The boat to Siem Reap

This could all be summed up in 1 word, but that isn’t my style!!!

I left Here be Dragons at 6:45am armed with a vegemite baguette and water! And it was on arrival at the boat 5mins later that I fell for a well written about trick, the kind man carrying my bag to the boat (unasked, in fact I had no choice) wanted paying, after giving him my ” I’m not happy about this” face, he informed me my bag is “very heavy”. Instead of telling him to man up, I gave him 1000 reil – 25 whole cents of your american money.

Other things that have been written by previous travellers is their disgust at having to pay more than the locals, the fact the benches are uncomfortable, the boat keeps stopping to drop people off and pick them up, deliver groceries to the villages, basically missing the entire point of taking the boat – to see life along the river – these guys should have saved themselves $15 and taken the bus!

The trip was fantastic, 6 hours of nothing but beautiful scenery, the odd rain shower and being beaten up by shrubbery when the channels were so narrow the bushes came into the boat. Leaving at 7 meant that we saw people living along the river going about their lives, getting up, washing in the river, swimming, setting up their fishing nets and waving at us as we went past!

As we progressed further down the river you could see children racing to come and say hello, waving frantically as they ran, not wanting to miss the daily ‘treat?’ of madly waving foreigners.

Along the way we stopped at various floating villages – villages/houses totally surrounded by water, they use boats to get around. Our boat would stop and people would paddle over to collect people, bread, fruit and boxes of unidentified items. In return we’d collect people and at one point a bag of fish.

This pattern continued for several hours, then we reached an area full of birds, not entirely sure what, but more ibis and I definitely saw a green kingfisher!

Next we entered the Tonle Sap lake – it’s massive! You could just see from and to end by spotting bumps on the horizon on either side. Ahead was Siem Reap and its one hill, Phnom something….

On arrival into the harbour at Siem Reap we were pounced upon by tuk tuk drivers, they all ran onto the boat, trying to take people’s bags to their tuk tuk. I was so glad that my guesthouse provided a free transfer (also handy as the harbour is a fair way south of the city) it meant I was greated by a smiling man and I could just ignore all the others!

The trip into town was fun coming through villages and then through Siem Reap along the river to my guesthouse – Rosy – on reaching it and being shown to my room I realized I’d made a mistake – the cheapest rooms were on the top floor, 3 floors up, not a good post-half marathon plan!!

The room, however, was lovely. Double bed, fan and most exciting – a TV with DVDs downstairs to borrow!!!!!! The first of my trip!!!!!

My mission for the day was to go and get my running number for the Angkor Wat half marathon on Sunday (today was Thursday, thought it would be good to beat the rush). My plan was to walk out there, a fair way out of town and then cut back into town and take a look around.

Unfortunately about 30mins into my walk it started to drizzle, then rain, then really rain – after having turned down many tuk tuk offers it was time to pop into a hotel and find our how close I was. It turns out not very, still a couple of km to go, so I conceeded and accepted a tuk tuk from a lovely guy, we sheltered under his umbrella while we negotiated a fee – I was very much at a disadvantage as I was pouring with rain!! But for $3 I got a lift to the hotel to get my number and then back to the guesthouse. There were very few runners there when I arrived, so no queuing, got my number, had my timing chip checked, picked up my T-shirt ams and souvenir brochure and headed for home in the never ending rain.

Plans to go into town were shelved as it was so wet and also the way into town pretty dark and as I didn’t know where I was going it was the perfect excuse to have some food and head upstairs with Sherlock Holmes – really good fun, and War Horse – really good, but not a film to watch when you’re feeling a bit down – as I was as I’d not spoken to anyone all day! Thankfully Nikki and I were emailing at the time, she told me to stop being a donut, and as ever that did the trick!!

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