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Published: February 10th 2012
Once again we are aboard the Mekong Express from Phnom Penh to HCMC (Saigon) in south Vietnam. We are enjoying a feast of local pop videos including one of young man mourning the tragic road accident involving his lifelong love- something that must pull at the hearts of all Cambodians given their driving skills and roads. Well let’s get the point, that is the blog entry from this great Kingdom.
We have spent 2 nights in the Cambodia Kingdom capital. The city, like ye olde London sits on the grand River Tonle Sap and flanked to the south by a communist style boulevard. It is a manicured, litter free and people free area, yes the fair folk of Cambodia are not permitted to disturb the order. At one ends stands the Victory Monument in celebration of the first person to cross the road without being injured- achieved in 1997 but alas the said person was later hit by a moped carrying a water buffalo and now bears a sore ankle. We all wish her a speedy recovery. This city of years gone by is dominated by the magnificent Royal Palace and gardens, what a joy and delight to view this
We then move into the lungs of PP, similar to the lungs of Dot Cotton after a heavy night on the Benson and Hedges. I lure you back in time to London City around 1600- imagine the noise, pollution and stench. The streets are filled with hawker s applying their trade, constant calling of ‘tuk tuk’ sir, street corners littered with waifs and strays, tuk tuk drivers relieving themselves against a nearby tree and child beggars. We sat on the riverside watching the little children play ‘catch the sparrow’, we admired their bird catching skills and their overarm bowling technique! As you walk around these noise filled streets, above the continuous noise of vehicles, your hear ‘tuk, tuk’- if I had wanted a tuk tuk I would be in one, one of the previous 57 that I have just been offered. It is impossible, if not a great miracle if someone wanted a tuk tuk and not to be sat in one.
We spent the day with a heavy heart visiting the killing fields and prison, used by Pohl Pot’s Khymer Rouge. We have visited many similar sites in Europe but this one was particularly tough
as it was our generation suffering and no-one appeared to benefit- the poor were worked to a slow death and the educated killed.
And lastly we have a problem! Yes with our travel mascot Julian, we fear he may have a personality disorder. One night he is entertaining the locals with a Shirley Bassey esq drag show to Mr.Bombastic, lapping up the praise and the next day he refuses to leave the room. Alas I guess this is the result of buying a mascot from a discount bookshop. In the words of Kerry Katona (possibly the icon of our generation)- ‘you get what you pay for!’
It leaves us to say…good morning Vietnam!
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