Though it was 0630 hours when we rolled out of Hotel Rex in Ho Chi Minh City, we could leave the city after the official flag-off only two hours later. The feeling of being a celebrity or film star continued.
The roads were shut off for our convoy to pass, people lined up in the streets to greet us, wave at us and scream ecstatically as we passed by, wanting to touch our outstretched hands. The love and welcome by the people, at every place we had passed through so far, was overwhelming and touching. It was a quarter past eleven when we reached the Vietnam border, but it was an hour before we could enter the neighbouring Cambodia since there was a huge farewell for us at the Vietnam border. This was our second visit to Cambodia on this trip.
In Cambodia, we stopped for lunch at the Hour Bunny Hotel. There was a line of children, at least two kilometres long, waiting to welcome us in the blazing sun as we pulled up for lunch just before two in the afternoon. And they stood by, waiting to wave us on our way, till we finished lunch!
We crossed into Laos at a quarter to seven in the evening. We stopped for dinner soon after, and then continued on our way to Pakse. So it was breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Cambodia and dinner at Laos today. Stopped for the night at Chamtasak Hotel at Patse. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow, so everyone’s planned an early night. But as they say, man proposes and God disposes.