20 June, 2008

A Visa Run

Went this week on a Visa run to the border of Cambodia. With a van full of various foreigners, who were pretty quiet. Except when a few people told the driver we would like to return in one piece. He was driving crazy. Not just fast but driving right up within 3 ft of the vehicle ahead of us then whipping out to pass…welcome to the third world! Anyway, I made conversation with an older Vietnamese man, as the young guys from US were not talking. He is a Dr who escaped the Vietnam war by going to Paris to study in 1960 and staying and not returning. After time he and his wife bought a cheap hotel there. Then later moved to Australia, where he said that like a 1/3 don’t work and it is a rich country. He has since retired in Bangkok and has a condo here, yet his wife remains in Paris taking care of the hotel. Once we arrived at the border, we waited for the paperwork to be done. Walking to the Cambodian side and bought fruit candy for the beggar kids hanging an driving into the creek at the border. Figuring that would be better than giving them each a Baht. They surrounded me, some getting grabby. So when they did, I would stop giving them away until they calmed down. So I could make sure each kid got some. I know that they will beg and it hasn’t changed on bit in the two years since I was last there. They did come across the border, and thanked me for the treats, as no other person paid any attention to them.
The way back went fast, The Dr. and I talked about his friends here in Bangkok and Buddhism.
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