Goodbye Cambodia and on to the National Park – Day 194 – 31 July

Well today it was time to say goodbye to Cambodia and we originally thought we may have to be saying goodbye to a large part of our clothes as well. We got up early and as quick as we could went down to find out where our laundry was and ….. building up the tension …… even more so (lol) … yes, they had found it, hoorah! It was quite a wrench to leave this country, we had met even more top people on our travels here and we had really taken the place to our hearts, if only the people would be a bit more careful with where they throw their plastics it would be even better.

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Even the manikin at our hotel seemed to say ‘Goodbye’ – though it looks more like ‘Sorry you cannot come in here – I have your laundry’!!!

Today we would be taking quite a trip not just to get into Thailand but also to get to final destination of Prachinburi, our stopping off point so we could get from there to Khoa Tao National Park. We would have a couple of days touring the Park but it is a huge place so two days is not really enough to even scratch the surface but we would hopefully get a good feel for the place. The Cambodian side of the trip, although it seemed a bit laboured and quite chaotic actually worked quite well. It was a long enough trip and as we neared the border I must admit that it did look a bit more ‘Wild West Frontier-style’. There were casinos, some dodgy looking hotels and the like and you almost expected to see a couple of gunfighters walking towards each other down the main street. However, we were soon enough at passport control and although it took a while to get our papers all sorted, it all went well enough and soon we were walking back into Thailand!!

Once in Thailand we first had to lug our bags for a good way until we finally reached a small jeepney-style thing, which then took us on quite a drive to a small bus station. Here we got out and told the staff where we were going, they then stuck us back on a different small Jeepney whereupon we were then driven back to the place we had first got on – Doh! Complete and utter madness! Once more back at the start, for the second time, we were then walked to yet another small bus station and after a half hour or so a minibus did appear to take us to Prachinburi. The driver of this minibus unfortunately had only one speed, super-fast so the journey along the National Highway had its hairier moments to say the least.

The journey to our stop was a bit like watching the old Star Trek Enterprise hit warp speed, when I was actually looking that is! Our driver actually dropped us off not at Prachinburi but outside it, at the bus stop on the highway, so we had to wait a while before grabbing a Jeepney to take us to our hotel, which was positioned on the road into town.

Once at our hotel though the fun did not stop there. Here, it turned out, no-one could actually speak English and, worse still, they seemed to have no idea of our booking. So we then had to ring the hotel’s manager, whose grasp of English was only slightly better than his staff’s but he managed to convey to me that he had us down but only for one night and that was not tonight but tomorrow night. So I asked him to actually come to the hotel and explain it all to me as by now, I was getting slightly frazzled. We had a cuppa and once he turned up it seemed they had found us a room! They probably asked other people to double up!

The day’s adventures did not stop there though as Liz went for a shower to freshen up and I for a bounce on our bed simply because I could. Now I know the Thai people like a hard bed but after my bounce had nearly broken my knees I peeled back the wafer thin mattress to reveal that the rest of the bed was made of concrete! My amazed gasp was only halted by Liz’s screaming as she had nearly been scalded by the steam that was pouring out of the shower head! So off we went to complain to the manager who said they would get it fixed whilst we cut our losses and ventured out.

We did not have to travel too far as round the corner from the hotel there was a place doing a steamboat BBQ which was really nice and had plenty of meat, noodles and broth for us to cook it all in. It would have been even better if we could have a beer with it but no, the beer was off and we could not understand due to no-one at the restaurant speaking English either. Being English, we were not to be so easily dissuaded though and after eating went (literally) down the road, risking life and limb, to the 7/11 to see if beer could be purchased there but lo and behold they would not sell us any either. So it was back to the hotel and our lovely ‘comfy’ concrete bed! The only thing we could do was laugh but what a flipping strange day it had been!!

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