Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cambodia - Day 14: Phnom Penh

When we woke up in the morning, it turns out that we had really heard something the night before even though we couldn't find it. An animal had nibbled away the places where Vito had spilled sauce on his new shirt, which was essentially ruined now. Unhappy about our inability to put everything away before going to sleep the night before, and not really looking forward to the ferry ride back to Sihanoukville, we packed. We were ready to go by 8AM.

We hauled our luggage down from the bungalow and ordered breakfast. As usual, it took a long time to receive our order, and Angela had to wait almost one hour for her eggs and bacon to arrive, but we weren't in a hurry; our boat was scheduled to depart at 10AM. By 9:30AM we were ready to go, and, instead of carrying all of the luggage ourselves as we had done when we arrived on the island, we paid one of the hotel staff to carry our heaviest suitcase down the beach to the pier. I was starting to feel bad.

The morning was windy, and the water looked choppy. I didn't have any seasickness on the way over, but I held a barf-bag at the ready the entire trip. We were anticipating an equally lengthy return trip to the mainland, but we reached Sihanoukville in 45 minutes without incident, although every now and then I thought I would expel my breakfast.

When we arrived, a taxi driver was waiting for us, and we were on the road to Phnom Penh by 11:15AM. I was feeling progressively worseso much so that I didn't want to eat when we stopped for lunch at a little roadside foodstall—but we arrived by 3:30PM at The Artist Guesthouse, which was located across the street from the The Royal University of Fine Arts.

We rested in our hotel room for a few hours. My stomach had been talking to me with sharp pains and I insisted on sleeping a little even though Angela and Vito were chomping at the bit to go sightseeing in Phnom Penh. Vito watched Animal Planet and Angela read, but my condition did not improve with rest and my fever worsened. Angela went down to the lobby and asked for some bread; I ate the two pieces of white bread that she had procured and then popped a Panadol to handle my fever. It worked and, after about 30 minutes, I started to feel cooler and more energetic.

We left the room and went down the street to the Foreign Correspondent's Club, which was quite crowded, to eat dinner. The streets were lined with tuk-tuks, mopeds and trash. The smells of urine and sewage and exhaust and food cooking were swirling all around us in the air. We lucked into a table on the balcony overlooking the Mekong River and ordered. I had a bland bowl of rice, but the atmosphere we lively, and I enjoyed as much as I could. Two Russian cigar oafs sat next to us drinking and puffing away, which was a bit unpleasant, but the view was nice and our mood was hopeful. After dinner, Angela had started feeling bad. We returned to our hotel and Angela vomited. It seems like whatever bug had ravaged Vito and harangued me would run its course through all three of us.

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