This is the story of a small adventure: a stand off between Philly and our bus manager.
We've embarked on our next bus in Battembang at 7am for Phnom Penh having had the most yummy meal of rice porridge ($1 if you please from the local diner where the local Cambodians are studying us intently while wielding their own chopsticks and spoons).
Apart from us, there's only four other people on the bus, so we decide spread out a bit. We graduate to the front seats where the legroom and the view are best, congratulating ourselves on being clever.
Not for long. One more passenger embarks. He looks around and at me, sitting happily up front.
He continues to stare at me, his hat and slightly toothless smile make him look a bit scary. I motion that there are many seats on the bus. But he is silently insistent.
The bus manager man comes along and checks the insistent man's ticket and sees that there is, indeed, reason for concern. I am in the man's seat. The bus manager man asks for our tickets and when I produce them and bus manager man points out in no uncertain terms that we should be in in seats 9 and 10. We meekly go and squeeze ourselves in, despite our mostly empty bus.
It doesn't take brave Phil long though, she's up and off to another seat opposite me. Smiling she settles in......then we stop again. After an anxious four minute wait to see if there's a flood of people wanting to get on, she breathes a sigh of relief and settles back in comfort again.
After three more nerve wracking stops, including one that wasn't a stop to pick up passengers but was a shopping stop where several passengers purchased short lengths of bamboo (what for we can only guess).
Then Philly shifts again, the air blower in her current seat is stuck on freezing. She moves, all good. Oops, another stop and someone wants her seat. She looks perplexed as there are about 15 empty seats. But in Cambodia, a ticketed seat number is a ticketed seat number.
She moves again. Another stop. This time she keeps her head down pretending to read. This time her imminent removal is heralding by two people walking up and down the bus, up and down, looking from side to side and pointing. They are evidently puzzled that their seat is not there.
Yes it is, it's just occupied by a white woman...who then looks up at them, points to the seat and ruefully moves, again.
Bus life, you gotta love it.
PICTURE: We had breakfast before we left Battambang. A delicious rice porridge.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!