Tuesday, December 25, 2012

To Kampong Cham (12/25/2012)

Still Christmas Day, December 25, 2012
We had a four-hour bus journey where they promised us free massages (from the bumpy roads), but it was not that bad. We left Siem Reap at 11:30. This meant we were to receive a box lunch on the bus:
Fancy bamboo box!
And the contents:
As we drove along, we passed several local "buses" that were actually vans that were filled, or overfilled, with passengers and their belongings. Sometimes a passenger had to sit on top:
We had a rest stop (with souvenir shops!) just before reaching the capital of Kampong Thom province.
Later we made a stop at a rubber plantation, which the Program Directors liked to call the family planning plantation:
The trees are actually re-scored and the latex collected in the mornings. The collection cups are usually turned upside down for the rest of the day, but here they seemed to collect residual drips:
The incision:
A logging tractor-truck passes by:
Later we heard that the other group also made a stop at a rice field. We must have stayed too long at the rest stop!
We arrived in Kampong Cham about 16:00 or so, and boarded the Viking River Cruises boat, the RV Indochina:
There was a steep path down to the boat, with crew members standing along the way to assist the passengers:
In some sections, steps were cut from the clay/dirt:
We were sent to the sundeck for drinks and snacks, and almost immediately set sail. Oh, we were going for a sunset cruise, making a large circle in the Mekong!
Across the river, the remains of the French lookout tower, once used to monitor shipping on the Mekong:
Fishing boats galore:
Many of the fishermen waved and yelled greetings.
The Viking flag as we pass what looks like a wat:
Nice waterfront property:

We also passed under the Kizuna Bridge, opened in 2001:
It was the first bridge built over the Mekong in Cambodia.
The fishermen worked in teams to pull in a large net:
As enjoyed from the sundeck:
Our bags were already in our cabins as we settled in:
At 18:45 when we headed back to the sundeck for a briefing of the next day, our cabin door was covered with sand-colored insects; May flies they called them. They were crowded around any light source:
To see what kind of dinners we have on board the RV Indochina, here is the menu from the first night:
Caesar's salad, bread croutons, shaved parmesan or
   Spicy grilled Cambodia-style beet salad
Cream of broccoli soup topped with roasted peanuts
Whole roasted beef sirloin, red wine sauce, sauteed leaf spinach, jack potatoes or
   Filet of snakehead fish in banana leaf, steamed jasmine rice or
   Vegetable curry, jasmine rice
Panna cotta with strawberry sauce
Mixed fruit platter

After dinner we had movie time, but not for entertainment. The movie was the "Biography of Pol Pot" (by A&E Home Video). Not very light stuff, being about the foremost leader of the Khmer Rouge.
Tomorrow, Kampong Cham Phnom Pros.

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