March 09, 2015

Cleanliness, Breakfast, and Tuk Tuks

Today's going to be hard to write, because there's so much to say. Also, I'm including an album of photos in the next post to let yo usee more of what I've seen today.

Heck, I have to start yesterday, when I arrived here. Two posts. Yesterday and today.

So the bus was cool, but it wasn't a sleeping bus, which I quickly realized wasn't the best thing ever. I'd imagined for a while that a sitting bus would be far better than the sleeping ones, comfort-wise, but I was wrong. This isn't a critique of Mekong Express, as their service and bus remind me somewhat of a certain Singapore Airlines.

The bus attendant (who was pretty well-dressed) has a brother here in Phnom Penh who drives a tuk tuk, and he recommended I meet up with him when I got off the bus. I was confused, initially, which one was his brother, as taxis, motorcycles, and tuk tuks have a habit of showing up wherever buses are going to stop. I ended up in his tuk tuk, and went off to the hostel I'd booked for the night on the ride over.

The hostel I booked is excellent in almost all respects. My first and foremost preference with a night's stay is to have free breakfast. The Sla Boutique Hostel and Restaurant does this. Beyond this, however, the facility is just really nice. It's modern and stylish, has good beds, ample power outlets near the's a backpacker's dream at just under $10 a night.

But...the WiFi. It's sad, but I have to complain. The access point in the lobby works great (most of the time), but the rest of the routers (of which there are several) I have never been able to connect to. Part of me would really like to fix the whole problem for them by myself, but...I'm on vacation.

I should tell you more about motorcycles in Southeast Asia. Oddly enough, Cambodia seems to have less than Vietnam. It's kind of annoying, as the space is occupied instead by cars, trucks, and buses. There's probably half of Cambodia's traffic on motorcycles, but the rest is in a car, truck, or long-distance bus. Oh. And tuk tuks. Yes.

Motorcycles, though. The prevailing attitude among Cambodians and Vietnamese seems to be that they can be used to transport anything. Also, when you happen to be driving something other than a motorcycle, you drive it pretty much the same way. You pass anyone and everything you desire, honk your heart out, and obey just as many rules as you want.

Also, beyond simply putting whatever you want on the back of a motorcycle, quite often the women ride side-saddle on the backs of the motorcycles. It's probably not that rare around the world, but perhaps one in ten female passengers rides like this. I've gotten comfortable riding on the back of motorcycles, but this would be a bit crazier, in my mind.

I should say, though, that Cambodia seems a bit more civilized. I guess that's a broad claim and I've been here one day, and I've seen little more than Phnom Penh...but the traffic is different. It seems like they obey traffic lights more frequently, they aren't quite as insane when it comes to weaving motorcycles into as compact a pack as possible at intersections...

Also, they accept dollars about as much as they do their own riel.

Another thing I noticed as I passed from Vietnam to Cambodia was that their architecture and design was slightly more...Indian-ish. I don't really know how to describe it, but everything looks fancy in a slightly more Eastern way, as opposed to far-eastern. I think "more Indian-ish" is actually the best way to describe it that I can muster.

Thanks for reading. Next post is for's gonna be a doozy.


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