the deal:

Follow the journey on twitter: TWEET TWEET

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Border Jumpers

Welcome to retroactive blogging.  We have had some great experiences since the last post but haven't had any great internet.  Thus, we had to make ya'll wait, but no worries.  After the next few posts you will be completely up to date on our whereabouts and wassadeals.  As we sit here sipping 'passion fruit fruit sharks' (about the fifteenth item we have found mis-spelled on our guesthouse's menu - though nothing beats 'noodles with fried fork') we realize we need to explain how we got here.  We left you in Saigon as we headed to Chau Doc - a small vietnamese border town.   Choosing to skip the boat ride previously planned, we rented a van all the way down to the beaches of Kep, Cambodia.  Kep is incredible.  More on that later...

Crossing the boarder from Vietnam to Cambodia was striking.  Nearly everything changed immediately.  Although we greatly enjoyed our time spent in Saigon, it was a constant battle with the Vietnamese people.  Every member of our traveling circus had to be on guard at all times, as it seemed that everyone was trying to snake away as much money from us as possible.  Our friend Jed described Vietnam to us as so: Vietnam is like the store that desperately wants you to buy something but doesn't care if you come back.  If you have ever been to Vietnam you should know exactly what we are talking about.  It is not to say that we did not enjoy our time there but we were more than happy to move on.

The boarder crossing from Vietnam to Cambodia was an experience in itself worth sharing.  All of us were nearly giddy with excitement as we were about to enter Cambodia.  We went through the Vietnamese immigration side of things seemingly with no problem.  When we got our passports back the three of us who had applied for a looseleaf Vietnamese Visa realized that the boarder patrol had ripped it out of our passports.  Jed assured us that it most likely would not be a problem and we embarked on the 200 meter walk to the Cambodian immigration hut - which, was literally a hut on the side of a red clay road.  The immigrations officer instantly looked upon us with suspicion as the 6 of us approached the window.  He had a curt and somewhat stand-off-ish demeanor which had us all secretly thinking the same thing: this guy is gonna hassle us and look for a bribe!  Having Jed there (who speaks Khmer, lives in Siem Reap, and has a Khmer wife) we figured we were not in for too much trouble.  We all began to fill out paperwork and answer questions and then a serious issue arose - why didn't three of us have paperwork from Vietnam?  The officer was not about to grant us entrance to Cambodia without the proper documentation that the Vietnamese had taken from us.  'EFFF!' was the first thought that came to our collective mind.  With Scott and Jed's father through immigration, Jed took the arduous walk back to the Vietnamese side leaving just three of us with the officer and the crowd of Cambodians who had gathered around us.  As it turned out Jed was fortunately able to retrieve our visas and we were on our way - following a quick temperature check by the health official (next clay hut on the left).  Apparently had we so much as coughed or had a slight temperature we would have had another potential bribe necessary for access to Cambodia.  We literally jogged the rest of the way - nothing was stopping us at that point.

We then scarfed down a bowl of noodles and beef, rented a van, and bumped and bounced all the way to Kep...

No comments:

Post a Comment