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Kam Samnor border crossing to Cambodia

Written on: Friday January 26th, 2007

A journal entry from: Southeast Asia

Leaving Phu Quoc Island for the border town of Chau Doc was not without its challenges. Our day began with the hydrofoil ? the SuperDong Express.  Since we only had one day to leave the country before our visa ran out we thought it best to take the faster earlier boat across the sea to the port of Rach Gia, on the Mekong Delta.  Greg explained to me that this hydrofoil goes so fast the hull raises out of the water and rides on a wing. After the two and a half hour expected journey time was up, we began to question why we were still puttering along. Apparently only one engine was working and it could only move as fast as the M.V. Osprey going sideways.  But, it is what it is? until number two engine quit and we bobbed in the open sea.  No one tells you any information, so we waited and waited and?.eventually the ship started up spewing oil and muddy water eventually chugging to shore, a five and a half hour journey.  As we disembarked from the gangplank we were swarmed by the Rach Gia moto scooter Mafia, more aggressive than any other insistent Vietnamese have been.  To make a long story short, they pursed us through town, followed our taxi to the bus station and then followed the bus through town until it stopped. They were looking for commission from everyone along the way?for doing nothing.  Sad that this country, out of a past of desperation and poverty, has normalized corruption.   The saga of that daily travel doesn?t end there, because our three hour bus ride to the town of Chau Doc, turned into a five hour ride after being pulled over by the police and told to abandon the bus because it had no headlights. Well past dark, we stood on the side of the highway until a minivan came to the rescue and crammed us all on board for the final hour and a half destination ? our last stop in Vietnam. In spite of some of our grumblings about the corruption and greed, we will sadly miss this country.

The following morning we joined a group of Cambodian bound travellers and boarded a slow boat that puttered along a tributary of the Mekong and then up the Mekong towards Phom Phen. We stopped to view a traditional Cham (Muslim) village, a fish farm and a village for lunch. The trip was very scenic as we were able to glimpse the life of the people making a living on and along the river. The border crossing went smoothly and instantly we felt the difference from being in a country of 85 million to being in a country of 14 million.   It was beautiful eleven hour journey to Phom Phen.