Border crossing to Ho Chi Minh

Thursday, July 28, 2012

Catching a bus turns out to be very easy, there is one main road from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh and many buses take tourists back and forth. Because of the business opportunities made by living along a busy road many Cambodian’s do, including Vaughn’s host family, we walk out to the road, snap a few pictures and waive down a bus. I get on for 8 USD plus my passport and visa. The border crossing, while not in any language I am familiar with is fairly simple as well, we are instructed to get off the bus before exiting Cambodia, given back our passports, wait in a short line to get our exit stamps, and return to the bus, hand our passports back to our ‘bus-attendant’ where we drive about a 100 meters. We are told to get off the bus, this time with our luggage (to be scanned). We wait in a large group for our name to be called, walk up and are handed back our passports. No one scans our luggage and we return to our bus. Make sure you take note of which bus is yours – there are a lot there and it wouldn’t be too hard to get on the wrong bus…

I doze in and out of sleep most of the way to HCM but in comparison to Cambodia it already seems much more populated along the road and much fewer fields than I was expecting as it is in the Mekong Delta region.

As I get off the bus the taxi drivers and motorbike drivers start offering prices for rides, I haven’t even changed money yet, and am planning on taking a taxi but this guy with a motorbike keeps lowering his price. I think, ‘If you can handle my luggage, than fine, I don’t mind a motorbike.’ So me and my luggage get on the motorbike. He weaves in and out of the millions of motorbikes and other traffic on the road and I pull up to my hotel. As my sister, mom and second cousin will be here we’ve rented a nicer one near the airport. The bellboys give me a look as I pull up on the back of the bike like I am definitely at the wrong hotel.  Ha.

I attempt to chase down a camera repair store for my lens which has been having some focusing issues.  Fail.

Several delicious coffees later (with condensed milk) Kate, Kit (my mom’s cousin) and mom arrive safe and sound.

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