The journey from Siem Reap to Kratie was, if not hugely enjoyable, at least vaguely fascinating.
There were fifteen of us (and fifteen big bags) crammed into a minivan that could comfortably fit half that. It was 7 a.m. and we had supposedly a six hour journey ahead. I bent my cramped legs together, tucked them in beside me, sat back and, not for the first time in the last few weeks, thought longingly of the English transport facilities.
What Cambodia lacks in natural beauty, it more than makes up for in heat, and it wasn’t long before the Cambodian sun started bearing down on us, bringing the tin can minivan close to boiling point. It was hot, and only getting hotter given it was 9ish. With plenty of time to myself, I watched wistfully as the Cambodian countryside raced by and let my mind wander.
“It’s hot here,” I thought. “Really hot”. And my thoughts didn’t really change for the next 6 hours.
It was an arid landscape. Flat dusty brown land stretched in all directions. The charred trees had lost hope, accepting defeat at the hands of the sun. At various points, we were literally driving through what I can only describe as small forest fires. I could feel the heat as we drove past it. My experience of fire being largely limited to Hollywood films and gas hobs, this was definitely the most fiery fire I’ve ever seen before.
Hopefully Kratie brings respite from the desert and dead trees, and a ceiling fan that works better than our last.
On a separate note, we’re both buzzing to see some river Dolphins tomorrow, and be here in a town that isn’t centred around tourism (our natural backpacker instincts managed to steer us away effortlessly from the hordes of Asian package-tours that clogged up Siem Reap).
Anyway, I’m off to apply some after-sun. Talk soon.
P.S. Having written most of this on the bus itself, I feel the need to add that, after the above complaining, we did pass over some rivers, and saw the odd bit of greenery as a result.
P.P.S. The journey took 11 hours, not 6, and used 2 minivans in the end, not 1.