Fear and loathing in Cambodia (29.06.01 - 06.07.01)
Part five: The worst boat trip of your life
When we reached Sihanoukville on an afternoon hoping to catch the
Malaysian speedboat out of Cambodia the very next day, it was raining
with gale-like ferocity on our unsuspecting guts. A traveler at
the guesthouse reading a Tim Robbins book told us he had been waiting
for the last three days but the storm at the sea had prevented any
boats from leaving the port.
By dinnertime, CNN confirmed typhoon had hit the southern coasts
of Taiwan and Guangzhou in Mainland China. That explained the increasing
intensity of the downpours over the past few days.
Over dinner, a contingency plan of doing the journey back to Poipet
via Phnom Penh overland was drawn out.
Miraculously, the boat was scheduled to leave the next day. Our
names became the first to be registered in what could well be our
How could you use a speedboat of similar tonnage to that Singaporeans
would routinely use to make sheltered water crossings from World
Trade Center to Sentosa to challenge the fury of the Gulf of Siam?
Five minutes was all it took before the young lady two seats away
from me started to vomit. Pheow, another partner in crime, spent
the next four hours camping outside the toilet, vomiting once every
Yun, who was travelling with us, kept his eyes on the situation
outside the cabin window. "At least if I died, I would want
to know how I died," he said.
The man sitting in front of him took the life jacket and held close
while the speedboat was mercilessly toyed with by the raging waves.
Forget about Viking rides and roller coasters, this is for real.
I was keeping my eyes shut and concentrating on my breathing. The
boat was hurled up and then crashed back onto the fury of the open
sea. In order to prevent the boat from capsizing, the captain would
quickly shift into the lowest gear just before the boat would 'land'
so as not to lose its balance.
All the while, the TV was showing dubbed Hong Kong kung-fu movies.
Who wants to be a millionaire? Give me a million and I will not
do this trip again.