Ace stories: Stuck in Cambodia

Back in 2011 I was living outside of Bangkok.  I had landed a teaching gig at a school in Bangna.  After almost 90 days it was time to renew my visa which meant I had to leave Thailand for a few days.  Its very common for foreigners to do do this in Thailand, so common that it’s become a business to help make the experience as painless as possible.

I found a company that would help me, they chartered the bus to Cambodia, got us cheap hotel for two days and took care of the visa process, everything.  On the morning of the trip I arrived early to central Bangkok.  It was very early as I didn’t”t want to miss the bus and overstay my visa.  After an hour other expats started to come to the meeting point.   A VIP bus arrived and we all got on.  It was a nice bus and it didn’t take long to get to the Cambodia border.  Where the bus dropped us off. On the border was a small city.  Our leader led us through to the immigration area and we entered Cambodia.  There were lots of guys on mopeds asking us if we needed to go anywhere and if we wanted anything.  It sketchy.  The town was everything you’d imagine dirt roads, people selling things on the street and it was hot, like way hotter than Thailand.  Our guide took us to the hotel which was in walking distance.  It was a gambling hotel, not bad really.  He took our passports so he could get our visas then we checked into the hotel.  The hotel had a political painting of some President on the wall, I loved it.  I found my room.  It was alright, pretty good actually.  In the morning there was free breakfast.  I went outside and got some snacks and drinks at a local street vendor.  The heat was gruelling, I was slightly overweight which didn’t help things.  I decided to stay in my hotel room because of the heat.


The next day I woke up and went down to get some food.  There was a banquet hall and they had all kinds of foods, rice, eggs, cereal, pancakes, sandwiches, coffee, tea.  It was quite something and I didn’t expect it.  I got some coffee and eggs.  There were other people there.  I ate and went back to my room.  I watched youtube videos on the internet and didn’t do much else. I ordered room service for dinner.  I had a club sandwich,  It was good.  I tipped the bellboy.

The next day I went down to the lobby for breakfast.  I got into a conversation with a guy from Venezuela.  Mike. He was a photographer.  We talked about Bangkok and Asia.  I liked him.

The next day I went down to meet the guide to get my passport and visa.  He informed Mike and I that we had to stay longer to process our visa.  He also said we need a Thai person to vouch for us in writing. Which would be difficult because my girlfriend was out of the country.  I was coming down with a fever at this point and was getting the chills.  I made my way to a PC room so I could find someone via facebook  and print a copy of the letter saying they know me.  The PC room was loaded with people playing video games on the computer.  I found a computer and quickly got on facebook. Luckily, I found  a Thai girl on facebook I went out with once and she agreed to help me.  I made a few print outs and was off!  I found a moped guy to take me back to my hotel.  Later I gave the paper to our guide so he could process my visa but he said we needed to stay a fe extra days.

They moved Mike and I to a cheap hotel, but it did have air conditioning.  In the morning we headed over to our first hotel and ate breakfast at the banquet hall. After wards we smuggled out sandwiches for later on.  We talked a lot more about Thailand and Bangkok.  I asked hime about photography and his business.  He did some work for some big fashion magazines but he wasn’t rich yet.

One night after dark I went out looking for some street food.  It wasn’t smart to go out but I was hungry.  I found a vender and had no idea what I was ordering but it turned out to be good.  Within a few days we got out passports with our visas and they chartered a car for us.  All is well that ends well!

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