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from Trat to Cambodia

CAMBODIA | Friday, 22 December 2006 | Views [2236]

Hi Everyone!

Well we've made the distance into Cambodia!  Last I wrote we were in Chatamborie.  Needless to say there were not many options there but to watch old movies on tv so we headed out to Trat two days ago.  What a wonderful place it was!  Everyone was extremely friendly and accomodating - much different from my previous few days experiences.  We ended up staying at the Baan Jai Dee Guest House.  Very clean, comfortable and quiet - I can understand why there seemed to be many expats there as well as European travelers.  We have made a couple of new friends, Peter from Sweden and Christine from Ireland.  Our first night was cool and filled with laughter at a local middle eastern style cafe.  David (Earl - going to call him that from here on in this blog) finally found his appetite that evening which was also very welcome.  I was off my medicine and partaked in a mosquito repelling gin and tonic along with a lovely club sandwich.  So accomodating was this cafe that when David asked for a brownie with ice cream they hauled off on a bicycle as if on a quest for him. We spent one more low key day in Trat and yesterday very very early headed to Cambodia.

The trip across the border was pretty event free, we did see one child with half an arm asking for money at the visa office.  Also there seemed to be a plethora of people willing to take your baggage and put it into the van only to find out they didn't work for the minibus company we bought our tickets through.  Once in Cambodia we had a very nice mercedes minibus drive for the first hour then unexpectedly were dropped off at another guest house where we were shuffled out of the nice bus into a what looked like a very old volkswagon minibus.  David was smart enough to hoof it over and get a couple of good seats for us as I made sure the bags were where they needed to go.  A Cambodian man came up to us and then proceeded in telling us we had to move to the back of the bus as a cambodian family had bought those seats.  David stood his ground and wouldn't budge - the back seats were broken in the bus.  We were then threatened that if we didn't move they'd keep us there overnight.  No one believed them.  Long story short and many a shouts from a couple of Frenchmen on the bus, we finally departed for a 10 - 13 hour bus trip to Phem Pheng.  The trip was quite interesting as we drove through many quarries and roads that hadn't been built yet.  We also passed through 4 rivers via ferries (check out the photos!).  Many water buffalos later we arrived in Phem Pheng (I know my spellings off on that one).  We are now staying at the Nagin Guest house along with Peter and Christine.  Today we will lay somewhat low and tomorrow we will begin touring around the city.  From what I've seen so far it is amazing the amount of poverty that surrounds us, poverty that we as americans don't ever really get to see.  Last night we found out that Doctors here earn about $1 per day and that is considered wealthy.  Police here are very corrupt, our bus driver had to pay off at least 3 policmen on the way to our guest house.  Our guest house guy had his scooter stolen recently and its cost him $200 american dollars to try to bribe the police into telling him where to find it, but as always, just because a bribe is given it doesn't mean they'll make good on it.  So he is out a $500 american dollar scooter and I can't help but wonder how long it will take him to earn enough money to get another one.  Currently $1 USD is equal to $14,036 in Cambodian dollars.  I'm finally considered a millionaire. 

Hope you are all doing well for the holidays!  Take care!

- Leslie

Tags: Adventures

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