To Chau Doc

Hoping for the best as we headed to the Docs in Phnom Pen we arrived and were greeted by several men anxious to carry a bag. With our passports and new Vietnamese visas attached we boarded the little passenger boat. A guide had been sent to make sure that everything was in order and was not happy to find that we had purchased separate tickets the day before instead of paying the difference to the original tourist group for the change of date. After a little bit of a squabble between the guide, boat manager, and couple others we managed to get everything squared up and we were soon on our way South down the river.

It was quite uneventful for the next 6 or so hours as we traveled to Chau Doc. The boat itself was designed to fit close to 25 passengers but our group of 11 were the only occupants including the driver and his assistant. With a quick stop at the Cambodian customs and Vietnamese customs just on the shore of the river we then made our way into Chau Doc.

Our group was dropped off at our hotel which had the restaurant portion floating right on the river. It was amazing to see how busy this river was, with boats running every which way, houses with people washing their dishes or clothes in the river, and probably a lot more that wasn’t quite visible from the top level of our hotel. Everyone seemed to be going somewhere or doing something. While the sun went down everyone got situated into their rooms and cleaned up for the evening.

This was by far the dirtiest city that was had been in throughout our trip. Walking through the streets it was evident that there was a lot more poor people calling this their home. As we walked around the streets in Chau Doc we encountered the same busy rush of people coming and going as we had in all the other cities, but here we were met with people who were more homeless and desperate to beg for a little portion of food or money than in any other city we had encountered. It was a very sad sight to see how some of the local people were just barely scraping by.

We wandered along the river’s edge through downtown and finally came upon a very nice resort hotel. Attached was a very nice restaurant that had promise of food that would be palatable. The dinner turned out to be among the top that we had experience yet on our journey. Full to the brim again, a couple of us grabbed a taxi car home while the rest of the group walked home. Falling asleep watching the geckos on the walls in our room we looked forward to our last day on the trip.

~ by tgrantphoto on January 6, 2010.

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