Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Journey to Tay Ninh...and beyond

After four or so months of daily teaching grind, we were finally granted a reprieve in the form of a four day vacation. Most of our friends went to their girlfriend's hometowns or to the beaches on the east coast, but Will and I, feeling spontaneous I suppose, said, "Fuck it, we're going west!" We didn't know at that time just how west we would end up venturing.

We spread the map on the table, Will recognized the name of a town (Tay Ninh), and passed along that his friend "said it was alright" A not-too-enthusiastic endorsement, but good enough for me. Off we went.

The drive normally takes about two hours, at least at the speed we drive, but of course we got ass-backwards lost on the way there. We were following Highway 22, no problems, just driving, driving, perfectly expecting it to take us right into the heart of Tay Ninh, when we saw a massive structure ahead...

Will: "I think it's a bus station."

Hmm...maybe. I thought it was a huge roundabout in the center of some random town. Beside the point, anyway. Will and I were committed to reaching Tay Ninh, giant "bus station" be damned. We continued on, both of us of the mind that we're just going to drive through the thing. We had almost accomplished our task, oblivious to everything but the road in front of us when we heard...

"STOP! STOP! STOP!" a security person flagged us down, wildly flailing his arms. Confused as hell, we shot a glance at each other, then the security man, and we all sat in silent confusion for a couple of seconds. Sensing our bewilderment, security man made it perfectly clear with his pointer finger.


Oh. So not a bus station, but a border station. In retrospect, it should have been pretty obvious. How we missed the giant "Welcome to Cambodia" sign on the way in, I don't really have a good answer for.

So, even though my passport doesn't have a stamp to prove otherwise, I've been to five countries, not four.

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