As a foreigner, I am limited to staying in Vietnam for 30 days at any one time. Because the company that I work for has only just gotten registered and I am looking at a few months before I get something that will free me from that, I guess I can expect to continue doing this for now.
Before I go on, yes there is a 3 month pass that I can get, but it costs US$100 and takes up one page of my passport, and after going to PP the previous time, I thought that making a trip to the border ain’t that bad of a thing for a change of environment.
Ok, so, today I made a trip to the border and back. Decided to go with Mailinh this time. Only thing that I was a little upset about was the lack of a toilet on the bus. To make up for it, they stopped along the way for toilet/petrol breaks so that’s fine. Took me about 2h30m to get to Mộc Bài today. Maybe partly due to weather conditions. The bus going there was very empty, around 10 people all together. Sat alone and just enjoyed some music. Their Mailinh staff didn’t have sufficient English for what I wanted, but we managed to get by with the help of some other people.
At HCMC I had booked a return trip for the bus that left PP at 1:30pm, but I missed it at Bavet (Cambodian town at the border), so I had to wait for quite a long time. Spent the waiting time trying to talk with the Mailinh guy stationed there who could hardly speak English or Khmer. Pretty much just vocabulary he picked up from the job. But I’ll give him the credit for his attitude and friendliness. I used diagrams and body language to make some communication with him. After that he got busy and I chatted with an immigration officer there in Khmer.
Sometimes I really wished I could help all these people. So much that I want to do. Anyway, he said he was taking English classes from a Filipino instructor based in Vietnam who would go to Bavet daily for classes. He paid US$10 for one week of lessons in a class of 100! Thought this is pretty outrageous. US$1000/week to give a class to 100 people just sounds too extravagant. Also found out that approximately 2000-3000 people cross the border daily. Approximating the border to be opened for 12 hours a day, that would make it an average of 250 people an hour. Relatively low stream of locals and the occasional burst of buses.
Spent 1.5 hours talking and waiting at Bavet for the next Mailinh bus. On the return bus, I sat next to a telecommunications engineer based in Siem Reap. He gave me a good 2 hour introduction to mobile infrastructure and some telecommunications stuff which really piqued my interest. I was amazed to find out that his company has rolled out fibre optic all across Cambodia, the only company to have done this. Talked to him about his future and what he wants to do and felt that there was so much more in store for him.
Well that’s my rant for the day.. time to hit the sack!