Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goodbye Vietnam and up the Mekong River to Cambodia

Well, it has been a while since my last post, so please accept my apologies for the delay.  Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand have all taken up so much time that I haven't been able to sit down and compose my thoughts.  I have been able to add new experiences though which is the primary reason for embarking on this adventure.  So, here we go....

Last time we left off, I was in Saigon.  I took a bus ride to head off on a two-day boat ride up the Mekong River from outside of Saigon to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  Along the bus route, people were preparing for the Vietnam's Tet holiday. Apparently, melons are a big part of that.  Maybe some of my Vietnamese friends back home can explain.

The bicycle is still a major mode of transportation in the smaller cities and in the countryside.  Check out this restaurant being transported by bicycle.

Police ride bicycles.
Even highly flammable explosives are  transported by bicycle.
So, making it to our dock, we boarded our boat for Phnom Penh.

The trip brochure highlighted the floating markets as something not to miss.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  Maybe my expectations were too high, but nonetheless, nothing to call home about.  It was amazing to see all the life and industry that the Mekong supports for its people.  The Mekong is Asia's longest river and, as such, is used for transport and food.

The boat stopped at a few "authentic" villages along the way.  Yeah, right!  Buy this!  Watch how we make that!  Again, blame it on my high expectations.  But, the day ended with a ferry and beautiful sunset to end my first day on the Mekong.

Day Two on the Mekong started with a rowboat to a fish farm and another "authentic" Vietnamese village.  The rowers line up to take visitors to the village.  Most are women which surprised me.

Uneventful, except that the boat that an irish guy named Keeran and I were in was almost broadsided by another boat.

We were taken by what vaguely resembled the houseboat community of Sausalito.

Once aboard the boat that was to take the 6 hour trip to Phnom Penh, I settled in.  Though much slower and more crowded, the ride was wonderful.  There is something about sittng on the deck of a boat, listening to the Doors on my iPod (think Apocalypse Now) and enjoying the fact that I, and about twenty others, were at the mercy of the sputtering engine of this barely seaworthy vessel.

The lack of space invites interaction with others.  I met a wonderful couple from the UK, Ben and Sami, who had quit their jobs and were on a one year journey to end in America where I hope to be able to be their tour guide.

Exhausted, both physically and mentally from the long boat trip (and a few cans of beer), I decided to tail along with Ben and Sami and got a nice room in Phnom Penh for a whopping $13 USD a night.

Next blog post...soon, I promise...Phnom Penh,Cambodia, my favorite big Asian city.
I am safe, happy and hope you all are too.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mike, hope all is well. Stay safe and Godspeed