As it was, Peter checked out the rooms - I just couldn't be bothered and stayed outside with the bags. The rooms weren't up to standard and didn't have the satellite TV or cable TV or ADSL internet they advertised. Much better value elsewhere. If you ever come to Trat, DON'T stay at Pop's Guesthouse. They are unpleasant people and we've heard from several separate, independent people that they and their agents/touts can get, and have previously gotten, physically violent with their opposition. They have a magnificent and totally undeserved write up in the Lonely Planet guide. And the best place to stay in town doesn't even get a mention in the Lonely Planet - see here to read up on the excellent Residang Guesthouse. Sounds like something a bit odd going on, with Lonely Plantet, but who knows. Probably just lazy rather than corrupt.
Needless to say, I will be sending off an email to them, which may have been ignored under normal circumstances, but I know it won't be because Pop's is using Lonely Planets' logo (intellectual copyright) and saying there is a Lonely Planet Guarantee. No such thing. Apart from that, nobody should ever stay here because of the tactics they use to get people there. We specifically asked to be taken to the town centre/market. We passed it on the way to Pop's. Thankfully it wasn't a long walk. I'll even cc it to the Tourist Authority and the Tourist Police, because neither of those government agencies like it when tourists get pissed off about things that they are able to do something about. Everybody in town knows about it, but most are a bit scared and don't like to even talk about it. Not nice. I'm going to have a shot at bringing her down. Give me something to do. I love nothing more than writing officious letters to bureaucrats, although this won't be the same. I could never be condescending to government agencies who haven't done anything to me (and I'm not sure they would get it anyway as English isn't their first language), and it would be really unfair to go with my usual practice of making sure they would have to get the dictionary out for at least one word in every sentence. Still, I'm going to follow it through.
I love doing that. And putting bullies in their places. It'll give me something to do when we have no internet access, which may be regular for the next few weeks - don't worry if there aren't any updates for a while. We're going to a country where the border crossing guards hit you for a bribe before stamping your passport, so I doubt the infrastructure will be all that good. And no. I won't be paying any bribe. Last week I sent an email to every Cambodian embassy I could find an email address for in Australia, US, South America, UK, Germany, Thailand and I think Malaysia, the Prime Minister's office, the ministry of Immigration and the ministry of tourism asking what the exact fee is for a land border crossing and if there were any other charges levied for any reason. Was hoping to print off a reply to show a guard, but not one has responded. NOT ONE. I'm talking about 17 emails and not one single reply. I won't be letting that one go either. I'll write a letter to the editor of the Bangkok Post (it's about time they had a decent one instead of the mindless drivel they usually publish) and if there's an English language newspaper in Cambodia I'll write a letter to the editor there too, as well as bombarding complaints to various government departments until I get a response.
Geez, I'm gonna be a busy girl.