Monday, September 08, 2014

Crossing the Border into Cambodia

Today we shall cross the border into Cambodia, and surprisingly it is all going to be done for us. We shall just lounge around o the ship while poor Hung the leader will deal with all the red tape and our passports and our money for visas etc. He said they very rarely ever come over to the ship to check anything, but on this occasion they did. Not much of a problem, they didn't stay long, maybe just wanted to get out of the office for a while. We all get our visa and are through safe and sound.

Before we had the big excitement of the border crossing there was another  big excursion for us .We are to visit Tan Chau, still in Vietnam.

We go there by small boats,past lots of shanty type houses along the river built on stilts, when we land there are rickshaws awaiting us, nice we all enjoy going places by rickshaw, its so leisurely only just above walking pace so you see everything. i took a photo of the local barber at work as we past by and a lovely garden at another place.

A rooster seller in another place
Today we are visiting a family run Silk weaving factory, and boy is it noisy in there and dangerous all the big looms are working flat-out making a big order of heavy patterned material for what looks like curtains, very pretty all in a deep cream colour.

I had said to Erle before we went that we should  buy a silk shirt each as we would never get silk cheaper than at the weavers, however they are not making shirts today, but out the back is a shop selling shirts and blouses and scarves and lots of other stuff, so we select a nice one each 100% silk and only $10US each, it did come out as more like $15US by time exchange is  added but that's an amazing price for a nice silk blouse.
Back in the rickshaw which were not a comfortable as most rickshaws are, along the street to a Sleeping Mat factory. We go past many rattan mats on side of the road with the families rice crop drying in the sun.

 The sleeping mats  are made of  rattan type material all died bright colours, Woven on big nosy looms on site  Erle has some of the bright greet on his shirt to remind him of the visit, as he brushed against a newly dyed bundle of strips of rattan, or long leaves of some kind. They also have a shop selling things but none of us fancy sleeping on a thin rattan mat thank you!

We leave the factory out the back door and walk through houses on poles to lift them above the flood level of the Mekong River, children run after us to say Hello and hope for sweets from us, which we gave freely. Then we walked through rice paddy fields along the narrow raised walking tracks, dodging the inevitable scooters that race towards us. Just as we get back to the boats a sudden gust of wind hit and the guide said hurry, it is about to rain hard, and so it did, but by then we were all under the shelter of the boat.
Still one more stop before the morning is over. It is on to an Evergreen Island in the river, there is a bridge for access too, our long boat docks beside it and we all go for a walk on the island amid the rice feilds and small houses we are taken to the village shop, one of those places that sell everything you can think of. Some og our party buy sweets for the children, insuring our visit is remembered for quite a while. We are told to go talk to people so I went to a house up the street that had 2 full size pool tables in the ground level, which would have to be lifted when the river floods as it does every year. I am invited to sit down in the soft chair and offered a drink, had my own drink bottle which I drank from while I chatted with the few words we know and hand signals. I was made very welcome. The pool tables were their source of income. You can see them under the lean-to beside the green and white house.

A mobile fruit seller soon came to see us hopefully.

Back to the ship for lunch and to rest while Hung does he thing getting us all a visa to Cambodia.
After lunch we can just laze or take cooking lessons or learn fruit carving. I chose to carve fruit and it turned out I was quite good at this. All those years of hand work went I was a book binder helped me make the delicate cuts and slices so to turn an apple into a beautiful bird and a tomato into a pretty rose with cucumber leaves and stalks.
Then we are treated to an Ice Cream Party, yum we are all there for this, about a dozen dif ice creams many yum sauces and another dozen different sprinkles and fancy toppings. I can tell you Coconut Ice cream with choc sauce and star cacheau sprinkles is extremely nice. Pity we can't get coconut flavour at home.
There an important briefing
 with Hung tonight before dinner to tell us what is planned for the next few days and after dinner we are to learn a little about Pol Pot the maniac who killed so many of his country men.
After dinner it is movie night but as the movie is about Pol Pot and his regime we decide to skip it and instead got out the DVD of the movie made around here called the Lovers. it was sexy but ok, not a lot of dialogue.


L. D. said...

I am really enjoying your adventure through Vietnam and Cambodia. My wife and I are workers in our church Asian Ministry. Our older folks fly back now to visit family. One of my students and his dad just returned from Vietnam for a three week visit.

merike said...

The photos you took are really a good memory of your trip. From a bleeding tree to buying silk shirts, I really have been amazed.

merike said...

Forgot to tick the follow-up comments..