|Early start today as we are off to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. We are parting company with the other three members of our little tour group & heading off back to Vietnam to see a bit of the Mekong river. They are heading back to Bangkok for their flights home tomorrow.
Unfortunately this is the Vietnamese New Year holiday week & most of the regular tourist boat trips have been cancelled. We will, however, get to ride on the regular fast speedboat service from Phnom Penh back over the border to Chau Doc in Vietnam. After that it will be a case of finding whatever transport we can to make our back to Ho Chi Minh city for our flight out on Friday to Kuala Lumpur. Fingers crossed!
Our pick up mini bus arrived at 7am & took us to the main bus station to board our coach. Pretty modern & clean & we settled ourselves in our front row seats for the six hour journey. I'd read a few reports about the poor roads along the way but apart from one or two sections without Tarmac it was pretty smooth going, no crazy driver for a change.
Highlight of the trip was listening to the English guy in the adjoining seats telling the attendant & his next door neighbour about his gay Chinese/Malaysian boy friend. Who had gone back to his Chinese family for the New Year & didn't want his family to know he was gay. Is it just me that finds this sort of conversation distasteful in public?
We stopped three times on the way, twice for toilet breaks & once for lunch, & arrived at 2pm in the centre of Phnom Penh. As luck would have it the booking office for the speedboat trip to Chau Doc was only a couple of hundred yards away so I left Viv at the office & went off to buy our tickets & arrange our pick up for the morning.
Then we hopped on a tuk tuk with our luggage & headed for our hotel. I have pre booked all our hotels for this next three weeks so I am sweating a bit in case Viv doesn't like them. Luckily for me we got upgraded on this one for some reason so It looks like good value for $21.
After settling in & having a cup of coffee, as is our routine, I headed out alone to visit the S-21 Genocide Museum here on Phnom Penh. It is a former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge, under Pol Pot, in 1975 & used for imprisoning & torturing thousands of prisoners before they were taken off to the "Killing Fields" just outside Phnom Penh. We have arranged with our Tuk Tuk driver to pick us up at 8am tomorrow to take us out to the "Killing Fields" site which is now a memorial museum
My visit to S-21 was interesting & the audio tour was very helpful in trying to fit together some of the fairly recent historical events in Cambodia & neighbouring Vietnam Nam. It's a real challenge to understand how the USA/Vietnam events intermingled with the Cambodian civil war & Pol Pot with the Khmer Rouge.
After getting back to Viv we went out to get some dinner & also to log a geocache.