This is Jackie Bauer and hubby. We only need 12 hours, 24 is sooo last year!

06:00 Brisbane bus terminal.
06:01 Sleep on uncomfy chairs at Brisbane bus terminal

07:30 Clean self up in lovely Brisbane transit centre toilets!
08:00 Eat healthy breakfast of english muffins, hash browns, pancakes and tea.. Hmm yummy!
08:23 Wander round station looking for bus to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary…
09:07 Epic fail
09:15 Return to travel agent (who we asked for bus info before) with head held in shame to help us get a bus to the sanctuary!
09:31 Miss bus! Agee
09:32 Recover with a wander round Brisbane city centre. It’s surprisingly pretty! Haven’t seen a city in a few weeks, anything will impress us right now.

10:30 Bus to Koala Sanctuary. Woooh
11:15 Enter Koala Sanctuary… No-one suspects we don’t have student cards and we sneak in unsuspected on concession tix!
11:20 Ready to leave Sanctuary! Lol. Kidding but about an hour later we were definitely ready
12:30 Mission to feed kangaroos and take precarious photos with them without them kicking us in the face.

13:00 Mission accomplished. Refuel with snacking on chips… Hey, if we fed the kangaroos, don’t we deserve some food?
13:25 Bus leaves 6 mins early and jets us back to the city! Phew
14:13 Wander Brisbane again
15:20 Haven’t eaten for aaaages so McD’s milkshake
16:00 Greyhound bus to airport! 🙁 A car would have just drawn attention to us.
17:00 A*sh:+es In customs take my cosmetic scissors. Jackie Bauer has been disarmed!
17:08 Mission appears to be coming to an end, Jackie and hubby refuel with burgers and chips for the finale. The big send off.
18:00 Brisbane has been seen. Koalas have been spotted and Kangaroos have been fed. The flight safely takes off and another series of 12 comes to its cliffhanger end.

Tune in next time for….. ?

The Infamous crossing… Bangkok to Siem Reap

And the journey began…

Backpacks on at 6am, en route to MoChit sky train station.. Having been in Bangkok for a couple days, we knew how to get around on these.. A cab ride from the sky train station to the bus station, easy enough, right? Uh no! Who would’ve thought the cabbies didn’t even know where their closest, biggest bus station was!!.. After harassing a few of these guys who sat looking at us with confused faces in their bright pink cars we were helped by a random local lady who was doing lord knows what at the time in the morning in that location wearing her teeny shorts and white t-shirt.. She told the cabbie to take us to ‘the place with lots of buses’.. Hmm, why hadn’t we thought to say just that?!

Anyhow, we arrived safely and in good time at the bus terminal to get ourselves a first class ticket to Aran phayet.. Yes, that’s right, we were travelling first class.. That’s how we roll!! And it was worth every penny of the extra dollar we paid for it.. We got given a cup of water and a seat slap bang in the middle of the coach. Ok, so I couldn’t actually work out which ones were the second class seats, but hoping our extra money had gone towards getting a seat away from the stinky toilet for the ensuing 5 hour journey.

The bus ride was pretty cool, saw the scenery, had a few locals join and leave including some service men and also saw police come on board to do a random check which ended up with 3 kids being taken off the bus.. No idea why, but came to the assumption that they must have runaway or something!

The fun really began when we got to rumfdsj market.. A kind tuk tuk driver drove us the 2km from the bus station to what we thought was border control for 20 Baht. Except that it wasn’t border control but instead one of the special ‘visa purchasing centres’ that charge you extra to do the visa buying for you… Not ones to be scammed, Rishi and I insisted we would not be buying from them but would venture to the real legal place to buy the visa…

…We walked right out of there and marched on to the street…

… After a little wander round, we marched right back inside and got the lovely gentleman to get some visas for us! O well, the other backpackers were doing it, what’s the worst that could happen?

Going through thai and Cambodian immigration was pretty straightforward.. Apart from the long queues at the Cambodian immigration centre which was basically a small room with a tree growing out of it on one side.. Yes that’s right, a tree growing out of the building.

From there, you get a free government shuttle bus to ‘the International transport centre’ at Poipet or some other overly exaggerated name, where you can choose to take a bus for $9 or hire a taxi for $48.. We took the 3pm bus…

At 4pm, as we sat on the bus, still outside ‘the International transport centre’ we realised we would have to relax on timings and plans and all the other things which are MY way of keeping in control…

The bus journey to Siem Reap was cool though, beautiful scenery, little kids playing outside, and a couple of little road side cafs.. This is where we experienced the first of the little kids begin their sales pitches and I have to say they are bloody good sales people… They really know how to build up the value of their postcards, telling us we won’t find these exact high quality postcards anywhere else.. Not to mention giving everyone a free gift bracelet first, meaning you feel obliged to give something back… Rishi is very keen to have them back in London doing sales for Suncrest!

Anywho, back on the road and into Siem Reap… We were dropped outside a delightful guesthouse where our bus driver had moved our backpacks into the guesthouse already before we’d even taken the 2 minutes to get off the bus.. However as appealing as the guesthouse looked, we stuck to the one we had booked and were really thankful for it.. Gorgeous hotel with a massive Vishnu statue as you enter, friendly staff and our whole tasty, vegetarian dinner there cost only $7.50! Could get used to this…