Entering Cambodia..B2B…1…Border Guards….0……
Archive for 12/2/2013
We park up the bike in ‘no mans land’ after arriving at the Cambodian border, grab the bag with all our ‘paper work’, in, as we were walking up to customs a young man approach’s us and starts to tell us where we need to go, Hmm, ‘is this the start of the scam we had heard about’? Or is being helpful? . Anyway we all head off to get the visa forms and the young man take them off us and starts to fill them out…. ok carry on, once we had signed the visa forms we knocked on the customs window and handed the customs guards our passport and visa applications with the US $40 for the both of us, the customs police said ‘No’ 1800 Thai Baht ($60 for the both of us). We told him we had no Thai money left, we had spent the last on breakfast!
And that for a visa at the border we had to pay in US dollars, ‘ok’ $30 each then he said lol …this is the scam, ok bring it on lets see what we have read is all about! He then wants us to go with the guy who filled are visa forms in to a ATM so we can get more money!..‘No’ its $20 each, not $30 each, we went on to say that we won’t be paying $30 when we know its $20 each, the officer gave us our passports and forms back and told us to catch a plane! And shuts the window on us!
WHAT… we opened the window and told him we have a motorbike , once again he said $30 to get visa or fly in by plane and once again we said ‘No’ …Clive said to him so if we pay $30 each “what’s going to happening to the rest of the money, is it going in your pocket?” “no” he said, well then you can give us a receipt, ‘No’ was his reply…’OK $25 each’ he came back at us… is this guy for real? No we said back trying to look very cool and confident, but underneath the cool looks we were raging…lol, as we carried on staying that this really doesn’t look good for them, blar, blar, blar, he just shut up and wouldn’t look at us, even the other police in the room shut up!!!!
So we were getting the silent treatment were we? We closed the window and headed back to ‘ no mans lands’ and pretended to use our mobile (as we knew they were watching us)… we just had to stick to our guns, after a ‘fake call’ and quick drink of water…we didn’t have anything stronger! We head back to the visa window, knock, knock and the window opens, another guy leaned across and asked us what we wanted…Der…what do you normally want when applying for a visa…a stupid question usually means you get a stupid answer back. But, I held my tongue, we went on to say we want our visas for $20 each, ‘ok ok’ he said and with that he took our passports, visa forms and $40 then told us to take a seat, we thought they would make us wait and wait because we did’nt fund there pockets but 5 minutes later they were processed…YES…..
Next on the list was the bike, we had to get the carnet filled out and stamped, when we got to the customs window he asked for the paper work for the motorbike, as we handed them to him he was trying to not look puzzled by the form (he didn’t do a very good job!) to be honest I think we could have shown the guy any thing, he really didn’t have a clue!
Clive had to show him what we needed stamped and what part they kept…with that sorted next job was to get the boom gate up, so off I go to ask the other police to pull up the boom gate, 100 Thai Baht the officer told me, you gotta be kidding me! I gave him a laugh and told him ‘no way’…I was expecting a come back but no! And with that boom gate was lifted and no money changed hands, ha, quickly we head over to the bike start it up and rode off up the hill on the crappy roads as fast as we could lol…welcome to Scambodia!
We head towards Sihanoukville knowing that it was going to be a long, hot and dusty 3-hour ride.
Riding the partly sealed bumpy roads off we go as fast as the roads dictate, its doesn’t take long before we are greeted with unsealed stony, dusty roads…. trying to get to the front of the traffic ‘pack’ was fun…why? So we don’t eat so much dust!!!
You learn the road rules here pretty fast if you don’t then your in BIG trouble…road rules are not known here…even basic rules don’t mean anything…EG, NO one stops at traffic lights, you no just the basics!
Riding along you notice how flat and dry the land is, littering the sides of the roads are tiny shacks which are the homes of these gentle country folk, a few of the homes have a ‘very basic restaurant’ (not a restaurant by western means!) all getting covered in road side dust, how awful it must be to live like that, we don’t know how lucky we are…
Children riding their bikes stop and wave to us and shout ‘ hello’ they have the biggest grins on their faces, when we wave and shout ‘hello’ back to them… this IS why we come here, I challenge anyone to come here and not fall in ‘love’ with the people…the country is pretty special too.
Continuing to head towards Sihanoukville, getting filthier along the way.
Just when you think the roads couldn’t get any worse, one pops up to surprise you!
The road was being dug up (no safety barriers here) it was so bad I had to get off the bike and walk the length of the road works so Clive could tackle the ‘road’ lol, two way traffic all trying to get through in one lane!! lol what have we got our selves into? But this is what we knew it would be like this!
We were getting low on fuel and stopped to fill up but they wouldn’t take US dollars….so we had to find a ATM , once found it only dispensed US dollars…Hmm… so we exchanged some Dollars to Cambodian Riel at the shop next door at a not to healthy rate…we filled the tank and head off.
Despite the roads conditions we arrived in Sihanoukville mid afternoon, Sihanoukville is a fairly large town.
So now where to stay? Close to the beach, in town or the outskirts of the town, we settled for close to the beach…Serendipity beach, we found a great family run guest house-‘Aspara’, it was quite expensive $30 for what it was, but it was clean and basic and of course the bike could be parked safely right outside our room door…perfect….