After a rather somber ending to our time in Phnom Penh at the Killing Fields and S21, we unfortunately must bid goodbye to our Cambodian tour guides. These 4 have been with us since we first arrived in Siem Reap nearly a week ago. It’s been great traveling with them, learning more about their homeland, and in some cases their personal stories of learning English, the tourist industry in Cambodia and their impressions of the past and future of their country.
In a welcome relief from these goodbyes and the dark afternoon tours, a large group of us, including a few ship staff and crew, enjoy an evening out at a local night club in Phnom Penh. Arriving on two tour buses, we quickly outnumber the locals at the Blue Chili, a small, loud club that spills out into the sidewalk. But, in typical Cambodian style, the bar owner and staff are extremely friendly and accommodating and we enjoy our night out until the early hours of Friday morning.
We’re awakened Friday morning by the shuttering of the ship’s movement as the anchor is hauled aboard. After a brief period of the engines running, we discover we’re once again anchored mid-stream. La Marguerite, the AMALotus’s sister ship has moved into our moorage at the pier in Phnom Penh. After breakfast, we begin our downstream travels toward the Vietnam border. Around 4PM we anchor mid-stream while a small boat is dispatched to pick up our passports for inspection onshore. After about an hour, the boat returns with our passports and we’re given clearance to continue our voyage into Vietnam. Our first stop will be Tan Chau, a small village on the banks of the Mekong, just south of the Cambodia/Vietnam border. We’re once again anchored mid-stream by around 7PM. After dinner onboard, we’re treated to a crew talent show and dance party. It’s been a nice relaxing day “at sea” onboard the AMALotus – tomorrow we’ll meet our new Vietnamese guides that will be with us until we disembark at Ho Chi Minh City.