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Mariam's Amazing Race to Cannes and back to Cambodia: Day 13


Vic had to leave for work so I said my goodbye early. She suggested I might want to skip Galway because it would make a tough day. This was always a "Plan B" that I was hoping I wouldn't have to do, but I can also be flexible and adapt when necessary.

Jim and I spent the morning checking out options for going to Belfast and catching the ferry. I decided to take the 12pm Bus Eireann to Belfast ($15 Euros) arriving around 3pm to catch the 5pm ferry to Stanraer, Scotland ($35 Euros).

The bus driver was really fun. I was the first one on the bus so I got a seat in the first row. I asked a few questions and he would tease me with the answers, talking about "muppets" and such. The old man seated directly behind him kept laughing. I knew this was a sign of fondness - the Irish don't tease you unless they like you. He even pointed out the lines on the road were Northern Ireland began.

At the bus station I had to buy another ticket for a bus to the ferry, but they prefered British Sterling (Pounds). I had a few coins leftover from London and they were enough. There was a cafe and I ordered a Cottage Pie - basically hamburger stew with mashed potatoes on top. It came with a salad and chips (French fries).

The bus didn't take long to get to the ferry. This time they accepted Euros. Passport control was easy; they just looked at my passport and looked at me and said, "Thank you." Finished. I went up to the boarding area and found some brochures to look at. Shortly, I was walking through what looked like the way to an airplane. The walkway was enclosed. I got out my camera and asked someone to take my picture getting on the boat. My friend, Tom in Phnom Penh said he wouldn't believe I really did it unless he saw the picture. He knows I don't like the water.

The ferry was enormous. In the bottom where the cars park there were also big diesel trucks. The people area was full of different dining areas and lounges. There were cinemas (playing High School Musical 3), and "Teen Town" with video games - even slot machines!

The ride was really smooth, like a train, until we got past the mouth of the river into the open water. The ferry started rocking side to side. The person who took my picture said I should find a seat in the middle because you don't feel the swaying as much - clever.

I was so glad to see land. Not only was it Scotland, it was land! I can't begin to fathom a boat ride all the way to America.

I started chatting with a couple of people and when I mentioned I live in Cambodia they perked up. They are planning a trip to southeast Asia later this year. I gave them my card. The other person had a pre-booked bus that went through Newton-Stewart (my stop). Since the local bus wasn't going to leave for an hour and I would have to take a shuttle just to catch it, I thought it was worth my time to ask this person's bus driver if he could drop me off there. The answer was yes and it cost $6 Pounds.

The countryside was so green. I'm not sure why green is only mentioned with regard to Ireland.

I used my cell with the UK SIM card to call the B&B to see if I could arrive a night early. Not only was the answer yes, they offered to pick me up in Newton-Stewart. I admitted that I hadn't eaten, so they even made me a piping hot pasta dinner. It was really cold (a high of 16 degrees C), but the sitting room had a fire burning and was nice and toasty. I even got a hot water bottle to warm my bed!

I was excited to find out there is WIFI! In the morning I will take some time to upload photos.

 Mariam Arthur
Kmy Films
+855 (0)12 54 30 74


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