"The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences."
~Chris McCandless, Into the Wild ~
I should have given up on this travelogue as they are piling up in my desktop but I know I promise someone I would post our
I love going somewhere with my backpack. That is the truth.
If I could do what Chris McCandless a.k.a Alexander Supertramp did in the movie, Into the Wild…I would. Although, I can't promise I would also burn my money so as not to make people cautious. I know that money can make people cautious but at least I have something to be cautious about, say, buying my own meal? I don't like to die because I got poisoned eating weeds. :-/
Anyway, the next morning, we decided to embark on a new adventure. Our next stop?
This time, we chose to ride the Mekong Express bus and forego on experimenting for other rides like the GST Bus, Capitol GH or Angkor Express. We wanted the most recommended bus line. A little expensive than others but at least we're getting what we paid for. We purchase our tickets ($12 each) a day before from the lobby of our guesthouse in Phnom Penh so on the day of our departure, we’re all set.
This is the Mekong Express station. The woman is one of the couple we met inside the coaster who were with us all the way to Mocbai border. They seem to be a nice couple but we never chat, just little gestures. I also noticed that they brought their own food so that they don't have to buy anything during stopovers.
A few minutes after seven in the morning, a coaster fetched us from the guesthouse and brought us to the station. Inside the coaster was a White couple who gave us a smile and a nod. I was sure they meant to say "Good morning!" but since we look like Cambodians and they had probably enough of the looking locals, they forgotten to say what's on their minds. Okay that was just me and my wild interpretation of things.
I had my heavy backpack getting on my nerves (it usually does as the travel progresses) and managed to smile back. There were just the four of us inside the coaster and we got to the bus station before . There was this guy who took our backpacks and gave us claim numbers. Then we went inside.
Inside the bus. That is our little, skinny and able English-speaking lady attendant on the microphone informing us that we will be departing soon.
I like riding the Angkor Express but Mekong Express is better. It’s not as new as the first bus we rode on the way to Phnom Penh but at least there’s this lady attendant who was always right on the dot telling us everything we needed to know. Like, where are we now, when is the next stop over, how many minutes we have stay before the bus leaves, even tidbits of history about the place. These information are crucial I think, it helped us in so many ways.
Our attendant is a little, skinny lady who seems to know her craft. She speaks in English with thick accent but we understood her. She talked fast and I had this feeling that she had everything memorized. She looked at the ceiling every now and then and said the magic “ahhh” and "ohh" everytime she gets lost with her words (which I find cute). She reminded me of someone (before when I still lived in the province).
Locals looking at the bus while our bus board on the cargo ship.
Going to the Ho Chi Minh City, our bus boarded into a huge boat so that we could cross the Cambodian boarder. The idea was like a ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) but it was for a short time only. Then we traveled again by land.
As usual, we had stopovers for eating, drinking, pissing or just hanging out and feeling the land on your feet once again. The whole travel would take eight hours so I really appreciated these stopovers because it also gave me the opportunity to step down on the bus, look around, chat with the locals and take photos. The most important of all things, yes, taking photos otherwise, I'll have nothing to share with you and everything would just be a nonsense blabber.
This is the stopover.
We got to this one stopover. It has a huge eatery shop with a bunch of fruit vendors on one side and a little resto on the other. People were flocked into the huge eatery shop that I went there myself to get something (I dunno what). Oki was somewhere buying herself some food, I believe.
I don’t know what will I have so I went to the vendor selling all sorts of drinks. On the queue was this French guy who ordered black coffee. I wanted one too but knowing my experience with stopovers, I don’t think I will be able to enjoy my coffee. So I bought a soda instead. I don’t know why I bought it, as I don’t even feel like drinking anything.
Fruit vendors selling pomegranate, orange, banana, etc.
So anyway, I decided to just look around and take photos. I met this woman who asked some money. I told her, “I don’t have money, but I have a Sprite!” and modeled the soda to her like one of those soda commercials. She seemed to like it, (the soda) so I handed it to her. I went to the other side and found two White young couple smoking. I wanted one too but opted not.
She looks like she's irritated in this picture but she's not. In fact, she was happy that I was there butting in her business. She's the recipient of my cold, icy Sprite. The boy could be her child.
Instead, I decided to go inside the bus and found Oki eating
Oki eating the grenade!
To our relief, we arrived in Mocbai, the Cambodia-Vietnam border to have our passports stamped. When we got the border, there was this long queue. Imagine batches of buses full of people coming in and out of the boarder. Our able lady attendant took all our passports and asked us to wait at the other line, which we did. I have imagined the long line of people but hardly I imagined that it would take long to wait. My shoulders were giving up on me. I had troubled enduring the whole seven hours but what’s 45 minutes more? Yea, that long!
We saw batches of passports held by a man passing us by. I asked Oki what’s the deal here because I felt like something fishy is going on. These people going in and out of the line were like pimps going straight in front of the line and to the counter where a man was stamping passports. One of the guys was smoking too. I thought smoking was prohibited inside. Grr.
This is the other part of the couple who was with us from the coaster in Phnom Penh all the way to Mocbai. He looks pissed here. And so am I. The person stooping down in front is Oki. I believe she's also pissed. Ha!
The couple we met in
At the Mocbai where you get your passports stamped. Boy, was I glad to see the outside view.
After the hullabaloos and the long wait, I think that the most important thing to say is that, we arrived in the city. Tired but safe.