*Sorry Robbie but we are going East of the border actually.
We jumped out of bed and quickly packed up our bags and went down to reclaim our £40 deposit from the front desk.
This was a hostel with delusions of grandeur.
After our 4th attempt at negotiation we managed to get a sensible taxi fare to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal where we would attempt to grab some seats on a bus bound for the border.
In Mo Chit there are more stalls than bookies at Cheltenham so we scrambled to find our one. (Stall 22 inside the station for anyone interested).
We were told the next bus was not for another 2 hours or RIGHT NOW!! QUICK. There was a bus just leaving, and we legged it like Aneka Rive used to, to catch it.
The bus journey was 6 hours and would have been shorter if it wasn’t for all the people that delayed the bus only to be kicked off the bus 10 minutes later by the army/police for being illegal Cambodian aliens.
It was at this point in our journey that a French man (with an English passport) struck up a conversation with us. He had lived in Asia for the last 25 years and now in Thailand. He was on a border run. Every 30 days he needs to stamp in and out of Thailand and he made this journey monthly.
He was full of hints and tips for the border crossing so much so that when we got there he took us under his wing and got us into Cambodia unmolested by Scam Artists. At one point there was 12 of us huddled around him like a rugby scrum driving for the touch line.
After we made it to the other side he had disappeared. Did he really exist or was he the figment of our combined imaginations? A combination of stuff read online and in guide books personified into the man with no-name to ensure our safe passage!
Without our Guardian Angel we were soon picked up by the local transport cartel in Poipet and had to share a taxi to Sisophon with 3 other Cambodians. Karen squashed in the back with John lording it in the front seat 🙂
Our problem was that no one apparently goes to Sisophon so there are not many buses or other tourists to share with.
Arriving in Sisophon we soon realised that Karen’s phone didn’t work as well as we thought and in the end we had to pay a local to ring our contact for the wedding, Charya’s cousin Sophorl.
Collected and feeling comfortable for the first since 6 AM we went to the Uncle’s house where the wedding would be held the next day. Unbeknownst to us, Charya, Michel and gang were stuck on a bus from Pnomh Penh and would be a few more hours in getting there.
In the meantime, John tried to speak broken French to the parents, who spoke no English but were very friendly giving us water, coconuts and fried quail, mmmm tasty! Soon enough another cousin who spoke English was drafted in to talk to us.
While Karen chatted away, John helped the other men in carrying stacks full of beer crates and energy drinks for the wedding for probably his first workout on our travels.
Charya and Michel arrived shortly after and we got to meet the rest of her family before we all headed to the hotel which was a lovely surprise.
Some local cuisine was had next door, including LokLak ( casserole with beef) and plenty of rice before everyone called it a night. The wedding party would have a 4 AM start the next morning in makeup and costume. Karen and John had the luxurious lie in until 6 AM.
The above crossing will be featured in our Cheatsheet page shortly.