Happy St Patricks Day.
Who would have thought today would have panned out the way it did. First of all we got the girls to have a swim and then into school work for the morning. We then walked around to a place recommended to us for lunch. While you wait for your lunch you can have your feet massaged by the fish in the pond. All part of the lunch service. I don’t know about massage the fish actually eat the dead skin off your feet. It is ticklish at the start but if you can tough it out your feet get a good clean and feel really smooth. Lunch was then served and it was delicious.
We then went to the Post Office to see if we could pick up our mail sent to us. This was a mission, the post office staff had no idea and we then had to rifle through the piles of uncollected mail, we had no luck and then read through the registered post list still no luck and resigned to the fact we would not get this mail. Left the post office a little frustrated and went to the Central markets for a look around and retail therapy for the girls.
We then returned to the ally way off Pub St for a drink. Found this cool little bar with 50cent beers. Went in and the staff handed me the remote for the TV, I was able to find the Roosters V Rabbitohs game about 5 minutes in. So with that we were able to sit in an awesome little bar in the lane way off Pub St, people watching, a good game of footy on TV with 50 cent beers. Does it get any better than that? Yes it does, the kids got the remote for the other TV and then the boss brings out fresh popcorn for us all to have. They were so salty, I think it was a ploy to have us drink more. Stayed for the entire game and then I returned to get our washing and take the shopping back. Returned to the restaurant where Summer and Autumn had reserved our spot. It was getting crowded at dinner so we ordered and the food was spot on. A few more 50 cent beers. Paid and went for a walk around the night markets and then on to Pub St where there was a street party for St Patricks day.
It was really cool, people out dancing in the street, live band and green beer. Had a really nice vibe so we stayed for a few green beers and joined the crowd for a dance. We all had a ball really enjoyed the band and had a great night. Returned to the room approx 2130.
Dodgy Border Crossing.
Today we had another land border crossing Cambodia to Thailand. So we were up early packed and ready for the bus by 0930. We arranged for the smaller 15 seater bus again as it is supposed to be quicker at 6 hours as apposed to 7 for the big bus.
We were the last picked up and the bus was already at capacity without us and our luggage. The bus driver managed to fit all our luggage in however had to leave the guide behind and I got his front seat. The bus was not the flash Hiace in the photo, it was a run down old Hyundai, but the driver was in a hurry so he hammered it to the border.
Along the way witnessed again many of the unique Cambodian transportation methods and was able to get some good photos. Got to the truck stop before the border for the driver to have a break. Found it a little weird that we stopped handed in our tickets and then got some little stickers to denote our destination and then got the stubb of our ticket back. We then had some lunch as the driver said it would be 1 hour at the crossing. After lunch he then took us to the border 5 minutes up the road and then left us and said you walk through there. I guess that is why he usually has the guide as he had very little personality.
Got all our luggage together walked through the Cambodian border approx. 1300 done the passport check then we walked to the Popeit border and through some sort of no man land with a Casino in it then to the Thai border crossing. This was ridiculous the queue was long. All the tourists lined back with suitcases, backpacks and bags. It was an absolute dog’s breakfast and the worst land crossing we have done by far. Waited in the line and it was roughly 1 hour just the line and then we were through. Had to walk to the next bus stop where the guy would grab all the people with a white sticker on their shirt. We actually caught up to the group who were 1 whole row in front of us at the border crossing.
Then the dodgy tour guy asked for the stub of the ticket. The problem was only the top of the 4 tickets was a real stub and the 3 underneath were the bottom of the ticket. They tried to tell us that we only had one valid ticket and approached Summer who wanted nothing of it and told them we are a family of four and there is four tickets. This guy then went to the senior guy and he came to me saying we did not have four valid tickets and I explained that ‘your guy on the other side ripped off the wrong thing and that’s not our fault’. They were looking to sting us for more money or leave us behind, fired up a little and we both refused to talk about it with them any longer and said that we had our white stickers on our shirts and so would be catching the next bus with everyone else.
I think it was a premeditated attempt from the Cambodian side of the border and if we went in soft they would have taken full advantage of us. Bizarrely we still had to wait for the bus on the Thai side to pick us up and would have been approx. 15-20 minutes.
The bus went 5 minutes up the road and then stopped at their local café for dinner stopped here for 20 minutes much to everyone’s disgust and then left approx. 1600 for Bangkok. The road was really good and the driver nailed it all the way to Bangkok. He was actually really quick and we were in at 1945. So our 6 hour minivan journey actually took nearly 10 hours and we were almost stung for more money.
On arrival, we asked to borrow a map of a fellow bus traveller, we took photos of it and then walked our way back past Khao San Road to Rambuttri and to our Hotel. It was really good actually only 10 minute walk and checked in to this awesome hotel back away from the street approx 2000.
Ventured down for some dinner around the corner and the place was abuzz with atmosphere. Just stopped at the local for dinner and it was then that we realized how cheap we had been living. Tall Chang $120 Baht and Pad Thai starting at $110. Roughly $4-$5 Aust a dish. Lashed out and spent about $40 Aust on dinner the most expensive meal we have had for a few months. Then just walked up and down Rambuttri soaked up the atmosphere and then returned to the room for a well deserved rest.