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Text and pictures by Bernhard Heiser

    Part 14:  Poipet  -  Gamblers, Touts and Dust
The last 10 km we use the street that connects Poipet with Sisophon and Siem Reap. Suddenly there is much more traffic. I can't remember the road was so big three years ago. There are even real buses now, carrying tourists to Angkor Wat. There is always traffic around us and its very dusty all the time.
It's one o'clock when we finally reach our destination. I tell Votha to turn right to the market. We combine our "debriefing" with lunch in a small restaurant. He writes down all the names of the places we passed through and his adress in Pailin. Votha decides to go back today. If he leaves now, he can be back with his family before dark.

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I also want to move on, I decide to leave this shithole of city and cross the border to Thailand. We drive to the roundabout near the border gate and I say goodbye to Votha. Today there are no hassles with touts, they seem to be more interested in travelers going to Angkor.
I almost can't believe how much this place has changed. There are huge new buildings everywhere, the street is swarming with people, motorbikes, trucks and handcarts. Here I just walk by the gigantic gate of the Tropicana casino.
Immigration paperwork is quickly done, nobody asks for anything anymore. Slowly I walk on to the Thai side of the border. Small children carry huge umbrellas to protect tourists from the sun. Noone seems to appreciate this service, but at least they will earn a few riel for their families with that business at the end of the day.
On the other side I get my new Thai visa on arrival that is valid for another four weeks. I sit down for a moment to watch this tractor with his heavy loaded trailer. It takes five minutes until he succeeds to pull it over a little step in the road. The engine is extremely loud and exhaust fumes and rubber smoke cover the whole place.
A last look back through the Cambodian border gateway. Cambodia, I will come back soon!

The rest of the day I am in Aranyaphratet, where I meet a good friend of mine for dinner. We spend the evening talking about my trip and looking at my digital photos. The next day I take the bus back to Bangkok.


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