Day 185 - Sayōnara, Japan

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
Departure from Japan to Cambodia

After double-checking, we took the first steps toward Cambodia. Last visit to Family Mart for some rice balls, then hustling over to the airport through the rail and bus system. A small part of me is worried that stopping in Korea will be a problem for Shimou... since the fine print was somewhat vague about visas, but I'm pretty sure you don't need a visa if you're just transferring. Another is that the tickets I bought don't look legit, but Skyscanner hasn't given me any problems yet. Far from it, it's been the best by far flight resource so far. 

On the Bus to the Airport
Seriously, forget Google flight. They always offered fairly expensive fares. Example: Google said it would be over $1000 CAD from Osaka, Japan to Siem Reap, Cambodia - each. I ended up getting tickets for $350 CAD per person. 400 per person back to Beijing from Phnom Penh.
First Stop: Busan, Korea
Layover time: 5h

Our first flight was on a Korean Airline (I forget which), and had Korean Hostesses. Shimou marvels at the quality of makeup that Korean girls tend to have. She says she should buy Korean cosmetics. I impose a 5h trade embargo. As it is, we'll have no room for anything from Cambodia, but I plan to do next to nothing this week, anyway.

The Weight Limit is 20kg
The Stewardesses speak at least three Languages, possibly four, switching from Korean to Japanese to English, and possibly Chinese. I wonder how much they're paid for the skills...

Waiting for Shimou outside the washrooms upon arrival in South Korea, an attendant almost passed me by saying "Siem Reap?" in a thick accent. I called her over once the words registered, and she showed me a screen with only our names on it. Uh, oh...?

Apparently there weren't many of us switching to Siem Reap, and that was the reason why they needed to stop us going out of the airport with the rest of them. 

5 hours in the airport:
  • We're not allowed to take pictures in the shops. Why? 
  • Some Korean goods, like kimchi, banana milk, and.. Yogurt jelly. Not really sure what that is. 
  • Busan area is crazy mountainous and probably a bitch to get around in if their subway system sucks. No word on it's actual status.
  • Coffee is cheaper than water.
  • I miss Japanese escalator etiquette where everyone stands on one side, letting people pass.
  • Their bathroom stalls have individual lights that turn on when you close the stall door. Nice touch. 
  • Their free WiFi is painfully slow... but still free.
Cambodian Social Instructions
First Impressions of Cambodia

Upon arrival it's raining, and the air is thick with humid heat. The teepee-like buildings stand distinctly, contrasting the technological bird just exited. We had bought our visas online, allowing us to skip the giant crowd that flowed in behind us. They were less prepared. The agent inspecting my documents appears to hate her job, refusing to make eye contact. I stood, waiting for visual confirmation to move forward, but none came until a supervisor noticed and told me to go to her. She stapled a sheet to my passport. It's been desecrated... 

Social Instructions

First thing we see inside the door is a list of etiquette for visiting Angkor Wat. It goes like this:

  • Monks are revered and respected. If you want to take pictures, please ask for permission first. Women should not touch nor stand or sit too close to monks.
  • Touching carvings, sitting on fragile structures, leaning on temple structures, moving or taking archaeological artifacts and graffiti are strictly prohibited. Backpacks, umbrellas with sharp tips, tripods and high heels are discouraged from being brought or worn inside the temple.
  • Revealing clothing such as shorts or skirts above the knee and showing bare shoulders are prohibited in sacred places. Respectful dress is strongly encouraged in Angkor.
  • For your own safety and for the conservation of Angkor, please comply with all signs on the site and be mindful of your steps at all times. Do not climb loose stones.
  • As Angkor is a sacred site, loud conversation and noise and other inappropriate behaviour in Cambodian culture is considered to be offensive and may disturb other visitors. Please keep calm and respectful.
  • Buying items, giving candy or money to children encourages them not to attend school but to beg. If you wish to help the children, please consider donating to a recognised charity.
  • As a member of the World Health Organization, Angkor had been a smoke free site since 2012. Smoking cigarettes disturbs others and cigarettes can start brush fires. To protect the environment, please do not smoke and litter. 
Dat Tuk Tuk
Emphasis is entirely mine, though I found the note on children to be particularly insightful. Shimou later will suggest we get candy for the kids, so it's probably a good thing I stopped to actually read the sign.

Tipping Our Way Into The Country

Shimou followed through a different agent's line shortly after and asked if I had to tip. What? Apparently the guy had been whispering "tip" (xiǎofèi) in Chinese, which sounds sort of like "selfie" so she had stood back for their camera and smiled. He kept awkwardly whispering it until she gave him a dollar, and was allowed entry. 

We were picked up by our BnB's tuk tuk, which had precariously placed our luggage on the front of the passenger car, just behind the hitch that attached it to the motorcycle. I kept my leg propped up just in case there was a bump that sent them flying. The doorless compartment didn't seem to be built for luggage of this size. A tuk tuk in front of us had a bumper sticker which read: Welcome to Angkor / Never Walk Alone

The Bedroom Side
Warning about solo traveling, or advertisement that the city is so friendly? You be the judge. 

Our room is spacious with a wall in the middle that divided the bedroom from the bathroom. We have two beds, AC, a giant fan, TV, and a stocked mini fridge with beer and other drinks all for less than 20 CAD per person per night. We're beat. It's 2am Japan time, midnight local. We hit the hay and hope to be awake before the 10am end of breakfast time. 

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