I took the boat over the border to Cambodia. I knew from the second I got off that boat and onto Cambodian territory, I loved it. Our group of travellers immediately had a very Cambodian experience: putting too many people and too many bags in a ‘minibus’ (in actually fact a 12 passenger van). In the time it took our driver to put us and all our bags into the van (it was a knees at your chin seating situation), I’d observed several things that are prevalent throughout the country: the people are very poor (none of the houses were in good shape, etc.); they are also very kind; white cows wander around everywhere; and the infrastructure is less than ideal but better than expected.
Within about a half hour of minivan fun times, our little vehicle encountered a problem. Washed out roads and minivans don’t exactly mix. They made all the passengers get out of the vehicle and walk a few hundred meters, hoping our lack of Western weight might be the difference between a foot of mud and the wheels of our van getting intimate and our getting to the capital in a reasonable amount of time.
So we walked along to Mekong, secretly I think we were all thrilled to be out of the van. Luckily our van made it through the mud. Some other vehicles weren’t as fortunate.
Just as we were getting back into the van, I made some new friends. They were ogling the Westerners, as this wasn’t the kind of place that would see tourists. I started waving to them, they started waving back. I took some pictures and showed them, they thought it was hilarious and before I knew it, I had many many new friends.