Crossing over

Arriving in Poipet

“This used to be called the Dancing Road,” Leonard reminisced about his bus rides to Siem Reap, “because you used to bump your heads on the ceiling, and it took six hours to get there.” The road was now paved, and elsewhere along the way there were other signs of change. Early on, we stopped at a newly-built tourist place with cavernous ceilings and cool marble floors and a refreshment area serving cool drinks and Asian food.  Two years ago, it didn’t exist. And on either side of the long ribbon of highway, there were giant new constructions: a hotel, a university, a casino. “Cambodia is on the move,” said David.

Otherwise the scene that streamed past the windows was like a magazine spread on southeast Asia: wooden houses on stilts, children playing in the dirt, chalk-colored cattle with jutting spines and long, tapered horns, people herding ducks and fishing with nets in the vast mud puddles left by the monsoon season, people riding together on motorbikes (one dangling a child at her side.) Amanda put her camera on sport mode and snapped a water buffalo and its baby as we whizzed by. “That was so cool!” she said.



3 comments so far

  1. Ann DeRooy on

    How long does the ride on the formally 6 hour “dancing road” take now that it is paved?

    It sounds like the contrasts between the rich and poor (or is it the tourists and the natives?) are huge! That’s always a little hard to swallow, I think.

    Can’t wait for more pictures. I read the posts from both blogs over several times while I’m waiting for more. 🙂

    • calvinstudent on

      Ann, the dancing road ride now takes about 2 hours and is as smooth as glass.

      And the contrasts are multi-dimensional as you picked up on. The one referred to in the post, however, was between tourist and Khmer natives.

      Realizing that few tourist dollars to trickle through the local economy is hard to stomach. Most of those dollars move to either people who invested dirty money or shareholders of real estate investors. Ouch, that later one, is likely us.


  2. Ann DeRooy on

    Thanks David!

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