Kep to Rach Gea 134km
Crossing from Cambodia to Vietnam today was the easiest border I've crossed since starting this trip. No queues, no traffic, no hassles. Just had to pay the guy $US1 which I'm sure was an illegal payment, but it saved a lot of possible problems..... and suddenly I'm in Vietnam, and oh the difference.
So much less rubbish....not perfect, but so much cleaner. Better roads. Better behaved traffic,....not perfect, but better. All the scooter drivers have helmets, and most the pillions as well, but not the kids. Christian churches, with Xmas decorations, and even Bony M singing carols, and a few nativity scenes.The changes certainly highlight the difference in government styles and cultural and what is acceptable.
Cambodia was the first country where I didn't have the chance to ask questions of a local, but I did gather a few very interesting bits and pieces. Apparently the Cambodian's have sold the lease to Ankor Wat Cambodia's most popular tourist attraction, to the Vietnam eye, for 99 years. The remains of Cambodia's native forest have been sold to Vietnam. Rights to grow and harvest rubber plantations....sold to Vietnam. Most rural children only go to school three or four months a year. They're needed in the fields the rest of the time.
My two trips on and near Cambodian's rivers rank amongst the highlights of my adventure so far. But they both showed me parts of Cambodia that are desperately poor, and incredibly under developed, and I'm unsure how the country can develop, and these people improve their lot. Very sad. It also reminded me of how we as human beings are so cruel to each other.
So many young Cambodian's women (early teens) have babies on their hips. I know that they are trying to compensate for the atrocities of the past, but can the country cope, educate, and support this huge wave of youngsters? My cycle across the country has had me asking more questions, than have been answered. I've said it before, but will repeat...... we don't know how lucky we are.
Thank you Cambodia. You've educated, delighted and amazed me. I wish you well.