“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Kampong Cham on the Mekong

Ok so we have arrived safely in Kampong Cham, and have had a cracking day, but it's not been without it's complications. The driver arrived on time and we set off no problem, he does not speak a word of English, but he assured the guy at the hotel that he knew where we were going.  An hour or so passed by on the road and the scenery became more and more rural as we had expected. Houses were no longer on the ground but built on stilts and the fields were full of water lilies and dry grasses. Soon the traffic we were dangerously passing became more mopeds and bikes, carts and goats rather than lorries and buses. It was at this point the driver (who was constantly on his phone) unexpectedly handed his mobile to me. I had a chat with his daughter Fayi, who is studying English literature at a university in Phnom Penh. Turns out he either cannot read or didn't know the hotel where we were heading after all.  His daughter explained and within the hour we were unloading our luggage and trying desperately to explain to another non-English speaker that we had a reservation. She showed us to our rooms and to Mum's horror they were up 3 flights of stairs with no bellboy! I think it's safe to say she won't be travelling with that suitcase again.
After some time getting the aircon working and removing the beer cans from the bathroom (hopefully from the last occupant and not the cleaner), I met Mum for an exploratory walk into town. The intention was to change some riels and have something to eat.
However, the best plans and all that... we ended up getting a tuk tuk into town and spending four hours at the Mekong Crossing pub, drinking beer, coconut milk, and strange chocolate tea with tasty rice on the river front. In the picture Mum has just shown "Red", our waiter, a photo of my brother Lee.
So we failed to change any money and even more worrying, we didn't manage to get hold of the Plan co-ordinator to confirm tomorrows trip as the phone number we have for him is disconnected! let's hope someone turns up at 8am to collect us.

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