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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Lazy Borders & Livestock

VIETNAM | Saturday, 10 June 2017 | Views [128]

Ho Chi Minh also has a Military Museum (lots of places in Vietnam have them and we visited one in Hanoi.) We decided to check it out after being dropped off from the tunnels, and with an entrance fee of 50p each it was worth a look. It started very similar to Hanoi's museum. Propaganda. Everyone else was wrong and we were right. A very one sided story. Then it took a turn. Rooms full of images taken by journalist photographers, images of injured children, images of people suffering from the effects of chemical attacks. The main culprit being the chemical known as Agent Orange. This thing was horrific. There are no words to describe these pictures. You would really have to see them yourself. And they say there is proof that people are still suffering from the effects of this chemical generations on. 

Another section of the museum focuses on the jails and tortures used on the 'traitorous' Vietnamese. Although it doesn't seem to say it outright, this place was Vietnam on Vietnam... they tortured each other brutally. Starvation, water boarding, sleep deprevation, withholding water and food, cramming multiple prisoners into tiny spaces making them fight for air to breathe, cages made of barbed wire that restricted movement, breaking or totally removing bones, finger nails, eyes. This was relentless, and somehow there are survivors to corroborate the stories, with life long injuries because of their treatment. The whole place left me completely speechless. Some research will show you the horrific extents this country went too during the war. 

 

After the museum it had been a heavy day. We wandered a little and found the Notre Dame of Vietnam. It's a little haven in the middle of the chaotic roads and shopping places. It is also open for mass services. Strangely, we bumped into some Australian tourists that seemed more interested in taking pictures with the McDonalds signs across the road... go figure!!

We had pretty much spent up on our time in Vietnam and our visa was running out. It was time to move. This time to Cambodia. We booked a bus and were told it was a 6 hour journey and the visa would be arranged for us. All set!

The morning of the bus journey we got up, lumped our bags on and walked the short 10 minutes to the travel agents. They walked us to an agents about 10 doors down, where the woman had a face like a wet weekend and an attitude to match. She sulked when we sat down, she sulked when we went to the shop next door, when our transfer mini bus arrived she didn't even tell us, the driver had to come get us!! We got on the mini bus and he took us in a big square, right past our guest house, to the bus station. We loaded onto the bus which was comfortable, then drove back past our guest house again...twice!!

Once we were on our way the 'guide' came to collect the passports and visa money. Great, one less thing to worry about! The journey was uneventful, a few random stops but we happily read and watched tv.

It was when we got to the border that things got interesting. They made us all get off and file into a huge warehouse type building. About three quarters of the way down was a single metal detector and a scanning belt. It soon became clear that only the 'westerners' needed to scan their bags. We then queued at the make shift passport booth waiting for our passports back. 

We waited.... and waited.... and waited.... every single person on our bus was cleared, then the next bus was cleared, then a mini bus, then some more.... when our passports were finally handed to the 'guide' he immediately handed them back to the man in the booth. When we got to the bottom of it, the man in the booth was refusing to stamp us out of Vietnam because he didn't recognise our VIETNAMESE E-Visa. Is this actually happening! They are refusing to allow us to leave the country because of the visa that got us into the country...!?! We waited for ages. Every time we asked our guide what was happening he would hold up a hand and shout "WAIT!" On two occasions he did this then went straight into the 'duty free' shop for to buy cigarettes. Obviously got his priorities right 🙄 

When we finally got our passports and visa stamps the 'guide' made us run to the bus. 2 minutes later we were getting off again. They led us off and pointed to a waiting area. We entered and waited. Then we were told to walk through the building. Turns out it was the official Cambodian check point. We walked past at least 5 desks and not a single person so much as looked up from their phones to see who we were. We walked straight back out at the other end, about 20 meters away from where we had entered, then got back on the bus! 

What the hell is going on!!!

2 more minutes. Off again. This time at a road side food place. The drivers stop here for food. It's a strange place. No proper menu, no interest in tourists. And we realised we were here to wait for the officials from the border to bring the passports to the 'guide' hahahaha! Insane. Literally at no point did anyone look at my passport picture and me at the same time. 

But we were in. And that'll do for me.

 

The rest of the journey was as easy as the beginning. Until we started pulling over for locals, but there were no seats left. As if that would stop them though. Out came the deck chairs and the plastic stools.... all the way down the isle. Whenever we stopped the 'guide' would make them all get up, move to the back and push all the chairs back, to let out the passengers, then lay it all back out in the isle again. We had to laugh. We've just never seen anything like it.

 

By the time we arrived in Cambodia (Phnom Penh) we were 2 hours late. We were told 6, it had taken 8. We got off and the bags were being thrown off the bus, standard! It was when I picked my bag up I noticed something a bit weird, then when the hubby went to get his bag the driver stopped him and reached down under the bag to pull out 2 birds. Yes. 2 feathered, flapping, squawking, live birds. They had been in the hold, amongst the bags, for 8 hours. One girl was laughing so hard that she literally just collapsed (I assume with the shock) in the middle of the road on the wet floor. What is happening.

We got our bags and jumped in a tuk tuk. Arrived at our guest house and the place is clean and comfy. Can't ask for more than that. Let's see what Phnom Penh has to offer.

Tags: animals, borders, buses, cambodia, passports, propaganda, travel, vietnam, wanderlust, war museum

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