1/4/10: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
To save time and money, we try to travel overnight when we can. Barring the one time I was sick after spending all night awake at Heathrow and that other time I was sick after our overnight train to Kuala Lumpur, traveling overnight has been just peachy. So rather than take the bus during the day from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and waste six hours, we took the night bus, which left at 8pm and would get in at 6:30am the next day. Now, maybe it’s because this overnight route is new, or maybe it’s because we only imagined the bus was supposed to get in at 6:30am instead of – oh, whenever they felt like it – but for whatever reason, we were rudely awoken at 2:15am by the announcement, “Phnom Penh!”
What? Really? It’s the middle of the night! Out of utter disbelief, Kevin and I just sat on the bus, looking blankly at each other and repeating, “Is this really it? Are we here?” to each other. At some point we must have stopped asking each other the same questions and managed to regain our senses, because we did eventually get off the bus and get our bags. We took the last tuk-tuk driver that had been waiting by the bus stop, and he took us to what must have been the one guesthouse that was open that late at night. We collapsed in our room and slept until 10am the next morning.
So, following the “no getting ushered into vehicles” rule is our newest rule “no overnight buses unless we’re absolutely SURE they’re actually overnight.” Who knew there were so many different definitions of “overnight”?
Following the not-overnight overnight bus, we spent the majority of the day just wandering around Phnom Penh. We ate dinner at Friends the Restaurant, which is run by former street kids and their teachers. It’s a really cool place with the most delicious honey garlic meatballs. Friends the Restaurant is run by the Friends program, which also has a few other restaurants in Phnom Penh. The idea is that the kids train in the Friends restaurants working in the kitchen and also as waiters and waitresses and then go on to hold jobs in hotels and restaurants in Phnom Penh, and all of the profits from the Friends restaurants go back into the Friends program to help street kids. So basically – really cool place, really great program, really good meatballs.
Lesson 1,000,542: Meatballs, they are delicious.
Picture of the Day: In our post-non-overnight-overnight bus stupor, we forgot to take pictures today. But here’s one from two days ago!