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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Trapped behind a thin veil of politeness

This journey is one of two halves. The first six hour bus ride was the best I've ever had. Truly incredible: sleeper seats so long my feet couldn't touch the bottom even if I tried, with cushioning more comfortable than many beds I've slept in. At 2am I was not only reluctant to get off but checking into a cheap-and-not-paticularly-cheerful hostel was actually a downgrade from my bus bed!

The next day I did part two: another six hour bus ride. This could not have been more different. A cramped bus with hard seats that could be made to recline the maximum of an inch, whilst I was sitting next to the most annoying person that has ever ever ever ever ever existed in the world ever. Ever.

She was the personification of when autocorrect keeps changing your word even though you typed what you meant to type each and every time. Or when the self check-out machine freezes and the shop assistant can't seem to see you and all you want is your single loaf of bread. Or when you make a cup of tea only then to realise you have no milk. I could go on but I think you get the picture: she was a nightmare.

She kept sighing very loudly at odd intervals making me jump. And she had no sense of personal space at all whatsoever, she kept bumping me and leaning on me – literally leaning - on me watching my phone screen over my shoulder.

I start to feel a need to react but I cannot make a scene – I am far too British for that – I can't say or do anything outright. But passive aggression, now that I can do : as long as there is at least a thin veil of politeness to hide behind I can show her who's who.

I start sighing. Very loudly. Okay I lie, not that loudly, but loudly enough for her to notice – maybe.

This amuses me briefly, but the 'victory' was short lived as I start to need a wee. The bus has stopped a few times for people to wee but this consists of people jumping out and weeing in fields by the road, can I bring myself to do that?

But what if my bladder bursts?

Oh my god I need a wee. I need a wee so bad. 

And just when I think this journey cannot get anymore painful. The crowning moment.

I feel something touch my arm. I turn back to see what it is.

It's a toe. A horrible old cracked toe … touching my elbow.

I'm done.

Photos taken at Ta Prohm Temple : Cambodia