Saturday, July 30, 2011


The journey home was long and exhausting (especially for those of us with intestinal parasites), but we made it.  We have picked up the kid and the dog and are trying to get back into a routine.  I'm on drugs for the bugs in my belly.  Hallelujah.

Our trip was awesome.  We saw and did lots of amazingly Asian things.  We snorkeled in the South China Sea. We hung out with Proboscis monkeys in the rain forest.  We climbed Mount Kinabalu (well... some of us didn't make it to the top.  I think you all remember who that was...).  We were treated like Royalty on Gaya Island with Mr. Josh.  We chilled in ancient Khmer cities and temples.  We ate lots of interesting foods.  We geocached in 5 different countries over a span of 24 days.  We flew in 9 different airplanes.  We took buses, tuk tuks, a remork, several boats and many cabs.  We survived car rides with Josh's relatives.  We slept and showered in some sketchy places.  But most of all... we had an amazing time.  

Now, we make the family sit through the slide-show of our thousands of photos.  Mwahahahahahaha!!

Thanks for reading along with our adventure!  We enjoyed sharing it with all of you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Okay, Okay, Bangkok!!

Sorry, I've been hesitating to write this entry for a few reasons.

1. I miss Cambodia terribly.
2. Getting here SUCKED.
3. I got sick the second we got here.
4. I apparently hate Bangkok.

So, that said, let's get to it.  Getting here:

To fly out of Cambodia costs crazy amounts of money.  For instance, our flights throughout Southeast Asia for all 3 of us haven't cost any more than $150.  The flight out of Siem Reap to Bangkok would have been over $600 for the 3 of us.  Ouch.  So... few people fly.  As a result, the over-land crossing of the border has developed into a fully paved and fairly routine route, offering buses, taxis and private cars for hire to make the trek.  We opted for the bus at $10/ea.  

7:30am pick up at our hotel turned into an 8am walk over from the next hotel of a man saying, "Bangkok?  Move bags here," pointing to a heap of bags in front of the neighbouring hotel.  So we joined the mass of people waiting out front of that hotel who apparently were all going to the border.  Not all of us were going to Bangkok and not all of us had the same tickets, or tickets from the same company... but here we all stood, under the direction of a small bossy man.  At 8:30 we were then told to grab our bags and walk around the corner to the buses which were waiting in the side street.  We were ushered into buses and watched anxiously at the bags being shoved into the cargo hold below us until we saw all 3 of our bags loaded on.  

So now we're on the bus.  And it has "air con"... which is basically just a fan... we weren't sweaty, but we weren't exactly comfortable either.  The border is a 3 hr drive from Siem Reap, and apparently we needed to stop for a pee break every hour on the hour until we got there.  And of course, in order to use the bathrooms (lol, squat toilets) you had to buy something at each stop.  At the last stop we were told to get out and show our tickets... based on the tickets we held, we were given small stickers.  Ours were red squares.  Others had red squares with letters on them, some had numbers.  

Now we arrive at the border and have to get out and walk across, going through Cambodian customs first, then a 5 minute walk to the Thai customs, carrying our heavy bags with us, all the time.  Once we cleared Thai customs we were gathered by a man on the other side by our stickers.  We piled into a tiny bus to be taken to the "Bus stop".  This was a restaurant.  And we were told the buses wouldn't come for half an hour or more, so to eat.  So we did, cause by now it was nearly 1pm.  Then, we were collected again onto the tiny buses, but the organization of who was allowed to sit where was confusing, noisy, took ages, and seemed to be made MUCH more difficult than it needed to be.  So here we are, in a teensy bus which only seats 13 and a driver and all of our bags piled up on the front seats... for the next 4 hours until we get to Bangkok.  

Once in Bangkok, we were dropped on the side of the road with our bags and off the bus went.  Omg.  So we crammed ourselves into a Tuk Tuk with our huge bags and careened through the city on the wildest ride of our lives.  Finally, after many u-turns and zig zag traffic weaving, we arrive at our hotel.

Now, this place is an ACTUAL hotel.  Our room is a suite with a kitchen, living room, bedroom with desk, a dressing room and a full bathroom with an actual tub.  We are on the 18th floor.  The pool (OMG A POOL!!!) is on the 8th floor with the spa, fitness centre, laundry facilities and restaurant!!

I collapse into bed as the rain begins, and we settle in for the night.  And in the morning, I get sick.

Like, Montezuma revenge kinda sick.  And it lasts for 48 hrs.  

And now that that is over, I've ventured out into Bangkok and I hate it.  It's loud and full of traffic and people and shouting and whistle blowing and it stinks and it's BUSY and it's shovey and chaotic and scary.  I have zero desire to ever come back to Bangkok.  Ever.  I think Matt has enjoyed his time here (he goes out, obviously while I'm sick and sleeping and junk.  No point in us both hanging out in the hotel room) and his alone time.  Oh, did I mention that Josh has left us now?  He's on his way home and only stayed the one night with us here in Bangkok (ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK AND THE WORLD'S YOUR OYSTER!!! *ahem* Sorry.) and left the next afternoon.

Josh chillin' in the kitchen.

Me chillin' in the living room.

The dressing room which leads to the bathroom.

the bedroom.

delicious iced coffee.

Slums and junk.  Ugh.

Massive  lily pads.

Electronics mall.  5 floors of nothing but electronics.

Lol,  fabrics.  Dirty.

Ahhh yes,  ham and cheese sandwich and sprite.

Smeg stove.


Art and Cultural centre


Okay, so this is a massive heap of thread....

with 6 gold necklaces in it.

I might have spent nearly 3 hrs looking....

thread fight!!

I was not alone in my pursuit.

Lol, art.

Gallery views.

fat dog.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cambodian Motorcycles

Since we arrived in Siem Reap, I wanted to start this post, but decided to wait until we were through in Cambodia so that I could make one post including pictures from the whole trip.  I call this post Cambodian Motorcycles because you would be amazed by how inventive the Khmer people can be when it comes to motor-transportation.  Motorcycles can be used for practically ANYTHING in Cambodia.  Here are some of the more inventive uses we got to see in our 4 days in Siem Reap province:

School bus.

Convenience store.

Produce market.

Pick up truck.

Garbage truck.

Sears Home Furnishings Store.

Family van.

Temple on wheels.

Water truck.

Commuter vehichle.

Fresh fruit juice stand!

Cell phone time store.

We also saw, but failed to grab a photo of, a noodle vendor, and a street meat vendor... on motorcycles.

Oh, Cambodia.  I love you so much 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Siem Reap Village Tour!

Vantha pickd us up this morning for a ride in a remork for this portion of the tour.  He took us out of the city and into a nearby village to see how the neighbourhood market works where there are no tourists.  He showed us some totally tasty snacks and treats to try, explained about the variety of spices and meats for sale and the local vegetables.  The marketplace had a VERY different feel from the market place here near the hotels in the city.  For starters, we were the only non Khmer people there.  The children were enthralled with us, and a couple of older ladies asked Vantha where we'd come from.  It was  pretty nifty.  

Our remork and remork driver

Vantha and Josh (who asked if he could drive the remork...)

Monks, chillin in the village.

We look odd, but that's not our fault.

It rained the night before... A LOT.

Our future home in Siem Reap!

Nice barbed wire fence.... 

This lady made the cakes we ate, but also, check out her waffle irons!  We need those for Camp!

This woman made us grilled banana in sticky rice inside a banana leaf.  Super sweet and tasty!

I am drinking sugar cane water in a bag.  Beverages in a bag.  For real.

The main street of the village.

Vantha leading the way to the Buddhist Pagoda.

We got a tour of the grounds of this village Pagoda and had some of the practises of the people explained.  we met some nuns, too... and they were just as awesome as the monks!

A ceremonial building.

Holy flowers used for healing and health during and after labour and delivery!  

A wee house out in a partially dried up lake, in front of a gorgeous field of lotus flowers.

Welcome to the Jetty for the floating village!

Our driver and his assistant, backing us out of the jumble of boats!

Here we go!!

Looking back at the jetty.

The fisher-people of Siem Reap live a completely nomadic lifestyle in homes that float!  They pull them with motor boats in and out of the lake, according to the wet/dry seasons.

Floating grocery store.

Floating school.

A motorboat dropping people back at home.


This is actually a floating pig pen.  THIS IS A FLOATING PIG FARM!

It's tough to see, but there is a small boy holding a basket of soda on the boat... his father caught up to us and the kid jumped aboard, trying to sell us stuff.  Uh... no thanks, wee pirate.  Get off our boat, m'kay?

Chillin' on the front steps of their floating homes.

Okay, so you know how Josh asked to drive the remork?  Well, he also asked to drive the boat... to which the driver replied, "Out in the lake, you drive."  So Josh plunked her down and tore off into the open water once we passed the village!  Go Josh!!

Captain Wong!! (as you can see, Vantha is amused)

Big floating restaurant.

Floating bar!

There are no toilet facilities on these floating houses... drop, squat, splash.

Me, chillin' with the baby kitten who lives at our hotel.

Kids enjoying the massive puddles in town on our walk to the market place. 

Today was our last day in Cambodia and that makes me incredibly sad.  I have LOVED it here.  The people are amazingly friendly and happy.  The food is amazing.  The weather is enjoyable.  But mostly, the people make this place feel like home.  Tomorrow morning brings us to a long bus ride from Siem Reap to Bangkok, where we will finish out our amazing Asian adventure!