Monday, April 27, 2009

Caution: venting ahead

Newsflash: Cambodia uses U.S. dollars. They charge everything in dollars, and only if they need to give you change will they give you Cambodian bills (Riels I think). There are 4000 of them to 1 USD. PS I have found Cambodia to be markedly more expensive than Thailand but still cheap by US standards.
From the airport, I hired a motorcycle taxi to take me to the top-rated hostel I had read about on My driver was nice and chatty and insisted that it would be a better idea to stay in a hostel closer to the city center; he said it would be more convenient and safer and that that's where most of the tourists stay. I had a sneaking suspicion he would get a commission if he delivered me to a hostel on some commission-granting list somewhere, but I humored him once and checked out another hostel to price shop. When I lied and said I had made a reservation at the Siem Reap Hostel and needed to stay there because I had put down a deposit, he grudgingly delivered me and then volunteered to come pick me up again at 4:30pm (I needed to get to the temple park entrance just before 5pm because if I bought a one-day pass to the temples for tomorrow, I would be admitted free after 5pm tonight, in time to watch the sunset. The complicating part was that they stop selling passes at 5pm).
Meanwhile, pre-4:30pm, I met a bubbly California girl at my hostel and agreed to share a tuk-tuk taxi with her for the day tomorrow (the temples are too spread out to walk between them), so we had the front desk arrange that for us. When my driver showed up at 4:30, he asked what time he should pick me up tomorrow. When I said I had already made other arrangements, he got agitated and started to ask me all these questions, like "you just met this girl?" and "how do you think I feel?" He approached the front desk to cancel the arrangements, and when he was refused, he got angry. I was pretty darn sure I didn't want to go anywhere with this guy, so I hopped into another tuk-tuk with the Californian girl who was just arriving on scene. I was trying to explain to the driver that we had made no arrangements past today, and I had been planning on going with him to the sunset until he started to get angry and make me uncomfortable, so this was the end of our time. He then proceeded to get on his bike and follow alongside us, cussing me out, calling me a "fucking cheat," etc.
I know this is the kind of thing that happens a lot, and you just need to roll with it and then forget about it, but since I have this blog, I thought I would complain about it to you all. Keeping with that theme, I will tell you that later that night I paid for a "Night Festival at Angkor Wat" which ended up, because of some unfortunate miscommunications, being more like "Angkor Wat in the Dark." And, the late dinner I had, which was long overdue since an early lunch, was served to me pristine but then was immediately infiltrated by the hordes of bugs that were in close camp around me. They were tunneling into my rice and committing suicide in my sauce.


  1. :^/ Hope today was a smoother ride!

  2. *Hug* Hang in there sweetie. Your cab driver sounds like a real peach. Maybe you should have shown him your very exclusive scar?