baratillo @ cubao :

Snaps from the River Crossing

Posted in Cambodia, Cubao, Other Places and Travel, Snapshots, Observations and Notes by juned on the March 25th, 2008

From Ho Chi Mhin City to Siem Rep there is a river where the bus has to cross the river. On the other side of the river is a town that seemed to be inundated in dust: A dust storm has become a resident of the town.

The river crossing took less than fifteen minutes. And after that the bus sped on its way to Phnom Penh. Leaving column of dust where it once was.

On the way back to Vietnam we passed to the same time. However, this time I took a while before the bus could ride the ferry. And this left the passengers to walk about and mingle with the group of hawkers and beggars - Sun crisp and dusty dark brown complexion from doing there trade every day.


Hawkers and their wares


Blind Man

There and back

Posted in Cambodia, Vietnam by juned on the March 4th, 2008

The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings must fall under a category called High-Fantasy-Road-Trip. Every time one leaves one’s home and one’s country one get the same feeling old Bilbo has of leaving without having enough Hankies or handkerchiefs or a pipe. Somehow and for some reason you left something behind. And there is no Gandalf to bring extras hankies or the forgotten pipe. Enough of the hanky and pipe story. Enough to say we left the country to visit Angkor Wat at Siem Reap in Cambodia via crossing the border from Vietnam.

Old American Tank

We left via the Centennial Airport. It was my first time to use this particular airport.Small and elegant a refreshing change from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Although the fee is a bit steeper. Still it is very clean and most of the staff here are very courteous.

The trip to Ho Chi Min City (HCMC) was pleasant trip and we landed at Tân S?n Nh?t International Airport just before lunch time.

There was one slight problem. The Taxi who was supposed to pick us up was not there. There were signs in Russian, Pu tung hua and English, but none for us. Phoebe and I went up to the fifth floor to find there was no phone on that floor.

After a few more moments of waiting for the said hotel cab and the endless offer of taxi drivex volunteering to bring us to the hotel, including with one offer of getting a beer at discount we decided to get one of the airport cabs. A bit expensive by two dollars but at least considering we did not know the language it was the safest choice.

Incidentally, the airport at HCMC is similar in design to our Centennial Airport. I believe both were based on the Orly Airport in France. The one in HCMC was bigger and had more sterner looking customs officials, although at one point the sterness of one custom’s official was broken by his ring tone from a popular Western pop tune: Destroys the officious and sombre mood of the Custom’s Official.

HCMC is a a city that reminds one of Paris, with its buildings, boulevards and round-abouts. And you know you are in HCMC with presence … rather domineering presence of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles. Everyone was riding them. They were literally the King of the Road.

One of the nice and amazing things about HCMC are the trees that guard the boulevard. These are not newly planted treelings. Rather, they are ancient trees that stood witness to the story of Saigon and how it eventually became the HCMC.

A lot of the buildings seem a throwback from yesterday. Some very classy and some aping classiness. Most of the buildings we stayed in did not have a lift or elevator so it was walk and walk. A pain in gluteus maximus at first but fortuitouly a much needed exercise and preparation for what was to come.


Here is a link to the digital snaps from Day 1 and 2 in HCMC.