Cambodia, Day Six (Aug. 3, 2007)

The day began nicely enough. Checked e-mail and had breakfast of fruit salad with yogurt and muesli, eggs, baguette, tea, and mango juice. Then we walked around the market one last time before catching the bus to Phnom Penh.

I had been looking forward to the bus ride, but that quickly changed. It was monotonous and nauseating. Hut, hut, hut, rice field, water buffalo. Repeat continuously for five long hours.

When we arrived, the Royal Guesthouse van picked us up, which was merciful; otherwise, we'd have fought through the screaming, mad sea of tuk-tuk drivers.* At the Guesthouse, we were unexpectedly told that there were no rooms for us, despite our reservation. But "conveniently," the hotel owner's nephew had rooms for us a few blocks away. It was dark and beginning to rain, so we took the awful rooms. An old, American man and a hooker were getting acquainted in the lobby as we checked in.** We quickly discovered our toilet was leaking from underneath into an open drain, so there was a lovely river of toilet water in the middle of our floor.*** I'm not sure which is worse -- our nasty bathroom or Meg and Eric's bedroom window that's pouring water down the wall next to their bed.

We've decided to split up into two teams in the morning -- one to find a better hotel and one to stay behind, guarding our stuff. I hate Phnom Penh. It is a cesspool. The only bright spot of the night was our comical exit from a tuk-tuk in the torrential rain, like six clowns from a miniature car. We're going to see the National Museum, the Silver Pagoda, and the Killing Fields. Then we're getting on the first bus out of this hellhole.****

Brad's footnotes
* It was kind of like the selling floor at the NYSE, actually.
** They were, at this moment, only playing pool. No, not a euphemism.
*** I pointed out that, technically, this was clean water.
**** Spoiler alert: We learned, the next day, when symptoms became clearer, that Jenn had actually become ill at this point, which possibly explains the bad attitude. I mean, Phnom Penh is a cesspool and all. But such anger....

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