A Travellerspoint blog

Depressing night in Phnom Penh

The morning was drizzly, so I stayed in bed until checkout. It was so soft and warm, I watched the rain fall down through the open door of my hut. I finally had my first hot shower after two weeks of crazy travelling. Imagine that. I had completely forgotten how nice that felt.

At around 11,I marched back to town, giving myself at least two more blisters on each foot from the new flip flops. The laundry place last another pair of my socks and nothing was dry at all. They probably just left everything in the rain that morning. They gave me $1.25 back for my troubles. I went and spent it on lunch across the street, glowering at them the whole time.

The bus to Phnom Penh left at 1 and it was full of really loud people, having a grand old time for six hours of race car speed driving. At one point, we stopped for food and my new rambunctious friends gave me some sort of fish ball snack. I immediately developed hives on my chin and throat and quickly downed yet another anti-histamine, afraid my throat would start to close up any second. It helped a lot anyway, and soon I was drifting off to sleep.

When we arrived back in town, I headed straight for Friends restaurant, another tourism training school. It was packed, so I sat down to wait for a table. An older Danish gentleman named Bill got behind me in line. I invited him to share a table and we chatted while waiting for my couchsurfing host to show up. Turns out he had been messaging me trying to find out if I was still there, I assumed he was on his way so I put my iPod away. He never cam, so Bill and I went for beers at the Correspondent's Club. I drank way too many, thinking it was my turn to pay, but while I was in the washroom, he paid for it all, in addition to dinner. The second awesome Dane I've met.

Anyway, it was really nice to sit at the same balcony as the brave reporters of the past did. I left feeling brokenhearted at the impact recent innovations have made on the quality of journalism today. There's just never going to be any more days like those decades before the internet ever again. We have seen the death of truth and integrity int he news and I believe it is irretrievable. We can never go back to the past, and the way forward looks bleak.

I finished my last stout and gave Bill some chopsticks as a thank you for his generosity. Maybe I'll see him in Tuscany again someday. I forgot to mention he is a successful wine importer. Someone very helpful to know, don't you think?

Later, I somehow found a hostel that was still open for $7 and I slept straight through until morning.

Hut hotel

Hut hotel


Hut hotel

Hut hotel


Delicious coffee and beautiful hair

Delicious coffee and beautiful hair

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Motorcycle fail

By noon my clothes weren't even close to being done. I had to sort through them to find my pants, shoes and sweater. I didn't want to be scratching myself up or worse while wearing a summer dress and flip flops. It's like I had some premonition that I would screw the whole motorcycle thing up, before I even got on it.

Turned out that was the right idea because as soon as Enzo sat on the back, I started the motor up and completely flipped us backwards. There was no clutch, so I was revving it in neutral wondering why it didn't go. When I finally figured out how to switch gears and put it into first, the bike just took off, sent us flying backwards, pinned my foot under it and gave us both identical elbos scrapes. Enzo probably also hurt his back really bad. I apologized over and over again and then we switched to a fully automatic scooter. Much better. I drove very carefully down to the waterfall.

We spent what was left of the afternoon snacking on taro pastries in the mist. As the sun went down we went back for dinner at Khmer Kitchen, where a cute puppy was chewing on my flip flops for the better part of an hour.

Enzo's hotel seemed a lot cooler than mine, he was staying in a hut in a field. So, I followed him there in hopes there would be one more vacant hut fo me. On the way there we braved some crazy dogs and passed a hopping wedding party. I couldn't resist. I made Enzo come with me and people were really friendly. A ittle too friendly, because they were aggressively pushing us onto the dance floor, even after we had danced with them for quite a while. I decided it was getting a little too pushy and bee lined it for the hotel. I skyped my parents soon afterwards and went to bed in my hut three metres from the ground.

Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Bousra Waterfall

Bousra Waterfall


Wedding

Wedding

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Cleaning up in Mondulkiri

Sopani brought us to the market where we had coffee and Khmer noodles as well as some super sweet donuts for breakfast. I could only eat one of those. The coffee in this part of the world is phenomenal. It's brewed as thick as pudding and served with sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the glass. You can have it hot or iced, it's just amazing. Even better than in Honduras, I'd say.

We hopped in a van and went back to Ban Lung and the ranger's office. I quickly grabbed my stuff and was whisked off to Sen Monorom to try and see the famous elephants. The company I wanted to go with was all booked up, so I just gave up on it.

I decided to rent a motorcycle and go to another waterfall instead. Enzo, a Spanish looking guy, happened to be there and I invited him along, as I was leaving the next day. I assured him I was a very experienced motorcyclist. We agreed to meet up tomorrow.

I sent all my gross jungle clothes to the laundry and hoped they would be done tomorrow. I went for a dinner of street food and went to bed so sleepy again.

In another minivan

In another minivan


Papaya dinner

Papaya dinner

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Boat ride back to civilization

We only had half a day of walking as we passed destitute loggers who piled $10 logs of poor grade mahogany onto their motorcycles. They brought them to the city to sell at great danger to their lives.

When we got back to the main river, we had another swim and hopped into a little leaky boat, which the boat man had to constantly bail in order to avoid sinking. We said goodbye to Two and Sopani brought us to his village. We had some beer, fresh tamarind and chicken rice for dinner.

We didn't sleep too much because someone's baby was wailing for literally hours. We later learned the mother was trying to wean him off of breast milk, but I still think that was quite inhumane, I don't care what you say.

Delicious mint/bamboo water

Delicious mint/bamboo water


Village

Village

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

River crossings

This was the day we had to cross the same river 10 times and my feet were just burning. The skin had been completely removed from my baby toes, along with some random cuts on the bottom of my feet from rocks and various other minor blisters. Sopani gave me some elastic bandages and they saved my sanity. We walked until lunch to a beautiful waterfall that reminded me of the one we used to paddle to at Doe Lake every summer. While Sopani and Two cooked lunch (!!!) I took my time cleaning my gross feet and getting a water massage. I even washed my hair! I might've actually died if this waterfall wasn't in the plan. I felt a lot better, and crossing the same river 10 times didn't seem like such a bad prospect anymore.

My feet were still burning, but every time we crossed they cooled down a bit. That night, Two made us "bamboo tea" by boiling river water in fat, long stalks of bamboo. It was delicious. I even added some mint candies to the concoction and it was the most refreshing thing ever in my life.

Bamboo cup

Bamboo cup


Ants

Ants


River

River


Waterfall

Waterfall


Waterfall massage

Waterfall massage

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Hiking hiking hiking

Today was a big day for hiking. We had some ramen for breakfast and set off, walking straight up nearly the whole day. Two made us cups out of bamboo and I drank a lot of sweet powdered coffee out of that thing.

After a few hours, I realized I had left my socks at the campsite. Oh no, only three left now. Sopani and Two actually packed fresh eggs, so they made us a big omelet for lunch. They were even disappointed they cracked one of them, I was amazed any of them survived.

When we got to the top of the mountain range we had to tromp through some grassland, but it was the most difficult part. The grass grows in uneven clumps and my ankle was twisted in all directions by the end of it. The sun was beating down and the air was still as I stumbled along.

Then Sopani picked up a furry piece of what he said was tiger poop.

"Is it fresh?" "Maybe two days," he replied.

Oh good lord.

I almost forgot this exchange until later that evening.

The view from the top of the mountain was really breathtaking, and our camp was not far. It was full of leeches and tigers, but not far. I had already ripped a leech off of my ankle, he was hiding in my sock. I didn't want to see any more.

I wasn't tired or hungry, but I choked down some more rice and sausage and went to bed early again. I guess that tiger was still in my subconscious brain because I woke up at midnight to what I thought was the sound of a large animal in the bushes. I swear I also heard the sound of a large cat growling or snuffling, but that remains unproven and undocumented. I woke Norbert up and he heard the animal too. Sopani said it was a deer and that I shouldn't talk about tigers, or they would surely arrive. I asked to switch hammocks, so I could sleep closer to him. He didn't have a gun or anything to defend us, except for a large machete, but I figured it was better than what Norbert had.

"Maybe you can just not worry" was Sopani's tip for falling asleep deep in the jungle. And eventually I did.

Bamboo cup

Bamboo cup


Almost at the top

Almost at the top


Sopani and his omelet

Sopani and his omelet


Norbert almost at the top

Norbert almost at the top


The top!

The top!


Me at the top!

Me at the top!


Me at the top!

Me at the top!


Norbert and Sopani at the top

Norbert and Sopani at the top


Campsite

Campsite


Campsite

Campsite


Campsite

Campsite

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Suddenly going to the jungle

I went straight to the park ranger's office, as early as possible and I was surprised that an Austrian was leaving in about an hour. It would cost about $250 to go for five days into the jungle. At first, I declined, but as I was walking back to the hotel disappointed, I decided to go for it. I picked up the pace and brought all my stuff to the office. Quickly, Sopani, our guide, rattled off the minimal list of things I would need, pants, shirt, sweater, toothbrush, etc. I quickly shoved it all in my non-trekking backpack and we were off.

We had to stop to buy some food first, so I took two seconds to warn my mom I was leaving and scarfed down a bowl of noodles and liver... I even ate it too.

My motorcycle driver was a little handsy, and when he wanted to take a selfie, he casually threw his hand over my shoulder and reached down to my chest. Whoahhhh, I pushed him away and told him to get back on the bike. After we'd left him, I told Sopani and he said he wouldn't hire him anymore.

We took a little boat across the river and just started walking and walking and walking. Norbert the Austrian was very quiet, so it was mostly me chattering and singing and trying to learn some Khmer from Sopani. By the end of the trip I could count to 10 and also tell tuk tuk drivers that I'm going for a walk.

By the end of the first day, my feet already had small blisters. Norbert gave me some medical tape, which helped. I took a quick dip in the river as Sopani and Two (the sherpa???) set up our hammocks and made dinner. What luxury! I put my dry clothes on and went to bed early.

Treetop eco lodge

Treetop eco lodge


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park


Virachey national park

Virachey national park

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Three waterfalls and a lake

I woke up early ready to tackle this hard core ride. The bike rental place was supposed to open at 6 a.m., but in reality the owner didn't come until 6:45 a.m., with apologies. No matter, at $1.50 a day, how can you complain?

As I left the city, I sat down for a leisurely breakfast of noodle soup, tea and iced coffee at KC Restaurant. Then, I was really ready. The bike to the lake was easy and I strolled around the perfectly circular water until I got back to where I started. I was a little paranoid because my bike only had a lock on the back tire, like the ones in Amsterdam, but I think it was too crappy, so no one wanted to take it anyway.

I took a quick dip and went back to the other side of town to find the waterfalls. I figured I'd go to the furthest one, which was a good idea, because I had a lot of energy at that time, and the bright red dirt road was full of potholes and rocks. It would have been a hard ride, even if I had a better bike, but as it was, my little street bike was struggling.

The first waterfall was a little disappointing, so I was more than happy to stop for lunch of pate, crab, deep fried baguette with cucumber and mayonnaise. So great with cold beer, after my hot ride.

The other two waterfalls were quite a distance away, but they were both on decent roads and very lovely. I went swimming again in an attempt to cool myself off for the rest of the day.

At the best waterfall, I approached an American woman and her family to ask if she had seen the washroom, she replied, "No, but Cambodians always have a place to throw their shit." What? Why talk like that? It was so strange and unnecessarily vulgar.

Anyway, I went and bounced over the suspension bridge and down to the bottom to feel the mist and see a small rainbow. On the way back, it was getting a little cooler, so I made it home without collapsing.

Son was in town for some reason, so we went out for dinner with Caroline and the tofu amok was awesome at Cafe Allee. The owner was nonsensical, but he gave us free whiskey/bailey's for dessert. I said goodbye to Son forever.

Breakfast

Breakfast


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Lake Yeak Laom

Lake Yeak Laom


Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall


Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall


Brutal roads

Brutal roads


Cha Ong Waterfall

Cha Ong Waterfall


Amazing sandwich

Amazing sandwich


Roadside cafe

Roadside cafe


Ka Chhang Waterfall

Ka Chhang Waterfall


Ka Chhang Waterfall

Ka Chhang Waterfall


Ka Chhang Waterfall

Ka Chhang Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall


Tofu amok

Tofu amok

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Tree Top Eco Lodge

After an amazing breakfast of fish and coconut rice porridge, we took a mini van back to Stung Treung. Son let me take a shower in his room and use the wifi until it was time to go. I left a little gift from China on the sink for him.

When I arrived in Ban Lung, a tout from Tree Top Eco Lodge took me to his hotel. It was top of the Lonely Planet listings so I went with him. A really beautiful place, overlooking a ravine with nice showers for everyone. I had a small room with a balcony and decided to bike out to the three waterfalls and the sacred volcanic lake, a total of 40 km the next day.

My neighbor Caroline from Holland had a driver, but I thought it was too rich for my blood. She shared some peanuts with me and I went to bed without dinner. Oops.

Treetop Eco Lodge

Treetop Eco Lodge


Treetop Eco Lodge

Treetop Eco Lodge


Treetop Eco Lodge

Treetop Eco Lodge


Treetop Eco Lodge

Treetop Eco Lodge

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Kayaking and waterfalls

After virtually no sleep on a mat on the floor of a stilt house, a menagerie of animals woke me up nice and early. We had our fruit and crackers for breakfast, then set off for the day. Our guide took us to see another pod of river dolphins and then to a canyon-like waterfall beside which, a brand new casino and temple was going up. Sound familiar, Ontario friends? Good lord, that will be awful when it's finished, but there it is, the battle between authenticity and development, once again.

We climbed about on the rocks, Son goat-like, jumping from point to point. I was not so confident in my balancing abilities, I stayed back a few metres. A nice woman from Siem Reap even invited me to her home when I arrived at Angkor Wat. Amazing!

Our lunch was also beautiful on the bank of the Mekong. We took the kayaks out and paddled around. I had no idea what to do with the oars, so I just used it like a canoe paddle, it must've looked ridiculous, but it worked. We saw a few water buffalo, paddled through the flooded forest and went swimming in the strong current. I was dreading paddling back upstream, but Mr. Hen piled the kayaks in a motorized boat and he drove us home. What luxury!

After finding our homestay, they only had one bed for us! Luckily, Son volunteered to sleep on the floor, so they got him another mattress. We wandered around town until dinner, and our driver for tomorrow beckoned us over to drink some Cambodian whiskey with him. Son gave him the rest of our rice wine as compensation. We had dinner with a school teacher from Australia who had lost his girlfriend to illness. She's still alive, she just went home, but he was left with no purpose and plan. We discussed possibly going on a trek together, but he was a little bit annoying. I don't know if I could've stood him for too many days. We went to bed a bit early this time, but still I didn't sleep very well again.

On the boat

On the boat


On the boat

On the boat


Big tree

Big tree


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Lunch

Lunch


Lunch

Lunch


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Kayaking

Kayaking


Coffee

Coffee


Lunch

Lunch


Lunch with Mr. Hen

Lunch with Mr. Hen


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith


Sopheak Mith

Sopheak Mith

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Homestay on the Mekong

I deposited my laundry at the laundromat, 3 kg for $3, but it would take 24 hours. I went back to the Xplore Asia office and asked if there was another person coming on the tour today. He said no, so I went back to the hotel to wait out the heat. As I was lying there sweating, the tour guy showed up and told me he found Son, a Vietnamese American lawyer, who would be going on the homestay and kayaking tour with me. He had decided to leave early, so I didn't have to wait, and we could both go on a cheaper adventure. Turns out they were frantically looking for me, even though I clearly wrote my email down the night before and even though I had been there promptly at 9:30 to check in with them. Son later told me he had sent an email the night before, but the tour guide didn't bother to check it.

Anyway, we were off as soon as Son arrived. More than an hour later, we were at our homestay on stilts, sweating in the heat and wandering around on dusty roads towards the river, when suddenly the mighty Mekong appeared, brilliant blue with emerald green flooded forest islands in the middle. We sat down in the shade, and drank the rest of our water which had been streaming from our pores.

On the way back, our tour guide found us and drove us back, three full grown adults smooshed together on a motorcycle driving down mud roads. Good thing it was only a short distance.

There was nothing else to do until dinner, and we met two German women dirt biking around. There was no room at our place, so we sent them down the road to the more beautiful place.

We had some rice wine with dinner of fish soup, eggs and rice. For dessert, Mr. Hen (our guide) tried to give my fruit back to me and tell me it was grown there in the homestay. No, these are mine, that I brought from the city. Why are you lying to me, Mr. Hen? and we laughed.

Son and I walked down the road, the other way this time, and found a silky sandy beach. We sat down and watched some people night fishing, who seemed to be coming closer to us. I tried to freak Son out and he flipped it back on me, so then I was scared they were all in a kidnapping plot together, and then we went back to laze around in hammocks until it was late.

Mekong

Mekong


Clean Melissa

Clean Melissa


Mekong

Mekong


Homestay

Homestay


Mekong and me

Mekong and me

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Irrawaddy dolphin spotting

I woke up super early so that my bike ride wouldn't be so hot, slipped a note under Mike's door, with my sincere apologies, collected my bike and pedalled off into the sunrise. I arrived just in time to meet a Danish family with two small boys, exploring the country. They reminded me of my family because I got dragged around in random scary places from time to time as well.

Another Italian guy showed up and we all went in a boat together to disturb some endangered dolphins while laughing and smiling about it and then going home to tell our friends. All for $7. I had a problem with paying though, because I only had a $100 bill. The Danes immediately paid my fare for me and I thanked them wholeheartedly, promising to make it up to them later.

The dolphins were quite amazing to see in the morning. They were quite active at that time. Their dark grey heads would pop out of the water only for a second, and then they would descend again quickly. Taking photos proved to be impossible.

After the quick boat trip, I biked all the way back in the hot sun, and collected together an envelope and some gifts from China to give to my Danish friends. I knew I probably wouldn't see them again, so I left the small package at the front desk of their hotel. They emailed me when they got it and then tracked me down at the restaurant where I was having a two hour leisurely lunch before my bus to Stung Treng, the frontier of Cambodia in the north, just south of Laos.

The bus was empty, apart from some people on the last day of their visas, so they were leaving to go to Laos. I was the only one looking for some adventures here. When we arrived int he dusty ramshackle place, a crazy Cambodian shuffled us all off to his horrible guest house. It was $6 and had no toilet seat, as well as no plumbing. The sink drained onto the floor and the toilet flushed with a scoop in a bucket of water. He called his hotel "River House" and we confused it with one of the nicer guest houses in town, then I was too lazy to go and find another place.

I walked around downtown to figure out what to do. There was one adventure tour company in town, so I went to see if he had something to do tomorrow. He said maybe not tomorrow but definitely the day after. Come back at 9:30 tomorrow and he will know for sure. OK fine. The others worked out their complicated crossing to Laos, which seemed to involved four buses and two boats for some reason. Wow.

I found them back at the hotel after the owner had already drank beer and ate dinner with me. The Belgians and German were hungry, so I went with them to hear about what they were doing the day after.

Irrawaddy dolphins

Irrawaddy dolphins


Irrawaddy dolphins

Irrawaddy dolphins


Irrawaddy dolphins

Irrawaddy dolphins


Irrawaddy dolphins

Irrawaddy dolphins


Danish friends

Danish friends


Noodle breakfast

Noodle breakfast


Fancy lunch

Fancy lunch


Noodle breakfast

Noodle breakfast


Mekong River

Mekong River

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

First encounter with a probable sex tourist

I woke up with the sun, finally fully rested and took my bike out to Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (Man and Woman Hill), where there was a bunch of monkeys and two temples. My plan was to eat breakfast at the top of the hill (which I bought at a baker on the way there). My plan was thwarted by a big fat monkey, who sat beside me. I have him my pack of ketchup, I thought it would be funny. He slurped it with delight, and then he proceeded to go through the contents of my bike basket. He didn't find anything interesting in there (food), so he then proceeded to throw everything over the hill. When I tried to stop him, he hissed at me, and continued on his merry way, eating my map and throwing garbage around until I lured him away with a piece of my bun. Pfft, monkeys. Not cute, stupid jerks really.

I fetched my belongings from the bottom of theh ill and walked up and down to the second temple and right through the site of a bunch of massacres. There was supposed to be a pile of skulls somewhere, but I didn't spend time looking for it.

On the way back, I stopped at Wat Nokor, which was an ancient temple with a new temple built inside of it. The clash of modernity with the ruins was really interesting to see. Some cheap people didn't want to pay the entrance fee, so I gave them my ticket, which I didn't use at the other two temples.

I biked back and picked up my bag to go to my next stop, Kratie.

I took out some money at the bank while waiting for my bus. $5 transaction fee, again, what the actual eff Cambodia!? By the time I got back there were a few more foreigners there going the same way. We were chatting and when the bus came a skinny guy from Colorado sat beside me. I followed him to his cheap guest house and we planned to have dinner. He had something vague to do which I wasn't invited to called "walking around town" for three hours. Oh really... I'll just let you mull that over for a bit and you can guess what it was.

Anyway, I ignored it and took a short ferry to an island in the middle of the Mekong River. It was dry season, so I amused myself by walking along the bottom of the river until it was time to head back.

I took a shower and went down to dinner with Mike, who also looked refreshed but probably for a different reason. He clammed up all night and even when I asked him direct questions, couldn't seem to answer them, even answering with an outright refusal. Anyway, he asked if I wanted to go see the dolphins with him int he morning and I agreed, but as the night wore on, he was exhausting me. Finally he called me rude because sometimes I like to banter with the touts on the street even though I don't want to buy anything.

So that was it for me, I went back to my original plan which was to ride another rental bike upstream to a pod of river dolphins in Kampi. Mike wanted to have another drink, but I declined and went to bed.

Phnom Pros

Phnom Pros


Temple

Temple


Temple

Temple


Phnom Srei

Phnom Srei


Phnom Srei

Phnom Srei


Wat Nokor

Wat Nokor


Wat Nokor

Wat Nokor


Wat Nokor

Wat Nokor


Wat Nokor

Wat Nokor


Wat Nokor

Wat Nokor


Ferry on the Mekong

Ferry on the Mekong


Ferry on the Mekong

Ferry on the Mekong


Island

Island


Bottom of the Mekong

Bottom of the Mekong


Bottom of the Mekong

Bottom of the Mekong


Bottom of the Mekong

Bottom of the Mekong


Bottom of the Mekong

Bottom of the Mekong


My first fish amok

My first fish amok


Monkey jerk

Monkey jerk


Strange hot dog for breakfast

Strange hot dog for breakfast

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Bamboo bridge

When I woke up and completely emptied the contents of my entire digestive system, I booked it out of there as fast as I could. The lazy receptionist was sleeping when I got downstairs, so I patiently waited for him to get up while I planned my next move.

The day before, I had asked how to get to Kampong Cham, a quieter town not far from Phnom Penh. He must not have read the words I showed him in my book, because he sent me to this luxury minivan place. It would've been nice, but the ticket man also didn't look at my book and sold me a much more expensive ticket to Kampong something else. I didn't realize until a nice lady asked where I was going, and she gasped and told me it was wrong. The bus company tried to keep my money and send me who knows where on a taxi, that I would have to pay for! What the actual eff Cambodia???

I made the bus company give me my money back and put me on another bus back to where I could get a ticket to where I wanted to go. Ugh. Infuriating.

Finally though, I found the right bus, which was a lot more like what I'm used to. Broken seat belts and blasting Khmer music the whole way.

After arriving, I walked straight to the river front and found the guest house in the guidebook was gone. This would prove to be a theme during the rest of my trip for sure. Right next door was another one which was also cheap and nice. Moon River. I slept all day, still exhausted from not sleeping on Dec. 31.

When I woke up the sun was setting. I quickly rented a bike and pedalled over the bamboo bridge that they build every year in dry season. The island it went to was quite peaceful and leafy, but it was getting dark and there were no lights. Also some kid had just grabbed my back tire and tried to make me stop for some reason. I didn't want to find out why, so I went home.

I still couldn't eat or sleep at that point so I went out to the river where they were selling simple coconut crepe things. I thought my stomach could handle that, so I grabbed one and wandered up and down the river. Mostly it was full of local teenagers and people taking breaks from their jobs at the hotels across the street.

Fancy van

Fancy van


Fancy van

Fancy van


Bamboo bridge

Bamboo bridge


Nice bus

Nice bus


On the bus

On the bus


Bamboo bridge

Bamboo bridge


Sunset in Kampong Cham

Sunset in Kampong Cham


Bamboo bridge

Bamboo bridge


Island

Island


Coconut crepe

Coconut crepe


Riverfront

Riverfront

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

NYE on the subway

I stayed up all night in Guangzhou on New Year's Eve, but I didn't even see the countdown. I spent the afternoon buying a stolen camera, and then having some delicious Turkish food for an early dinner.

I decided to go and buy some presents for my couchsurfing hosts. I found some cheesy magnets and chopsticks and then proceeded to wander around. There were about 12 hours still before my flight to Phnom Penh.

Almost immediately, I saw a big group of people milling about in the park. I asked if they spoke English, and lucky enough, it was a huge gathering of an English club. They invited me to stay with them and of course, they broke out thousands of glow sticks and light up bunny ears and devil horns. We all walked down the river together where they planned to perform some music. Almost as soon as they put down their speakers, some bylaw officers came on scene to break it up. I guess it looked too much like a protest. There were some words exchanged and the group members were very agitated by the whole thing.

"It's always like this, we can never do anything fun," one of them said to me.

Oh well, we walked back to the park and they had their concert there instead. I had to go at 11:30 p.m. because I didn't want to miss the last subway to the airport. I saw the countdown for NYE by looking over the shoulder of a teenager sitting beside me as he watched from his cell phone on the hard metal seats.

I waited around the rest of the night in the departures lounge, where I had to wear every single piece of clothing, not only because I wanted to make the 5kg weight restriction, but also so that I didn't descend into hypothermia.

When the plane finally came I was dead tired. I slept the whole way to Phnom penh and bought my visa on arrival.

As soon as you walk out of the airport, a hundred pushy taxi drivers try to get you to give them $10 for a taxi ride. Ummm, no. So, I just started walking, I turned right, and there was a city bus stop not too far away. Not a mention about this in my Lonely Planet. Less than 50 cents fare, and I found myself in on the riverfront. I tried to find one hostel, but it didn't exist, plus it was a street full of sex workers filled with those gross old men we know all too well. Hunched over, balding, with leathery tanned skin, looking for their next young opportunity (victim?). Awful.

So I walked till I found another hostel $6.50 for a bed at 88 Backpackers near the US embassy. Not bad. I snoozed all day and went to Mok Mony for some betel leaves stuffed with beef. Delicious, but I think it caused my intestinal tract to explode the next day. I had some beers and some morning glory later, so it could've also been that. My money's on the meat though.

Lassi and kebabs

Lassi and kebabs


Macro and tea

Macro and tea


Macro and tea

Macro and tea


"Smile" function

"Smile" function


So many glow sticks

So many glow sticks


Central market, Phnom Penh

Central market, Phnom Penh


New waterproof camera

New waterproof camera


Betel leaf beef

Betel leaf beef

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

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