a community serious about adventuring
From Laos we’d move south into Cambodia. Crossing over the border we’d make it through the clearance check involving passport pictures, money and a quick health check. A department store scanning gun pointed up to our heads and we’d be ushered along…was the reading good or bad? I think it flashed 38 for the whole lot of us when we looked. We shrugged off any possible yellow fever or japanese encephalitis and then began messing with the guy administering the scans trying to give him a read of his own temperature. Ahh, of course, 38… off to Cambodia.
Our bus would arrive late, yet again. This time in the middle of Siem Reap, but the same old south-east asian scam was alive and well. It was about one in morning when our clunky bus pulled into a junk yard and the gates closed and locked behind us. The lot was filled with dirt, mangled car parts and dozens of touting tuk-tuk drivers trying to give us a ride. We sauntered off our bus to find our bags lying in the dirt and almost in the clutches of a driver. Geared up, we’d try to make our way to the closed gate but were shooed away by one of the bus men. We’d have to pay three dollars (US) to take one of these tuk-tuks, even though the drivers on the other side of the gate were offering rides for a dollar. Annoyed and bothered by the constant rip offs, Caddie (Brandon from Luang Prabang slow boat ride), Mr. and Mrs. Adventure would load up with a driver. A bit overloaded, but that word doesn’t translate well in South East Asia (I’ll use the Laos buses as an example). Off to the allocated guesthouse that we’d be stuck with since arriving so late, but it was the bus driver’s family guesthouse of course so we’d get a good price.
Riding along the dusty back roads of Siem Reap, my bag tumbled off the tuk-tuk and got dragged for something like 10 feet. I couldn’t look, but knew by the mustard gas fumes coming from the bag it was toast. Mr. Adventure made it out from the dust with the lifeless MEC bag in hand. What had been my home for the last eight months had just been beaten and broken to smithereens. The straps had been shredded and torn off and there were a couple of gaping rips along the side. Exhausted and mentally drained we’d had little energy to show our displeasure with the driver who tried to be as apologetic in the worst English possible. The tip of the patience iceberg had been reached and we’d sling the bag down and head to the guesthouse we hadn’t even seen or signed up for.
We’d arrive at the guesthouse, as had the rest of the bus’ occupants. We’d check in and agree to meet up in the morning and try to find a cheaper and better located guesthouse. Checking out the battle wounds and fix-ability of the bag once in the room, we’d call it a night in frustration. The next morning I’d find the bag looking livelier and all mended. The straps had been sewn back together using dental floss, but the gauges in the side were still agape. Mr. Adventure had woken up at the crack of dawn, broken out the medical kit and began the surgery.
On the mend, we’d head to check out and make a move on finding new lodgings. We would never have thought things would take another serious turn for the worse…