So right now we are in the middle of low season on Koh Samui, which even now is covered with Brits with all the usual cliches. This means cheap drinks and loads of boom boom music. I dont think I would survive high season. The plane here was also full of Swiss, ok maybe a fourth, but its so weird hearing your own language after all this time. We met only a few Swiss, including the sweet couple who went to the same Gymi as H. and recognized him in the restaurant. As always Switzerland is so damn small :)
So we are here for three days of beach. Probably there are more beautiful spots, but it had to be a place with an airport, so we can get to Bangkok easily and quickly. We are flying out to Bangkok tomorrow morning at 6. Yep you heard me, we have to get up at around 4h30 and it was even my idea, an idea I am now kind of regrettting. Probably we'll just get a hotel and sleep away the afternoon. Both of us are sort of tired and not really into sightseeing anymore. But I think we'll go check out the DVD market. :) Anyways we are only here to chill after the cultural highlight that was Angkor! Beaut temples, really. We rented bikes and pedalled from one to the other, which meant being totally hot and sweaty all the time but was worth every minute of it, as this way we were independent to do what we please. Luckily it rained late in the afternoon providing a highly welcomed cold shower. I loved riding through the rain made me feel like a kid again. However the locals were highly amused! I thoroughly enjoyed Cambodia and even got to see my river dolphins.
As mentioned the trip in was somewhat harrowing. We left Saigion after waiting over an hour for the bus. There were three different groups on the bus and it took awhile until the guides sorted us out and told us something useful. Up until lunch it was actually quite nice, cruising through the Mekong was superb, unfortunately it didnt last long and we were bundled into a teeny minibus and given a new guide. This was not according to plan as we were supposed to go by boat to Chau Doc, the border town. It was already cramped and we were told we would pick up at least five more people. After 2 or 3hrs trip we received yet another guide and five more people. At this point I lost it and asked to please tell us what exactly we were doing. Finally we got some answers. Only imagine our surprise when we were told, that we would now finally go on the boat to Chau Doc for another two and half hours, as this was part of tour and what we had been promised (sunset at Chau Doc). Only at this point it was already shortly after 5 in the afternoon (the time we were supposed to arrive at the hotel). While we considered a short mutiny, we all went on the boat and floated up the Mekong in the complete dark to arrive in Chau Doc somewhere around 9 in the evening. Had we gone on by bus, it would have only been an hours more ride. The bus was not there to wait for us as planned, so we had to walk. The guide promised us that it would only be about 10 minutes. After 40 minutes of walking and listening to him talk about how it was just like in the miltary. At some point he picked up the bad mood prevailing and apologized, Vietnamese style: I am very sorry, but it is not my fault, I only work for the company etc.... small cog in the wheel. This didnt really help any. I was surprised that the Americans didnt rebell, seeing as guides usually fall over themselves to give a refund. We finally arrived at the hotel and immediately went to bed as we had to be up again at 6. That was day one.
Day two arrived with a lot of rain. Back on some points to be taken to a touristy shopping area and then back on a big boat. Another two hours or so to the border. So far okay. The border crossing went without a hitch, thanks to about 2 dollars extra per person (wonder where that went :)), unless being completely overwhelmed by kiddies is counted as one. Then we were herded onto a small boat, where we could all just about sit for a short trip to the Cambodian post. What we were not told however was that this was the boat to Phnom Penh. So for another 3 and half hours we were cooped up there. Cooped up is the right term. The boat had bars it was rather like being an animal in a cage :) We had one short stop where all the villagers came to look at us. After while major backache. Finally we arrived and then got on a bus again to drive to the city itself. The bus ride was ok, but again we were not told how long it would be and where we would arrive. We finally got to town at about 7 (scheduled 4).
In retrospective it was not that bad, we met some nice people who we had fun with. But travelling local would have been a lot less annoying and probably cheaper. Some of the tours had been a great success (Halong Bay, My Son), but this was not one of them. So at that point it was NO MORE TOURS!!!
Right time to go eat. This has been one of the high points of this trip, the food is always delicious. Yum Yum. We should be totally fat :) So looking forward to seeing you all in Zurich!