Friday 10th February
We left 4,000 islands around 8am, driven by boat by our guest house owner. I had never sat so low on a boat! The ride was really gorgeous to the land.
Then we had a minivan to the Lao-Cambodia border with 2 German guys and one Australian from Canberra. We got screwed up at the border. 2 dollars to get the stamp out of Lao! Then a smart scam 1 dollar to take our temperature and certify we were healthy (Ahah. What else could you invent, uh? Didn’t pay that one!) Then 23 dollars instead of 20 to make the visa. 2 dollars to get the departure card (the one needed to exit Cambodia later). So 28 dollars instead of the normal 20!!! What a corrupted border. Made me really angry.
What a nice smile on his face, ahah, how happy this guy is to scam all those stupid tourists with his crappy fake electronic thermometer. Arghh!
The positive thing was that we ran into Fabio and Juzie again while crossing, that was cool. On the way to Kratie, we stopped in Stung Treng for a quick lunch. The landscape to Kratie was really dry, you could tell you were in a more desert area.
We got to Kratie around 5pm, after an exhausting ride where we were 22 in the minivan instead of 15, and even had 2 drivers at some point! We checked in an hotel, and finally enjoyed the sunset over the Mekong with Juzie and Fabio and an Angkor beer! We ran into the 2 Dutch girls from Amsterdam that we had had dinner with on our last day in Muang Ngoi Neua, and went for dinner with one of them (the other one had diarrhea).
Saturday 11th February
We could have gone to see the Mekong dolphins, but I was too worried about the biting on my arms and wanted to be in the capital in case it got worse in order to be able to consult.I didn’t know yet what I had. This is how my bottom arm looked in the morning. Imagine having as many bites on the top arm, same on the shoulder, and all this again on your other arm. And itchy! Yuk!
So we missed the dolphins and took the bus at 7am for Phnom Penh, after some quick walk in the Kratie morning market where I would have loved to spend more time! Somehow, I think we have lost the photos we took that day, maybe they didn’t transfer to the pic, I didnt realise and erased the card. Annoying!
Sorry no picture of the market to show you, sadly.
On the bus was a German guy who bought some fried tarantulas near Skuon. Neringa and me tried half a leg, but couldn’t get ourselves to eat more. Brrrr.
And I really wish I had not lost that picture of a friend tarantula. Ma euh.
We arrived in Phnom Penh around 3pm, close to the Central Market. I really felt home! We walked to the guest house where I had stayed before but it was full so we checked in another guest house. Then we went to the FCC for an happy hour and enjoyed the sunset over the lake.
Got some Pad Thai nearby, and went to Flicks to watch “A Map For Saturday”. Excellent movie about backpacking for a year, lots of humour as well as covering interesting topics like the volonteering after the tsunami hit Ko Phi Phi in 2005.
There I ran into Jason, the guy from New York I had taken the slow boat with to Luang Prabang at the start of my trip to Lao. How funny that I never ran into that guy during those 5 weeks of Laos, and only saw him at the start and at the end of this trip!!
Sunday 12th Feb
We started the last day of Neringa in Phnom Penh by some long breakfast. We met Robert there, a German guy from the Black Forest who was a doctor and had travelled a lot. We spent all morning chatting together, then went to the nearby market and in a nearby street for lunch. Then we walked to the Soriya market where we enjoyed the view of Phnom Penh from the top.
After that, we took a tuk-tuk to my favourite place of Phnom Penh, the White Building.It is crumbling, and dirt, but at the same time, such a gorgeous building. I love the atmosphere there, the quiet street where life goes on.
Then we walked to Sisowath, the riverside. There we ran again into Juzie and Fabio and decided to meet later for a drink. Phnom Penh had changed a bit since I was there 2 months ago, it was now spring! Trees were blossoming with beautiful white and purple flowers.
We went for a drink on the rooftop of Bougainvillier hotel, and were met later by Juzie and Fabio and a guy from Quebec they had met in Kratie. We went for a cheap dinner at the market nearby our hotel and then for a last drink for Neringa with Robert nearby.
Monday 13th February
In the morning, Robert and me gave our passeports to make the visa for Vietnam and then joined Neringa, Juzie and Fabio for breakfast. Then Neringa left. I felt empty suddenly, what? Already left? Noooooo? Wait a minute, we forgot to talk about this and that, and do this together and that! How come this cruel time flies so fast? It was strange. 😦
I was glad Fabio, Juzie and Robert were still there.
It always feels strange to travel with a friend for a few weeks and suddenly this friend is gone. The presence of this person always stays around with us for a while like if she just went to toilets and will be back soon! Anyway…
I had figured so far that what I had got was bedbugs thanks mostly to my worried doctor mum who sent me scarry pictures that looked like what I had.
It was actually a good news because at some point she had freaked me out even more telling me that maybe I got the bilharzia by swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng. Oh man, you really don’t wanna get that.It goes under your skin, then travels to your lung, liver, matures, make eggs all over, kills your intestines….Beurk!!! Enjoy this reading, the Human part, if you wanna know more about that one:
So bedbugs it was. Relieved actually. I walked around with my bag and all clothes in it to try to find a 40 degrees washing machine, but couldn’t find any. People here still wash their clothes themselves, by hand, with cold water. So I spent all afternoon washing all clothes by hand and with some dethol supposed to desinfect the clothes, while Robert, Juzie and Fabio went to visit the S-21 museum and Killing Fields.
And I found the culprits! Bed bugs indeed! In my silk duvet. I taped them! 🙂
In the evening, Fabio, Juzie, Robert and me went for more beers all together on the same rooftop bar, and then went for some dinner in a nice setting restaurant where I had some Pad Thai and we had lots of beers. It was my last evening with Fabio and Juzie and I was a bit sad too. We had kept running into each other since that walk and 2 days trek in Phongsaly 3 weeks before!
Tuesday 14th February
The Pad Thai or something else gave me the diarrhea, again in Cambodia, again in Phnom Penh! I spent the early morning in the toilets. We headed to Java Café with Robert where I drunk a lot of tea and went to the toilets often all day to get rid of it. And edited a bit my photos of Laos.
Check out here some more smiles from Lao here. I really loved this country and its friendly people!
In the evening we bought our slow boat ticket to Chau Doc in Vietnam with Robert. It was really hot and I had not eaten anything all day, so I felt really weak and headed straight to the room with his help before I could faint. Delphine I had met in Phongsaly came in the evening with a friend of her, it was awesome to have 3 doctors in the room and listen to their doctor conversations. We had some “diner” together there, white rice for me!
Here that was for a very short time again in Cambodia just transiting from Laos, and getting ready for Vietnam!