Day 126 – Hungry like the wolf
A very early start means that we have to head to the bus station without a chance to grab breakfast.
We say goodbye to Battambang, a place that despite its lack of any genuinely great tourist attractions, manages to be more than the sum of its parts somehow and we have genuinely enjoyed our brief stop here. It has given us a chance to see Cambodia without the throngs of tourists and the associated perversion of the local shops and cafés.
Our 7:00 bus leaves punctually at 7:32 after we were shuttled from the city centre to the actual bus station in a minibus that adopts the Cambodia car loading formula:
x = n + >1
Where x is the number of passengers and n is the number of seats vehicle possesses. Our bus only breaches the actual number of seats by 1 but we did witness 9 adults and 2 children get out of a 5 seater Toyota Camry the other day.
The bus TV shows a double dubbed and subtitled 1980s Hong Kong Martial arts film, that changed quality (2 different versions of the same film) during the elongated journey, and seemed to amuse the Cambodians at least.
Our arrival in to Phnom Penh was almost 2 hours late meaning that we had to do a mad dash to get our second bus to Ho Chi Minh City using all our remaining cash on the tickets and with no time to visit the ATM or get any lunch we were were off.
By the time we crossed the Mekong on a ferry we were pretty hungry having missed two meals but had no cash with which we could buy any of the mainly unidentifiable snacks on offer by the locals.
In the distance you can see a large road bridge over the river being constructed, which we guess like every other infrastructure improvement we have seen in Cambodia will be funded by a foreign government. It is the pattern here, roads, schools, hospitals all bare a sign to tell you which country has paid for it (China and Japan are the biggest donors).
The prevalence of the roadside signs displaying the logo and name of the Cambodian People’s Party that we have seen everywhere seems to increase to ridiculous levels the nearer we get to the border. Perhaps the government should spend less money on propaganda and more on the things that are needed to improve the country?
Eventually we stop just short of the border to allow passengers to grab some food and thankfully before I got to the point I might eat my arm there is a cash point and we can eat. Less positive news is the food that is on offer, but a Cambodian version of a Pot Noodle and Pringles is enough sustenance to get us through to our destination and the home of arguably the best Asian food in the region.