3 of 3: Hitchhiking (by default) in a foreign land

Once upon a time, 3 girls summoned their favorite tuk tuk driver and headed off on a little excursion in a beautiful, but foreign land.

In no time, the tuk tuk man had delivered them to the first stop on the journey- Central Bus station. Without too much drama, they climbed aboard the nondescript red bus, AND, because their given seats were taken by some nonnegotiable tourists, they moved to the back of the bus, and prepared to set up camp for the 3.5 hour bus ride.

Travel moved along fairly well, a few of the travelers napped, the one in particular kept her nose pressed to the window drinking in all the sights she could see. And there were a lot of them: Ladies hand washing clothes among the lily pads in the ponds in front of their houses; Families gathering rice straw in from the fields;  Herdsman moving their cattle home for the night.


This country has a lot of factories and after quitting time- there were so many trucks with workers on the road. The girl at the window wondered if it would be exaggerating to say it was 100s of trucks loaded like this one… (P.S I guess she could count all of her attempts to get this pic to have a fairly accurate idea- taking a pic out the bus window of oncoming traffic can be rather tricky- great shot, Em)


They were so excited to be traveling, but one small detailed niggled in the back of their minds. The nondescript red bus had a manual transmission and they noticed as soon as they left the station that the driver was having trouble with first gear.Less than an hour into the trip, the very unmistakable smell of something being too hot, joined the party in the back of the bus.

Hour 2.5, things weren’t better at all, no matter how hard the girls were praying. Another passenger went to notify the driver, and he pulled to the side of the road, dug out several handfuls of wrenches and proceeded to the back of the bus. Everybody else got off, but since he was working in the aisle in front of the girls, they stayed put and watched with interest and wished that they were fluent in Khmer as well as transmission knowledge- but neither was the case.


After several trips between the bottomside of the transmission and the topside, the driver had adjusted the clutch to his satisfaction. He pumped the clutch several times and blew the horn and the bus was ready to roll again.

The bus eased into the rapidly approaching nightfall. The 3 damsels in the back went back to their before mentioned worlds of their own, and noticed with a sinking heart that the ugly hot smell joined the party again too soon. In fact it got worse and in no time, the light in the top of the bus was dimmed by smoke. Somebody had in earbuds and commented on the smoke a little louder than she’d intended and the rest of the passengers panicked. The bus driver pulled off to the side of the road and hurried back the aisle, this time to open a hatch in the roof of the bus, to let the smoke escape.

The no longer, nondescript red bus was barely limping along by now. It was moving only because there was one gear. The driver kept valiantly trying to find another one, but they were all MIA. And before the bus covered very many more miles, that last gear took sick leave, and there the bus stopped along the side of the road. 100 Cambodia Boondocks, Cambodia.

The girls sat in the back of the bus in silence, as the ambitious driver again dug out his wrench set and went to work. At this point, it seemed like the best option was stress eating, and the girls sure were glad for the endless snack bar that was packed in the one backpack. The rest of the travelers looked on with interest and the girls plotted out how they could make the supplies reach around to everyone as they spent the night on the red bus.

But, that was useless chatter, because God was providing. Less than 10 minutes after the bus reached its breaking point, a white van pulled off in front of the bus and stopped, four ways blinking. The one Khmer traveler got off and soon was back on the bus talking excitedly. The most knowledgeable of the 3 ladies got off too, and soon reappeared frantically motioning to shut down the snack buffet, gather the belongings and bid the bus by the side of the road, adieu.

So they did. They threw their luggage in among the vegetables this family was hauling and off they sailed in the darkness.

The van made mulitple stops, dropping off people and veggies.  And thanks to the help of google maps, and a call to the gals destination, soon the little white veggie van was pulling up in front of the most beautiful motel ever seen.

That night, as the girls stood on the balcony watching the small green lights from fishing boats, shining out in the Gulf of Thailand- their hearts were filled with praise to the Almighty Father who provides all things (even  vegetable vans) at the best time.


His timing is perfect!


Bonus Pics:

This trip to Kep was a #30for30 for me… 3 large bodies of water in one month- the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Thailand (I thought maybe this would be the Indian Ocean, but according to google (who knows everything) it’s still the Pacific…


Fishermen taking it easy after working all night



The crab market at Kep, Cambodia was so fascinating! We did not have enough time there!


The wild mama monkeys and their adorable babies hanging on for dear life added another dimension to this experience 🙂


And the final adventure- ferrying over the Mekong (I think) river to visit Silk Island. (notice the difference between a loaded and empty barge in the background)


The ferry captain and cutest first mate ever.



Silk comes from dissolving the cocoons of a silkworm in boiling water. The fibers are wrapped on a reel, then sent to the next location where they are spun into a thread.


The thread is then dyed and sent to the loom. They said that it takes up to 20 days of labor for 1 yard of intricately woven fabric. Wow.


I was so amused by the hammock travel. The tuk tuk drivers would even string up hammocks in their tuk tuks while they waited for their passengers to finish shopping. I tried to visualize how how I could do this in my van. ha


Exotic Asian fruit. My favorite was the eyeball fruit (Kendra’s made up name) on the right. 🙂


Ladies, thanks for allowing me to tag along on this incredible whirl wind of an adventure! What a priceless memory! luv you!

Approximately 7 different flights and 44 hours, 2 buses and 9 hours, 1 van and 1 hour, 2 ferry rides, countless hours on the back of a tuk tuk, and miles on foot- in 11.5 days- we are home. PTL


6 thoughts on “3 of 3: Hitchhiking (by default) in a foreign land

  1. Dear Kendra, I love reading your blog. The way you write is so interesting to read. You guys had other of adventures in the short time you were here. Great pictures too. – Stacey

  2. Pingback: #30for30 Recap | paradisemtnmusings

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