Uuuhhhh... Is this going to be Vietnam ???
Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
69Trip End Nov 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
In a piece of shit hotel
The boat left at 8:45 from Phnom Penh. The boat ride was nice even though... it was not the boat that was shown on the brochure. Oh well. Just smaller, less comfortable but hey... No big worries after all.
After 3.5 hours we reach the Cambodian river border. Our passports are processed, we get back on the boat and reach the Vietnamese river border slightly after. There it takes about 30 minutes to process the visas (already I suspect that it should take less but since they have a nice restaurant and cafe organized there... it fells like they want us to have lunch - not included in the tour of course). We then change boats and - yes - here we get the boat that was on the brochure... The trip is lovely, the river is beautiful and life around it is incredible. I suspect boats to have a short lifespan because these people are building boats everywhere ! I see huge rice granaries and I therefore suppose that rice is being transported from there to a big harbor somewhere,or to a main town where it can be processed. Guys, I keep on telling this to all of you but I'll say it again : WASH YOUR RICE. Even if it's fucking Uncle Ben's.
At round 4pm we reached Chau Doc and here starts the nightmare (I am writing this a day after and it does not get any better). Our hotel is right where the boat stops, a floating hotel. Great ! We are all excited but not for long. The hotel manager is of the worst kind. Not a look at us, he doesn't speak a word of English anyway. He shouts all over, starts being really annoyed when he sees he has to give me a room just for me (what a waste of space !). The rooms are OK. If you want air conditioning, it's 5 USD. Fortunately, nobody wants it. Before our "guide" actually leaves us, we manage to have him tell us that we shall all meet in the lobby at 7pm for our dinner cruise... Which never took place. At 7pm, what we got was an angrier than ever hotel manager who claims he knows nothing about a free meal, especially not a dinner cruise. We end up on the first floor (oh that's where all the noise in our rooms come from) where the staff reluctantly give us a plate of cold noodles and cold vegetables and... if we want something else we have to pay... and prices are way above market average (what about 15 USD for a grilled Mekong fish ?). We all ended up in bed very quickly.
Fortunately, I had at least a nice feel for Chau Doc because, unlike the others who preferred to take a nap, I decided to go for a walk downtown, which was 10 minutes away. I lost myself in the market, trying all sorts of food in tiny quantities that merchants were offering me, amused by my curiosity. Some of this stuff was disgusting and nearly made me throw up... Some was really delicious though. Anyway, we all had some good laughs. They were all watching my face to see my reaction. I must say that they all tried it in front of me to show me it was edible first :-)))
I stopped in an Internet cafe for a drink and here is some news guys : NO FACEBOOK in Vietnam ! The government has blocked it. So now is the time to write all sorts of nasty stuff on my wall ! Go wild dudes ! As I won't be able to check it for one full month (unless Vietnam gets on my nerves).
On my way back to the hotel, time reaches 6pm and there... Amazing. I start hearing loud pop music. From Vietnam, of course. Sounding a bit like "L'école est finie"... Actually one started exactly like "La ballade des gens heureux" :-))) And well it certainly looks like the working day is over because people start walking along the river, either walking or jogging, making exercises, playing ball and a sort of badminton game but without rackets and only using their feet (I saw that in Cambodia too). I even say a karate lesson. Cute kids practicing their karate with their old sensei ! I stopped on a bench for a while to watch all this. Everybody was saying hello to me and it felt like it was the only word they knew. The music was still playing the loudspeakers... Then it stopped and there was what sounded like their national anthem. It didn't seem to move them too much... And right after that, a woman start talking on those loudspeakers. I learnt after that that it actually was... propaganda ! Can you believe it ? These guys still manage to go forward with communism even though they absolutely know that capitalism has taken over ?!
Anyway, more tomorrow !
Nadege, slightly pissed off.