At the end of a cruise, with less than 60 passengers on board, the time comes when you have to say good-bye to the staff and crew that have served up the best service one could be provided with. Mr Scenic, you have a great product in the form of the Mekong River Cruise. The Scenic Spirit you had built and completed in January this year is comfortable, functional, and a pleasure to be a passenger on. All the way from the Captain to the Crew behind the scenes, we found them kind and helpful, happy and fun, able to provide the service you wanted for us to be a part of, and give us a holiday that no other company on the river can provide. I can still see from the bus, the staff waving to us as if we are family and that they genuinely wish for us to stay. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The drive from where we disembark is a 6 hour drive from to the second largest town in Cambodia, Siem Reap. Along the highway, which is quite smooth for a developing country, we enjoy the view of farms and towns, bustling people doing their chores, motor cyclists taking their wares to and from the market, ‘loaded cows with an engine’, green fields of rice that go on and on; this is a country that has a good future in mind. After such a bad regime, which seems like yesterday, the people have put away the devastation of the past and are employing a lifestyle of ‘lets get this country going again’ attitude. It is no menial task for a government to encourage its people to become industrious and ‘grow’ a country in methods designed to help all its citizens at their level of ability. Australians often wonder where the ‘foreign aid’ is spent. Today, we crossed two bridges built with aid money from Australia. The bridges are signified by a kangaroo at each end. (Lyn was very lucky to snap this kangaroo while crossing one of the bridges.) Congratulations, Cambodia.
Work in this country seems to happen ‘anywhere’. We stop by the highway and literally, stone masons are creating sculptors, mainly of buddha, on the side of the road. We do not even have to leave the road to see their work up close.
We also stopped by an old Kymer bridge built in the twelfth century. “Happy Rooms” are here too. (WCs)
It takes us just 30 minutes to check in to our hotel and be on a massage table again. 6 of us decide that $US12 for an hour is rather cheap and how handy the massage shops are, just across the road from the Park Hyatt we are staying at. After an introduction to Siem Reap by our Tour Director, Man, we have a quick evening meal before going to the Cambodian Circus Phare. This is run by a non-government organisation designed to help youth become excellent in this circus art form.
Tomorrow is a high day for us. We visit three temples: Ankor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Phrom.