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Published: November 12th 2015
Cabin seemed small on arrival but good storage. The boat is compact but comfortable with a nice dining room and a great Sundeck.
We have visited many villages and temples in several towns such as Kampong Cham, Kampong Trolach, Phnom Penh (3 nights docked here), Tan chau, Sa Dec and Cai Be. All have their charms except Phnom Penh. We had several excursions there but it is probably the only place I would not return to for many years. A real discrepancy between haves and have-nots and no apparent effort by the Cambodian government to improve the situation.
So far this trip our transportation methods have included: plane, buses, electric golf cart type vehicles, sampans, rickshaws, cyclos, riverboat, bicycle, kayak, tuk tuk, and some even did elephant. My favourite is tuk tuk. They go anywhere and weave in and out of traffic with abandon and only cost $4 per load no matter how many people or where you are going. One guy asked why I had picked his tuk tuk (there are usually 20 guys around trying to get your business). I replied , 'because it was so clean and red and black'. The real reason was he was
so handsome and had a great smile - I really didn't care what his tuk tuk looked like.
We have seen and heard a lot about Pol Pot and the Khmer regime. I could not bring myself to go to the killing fields and S-21. I was already having bad dreams and I would rather read more about this at home. I felt I would emotionally fall apart if I visited these 2 places. So Dan and I went to the Central Market in Phnom Penh - maze of inventory from food, clothing, kitchenware, shoes, jewellery - mind boggling. I was actually shopped out just looking - couldn't even concentrate to buy. Won't let that happen again. Then we headed straight to the famous Raffles hotel and sat in The Elephant Bar and I had the most expensive cocktail ever - $16 pisco sour - 4 sips and done. It did come with peanuts and banana chips though.
In Tan Chau we had the best excursions. We visited a farming island and a typical home on stilts there. While the guide was busy explaining about the farm and the house I was drawing in the dirt with some
of the kids and ended up playing hopscotch (cabet?) with about 5 of them. In that heat it was quite a challenge.
The group of people on this trip (50 of us) have been super friendly and lots of fun. No real standout characters that annoy. There have been a few odd questions asked of the guides though and here are 2 of my favourites:
1. During a briefing about the next day's activities the Muslim call to prayer could be heard from across the river. Someone asked if the guide could please turn down the music.
2. While walking past a peanut field the guide had to explain to someone that the peanuts were in the ground. Someone asked, Do they have their shells on?
Today our last excursion was to the Reunification Palace and then when he said we would next visit a temple I almost groaned out loud. But it was a Daoist temple and I found the 200 year old carvings so interesting and the use of the temple was so busy with people buying and lighting incense and 'special paper money' to burn. When I was sitting doing a sketch a
Vietnamese woman beside me was smiling and trying to point out some details I was missing in my drawing. She was happy when I was done. I have had 2 Cafe Sua da today so it may take a while to get to sleep tonight - apparently they are quite high on the caffeine scale. We have tomorrow morning to be at the pool until it is time to go to the airport at 1 pm. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. Good day to fly right - well we get to do Friday the 13th twice because we cross the International Date Line on the way home.
It will be good to see the grandkids again and it will be good to see Viet Nam again sometime in the future.
Next trip - New York in December!
Tot: 0.595s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 10; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0135s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
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