8/04 – Kratie, Kompong Cham : deux étapes sur la route qui doit nous mener à Phnom Penh

On quitte les kips (monnaie laotienne) pour les riels (monnaie cambodgienne). Le passage de la frontière ne se fait pas sans difficulté : disons-le tout net, nous nous sommes fait “racketter” par les douaniers puis les policiers laotiens d’abord, cambodgiens ensuite !!! Tous les passagers du bus en font les frais ; seuls Julie et Olivier, un jeune couple de français avec qui nous avons sympathisé, ainsi qu’un autre jeune couple n’acceptent pas de payer : le policier refuse de leur délivrer leur visa d’entrée et menace de bloquer le bus à la frontière ! Au bout d’une bonne demi-heure, l’un des jeunes a l’idée de noter ostensiblement sur un papier le nom et le numéro inscrits sur la plaque de l’un des policiers qui panique aussitôt et comme par enchantement, les visas sont apposés sur leurs passeports !!!

Au cours de notre séjour au Cambodge, cette question de la corruption reviendra régulièrement dans les conversations que nous aurons avec les cambodgiens. Certains journaux en parlent également, mais attention s’ils vont “trop loin” : Hang Chakra, directeur du journal Khmer Machas Srok en sait quelque chose : il vient de passer plusieurs mois en prison pour avoir publié deux articles dans lesquels il accusait l’entourage du vice-premier ministre de corruption…

  • KRATIE

P1010307 Nous faisons une première halte de deux jours à Kratie, petite ville située en bordure du Mékong. En face de Kratie, au milieu du fleuve, s’étend un petite île nommée Koh Trong : après avoir loué des vélos, nous nous apprêtons à prendre le bac pour nous rendre sur cette île. Pour accéder au bac, il faut passer au-dessus du fleuve sur une planche étroite, le vélo est lourd, j’ai toujours mon bras défaillant, bref tout à coup la roue arrière se défile et il s’en faut de peu que je suive le vélo qui tombe à l’eau !!! Heureusement il n’y avait pas beaucoup de fond, le vélo est rapidement récupéré, il n’y a aucun dégât et le “spectacle” a beaucoup plu aux riverains !!!

P1010308

Koh Trong est un endroit charmant. A notre arrivée, nous entendons de la musique traditionnelle : il y a un mariage au village ! Des barnums sont dressés et les convives sont attablés. L’un deux invite Bernard à s’installer avec eux, mais nous poursuivons notre route.

 

 

Nous roulons sur des chemins de terre bordés de palmiers, de bananiers, c’est le début de la matinée et la chaleur est encore supportable. Les gens qui vivent ici ne respirent pas la richesse, les maisons, sur pilotis, sont faites de planches de bois, les toits sont en feuilles de bananier. Tout au long du chemin, enfants et adultes nous font des signes de bienvenue, nous arrêtent parfois pour nous poser quelques questions (les jeunes apprennent l’anglais à l’école). Cette balade à vélo est un régal, nous apprécions le calme, la nature. Au nord de l’île nous découvrons un village flottant de pêcheurs.

P1010311  P1010313

 

  • KOMPONG CHAM

DSC05934   Toujours au bord du Mékong (c’est notre fil conducteur…), Kompong Cham est une petite bourgade paisible. Notre hôtel – dont le propriétaire est paraît-il le neveu du premier ministre ! – donne sur le fleuve. Il fait toujours une chaleur torride, entre 13 heures et 16 heures nous restons enfermés dans la chambre. En fin d’après-midi, les habitants de Kompong Cham viennent prendre le frais au bord du fleuve, la ville recommence alors à s’animer un peu, des jeunes jouent au volley, des marchands ambulants installent des tables et préparent à manger, la nuit tombe vite et la ville s’assoupit jusqu’au lendemain.

 

Etonnant ce pont de bambou utilisé seulement pendant la période sèche et qui doit être totalement reconstruit à la main chaque année !

P1010322  P1010324

 

P1010315

 

 

Le croirez-vous ? C’est une station essence !!!

 

 

 

Un petit clin d’œil à notre amie Anne qui a passé deux étés au Cambodge dans le cadre d’un échange entre enseignants français et cambodgiens. Anne nous a envoyé un mail nous demandant de transmettre le bonjour à Madame Hem Dy, si nous la croisions à Kompong Cham : le seul indice dont nous disposions est que cette dame s’occupait de la bibliothèque, vraiment Anne ton message manquait un peu de précisions ! Mais il en faut plus pour nous décourager et nous voilà donc partis sur les traces de Madame Hem Dy ! Un vieux monsieur parlant français et rencontré sur le marché nous met sur une piste : il nous dit qu’il a maintenant du mal à trouver des personnes avec qui échanger en français, mais qu’il va de temps en temps discuter avec des religieux français…Après quelques tâtonnements nous finissons par trouver ces prêtres. Celui qui nous reçoit vit ici depuis 17 ans, parle, lit et écrit le cambodgien…et connaît Madame Hem Dy !!! Malheureusement, nous sommes en période de Nouvel An Khmer (ce n’est pas le même calendrier que les vietnamiens ou les chinois), le lycée où travaille Mme Hem Dy est fermé et l’abbé qui nous reçoit ne connaît pas sa nouvelle adresse car elle a déménagé…Déception car nous étions près du but, mais nous partons le lendemain…Désolés, Anne, nous aurons essayé ! 

P1010328 Nous partageons plusieurs repas avec Olivier et Julie que nous avons rencontrés au Laos et qui ont passé la frontière avec nous. Ils voyagent également autour du monde. Ils sont partis de France depuis trois mois. Ils rédigent aussi un blog qu’ils ont appelé “voir ailleurs” !!! Reconnaissez que les probabilités de se rencontrer étaient assez minimes ! Nous avons passé avec eux d’agréables moments et leur souhaitons plein de bonnes choses pour la suite de leur périple !

 

Annick

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