So we moved on from our paradise island. We were in serious trouble as we were turning into a family of lotus eaters – pleasant as that can be. I mean a beach hut on a tropical island. What could drive us on?
We were all looking forward to visiting our friends. (Maybe the younger members of the family had more mercenary motives.) Just the border to cross.
I had read the lit., so thought I would be prepared for the scams and blatant corruption evident. They are just so in your face. The medical certificate that you HAVE TO HAVE (not) is right by the real customs house. I had a torch shone in my mouth before I realised that I was about to be scammed. I walked away pleased to have avoided the first obstacle. It was sweltering, sitting amongst the palms were various groups of travellers, maybe just relaxing.
I presented the passport along with the $80 visa fee, I had done my reading. I was met with a blank stare. “More money!” the official demanded. No sly slips of note inside the passport. I retreated. Angela informed me that the wait time was past two hours. Hmmm. I entered the fray again and asked if I could pay for the express service. We talked around for a bit and settled on a mixture of Baht and $. Now I don’t know if I paid over the odds ($25) but we were through in 15 minutes. I am sure I will have to pay for my sins later but somehow it seemed worth it. I guess if I had been waiting 2 hours I would not have been very happy.
We avoided the ATM scam the taxi driver wanted us to use. According to him all other ATMs would be shut since the king had just died. Strangely that did not seem to be true when we got to our hotel. It must have been a translation thing, what is quite hard is the use of dollars. Angela was given money in dollars at the ATM. They are accepted everywhere, with change given back in either dollars or reil, often a mixture of the two. Pleased I have a calculator.
On to Phnom Penh.
And now at the opposite end of the country we leave for Vietnam. Out of the beaches and into the swirl and busy busy of Siagon. We have had mixed reports about what it is like. We’re hoping for super dooper…..