Friday, November 21, 2014

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

After two days exploring the backwaters of the Mekong Delta with a guide from Handspan Travel (with whom we'd gone to Halong Bay), we have made it up the river and across the border to Cambodia.  The first part of the boat trip was 0.K., but then we went through an exit from Vietnam stop, which took quite awhile, and then a few miles further on, we exited again, to enter Cambodia.  The passports were collected on the boat, and the visas cost us $34 each although official information says $25.  We watched the officials sitting at a big table on the riverbank under a roof, scrutinizing all the passports, writing notes, stamping, checking on us by tablets and phone.  Finally we were each called by name, one by one,to retrieve our passports and then walk to a window where we again relinquished the passports to be stamped at least 4 times,before they were handed back to us.  We were able to get on the boat, after an officer checked the passports again, of course.  But now 3 boatloads of people had been combined into one, and there were almost no seats left, so Kent and I had to split up, and no one would switch seats because they all claimed they had long legs, and the seats left were over the curve of the hull.  So, Kent, who is not exactly short-legged, and I, who am more so, squeezed into the short-legged seats for what we thought would be another hour, but which turned out to be two.  The arrival time of 12:30 p.m. had now become 2 p.m.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed visiting with a young German man next to me, and when we got here tuk-tuk drivers fought to take us the six or 7 blocks to the hotel, after the enormous pile of luggage had been unloaded.

The Foreign Correspondents Club where we are staying, is indeed a fascinating,historic place, a little rough around the edges, but that story will have to be told later as I can't stay awake any more.

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