The Fast Boat to Cambodia- relatively speaking

Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Encounters Hostel

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The accommodations last night were not the best. Better then it could have been but worse then I prefer.

We made a couple of stops prior to getting on the boat to Phnom Penh. The first was a totally pointless (I think) stop where they fed these fish that just went nuts. Check out the blurred splashing photo. From there we stopped for a walk through a predominantly Islamic Village and saw a Mosque. Then the group separated. One group was heading back to Saigon by bus. One group was heading to Cambodia on a slow boat. And our group, on a fast boat.

The border was about 2 hours away. We fill out the Visas on arrival forms on the boat. They take our $22 fee and our passports. We make one stop. All the passengers disembark and we wait in a waiting room having a snack. Then we are back on the boat. Hmmm. No official actually saw or talked to any of us. This was the leaving Vietnam stop. 10 minutes later we stop at the Cambodia Customs and Immigration stop. Get off the boat. Fill out an immigration card. Get our passports back. Then get the passports stamped. Now that was easy.

In country # 4!

About a half hour into Cambodia and the boat pulls over on this island in the middle of the Mekong. We switch boats. This one was coming from Phnong Penh. We had nice tables in the first boat. This one is only seats. A group of people climb onto the roof of the boat where the only thing stopping them from falling into the water is a 4 inch high metal rail. I expect us to make an emergency stop at some point in time, but we never do.

We were told that we would be in Phnong Penh by 1h30, then 2h30. We finally arrive at 3 PM. I take a tuk-tuk to the hotel and argue with the driver about how much he wants. He wants $4.00. I say $3.00. He gets $4.00. I find out later that the maximum fee from the riverfront to the hotel shouldn't be more then one dollar.

I get an information talk from Martin at the hostel front desk. Then Mon brings me to my room. Well! I thought the accommodations were lacking on the floating hotel, all I have here is a 3 inch foam mattress on the floor sharing a room with 3 other guys. At least we have air conditioning. It's +36 celsius outside.

I go for a walk taking pictures. Have supper at the Mystic Pizza restaurant. Get propositioned by the waitress. Then back to the hostel to write some blog entries.

As I sit in the hotel lobby writing I listen to the conversation going on between 3 people at one of the tables nearby. We have Sara, from Vancouver, BC, born and raised in Lethbridge, AB, Greg, from Israel, born in Russia, plus a 3rd guy who looks like a real hippy with his hair in dreadlocks. He's heading to the bus station and so I never meet him.

I finish writing for the evening and Sara asks me to join them. She's been traveling for 7 months. I listen to her travel stories. The one about her stop in Laos was most interesting. I mentioned in my entry on my bus ride from Luang Prabang to Vientiane about my skipped stop in Vang Vien, the tubing capital of Laos. She was sick during that stop and so she spent a lot more time there then she had wanted. Why is this? Everyone else I have talked to have raved about the party atmosphere. She found the place nothing more then the Laos version of Sodom and Gomorah. Everybody was so high on whichever drug they could find plus alcohol, that they barely could remember what they had done or where they were. She was constantly being asked for sex by all the guys and once, during what should have been a relaxing massage, heard an Australian guy come in, talk to one of the masseuse and then heard some pretty extreme sex going on. She was pretty disgusted with the whole experience in this town.

Then there's the story of Greg. He's been hitchhiking from England. He dumpster dives for food. Basically gets on a bus and tells the driver he has no money, which he doesn't, and pays $2.00 for a train ticket through Mongolia that should have cost 50 times more because the police won't let him hitchhike.

I ws hoping to get to bed early but the stories were too interesting. Besides, Sara and Greg went on a beer run and forced me to drink the 3rd can they had. Off to bed after midnight. This was after Stephanie, an American from L.A. currently teaching in China joined us.

I'm trying to catch up on my entries and so this is all you get.

Think It! Feel It! Live It! Love It!
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