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IN POIPET, THE CAMBODIAN
BORDER, I GOT SHOCKED
RIDING A MOPED IN THE
IN POIPET, THE CAMBODIAN BORDER, I GOT SHOCKED
It's called Poipet. If you pass through there
for sure you won't forget this name.I mean one of the two border points between Thailand
and Cambodia opened to foreigners.
I got there from the town of Siem Reap in Cambodia. It took me several days to reach Siem
Reap from the Lao border, I mean spending days sweating on a kind of wooden raft, then
toasted on the roof of a steel boat and finally packed in a 30 people van jumping and jolting
on bumpy strips of earth called roads.
Lonely Planet warns you about your freaking out moving in Khmer land, so you cannot
complain saying; "if I had known. " since you knew. That's way I was just
patience and tried to enjoy everything,: people, landscape, town, cows, rice. hence
time flew till the moment I realised in few hours my ass would have had peace.
This happened to me in Siem Reap thinking that in 8 hours
I'd have reached Poipet, the border with Thailand. Those hours turned out endless and the
bumpiest of ever; the average speed was at most 20 km/h and in addition the rusty old
"bus" punctured. I still remember the driver getting on asking about volunteers
who help fixing the tyre (and melting under the hot sun). Of course I dodged.
Finally we approached the border. One km before it the bus stopped and the drivers
shouting to beware of thieves dropped us off. What I particularly remember is the dust,
lifting from the semi unpaved road, clouding everything and the people pushing overloaded
rusty trailers. I got my passport stamped and I started walking towards the Thai border
stared by dodgey people doing nothing but standing there. While walking I saw a huge brand
new glass-aluminium structure, it was a casino and then the Thai flags. The road became
paved and the dusty disappeared. Just besides the border a clean polished market and same
sparkling air conditioned vans ready to leave to Bangkok instead of the Cambodian rusty
Air condition. yeah it was three weeks I was longing for it!! Just I got on the van a man
brought me same bottled water and a sandwich included in the travel fare. I was
astonished. Five hundred meters from the border a four lane highway took me in Bangkok in
four hours covered at 120 km/h.
This huge gap between Thailand and Cambodia once again shows how the political stability
determines the development or the destruction of a country more than its resources or its
RIDING A MOPED INTHE DARKNES...
After a tough long day I reached by boat
Stung Treng in Cambodia from the four thousands islands in Laos. I liked this town settled
in the far north of the country and characterised by a kind of "former
colonialism" style unknown to any town in Laos. After having found a guesthouse,
frankly more similar to a prison, I asked to a cambodian guy, who previously helped me at
the border, to take me for a trip in the town letting me to drive. Even if a little bit
worried at the end he agreed. Useless to say there were no street lights and any kind of
rules in the traffic, but fortunately cars are quite rare in Cambodia, especially in Stung
Treng, hence at worse you crash against a cow or another moped.
After having wandered for a while he asked me if I wanted to visit his family. I
immediately accepted, he didn't know I travel longing such kind of experiences. My friend
insisted a lot about the fact that his family was poor, so I wasn't surprised when we
turned in a small muddy street where there were just bamboo houses in the complete
darkness and, even if I couldn't see them, I heard some kids playing around us. My friend
hold my hand and led me towards his house while calling his mama. Then an old woman,
followed by a group of curious kids, came out. Although she had a candle I couldn't see
that much about the silent kids peering at me and the ambient I was. Anyway I sat and my
friend began explaining her about me. She was so curious about my life: if I was married,
what I did in my country. then my friend told me his mother had a special favour to ask
me: she was eager to touch my blond hairs. Her hands were trembling while she was slowly
passing the candle near my face and respectfully brushing my hairs like I'd do for
something whose materia I don't know. All the situation was so unreal that I really felt
to be in another world.