Photographer's Note

.Take 1 (Click the number for info of entire trip)

This is the first of my report on our "pocket-size mission to Chong Kneas, Cambodia" that will be a multi-day posting that we hope to be helpful to those who wish to follow our steps.

After my visit to Chong Kneas in March 2005, I posted on TrekEarth a theme named Floating Misery reflecting the miserable status of Vietnamese people living in this floating village over Tonle Sap Great Lake. The serial of pictures and texts came to the attention of some of my co-workers at Alcon Laboratories and other friends at TrekEarth. Then they heard that I am going to return to the same destination. Each of them separately contacted me and asked if I could receive and relay their donations in cash then select the best way to place the help directly into the hands of these human beings…

At the second leg of my trip while in Vietnam, due to my father's illness that consumed an unexpected week of mine, I wished I could abort the return to Cambodia. However, I already had in hands the donations that I didn't beg for — and most important, I have accepted to hand over the help. This turned my travel into a must-mission of humanitarian that forced me to make a express trip to destination where we only discovered the danger during the night we spent there. But the story is long…

The date is Saturday March 17, 2007 as my nephew and I left Saigon on a bus toward Phnom Penh. The picture has been taken of the Cambodian Immigration Officer mass inspecting the passports of all passengers. As you know, Cambodia has the visa entry fee cheapest on the world and the visa-on-arrival available at all points of entry. It’s the friendliest country toward visitors. However, taking picture of border crossing area is prohibited by both countries Cambodia and Vietnam. Your violation may prompt them to not only confiscate your equipment; you can be arrested for such "espionage". When I stood just next to the lady, a westerner innocently photographed her and she just smiled and alerted him “no” with her head shaking. Taking the golden chance, I pointed my camera at her and the crewmember of our bus that helped her with pronunciation of foreign names correctly. It’s too late for her to stop me and I understood to not try another exposure.

Welcome to Bavet Border Crossing and please heading West with us into friendly and smiling Kingdom of Cambodia!


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 125 N: 2331] (8456)
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