Tuesday, December 18, 2012

To Cambodia and back

..in 15 hours. Thats what we did.

As mentioned earlier, we have dumbly forgotten that one can enter the Kingdom and stay not more than 30 days for each visit. Our tickets back to msia are 40 plus days from date of arrival. Too much enthusiasm, i suppose, for our yearly trip to our second home.

And so we asked around for the nearest border for a quick exit and Aranthaprathet is the answer. Supposed to be a three hours drive, but i think we arrived after four hours or so.

As what i have expected, the sight of Cambodia is a sad one. Not exactly a place to bring your kids along unless they are much older (like Gooly's age). In the extreme heat, we had to endure the smelly ditch and the sight of poor kids begging on the street.

Lolly was asleep in the car all the way, which made the journey bearable. Otherwise she will doing sommersaults and drive us crazy with her antics. We were warned (thank goodness for google) of scams, and were told the process of entering and exiting the border to be a hassle-less one. And true enough, upon arrival we were approached by so many locals who offer to do visa and tax which were not necessary at all.

I put Lolly in the sarong, and she dutifully let me carry her throughout the walk from thailand to Cambodia (make it sound like its a high-risk adventour, but it is just crossing the friendship bridge - less than 5 minutes walk?) Meanwhile, gooly was warned to stay real close with us. Well of course..the place is famous for drug smuggling activities. The scene of dusty roads with sweaty men pulling carts was exactly what we saw in the opening scene of a 007 movie. I felt like a secret agent already with my first step across the border.

For formality's sake, we went to the casino after much insistence from papah. Kids could go in as well. It was like walking into the supermarket! And lolly banged on the buttons of the Slut, I mean Slot machines. No money came out, much to our chagrin. We had buffet at the casino cum hotel - 169baht each pax. No complaints..but not impressed either.

After contributing to the economy of Cambodia with 1000 bahts at the casino, we headed out to the border again. The queue was effing snakey long. Guess many of them were doing visa run like us. Koreans, russians, chinese..all sort of nationalities. Some were there for the casinos though. And that was when lolly was sleepy and thirsty and tired and hot. Oh - uh..not good not good. Plus a Korean boy was teaching her all sorts of pole climbing stunts (or she was instructing him to do?). So we paid 200bahts to cut queue. Another contribution.

But there was another long queue in the small buiding. Darn. We took a shufti and wondered who we can pay but the officers were all stern looking. Sked...... So i made lolly cry and stood very near to an unattended "Visitors with children" counter. But still no one cared. Finally papah had to approach an officer and explained our predicament (a crying baby is no joke ok!). He kindly allowed us to go first. But damn! He said our passports werent stamped at the Cambodia side. We have asked the porter where to stamp our passports, and he said it wasnt neccesary unless we planned to go further into the town. Since we had no intention to stay longer, we didnt get them stamped lah. But hello! That was only applicable for Thais. Do i look thai to you??! *wave malaysian flag* Harrumph! Trust a porter for important info!

And so we detoured back, through the "friendship bridge" and met some officers who offered privileged v.i.p stamping minus the queue. Oh sure! Take my money..i just wanna go home! Another 700 bahts contributed.

Finally..stamped and back to Thailand and straight into the car. Drove till sunset and beyond....all tired and drained. All of us.But we felt a notch tougher, with qualities of a back packer who can endure forests and jungles and volcanoes!

Ok..only i felt that way. The others were like, what a boring hot trip.

Im gonna pin "Cambodia" as a place visited. Teehee.

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