Freitag, 11. Januar 2013

Impressions from the Thai-Cambodian border

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The border crossing between Aranyaprathet (Thailand) and Poi Pet (Cambodia) is the most bustling border trade point of all land routes to Cambodia. This is where the modern trucks from Thailand are meeting with the hand carts coming across the border from Cambodia. Where begging street urchins and mutilated men and women are clashing with backpackers, bored gamblers (wasting up to 1.000.000 Baht a day in one of the casinos, as an old lady told me proudly) and businessmen. Surrounded is all this by luxurious casinos, hotels and a stench, that becomes almost unbearable on hot and humid days. Most of the goods transported to Cambodia are food (fruits, vegetables and animals), construction materials and electronic products. The commodities imported by Thailand are mostly scrap metal, wood, old clothes and human manpower.
Although I am living in Thailand for ten years now and holding an One-Year-Non-Immigrant-Visa, Type O, multiple entry, I still have to do the 90-Day-Visa-Run. This means, every 90 days people like me have to leave Thailand, cross the border to another neighbouring country and then return to Thailand again (immediately if you want), getting another 90 days stamp at the Thai immigration. Why? I don't now! In ten years nobody was able to explain this regulation to me. Therefore every 90 days I get the opportunity to observe the common life and the border trade in the no man's land between Thailand and Cambodia.

The gate to Cambodia stands in the middle of  the no man's land between Thailand and Cambodia. It's still 400 metres to the Cambodian border checkpoint.

The Cambodian immigration check point (departure).

Mother and her son delivering luggage.

Many of the human carriers have their children with them during transport.

Luxury casinos and hotels with lavish parkways and golf courses bordering the road.

The Tropicana Resort next to the Cambodian border immigration check point.

Every year new casinos and resorts are being build.

...and then there are those who don't have enough money for some roasted clams.

On the Thai-Cambodian Friendship Bridge this blind man and his daughter are begging for some coins from the tourists and gamblers.

Those Cambodians, who can afford it, send their children to a school in Thailand...

...other children are not that lucky.

Waiting for freight.

Waiting for their father who's getting a border pass.

The freight was too heavy,  the axis of the cart broke.

Onions, lots of onions.

Fresh sugar cane lemonade.

This woman tries to sell lucky charms to the people waiting at the Thai - Cambodian migrant office.

Many Cambodians are migrating to Thailand every day, hoping for a better life.

But when you have "problems" with your employer (for example he doesn't want to pay the wages), you may get into trouble with the police (if you can't pay the "fees")  or something is wrong with your papers you get a "free" ride home...

...even the children.


Heavy load!

These hand-operated carts are especially made for people who lost one or even both legs (often injured by landmines)


Thai border immigration check point.

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