Angkor Wat, the ETA visa and 15 hours on a bus
Angkor Wat and surrounding temples are very big, very amazing, and very overwhelming after four or five of them in a row. Also expensive.
We were tempted to skip them, actually, after seeing Beng Mealea, because we were just not in the mood.
Visas, attempts to get emergency cash, and a huge, loud wedding right outside our hotel all night were all contributing to a serious bout of stress and exhaustion.
But we decided to just do it. Who knows when and if we’ll ever be back, or how much we would have regretted it if we hadn’t gone.
But also – if I have to be honest – sometimes thinking forward to conversations with friends and loved ones, justifying a choice NOT to see a really big and popular attraction just doesn’t seem worth whatever relief and relaxation that choice might bring at the time.
I’m glad we went, though we spent the Tuk Tuk ride between temples calling banks and checking emails and, despite that not being perhaps the best way to enjoy a temple experience, we just did not have that much of a choice.
At any rate, I took squillions of photos so I could enjoy the experience retrospectively, and also share them with you guys.
And that concludes the photographic section of this blog post. However, there’s some more text to come because the last couple of days have been such a weird, annoying time, so here it comes.
I mentioned in my last post that we were having rather a bit of difficulty with his visa, for absolutely no apparent reason, and that continued for a short while after.
That particular visa is still stuck somewhere in the strange machine that is the Australian Government’s immigration processing ‘system’, but he’s been granted a different one.
My mum rang up the dear old immigration department to ask what on earth was going on with her son-in-law’s visa.
They replied something along the lines of “well yes, he’ll get the visa no worries but it’s caught in a snag and could well take a few weeks to process,” which wasn’t great news, given our impending and already paid for passage back to Australia booked for a week away.
“But!” they said in different words, “there’s totally another visa he can get by applying through an airline where he’ll definitely get it for sure overnight!”
Which, I think, seems really weird to start with? Like, they think it’s maybe worth investigating someone going for a tourist visa for 3 months, and then process it for ages, but then they can be totally guaranteed for one that allows them to stay for three month chunks as many times as they want for a year.
That seems so odd to me, especially since you can get as many as you want, one right after the other. Ok, then.
I am 100% not complaining, though.
We used an online migration agent called easyETA.com (ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authority). It took approximately five minutes to apply for, cost $10AUD and was granted in 4 hours.
The moral of the story is that mothers are probably the best-equipped people to deal with stupid bureaucracy and there are often weird loopholes.
We also got the cash sorted out, despite more hilariously unnecessary obstacles, and booked our ticket to Sihanoukville the following day. Yesterday.
We were told it would take 12 hours, which was bad enough.
Boarding the bus in the morning (our third in a week, whoops) with a bag of oddly unpleasant snacks and a few things downloaded on our laptops.
Four episodes of A Series Of Unfortunate Events (Sean, I actually do quite like it now but not heaps), Manchester by the Sea (which I thought got close to being good a few times, but I don’t understand how it got Oscars) and Moonlight (very good indeed) and fifteen actual hours of our life later, we were in the bus depot of Sihanoukville.
We were ripped off by the Tuk Tuk driver but that’s ok. We were too tired to care.
The hotel is super disappointing (springs in mattresses aren’t meant to be felt and normal toast is not French toast) and there’s a rooster living nearby, but it’s calm here and we’re quite close to the beach.
We’re hungry and are planning to spend the rest of the day laying on a sunbed near the ocean, reading a book, so I’ll depart now to experience some more not amazing but also not terrible things.
Felix edit: “You really make all our holidays sound terrible,” and, “We didn’t download A Series of Unfortunate Events,” which is true. We streamed them.