Restaurant 0, Cockroaches 1
Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
85Trip End Dec 24, 2011
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We have plenty of time to compare sunburns from the previous day (of which there are some impressive examples) on the 5 hour journey to Chau Doc, which will bring us into Vietnam. The road is narrowed sometimes to only one lane because local people have laid their rice harvest at either side to dry in the sun. All along the are the wooden houses on stilts that we have become used to seeing; the best of these is a tiny open fronted shack with a single barber's chair inside complete with sleeping barber.
The boarder here is far calmer than that from Thailand into Cambodia. The checkpoints for each country are only separated by a short strip of land and there is waterlogged farmland on either side
When we reach the boarder control window for Vietnam, the guard winces at the tippexed out date on our visa (where we have been given a shoddy but still expensive extension), then looks at us and scratches it off suspiciously. We smile and he lets us pass so that we can get a more official looking extension stamp to avoid similar happenings in the future.
Once through and onto a private bus our first impressions of Vietnam are that everyone is busy, that there are more motorcycles than people and that people really do wear the cone shaped hats here.
The border city here sees few tourists so when Lek takes a few of us to the local market people stare and the children shout 'hello!' excitedly.
In the evening we go to a restaurant on the river that is attached to one of the other tiny hand-full of hotels in the city. It has a wooden platform that extends out onto the water, where people can sit and eat; skinny people apparently, with no muscles and hollow bones. As soon as our fat Gap Adventure bums hit our seats the entire platform starts to sink. Due to the high water levels (a result of the monsoon season), cockroaches and all manor of other creatures have taken shelter under the platform and now, as it begins to sink, they come seeking refuge in their dozens above. A crab appears followed by lots of insects and both Claire and Becky find a couple of cockroaches crawling up their thighs.
We move to sit up stairs on dry land. The food is pretty poor but our first taste of one of Vietnam's many locally brewed beers, 'Saigon', is very good.