Bri & Jo's excellent adventure
See Virtual Tours of Cambodia
We came overland to Cambodia. Our bus broke down in the middle of nowhere in typical Cambodian fashion and we all stood around getting covered in red dust while it was mended. It could have been a hellish seven hour journey but everyone was on good form and we met some mad Aussie girls with whom we spent the next few days at Angkor Wat, the biggest Cambodian tourist attraction. They are the temples where Tomb Raider was filmed and very impressive. In the capital, Phnom Penh, we visited the very sombre S-21 museum. The Khmer Rouge held, tortured and killed political prisoners here and it was grim. Jo felt nauseous throughout.
We saw the endangered fresh water dolphins in the Mekong near Kratie further north before headed to the wild east in a pickup to see 'real' Cambodia. There really was nothing there! Lovely people though, and excellent food. I tried the local culinary delight of deep fried spiders in Skuon. Quite nice, amazingly. Jo passed on that one! We had a few days on the south coast, which is pretty and still relatively unspoilt by tourism, before leaving for Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. Mad traffic, even worse than Cambodia! The junctions are like watching a motorcycle display team! Crossing the road is interesting. You just step off the curb and walk across slowly hoping everyone will miss you. Fortunately, so far, they have done!
We visited a Cao Dai temple. Cao Dai is a Vietnamese religion which borrows ideology from other religions and, amongst others, regards French author Victor Hugo as a saint! The temple was painted in psychadelic colours with drawings of an all seeing eye everywhere. As you would expect there's plenty about the 'American War'. Cu Chi tunnels were an incredible display of ingenuity with three levels burrowing as deep as thirty feet underground. There's plenty of anti-American propaganda.
Virtual Tours of Vietnam
We took a three day motorbike tour of the beautiful Central Highlands and were shown hills bombed by Agent Orange and napalm. We were shown lots of local crafts and spent our entire time with our riders. This including trying rice wine with mole blood! Mmm! We've just been diving again and thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterwards, Jo went for a massage and hair cut which took 20 minutes in total. 15 minutes was for the massage, but then it only cost a pound! We are very used to having "you", "motorbike", "you buy?", or is it "you bi?" shouted at us!!! You name it, we've been offered it, weed, sex, opium...... Landmines of Cambodia and south Vietnamese traffic survived, we'll see what the north and Laos throw at us. We might finally be able to use the warm jackets we bought way back in Sri Lanka.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Bri & Jo