“If I die today it’s on the wet and wild roads of Cambodia. My VIP van driver does not believe it is important to slow down for the torrential downpour while he’s passing people on the left side and talking on his cell phone. This van full of 12 people and all our travel luggage will be lucky if we make it from San Monorom to Phnom Penh in one piece without crapping my pants.” 29 April 2017
This jaw clenching white knuckled ride through eastern Cambodia was the scariest most dangerous ride I’ve ever been on. I had to put my headphones in and close my eyes to keep me from digging my nails into the seat. Even though I had only slept an hour the night before, there was no chance of sleeping on this road. As we bounced around, hydroplaning across the country. I realized how much I missed my ‘Sandy’ – my van back home – but I was still upset with myself for not getting to Vietnam before I departed.
Horns are used as a warning system, not a reaction–“I am here, I am not stopping, be aware” rather than “screw you for cutting me off!”
This is how my trip back to the states began. I was on my way, had thousands of miles and over 100 hours to go.
In Phnom Penh I spent part of the day by the pool and enjoyed a special meal in complete darkness at Dine in the Dark. It was a phenomenal experience in which we were told to lock our phones and watches up, to ensure we would emit no light in the pitch black room. We chose the type of food we would like for our three course meal before we were seated, with a hand on each others shoulders were lead upstairs through multiple sets of dark of curtains, into the darkest of rooms. Our server brought us our drinks and our first course. Each of the plates was a puzzle, we would take a bite and evaluate the flavors. Between plates we fantasized about the color of the tablecloth and napkins and thought about the layout of the room as we sat in complete darkness. After our meal we were lead back down the stairs and given a show of what we ate, plate by plate. I retrieved my belongings and wandered back to the hostel, it was my last night in Cambodia.
I woke up early and scampered off to the airport, caught a shared taxi from the hostel and got to the small international airport. Getting through the Phnom Penh airport was easy, I rested at my gate until boarding a plane to Bangkok.
I had booked a super swanky hotel in Bangkok near the BKK airport, my next flight, out of Thailand, was from BKK. I overlooked one simple thing, my flight from Phnom Penh flew into DMK airport, over an hour away from BKK. Crap. I knew the hotel had a free shuttle to-and-from the other airport so, I hopped onto the free shuttle (exit #6 at Don Mueang) that will shuttle you to Suvarnabhumi if you have a flight. Be sure to use the restroom beforehand, the trip takes about an hour. I found my way to the hotels free shuttle to the airport.
I was back in Thailand so I felt MUCH more comfortable.
I checked in, one night followed by a day at the spa. What a GORGEOUS place, in a not so wonderful part of Bangkok. I hunkered down, lounged by the large infinity pool, ate and drank fresh mango everything and spent my time being treated.
Boom. 30 hours after touching down in Bangkok I was headed to Seoul, South Korea.
What a difference! Chilly, spotlessly clean and packed full of people, in every direction. With food that was such a contrast to what I had been eating for the last few weeks; rich, thick and saucy. The ally-type markets reminded me of the fashion district ally area of LA. I couldn’t believe the deals and types of products I found! The religious temples that were tucked into the hills and quiet parts of the neighborhoods – ivory, rose wood and fur accompanied the common area with similar statues that were seen in previous countries. It was obvious, this city was grateful to be on this side of that demilitarized zone and distinctively follow traditional cultural ideals.
After a day in the country and a tour of the city, I was on the longest flight of the journey. 12 hours – Seoul to Seattle.
After only 1.5 hours of getting comfortable on the plane, I slept the WHOLE way. This was it, I woke up on U.S. soil.
I thought I would be more excited to land in California – don’t get me wrong, I was SO STOKED to see my my mom and dad, picking me up from the airport – but I wasn’t excited, at all. It was evening, I was wide awake, I had no plans for as far as I knew and I was not ready to stop traveling…. even after 100 hours of traveling to get.. here.