It was sad to say goodbye to the many people we love in Siem Reap but it’s wonderful to be on our way. My feet feel light, my heart is singing and I keep bursting into song ‘I’m on the road again tada dada dada dadeda’.
It was supposed to be five hours by minibus to the border town of Stung Treng. An hour or so into the journey the suspension snapped. The driver shaped a piece of wood (that JH found on the side of the road) with a machete and jammed it in the broken bit. It was a bit of a bumpy ride but it held all the way and we got there almost on time.
Stung Treng is a sleepy sprawling country town in northern Cambodia, where the Srekong River meets the Mekong, and is home of the ‘big fish’.
Instead, the uncle of a bloke we met on the street took us out cruising on the Mekong and through the magical ‘flooded forest’ in his little wooden boat. Cruising along a river in this fashion is one of our very favourite things to do and we can’t stop smiling the whole time.
At the border we had to climb in and out over boxes of mangoes and the front seat of the van at both the Cambodian and Laos checkpoints. Our European passengers were most indignant that they were being charged an unofficial $2 extra on each side of the border. They refused to pay at first and were determined to take an anti-corruption stand. A combination of youth, naivety and white privelege seemed to make them think it was a good idea to argue with border security personnel with guns, on a dodgy border, over $2. The height of stupidity I reckon. Luckily, they realised the error of their ways and we were on our way.
Out of the sardine can van and a quick boat trip and we arrived hot and dusty (but laughing) in Don Det, the most populated of the 4000 Islands on the Laos side of the Mekong. It’s very beautiful with lovely sunsets over the water.
So, despite the best Indian restaurant ever (Dantte) – mmm masala dosa – after just a couple of nights we decide to pack up and head further north where, fingers crossed, it might be cooler.