Saturday, January 20, 2007


On the 26th of December we decided that it would be our tourist day. We woke up early, had breakfast at our guesthouse and walked out into the streets. Of course, we were greeted by a team of tuk tuk drivers wanting to bring us wherever we wanted to go. We negotiated the price and were on our way.

I was so excited to see all this stuff. You can refer to an earlier post if you want the history.

We paid our 20 dollars and were dropped off at the entrance.

Here's a monkey. There were lots of them around the temples.

Angkor Wat. It was beautiful. I have lots of pictures, but looking at stone is fun for only so long.

A lot of the Buddha's were missing their heads. It must have been the French!

Aaron is scared of heights and some of the temples had VERY steep stairs. The Japanese guys behind him got a kick out of it too.

This was a little village next to the temples. We were walking along the trail and this boy insisted that we follow him. He did not speak much English, but he repeated "Feet of Buddha" over and over again.

This man was slowly walking by us. There were many Buddhists sporting the traditional orange outfit. I tried to secretly take his picture, but it looks like he caught me.

The rest of these are Angkor Thom. I enjoyed this temple the most.

It was a fun morning and next we headed to the Tonle Sap (my favorite part of the trip).

Monday, January 08, 2007

En route rowdiness...

We had a school Christmas party the night before we left. It was in the school's playroom. The party was fine. We exchanged presents, drank, and we even got to gather around the piano for a little singing. I couldn't help but think about that great Saturday Night Live with Jan Hooks singing Silver Bells. The night ended relatively early which was a good thing.

I woke up busting and couldn't wait to get to the airport. We all met at school and made it to the bus station where we took the hour long trip to Incheon International. We made it through customs after a pre-customs beer and found our gate. It was too early to sit at the gate, so we found a bar and had a drink.

We sat there as we usually did, but all of us were very excited. At this point it was me, Dave, Joel, Aaron and Gina. Rhett had a later flight, so we were going to meet him in Bangkok. Finally it was time to board and off we went. We were flying to Hong Kong first. The flight was 4 hours, so we had plenty of time to make some enemies on the flight. We ate and took advantage of the free drinks on the plane. It was a fun flight...probably too fun.

We landed in Hong Kong to discover our flight had been delayed an hour. That was fine. The Hong Kong airport was huge. So, we walked around laughing quietly mimicking how the Chinese talked. We went to the duty free shop which was actually called "Free Duty" and bought a huge bottle of SKYY vodka. We headed to our gate after a little Hong Kong McDonalds and found a nice place to sit and rubber neck.

After the SKYY was gone and we were all in the Christmas spirit, our plane started to board. We had arranged it so Dave, Joel and I could all sit together. I'm sure they regretted allowing that. So, we took off from Hong Kong about the time we were supposed to be landing in Thailand. This would not have been a problem except that Rhett was waiting for us there. The plane took off and I watched beautiful Hong Kong slowly fade into the darkness of the night. We started up again with our antics. Ordering drinks, singing songs and laughing without much regard for those around us. It didn't matter, we always say we're Canadian anyways. I would occasionally look out the window and spot small villages in Vietnam and Laos. It was a neat feeling flying over the Gulf Of Tonkin and knowing that the French and American people had been so involved in the whole area. Of course, they didn't do much to help it, but still. The flight was fine and we finally landed in Bangkok. It was a new airport, only been open for a few months, but I was not too impressed. It wasn't anything compared to BNA. We weren't sure what to think about Rhett though. We were like 2 and half hours late. We had to change more money as well. That was fine. We got our Bath (Thai money) and got in line at customs. It took FOREVER. We were all so sick of being in airports and in transit, but it's kind of mandatory.

After an hour in that line, we were outside. There was Rhett, drinking a few beers and smoking his trademark Dunhill's. He was relieved to see us as we were him. He was concerned that we had left him and even made the comment that I would have been the one who incited that cruel abandonment. I wouldn't have though, I promise. Now all we had to do was find the cab that was going to take us to the bus station from where we would drive all night to the border.

Southeast Asians are very eager to help the Western traveler. So, a guy came right over to us and found us a couple of cabs that would take us the forty-five minutes to the bus station. We got in after agreeing on a price. The ride was full of us laughing and singing Christmas carols to our unsuspecting driver. He seemed more entertained than bothered though.

We arrived at the shady bus stop and bought our tickets for 2 dollars or something. We tried to buy beer for the ride, but they said they didn't seel beer for 30 more minutes. After some unsuccessful convincing we had to board. We got on the bus and again lucked out and got to sit next to each other. We were on there for a couple minutes when an armed guard entered the bus and started checking passports. After a few minutes of checking, five or so people were forced off the bus and led away into custody. Aaron assumed they were illegal Cambodians hiding out in Thailand. Then the bus was off, only to stop when the attendant demanded that Aaron show his ticket for a second time. He couldn't find it and offered to buy another one, but luckily it did not come down to that and he located it in his pocket.

The ride was rough. We constantly stopped and had police inspections and the bus itself was cold. I had Dave sleeping next to me and he has a bad habit of snoring and jabbing while he's under. To say the least, I got no sleep, but I did get to see the sun rise over the beautiful Thai landscape. That sunrise was full of colors I have never seen in the morning sky. It peeked out over the dense forest which was dotted with the mammoth palm trees. Morning finally broke and the bus seemed to wake up. People started laughing and getting ready for the new day. After one final police inspection that included a bathroom barge-in on Gina, we arrived at our destination. It was early and we hadn't eaten in hours and hours. We found a nasty little place to eat. It even had karaoke where we made a minor spectacle of ourselves. We ate, finished our beer and hopped on a tuk tuk.

We were about 20 hours into the trip and already I was loving it...