Dolphin watching and partying in pagodas

by • 5 October, 2014 • Uncategorized • Comments (0)928

We were ready to leave Vietnam, so after Javi got back to Ho Chi Minh, we picked our bikes and hurried towards the border with Cambodia. Lao was waiting for us, so the plan was to do the almost 500 km in as few days as possible. But when we didn’t expect it things started happening and made the way both more fun and unbearable.

The first pleasant surprise was that in the last two days Vietnamese people treated us so nicely that we actually started liking them again. We got invited to lunch and slept in a vegan restaurant in a small town. It really is a pity that it happened at the end (and only at the end), because we could might have got a much better impression of the country.

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We were warned that to enter Cambodia, being one of the most corrupt countries in the world, at the border officers would try to get some extra money from us. We were ready and we knew we were not going to give them a single cent more.

The border control was almost empty, but the first thing they said is that if we wanted some water. We were skeptical but accepted. Then we had to wait a bit for the visa forms, and they kept offering us drinks and bananas. Lots of friendly questions about our trip, and at the end not even a single hint that they wanted a “tip”. Our faith in humanity was getting restored. We were really happy to finally meet friendly people again.

In Cambodia we played it safe, in the pagodas they had never rejected us … And that rule still applies till today! But this few times were not very nice. I’m sure it was just bad luck, because everything was great in the ones we were before.

The first one we arrived to had a big community, and there was some kind of disagreement between the men and the women of the temple about were we could sleep and leave our bikes. Of course the men got away with their plans, and it left a quite bad feeling towards us.

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The second one started fine and we got a whole temple building to sleep, all for ourselves. By 10 pm when we were already asleep, suddenly really loud music woke us up … a rave at the buddhist temple! We simply could not believe it. And the worst was that they put the music so loud that the sound was breaking, so it was only really loud annoying noise, for 5 hours …

We decided to sleep in the next morning, but it seems that the grounds are also used to leave the kids when the village people don’t know where else to leave them. So unluckily for us they were also the most annoying kids we’ve met in this trip and we basically had to run away from there.

Getting closer to the border we took a boat ride to watch the Mekong dolphins. Yes, sweet water dolphins! They basically don’t look like sea dolphins: noseless, almost inexistent back fin and very ugly (this last is just my own opinion) … but still they keep that dolphin cuteness. Also they are almost impossible to take pictures of. (The first is the best I could after 2 hours at their feeding spot, so the second one is one I took from the internet).

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When we were about to reach the border, merely 20 km away, google maps showed a shortcut, and we thought … “it sounds like a great idea! Anyway the road can’t get any worse, it seems as it just got bombed!” There were several signs pointing that the way was not going to be there, but we kept trying and trying. We even did some kilometers pushing our bikes through a river. But at the end we realized (maybe a bit too late), that the best way was to turn around, so we did.

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So instead of getting to the border by noon, we did it in the late afternoon when it was almost dark. We tried to get a place to sleep at the police station, where they literally said: “We won’t help you, go to Lao”. But as stubborn as we are we decided not to and slept at the door of a bar a few couple hundred meters away from there.

The next day we crossed Lao and left Cambodia. And now that I’m writing this I realize that this second time in this country seems quite horrible, but in fact it wasn’t. I guess I really enjoy the uneventful moments of our trip in which we just ride and enjoy the nature most instead of the “adventures”.