A very slow boat
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 173 of 254 › view all entries
We were leaving Vietnam today, so another early start. We caught a slow boat from Chau Doc that took a couple of hours to reach the border. It was luxury compared to the slow boat in Laos, leg room and comfy seats. Our passports were sent ahead so that we could get a visa, but we still had to wait about 90 minutes until the offialdom could let us through. Then it was onto another smaller slowboat for the journey to Phnom Penh. The Mekong was quite calm and about a km wide along this stretch. It was also very quiet compared to the frenetic boat traffic on the delta. We saw one or two very large steel hulled cargo container ships on their way towards the South China Sea, but otherwise just a few small skiffs with fishermen.
About an hour into the journey, we were chugging along at a decent trot, when the engine began to make strange, spluttering noises and then everything went quiet. The driver and his teenage mate immediately stripped down to their shorts and dived in. After some initial investigations, they drove the boat to the bank, and then continued to dive under the boat to try to fix the problem. The driver's mate kept smiling a wonderful smile and saying "No problem." It was very peaceful without the sound of the engine. The only thing ruining the peace were some of our fellow passengers who had stocked up on a local brew and were treating it as a booze cruise. They continued to annoy us for the rest of the journey.
The good news: the boat was fixed sufficiently for us to set off again.
Late afternoon, and the water became quite choppy. The driver kept looking around nervously, especially when someone moved from one side of the boat to the other, upsetting a very fine balance. Out came our dry bag, into which we placed all our passports, money and tickets. Not that we were worried or anything. We reached our destination at dusk with a sigh of relief, piled onto the bus, and reached Phnom Penh at 9pm. We hailed a tuk-tuk, managed to find a decent guesthouse, and did a deal with our tuk-tuk man to take us around the city tomorrow.