We awoke in our hotel room at Chau Doc at what seemed like the crack of dawn but already the market across the way appeared to be bristling with life. We went down and had some breakfast before gathering together our backpacks and bringing them back down to the hotel lobby. We had arranged to take the boat to Cambodia yesterday and our hotel had arranged for us the transfer to the quay where the vessel was moored. Our transfer was quite an interesting one as we were collected by what can only be described as bike-carts, something like a chariot that used human/bike power as opposed to horsepower. We felt a bit like royalty but only a bit like them nevertheless it was all quite funny, especially as I thought my guy would expire at any moment.
Our boat looked quite new and comfortable enough to have a rest on which was good as we knew the journey would take a good few hours. So it was soon goodbye Vietnam and hello, well first to the border crossing check point which took a good half an hour or so to reach. Still it was all very efficient and soon enough our passports had been stamped and we were boarded and off again. However, it was still a couple of hours after the ‘stamping’ before we started to near Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and as we got closer the clouds started to look decidedly unwelcoming. The river joined in the fun so the final part of the trip was quite a choppy journey really but we finally made it at the appointed dinnertime-ish time that we had been given.
We jumped into a taxi and after the usual round of confusion, I believe this is done so that the driver can start the journey by heading in the wrong direction which then necessitates a hugely drawn out u-turn when he (silly him) realises what we are banging on about and understands that he is after all going in the wrong direction – oh how we laughed! Once reached our digs turned out to be quite backpackery but okay enough and from the website we understood the place was not too far from all the major sights. One problem was the room though, ours was not ready so they gave us a ‘stand in’ triple room that was situated right by the noisy reception but it would have to suffice for the first night.
We had been quite worn out by the journey but decided to go and relax a bit and have a look around the block that our hotel was situated on. We stopped at a bar and grabbed ourselves a couple of beers and discussed the journey over and also what we fancied doing for the next few days. Then the heavens opened. The downpour was so strong you could hardly see the other side of the road but people just carried on about their usual business then just as suddenly as it had started, it stopped. So we thought we had better make a run for our hotel before another shower rained down. This effort to get back quickly robbed us of our remaining energy so we tried out our room’s beds and had a siesta before setting out for the evening.
Night we did not venture too much further than we had earlier in the day but we found ourselves a very nice little Turkish place to have our evening meal and very nice it was too. It also had some really nice and colourful lights hanging from the ceiling and as we scoffed we also had a couple more beers.
On the way back to our hotel we noticed that the moto drivers here did have a tendency to hassle you for fares a bit more than in Vietnam but soon enough they realised we were hardy English folk and more used than some to pounding the pavements with our feet. Another thing here as well, which had not really happened anywhere else was people warning us not to leave our bags unguarded or hanging easy to be snatched from our shoulders as bag stealing is supposed to be a bit of a problem here, so duly noted we offed it to bed before tomorrow’s day of sightseeing.