Today we caught a bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, where we arranged for the next stage of our journey downstream to Viet Nam by boat. A ferry service runs twice each way every day, carrying tourists through a stretch of river with an amazing history. Cambodia’s rulers moved its capital from Angkorian Siem Reap to the junction of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong when trade began to replace agriculture as the engine of national wealth and influence. Since then boats have been making there way upstream through the mouths of the Mekong Delta to the lands of the Khmer and beyond.
In an aside, check out this site, about an Asia Society exhibition called ‘Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea’. The website alone is beautiful and tells a story few are aware of, namey the long cultural history of Viet Nam: http://sites.asiasociety.org/vietnam/?p=17
We have been forced to be very diligent in planning our Vietnam leg, not that we normally lack diligence, because Viet Nam is not an open book where outsiders can critique in the margins. That being said it is not China, and we were able to arrange a promising schedule of of locations and interviews, all sanctioned by our government guide.
We set up our camera on a tripod in the back of the ferry as it pulled out of the port in Phnom Penh, and for the next 5 hours the camera snapped off a frame every second: timelapsing all the way to Cau Doc. Our journey stops not at the floating restaurant we the ferry docks. Instead we heft a bag onto every appendage and toss our considerable bulks onto the back seats of a flock of tiny motorbikes that take off through the busy streets of Cau Doc. Our riders seem possessed with a desire to terrify the large tourists foolish enough to have flagged them down. We adjust our knees and shoulders to avoid high-speed shavings by trucks and on coming cars. 10 incandescent minuets later we pull into a bus stop and after buying a ticket on a mini-bus to Can Tho have quick bowl of truly weird noodles. Then we board the mini-bus which, soon after leaving, pulls into a small shop whereupon the ‘conductor’ proceeds to load an incredible amount of cigarettes into the bus, into pulling back the panels and the ceiling to stuff more cartons on, and finally donning a special set of pants and a jumper in which dozens of cigarette packets are stored. Once our mini-bus has been transformed into a motorised nicotine delivery system we are off and arrive several hours later in Can Tho, in time for dinner and then to bed.
Filed under: cambodia, Traveling down the Mekong River, vietnam Tagged: | Anceit Arts, Angkor, arts, Asia Society, Boat, cambodia, Can Tho, Cau Doc, Ferry, mekong, Phnom Penh, timelapse, Tonle Sap, Viet Nam