I was sick and tired of busses so I opted for a river boat crossing on the boarder between Vietnam and Cambodia. While it was a nice change of pace the boat was much slower and the engine, located right inside the passenger compartment, was loud as hell. I felt like I just got home from a rock concert by the time I actually got off the boat on the Cambodian side.
Before making it to the border town I stopped at a Buddhist cave temple just next to the boarder with Cambodia. Very nice and clean. The inside of the cave was a nice place to rest for a bit because of the heat during this time of year, as we were getting into the hottest part of the summer.
I arrived at the boat dock in Vinh Xoung after the last boat had already left. Some of the other foreigners who were also waiting for the next mornings boat went out for a night of Karaoke. Vinh Xoung was a tiny town but we managed to find a good place with help from a local tour guide who came out with us. This was my first encounter with a very nice French couple from outside of Paris. I would run into them periodically all throughout Cambodia and Thailand over the next month or so.
The next day I got on the boat and it was my first time every crossing into a new country via a river boat. Though I did go to Japan by sea. The passport checkpoint was even located right on the river. Though I left my hotel at dawn I still didn’t make it to my next hotel in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, until after dark. The boat ride was very long, as was the bus ride into the city. My motorcycle taxi got lost despite my best attempts at reading Cambodian which I must say was pretty futile on my part.
Right from the get go I could tell I was going to like Cambodia. The people were entirely more friendly and less prone to treat foreigners like walking ATM machines. When I got to my hotel there were about two hundred Cambodians doing group dancing in the park near my hostel. The park was huge and there were 5-10 large groups of synchronized dance groups grooving to different songs.
I found out over the course of my trip that this is actually very common. They do it in any public place at dawn and dusk. The dancers pay the DJ who brings his own equipment and music, teaches them the dance, and keeps up the atmosphere while they exercise. The dancers are mixed in age ranging from little kids all the way up to the elderly. The music is a mix of Western, Cambodian but what I heard most was Kpop. I had heard it was really popular in SE Asia but I guess I never believed it.
Sorry for the massive pictures in this post. WordPress has been having some issues lately and the “image gallery” feature was broken.