WiFi issues in Phnom Penh...Using the cruise director's computer to upload a short post...A painful story to tell...

Tom, situated in his rickshaw as we meandered down the busy street in Phnom Penh.
We expected wifi issues on this Viking Mekong River cruise.  However, Cruise Director Enrico Schiappapietra has gone overboard (no pun intended) to assist us in getting a post, however small, uploaded today while we are docked in the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Still nursing my wounded spine, we continue to curtail our activities to a level that I can manage without further injury.  This morning at 8:30 am we'd committed to trying the tuk tuk for a tour of the city.  
There was lots of traffic on the street we wove our way through motorbikes, cars and trucks.
As it turned out two one-person rickshaws were awaiting us as opposed to a motorized tuk tuk.  Simply put a rickshaw is a  bicycle with a riding seat in the front of the driver.

When we spotted our mode of transportation, I hesitated especially when noticing the back portion of the passenger seat was reclined as shown in today's photo. The incline placed me in a position disastrous for my current condition.

Realizing our ride through the busy city of Phnom Penh was only scheduled for only an hour, I figured I could tough it out.  After all, in these past six weeks I've endured some difficult sitting and walking that surely exacerbated my condition.
The entrance to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.
With all the other passengers, including Tom, situated in their one-person rickshaws, I didn't want to make a  fuss and decided to forge ahead.  It was odd for Tom and I not to be side by side.  He's my spotter with an innate skill of spotting great photos ops.  On my own, I can hardly match his fine skills.

As a result, today's photos may not be as good as others these past days when he wasn't with me and...I was wriggling around in the seat in a dire attempt to get comfortable.  After the first 10 minutes I yelled out to Tom's rickshaw, "We have to go back to the ship.  This is torture."

Our regular readers know I'm not a  wimp and will tough out most situations. I could have withstood the discomfort if I wasn't concerned I was doing damage to an already precarious situation.
Views along the streets of Phnom Penh.
Then, the "fun" began when neither of our rickshaw drivers understood we wanted to "return to Mekong."  There were no hand signals or manner of speech that could communicate to these two kindly gentlemen who so much wanted to please us that we needed to return to the boat on the Mekong. 

They did understand that we wanted to go to an ATM, something surely many tourists request.  On a side not much to our surprise ATMs in Cambodia only dispense US currency.  Everywhere in Cambodia purchases can be made using US dollars.

We needed cash for tips we'd proffer at the end of the cruise and today was our last option to get US currency for quite some time.  We carried only small amounts of US currency with us over these past 45 months, using the currency available in each country.

We stopped at at little market in the center of town when I spotted an ATM inside, also hoping to purchase toothpaste which we're almost out of at this point.  We don't pack the runny homemade toothpaste when we're traveling since it could easily spill in the luggage.

It felt great to get out of the rickshaw, again trying to find an English speaking person to explain to the two rickshaw drivers that we wanted to return to the ship as soon as possible.  Our efforts were to no avail.  Not a single person understood our message.

Finally, the hour began to wind down and we were hopeful they'd head back to the pier.  Alas, they wanted to give us a "bang for the buck" and they took off in yet another direction.

At that point I resigned myself that we could possibly be riding around Phnon Penh for several more hours while I squirmed in an effort to find a comfortable position.

An hour and 40 minutes later, the two rickshaw drivers peddled toward the pier to our awaiting ship.  I couldn't have been more thrilled to see the boat nor could I maneuver out of the cumbersome vehicle more quickly.

As we made our way down the steep steps to the gangplank we sighed with relief that the day's outing was over.  Had we taken a tuk tuk we'd have had no problem.

To distract myself I took plenty of photos, some of which we're sharing here today as soon as we get a better signal.  With the poor wifi signal, I'm currently using Enrico's laptop which is wired to the only working Internet signal on the ship.  We didn't ask for this, he offered, insisting we take advantage of his offer.  How'd we become privy to such outrageous customer service we've experienced on this cruise.

Last night, when we went to our cabin after the evening ended, we noticed a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice with two flutes and a thoughtful note from Enrico thanking us for sharing our worldwide travel story with him and posting all the genuine and positive comments we've made about Viking Cruises over these past many days.

Even with my limitations and a continuing degree of discomfort during the past week of this cruise/tour, we couldn't be more pleased with Viking's Magnificent Mekong river cruise and the attention and care provided by this extraordinary company.  Now, we see first hand why Viking is rated with five stars over and over again.

If you don't see us here by 3 pm tomorrow, it is due to the poor signal aboard the ship, as we've discovered is no fault of the cruise line and is due to the lack of a good signal at various points along the river.  Keep an eye out.  We'll be back as soon as we can get back online.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago, July 16, 2015:
Tom in front of a restored tank outside the Australian Armour and Artillery in Cairnes, Australia.


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