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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 death certificates.

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 ten minutes.

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.

the loei monuments at angkor

Part one: From Poipet to Siem Reap

Part two: It's tiring to travel in Cambodia

Part three: Selected excerpts of my conversations with gunter

Part four: Off the rocks

Part six: A final word

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