The story feels quite stale by now, but worth telling for my own rememberance:
After a quick meeting with the boss in Cambodia I left that place right quick. The night bus picked me up at 7 and farted onto the main highway around 9. We put-putted up hills and screeched around corners, the entire bus smashed with larger-than-cambodian sized european travelers. Nobody fit into one bed, and each bed is meant for two tickets. I squished into the far back seat with a vietnamese guy who had no personal bubble qualms. He laid his feet on my legs and drapped in arm into the next seat. Okay, no problem. I snoozed.
Of course each bus ride over one hour has a bathroom/refreshment break. I’ve done this bus ride so many times I know all the stations to stop, and thisptime was no different. We sleepily pulled into the rest area, the flourescent lights flicked on, and we all stumbled out. I grabbed my wallet as precaution (I didn’t want to purchase anything at midnight) and went outside to do some stretching and wandering. I noticed somebody opening the back of the bus, and watched as all the cambodians around me giggled. The guy disapeared into the depths of the bus – engine repairs? – then climbed back out and went into the resturant, nonchaulant. Only when I returnted to my seat did I notice my iPhone and bra were missing from my otherwise undisturbed backpack. Hm. There was no engine in the back of the bus – only my seat. Silly me. I won’t make that mistake again.
Not in the mood for sleeping after that, I spoke with the Veitnamese guy next to me. He is a talker! I asked him about Cambodia. He said (paraphrasing) it is dirty and the people are lazy. Hm. I asked him about the unrest in Thailand (there were two bombings the day before, and multiple unreported shootings) and he said he doesn’t care. Good for them? I pressed the subject. Don’t know, he said, don’t care. That’s Thailand.
The bus dumped us at some crazy cross street in Phnom Pehn around 2 am. I sat with a Nepoletian guy for the transfer. We sat on our bags for two hours, getting up to ask “is this bus to bangkok?” each time a bus puffed into the “station”. Finally, as one was just about to leave, I got the affirmitave. Quick – we threw our bags into the hold, took off our shoes, and hopped on. I scooted into bed next to a small Cambodian lady and …the Nepoletian guy well, he slept in the aisle with four others. Overbooked.
This second bus deposited us at the Thai border. A representitive from the next bus company met us, gave us numbered and color-coded lanyards, waited for us through customs, and then directed us to waiting mini-buses. I changed some money, slurpped down a breakfast-lunch coconut popsicle, and followed the Nepoliantan guy onto the minibus. Silly us, there are assigned seats! by height! I sat in the back, quite comfortably, while the taller guys sat with plenty of room in the front. This is Thailand!
The minibus crew got along famously. We all spoke english, mostly were from the US, and had little things in common with everybody. A few near-death experiances clinched our friendship; by the end of the ride I had hooked up one with an ex-friend and convinced another to go to OSU rather than Minnesota for grad school. We decided to get a hostel together and spend the night on the town. Since the night was everybody but mines last night of their travels, we made a bucket list of “things one must do in Bangkok” and gradually ticked items off: get a shitty tank-top from Kao San Road, a vulgar bracelet, and … and… go to a ping pong show. This, we are told, is a must-do (google it if you don’t know). Let this be a tale to warn against.
There is no reason to go to such a show. It’s an entirely vulgar, degrading, and disgusting event right from the puh-puh sound all the tuk-tuk drivers make at the tourists to advertize the event to the swindle at the door to the horrifyingly awkward show as the finalle. Ladies taking things from their vaginas and danging totally deadpan to thumping western music, not-drunk-enough western people unsure of how to make the experiance enjoyable, leaving halfway through and getting gangster-glared at for leaving. We did stay for the full-on, sorrounded by mirrors, eyes-closed sex. Needless to stay neither party seemed like they were enjoying themselves, including the onlookers. I bolted, follwed by the others. Horrified, we discussed what we had just seen on the way out, and accidently told others we met from the hostel not to go within earshot of the doorman. That took care of our tuktuk ride – the doorman shouted something to him and he tore off. Word spread instantly that we told 5 people not to go. Glares, shouts, threats, and spitting on the ground followed us to the road. We tired to flag down a taxi, having absoultly no idea where we were, but the angry doormen told each taxi that stoped what we had done. Most sped away. Finally two tuktuks stopped. 5 of us crowded into each which usually comfortly seats maximum three and got out of there at a rediculous, 2am in Bangkok, running away from ping-pong show gone wrong price.
I was very happy to get on the next train to Koh Pha Ngan.