Monday, 21 September 2009

In Hoi An

This one will be short, i think. Getting on a bus from Hoi An to Hue in half an hour, so yeah, it should be quick. Can't remember where the last post ended, i think it was in Siem Reap? Anyway, travelled to Phnom Penh, 6 hour journey. Travelling with Stephen, the diving instructor. Checked into guesthouse, its perched on a lake, coolbeans. We shared a room, $4 a night, jackpot. Room was pretty dingy but there was a huge bar/chillout area so we spent most of our time there. Lots of people around. First night we met an aussie girl who was travelling by herself, we went out and got a bit drunk. Can't really rememb er going to sleep, probs not a good thing. Those pesky buckets. NExt day we went to the Killing fields and toul sleng. Can't really put into words what its like visiting those places. Crazyness. Next day we spent a bit of time down by the river, the ran came down hard and fast out of nowhere, as usual, then left pretty sharpish. Following day we just chilled out at the guesthouse, watched some movies, ate lots of yummy food.

Then travelled to Vietnam, HO Chi Minh city. The guy on the border didn't like my passport much. Somehow got through af ter about 10 minutes. The city is CRAZY. Most people of bikes, it looks like chaos at first but it all seems to work somehow. A couple of things i remember from there, we were at a cool zoo/botanical gardens, walking through the reptile house. I was looking through at something when a snake just casually fell out of t her sky and landed beside me. Oh hey, whats up mr snake. Sure it was a pretty small one but it was pretty funny. And then while brushing my teeth one nihgt, staring at the sink, a cockroach fell out of t he sky (or the ceiling) and landed in the sink .Oh hey mr cockroach, hows it going? The place we stayed at in Ho Chi Minh was cool. Ridiculosly friendly staff. We also went to the war remnants museum which was pretty crazy. Obviously it was quite biased on the Vietnamese side and focused on a lot of the bad things that the U.S did, but it was still crazy a lot of the things they did. Then we went to the reunification palace, that was a pretty pimped out place. The city fell to the communist north when the tanks crashed through the gates after the U.S had left. Again, more yummy food etc and good times.

Then me and stephen travelled up to Hoi An, decided to take the night train. Not as clean as the ones in China but it still got the job done. I am ridiculously in love with this place. Hot and sunny, amazing beach 5km out of town. We rented motorbikes and went to see the ruins at My Son, about 35km away. Riding the bikes was awesome, felt a bit like the tour de france with the amount of cyclists we passed. We got a bit lost there and on the way back, but it was all good. The ruins themselves we pretty cool, twas very hot and we were pretty high up. Hoi An has some awesome food, cau lau, white rose, etc. And loving how cheap it all is. Anyways, now off on a bus to Hue for a few days before we fly up to Hanoi, and then onto Halong City and Halong Bay. Yeahhhh. Oh, and also, saw the man u vs man city game last night. What the hell was up with all that stoppage time? Majorly pissed about that. We were in a restuarant just watching and drinking, we had eaten there the day before. The waitress was pretty cute and a bit chatty, i told her that she looked younger than 25. Suddenly her friend come up asking me if i had a girlfriend etc and her friend goes all shy. Twas pretty funny. Unfortunatly i wasn't able to get any free beers out of it, but when you are paying 20,000 dong, just over 1 dollar for a 500ml tiger beer, i cant complain. Life is good.

(Apologies if there are any weird spacings, the spacebar is crap and i can't be bothered to fix them :D

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

In Siem Reap

Well, i have a bit of down time today so thought i'd do a quick post. Got into bangkok on sunday, stayed at the rambuttri village inn for 2 nights. Rooftop swimming pool = awesomeness. Anyway, monday i went to the kings palace which was pretty awesome (i'm saying awesome too much, i am aware of this :/). There was this weapons section with some crazy old school stuff. Had pad thai for lunch at a place called O Hungry near to the guest house. For my first meal in Thailand, it was amazing. And cheap as hell of course. Spent the rest of the day by the rooftop pool, met a bunch of people. Swedish guy who's been in Laos for a month and has decided to go to Burma for a while, crazy place. Bought loads of snacks because on Tuesday i was travelling to Siem Reap. Walking around Khao San in Bangkok, it feels quite touristy, and people endlessly trying to sell you stuff. the weirdest one is quite a lot of peeps are trying to sell you suits. Why would i want to buy a suit! It's hot, sweaty, i'm clearly a dirty traveller. And when they find out where you're from, the usual 'loubbly jubbly' comes out. Good times.

So, Tuesday, got to the bus station, got on a bus to Aranya Prathet. They showed Star Trek dubbed in Thai. Spock sounded pretty hilarious. Once i got to Aranya Prathet a tuk-tuk took me to some Cambodian Visa place where i got my Visa sorted. They also offered me a shared taxi once i crossed the border to Siem Reap. I was being pretty guarded as the lonely planet book doesn't rate the place too highly. Anyway, made the border crossing and into Poipet. What a hole! Scams abound in this wild town, shuttle bus to bus terminal. There was an epic amount of confusion, none of the buses were running and the guys trying to sell share taxis seemed to be working against each other. But then they tried to tell me that i could get on a minibus with some other travellers, i'd already paid about $10 for it, but then i ended up getting in a share taxi with two Italian people for the $10 i had already paid. Turns out i was too worried that they were trying to scam me to actually trust them. Long road to Siem Reap, there really is only one road, and everyone seems to live beside it. Loads of cows and dogs wondering around, fun times were had dodging them! Get to outskirts of Siem Reap and taxi drops us off with Tuk-tuk's, which is expected, as they try to take you to a certain guesthouse to get a comission, and they also want to be your driver to the Ankor Wat temples. I decline both, and get taken to my guesthouse, the Ivy 2. Pretty laid back place, nice area upstairs with hammocks and comfy chairs.

Go out and get some food, find a place with $0.50 draft beer, yes sir. Meet an English guy whose name i still cant remember and feel really bad about :/ he's a diving instructor, been working in the cayman islands for 5 years and is on his way to Aus to work for 9 months. We agree to share a tuk-tuk to Ankor Wat the next day. They all say, 'come for the sunrise!' so we do, i meet him at his hotel at 5am, we get driven in. Ankor Wat has the most insane temples. It's so incredible. Anyway, the sun didn't rise (it is rainy season) it just got brighter! We met up with an English guy and a girl from Amsterdamn that my friend whose name i still cant remember met the night before. We wondered round Ankor Wat first. Huge place, so much detail and carving on every stones, pictures and scripture. Took about an hour and a half to walk round, tuk tuk takes us to a place for breakfast where kids try endlessly to sell us stuff, but they have a suprisingly good understanding of English. A girl would ask you where you were from, and she says 'if i tell you what the population of that country and the capital city, will you buy my book.bracelet/etc. Much fun was had with that as we met some other people from Australia and Ireland, and started saying obscure countries to see if they had anything to say for that.

After breakfast we went to a couple of smaller temples, like Ankor Thom, which had these Eerie faces carved into these huge rocks that stare down at you. And finally, Ta Prohm, which had huge tree roots wrapping itself all over the place. Crazy/awesome. Probably took about 150 pictures. Its now midday, gonna go back and maybe sleep for a bit or watch a film, then have a few more drinks tonight with the guy with no name and whoever else we happen to meet. Probs gonna stay in Siem Reap for 2 more Nights, then Phnom Penh for 2 nights, then onto Vietnam. I emailed the consulate and they said its ok for me to enter after the stated date of entry on my Visa, so i'm gonna spend some more time here. Its a cool place, awesome food, good people, its nice to have gotten away from the touristy-ness of Bangkok.

That wasn't as short as i thought it was going to be :/