January 25, 2013
We had a little trouble getting out of bed this morning. Something about Kampot makes us both move in slow motion. After a little reading and checking our email, we packed up and went for one last meal at Cafe Espresso. We took our time enjoying a casual breakfast before finally hitting the road.
We were excited to get to Vietnam and discover a new culture, landscapes and food, but we were having a pleasant time getting there slowly. On the way we were able to finally fix the constant clicking in my bike. The bearings in my left pedal felt like they had some grit in them. Chandler unscrewed it and swapped it with his left pedal, and now no more clicking on either bike. We’ll have to take it apart and check out the bearings when we get somewhere with spare parts.
The border crossing was pretty straight forward. Exit stamp, goodbye Cambodia; ramble through no mans land; get an entrance stamp and health certificate check (plus $1 for the health form), hello Vietnam.
The differences were immediately obvious. First of all, Vietnamese is written in roman script, so we could at least read the signs and sound things out, if not understand what they meant. The border town of Ha Tien had a completely different feeling than anywhere in Cambodia. It was awake and busy, buzzing with activity. There were lots of motor bikes and freight trucks, but not many cars. It felt a little similar to Bangkok.
We spent the evening wandering around, trying out the language and sampling new foods. We had our first Ca phe sua da (apologies to anyone who can read Vietnamese, accent symbols absent) which is very strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk and ice, a fantastic hot weather “pick me up” drink.
We accidentally ordered two bowls of Pho with shrimp that was made with a beef based broth, so we discreetly swapped bowls until Chandler finished them both. We finished the evening by sampling a local soft drink, most of which ended up being sent down the drain.