Thursday, December 22, 2005

Vietnam-Cambodia border, Dec. 2000

My posting in PF egroups, Dec. 26, 2000:

We just arrived here in Pnom Penh, Cambodia. It was a tiring 12-hr. ride covering only around 230 kms. Some observations:

1. Vietnam's immigration office bordering Cambodia is in Moc Bai. The immigration officer (only 1 officer that day) is so inefficient & ignorant; he did not want us to exit vietnam because we don't have a Vietnam visa, not realizing perhaps that all citizens of 10-member Asean countries don't need visa to enter other member-countries for visits less than 21 days. The inefficiency of this officer caused a lot of delays in our bus crossing the border.

2. While Vietnamese border police are somehow arrogant, their Cambodian police & immigration counterparts just on the other side, are friendly and helpful.

3. Cambodia's immigration office in Bavet (border with Moc Bai) is a bit funny; they are just 3 waiting-shed types of structures, 1 each for the immigration, customs, and health/quarantine. No electricity, so immigration papers are either typewritten or handwritten.

4. No clear physical boundaries separating the 2 countries, say a river or stream or mountain, not even barbed wires. It's all rice fields on both sides of the road.

5. Cambodia's roads are "highway from hell", according to Lonely Planet guidebook; generally it's true; most of my co-passengers in the bus complained of aching butts because of the bad roads! Not me, mine is used to ride long hrs. in a racer bicycle, he-he-he.

6. Mekong River is muddy, even dirty; there's a barge that ferries at least 8 vehicles to cross to the other side. The part which we cross is perhaps among the narrowest part of the river, as Mekong's widest portion can be as wide as 5kms.

7. Cambodian children are funny; they would wave to passing tourist buses; some would even run from their house, get closer to the road, wave ba-bye, then goback to their house; when you wave back to them, they seem to be very ecstatic.

8. I thought Pnom Penh city is just as big as say, Tacloban or Bacolod orBaguio; well, i''m wrong. Judging from the traffic and the avenues, it lookslike smaller than Cebu, perhaps like Davao.

9. If you see this country, you'll be glad that we live in the Philippines; it's so poor, denuded, many idle lands, and majority of the areas don't have electricity. Some have electricity perhaps through generators and batteries.

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