

with condiments

Some of our fellow passengers though had other ideas. They went next door to the local provision shop and bought themselves local treats instead.

buggy smackeroo

Siem Reap and The FCC Angkor

By the time our bus drew into the Siem Reap bus park, we were at least an hour late. We had a free pick up by our hotel of choice, FCC Angkor, and the friendly member of staff was beside herself, waiting for the bus to appear. We were whisked off to the hotel, courtesy of the hotel van, and one welcome drink later, safely ensconced in the Tamarind Room.

ooh, comfortable bed

royalty on our walls

writing desk

the toilet

spot our welcome drink

oh that bathtub

yummy toiletries


pretty lor

even the laundry bag was cute

DIY name cards

FCC Angkor came highly recommended by an architect friend and we could see exactly why she liked it. It was designed. Take the bathroom for example. A twist of the handle and water gushed down the black wall in a waterfall, right into the tub. Neat.

Dinner at Khmer Kitchen

Dinnertime found us back at an old favourite.

lemongrass tea, hot and cold

pork larb, if I recall correctly

yet another baked pumpkin

vegetable amok

After dinner, we did a spot of shopping before stopping by the Blue Pumpkin for some masala chai and coconut sorbet and ginger nougatine.

traces of Angelina

cashing in on the postcolonial experience?

a Tony Bourdain-inspired scene?

not enough tourists perhaps

goodysaurus, what a name

Our evening ended in style, with a dip in FCC Angkor's super stylish pool.

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