The long stretches had house after house built on stilts along the main road. They appeared to be all small farms. During the rainy season the stilts serve their purpose, in the dry season (hot) they are tall enough for one to stand under and create a cooler living space.
The tour guide described everything in Vietnamese. Sometimes I got a good translation and sometimes, after hearing the guide ramble on for 40 minutes I would jokingly ask Fr. Binh, “Would you please repeat all of that?” And he would comply by saying, “He said we are going to stop for lunch in 20 minutes.” Fortunately, I had a good guide book that described most of what we saw so I could follow along fairly well.
There were a few other English speakers in our group who helped me. A Vietnamese-French woman from Paris (moved there with her family when she was six) who was visiting her relatives for the Lunar New Year and added this side trip to Cambodia. She had a French passport, and spoke English and Vietnamese with a French accent. There were also two children (native of Saigon) of one family. The boy (13) went to the Australian school and spoke with an Australian accent, and his sister (10) went to the American school in Saigon and spoke with a perfect American accent. In fact, we got in a joking competition about who got the curtain between our seats to block the hot sun coming through the bus window. Before I know it she said “Rock, paper, scissors. OK?” Well, after six matches I won, but, of course, I let her have the curtain anyway. Apparently, all their classes are in English and they are encouraged to speak only English all day.
Friday we leave for a 10-12 day tour of North Vietnam including a visit to the shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, a highlight for me.
Buddhist Monks are seen everywhere in the city of Phnom Penh. They seek alms in a very gracious way.