New Year's Eve Celebrations

Mari's Treat - N.Y.E. Celebrations Continue

Load 'Em Up, An' Move 'Em Out!

A Much Needed Rest - Half Way to the Border

Memorial to the Killing Fields - On Way to Border - Tim-His...

Killing Fields Memorial

The morning of New Year's Eve day we got up to find out about crossing theborder via ferry which we had heard of earlier. After much difficulty due to language barrier - We have not been able to fathom Vienamese at all other than "thank you" - cam oon, like come on!- we finally encountered or actually he found us, a V.N. man who spoke very good English. We found out later his father had worked w/ the US military during the VN war(he is 47), and afterwards they suffered for it. Anyway, he told us the ferry no longer ran because the river was too shallow - dry season now. He told us he could transport us to the border for 100,000 dong ea.($6.35 US) via motorbikes...Todd & Jake were jazzed, Bon and I were so so, and Mari was very against(due to past experiences in PC). It was 80 km = 2 1/2 hours...the closest border crossing that we thought was possible he told us was only for V.N.ese and Khomer people. After some debate and the fact that he said we needed to leave early to be able to catch transport from border to Kom Pot(nearest Cambodian town) we settled on it and finally left at 8:45 or so. He assured us he he was a very safe driver and so would be the others and we all had helmets! It was quite a ride, gravel/dirt and pot holes + construction 2/3rds of the way...last 10 km was very rough so he suggested we go 40 km a round about way but paved. This took us by a memorial to the 3,000 + who were slaughtered in 1978 in one village alone by the Khomer Rouge and Pol Pot...women, children...skulls & bones in glass case!!!(they figure up to 3 million died during those 3 years of terror) We arrived at the border about noon and it took an hour to get across. Our VNese guide helped me to exchange currency in the market(blackmarket), and once across the border onto motorbikes again only this time no helmets and bikes were a bit more sketchy!! To the nearest town where we spent a lot of time negotiating with "kids" who spoke quite good English but refused to go lower than $50 US...our VNese guide had told us we should pay about $4.50/p. but we were also to be there by early(1pm) afternoon. Being 2 o├žlock we continued our debate...finally another fellow pulled up w/ minivan and we eventually left on our way to Kom Pot for $38 US! Once we reached KP +/- 5 pm another debate ensued, 3 wanting to go on to Sihanoukville on the ocean, myself on the fence, and Mari opposed. This being NYE we didn't feel like travelling again tomor. but the end result was no vehicle to go for under $20 US and the going rate via shared minivan is $10! We got rooms for $10 US (40,000 riel) and stayed...our NYE meal was at a nice restaurant, but we hadn't adjusted our $$ thinking to riel from dong (4,000 vs 15,750 per USD), the result being we spent almost $20 US on meals for 5 that would have been at least half as much prior to Cambodia! This and the $$ spent during the preceeding 24 hours on transport as well has left us in shock so to speak.

Todd & Jake (& I to some degree) spent the eve c elebrating (euphamism for bending the elbow alot)... and playing cribbage. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let us hope for a change, it has not begun on a cheerful note (tsunami and all)!

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