Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vietnam Border-Chau Doc

I found out it's possible to take a boat from Phnon Penh down the mighty Mekong River ("Giver of Life"), to the Vietnam border as opposed to bus or train straight to Saigon.

So, I woke up this morning with a big stretch and headed out for a quick massage before departure. I went to a place that has blind persons trained in various styles of massage. The idea is to help them maintain self-sufficiency. I kinda like the idea of my massuer not being able to see me for self-conscious reasons :).

It was quite nice but he did a lot of painful pressue point work on my legs. I'm not sure what style of massage it was and I forgot to take a picture.

A short while I later i was picked up by a tuk tuk. (local cab type thing)
And headed to the dock.

On the boat I immeditately made friends with three Northern Irish guys: Stephen 32, Mark 19, and Al, also 19. I chatted with these guys most of the way. I also met a Canadian named Colin, 25, part-way into the trip. There was also a Swedish woman traveling alone who spoke English but a such a terribly strong accent that no one could understand her. We all took turns smiling and looking at her many pictures; mostly of bars she'd been to. She quite took a liking to Stephen, which led him to take a liking to me as a result.

It was getting dark by the time we reached the border.

The Irish guys headed immediately to Saigon while Colin (the Canadian guy), and I decided to check out the border town of Chau Doc, Vietnam. We'd hoped to see something a lit
tle more off the tourist track

We touched down on ground and inadvertantly picked up a quite useful guide, despite our best efforts not to. Mostly, he just started following us around. Dong, our unsolicited guide a.k.a. our unshakable new friend, actually proved quite helpful. He took us to a hotel-dodgey, at best, probably not the worst in this border town. It lives up to the reputation of dirty border towns least from what we saw of it. Dong also showed us to a clean, tasty restaurant.
Afterward, back at the hotel, which was at least 15 degress (farenheit) warmer inside out room than outside, we decided to book the first bust outta town. We had the lights on and the window open a crack, to make life bearable. Bad idea. The room was flooded with tiny insects, almost completely covering our wall near the light. We shut the window and decided to try to sleep with the light on to keep the obnoxious bugs off us. I was tired and slept, albeit, uncomfortably.
Colin eveutally got fed up with the heat and the bugs. He decided to take matters into his own hands, literally. He took on the bugs, smashing them hand-splats at a time. As I faded in and out I noticed him making some major progress. At one point smaching bugs one at a time with his fingertip until they were ALL gone.
At which point, he turned off the light and we slept in a slightly cooler room with no bugs! Let's here it for determined guys.
We got out of town early the next morning and headed to Saigon by bus.

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