Landed in Cambodia

Cambodia No Comments »

We’re in Cambodia. I didn’t realize there was a time change between here and Thailand, but there is. It’s about 100 years. Between Bangkok traffic and the roads on the southern islands in Thailand, I thought i’d seen the worst of driving conditions in the world, but the ride from the Phnom Phen airport into the city was the craziest yet. Getting through the city felt like trying to make it of a field turned unmarked parking lot after the blue angels finale at an airshow, but with people on bikes and motorcycles wizzing around you like flies.

We’re only in Cambodia three days, so we’ve really got to rush to see the major sights. Our driver should be arriving any minute to take us to see the Killing Fields. I might end up coming back after seeing Stacey off in Bangkok. With so much to see, I always feel rushed though.

Oh yea…they use US currency here. Kind of. It’s accepted everywhere and most places advertise prices in it as opposed to the Cambodian Riel. Weird huh? We paid the airport toll in Thai Baht, got half our change in US dollars and the rest in Riels. It can’t be good for the ecomony for three different currencies to be floating around. They just got ATMs in the country like last month, so who knows, maybe the Riel will make a comeback.

Dragons & Coyotes in Koh Phagnan

Thailand 3 Comments »

Our private bungalow here on Hat Ban Tai is a coconuts’ toss from the Pacific. It’s a place where the water sits calmly and shallow a mile off shore; white sand giving the glowing turquoise water a milky white flavor. We haven’t been here long, but we already prefer it to Koh Samui. Koh Phagnan is much less developed and more beautiful. Koh Samui is a beautiful place, but it’s got all the noise, smells and hawking Bangkok’s got. Not to mention new development everywhere. On our first day here in Koh Phagnan, the place was double booked or something, so they sent us somewhere else for one night, but threw in a free motorcycle. The freedom to explore this island for $1 in gas was a good trade.

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Next Nine Days

Plans & Itineraries 2 Comments »

Tuesday 2/21
Boat to Koh Phangan. Go trekking to waterfalls and see monkeys dancing with toothbrushes. Stay in bungalow on the beach.

Friday 2/24
Boat to airport at Koh Samui during the day. Fly to Bangkok at night on Bangkok Airlines # PG190. Stay at guesthouse near airport in Bangkok.

Saturday 2/25
Fly to Phanom Pehn, Cambodia in the morning on Bangkok Airlines # PG920. Visit the Killing Fields. Stay at Asia Hotel.

Sunday 2/26
Drive rental car to Siem Riep, Cambodia. Visit one of seven world wonders – Angkor Wat. Stay at Siem Reap Hotel.

Monday 2/27
Drive rental car back to Phanom Pehn. Stay at Asia Hotel again.

Saturday 2/28
Fly back to Bangkok in the morning on Bangkok Airlines # PG921

A Test of Spirit

Thailand No Comments »

Worn by walking in the 100 plus heat, the “air-con” pleasantly wrapped around my face as I opened the guesthouse door. I wasn’t even finished enjoying the cool blessing when I saw our driver standing in the lobby. He was 45 minutes early, and the taxi running outside was evidently ours. Stacey and I raced to gather out things from the smallest room I’ve ever stayed in, where the bed touches three walls, and the shower sprayed the toilet.

During our long ride through midday traffic to the travel agency, I sat with my head-cold, noticing how it had moved from my throat to the back of my nose and was now running out the front into the hard-to-find tissues I’d gathered and stuffed in my pocket.

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Wisdom Would Be Cool

Thailand No Comments »

I’ve been in Bangkok for four days now and I haven’t done much. It’s nice travelling without a return flight, I don’t feel rushed to do and see as much as I can. Stacey showed up yesterday after a slow morning we spent a few hours with a monk at Wat Mahatrat temple eating, learing and practicing meditation. It is no doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do in my entire life, which is why I’m excited about it. People who know me know that my mind moves a millions miles an hour and I’m always tapping something. Concentration and sitting still have always been a challenge for me. I had to get daily behavoir notes from my first grade teacher who told my mother I was out of control and would never amount to anything.

So sitting motionless and focusing only on breathing, not allowing my mind to wander is quite a challenge. If I can accomplish this, then I’ll have gained quite a bit of conrol over my mind…which from what I’ve learned is the purpose of meditation. With mindfullness comes wisdom. And of course wisdom would be cool.

Night Markets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Audio & Video, Malaysia No Comments »

Check out how the sreet hawkers clap to get your attention and then talk you right in for a sale. There’s tons of wild foods to smell and consider trying another day and heaps of rip off designer clothes, bags, watches, shoes and everything else one might not need but want. For me the most exciting part is how the river of Malaysians and bug-eyed westerners flows through it all.

Weekend In Death Valley

Audio & Video, USA No Comments »

Highlights from a weekend I spent in Death Valley National Park with my sister’s boyfriend Johnathan and his friend Eric Wu. We hiked about 6 miles in the canyons, had lunch at the lowest point in the western hemisphere watched the sun set over sand dunes and rise over mountains.

More Malaysia & Thaipusam Festival

Malaysia 5 Comments »

Downtown Malaysia is so very modern, spotted with high class restaurants and shopping centers. The high rises here are spaced out, even more than Los Angeles, making them rise from the ground with prestige and independence. The shopping is repetitious and endless. One mall, with it’s envious name of “Times Square” is the largest in Asia. Ten stories of shopping and eating, with an amusement park in the center. I visited the mall with a Taiwanese kid who said his name was Kevin. I asked his real name and made an effort to use it, but now unable to remember it, I understand why he says to call him Kevin. We rode the rollercoaster, ordered Japanese food in Malaysian from a waitress who only spoke Burmese and got our heads massaged and hair cut at a stylish salon for $6.

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Flying to Bangkok

Plans & Itineraries 1 Comment »

The train from here in Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok would take me 48 hours and cost about $20. In the interest of time, I opted for the one hour, $75 flight instead…

Sunday, 2/12/06 – Air Asia Flight # AK884
Depart Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia @ 6:45pm
Arrive Bangkok, Thailand @ 7:50pm

I Never Knew Much

Malaysia 1 Comment »

I never knew much about Malaysia, but that didn’t stop it from building a very modern capital city in Kuala Lumpur, including the tallest twin towers in the world, the largest shopping center in Asia, and hundreds of upscale restaurants and hotels. The people here are friendly and due to British influence circa WWII, almost everyone speaks at least some English. The traffic I’ve seen is less insane than in Thailand, but still has a wildness too it.

I took a high speed, high tech, high class train from the airport into the city. Flat panel TV’s scrolled through tourist targeted ads, while fields of farmland passed by.

From Kuala Lumpur Station Sentral, I opted to take the monorail and walk option as opposed to taking a taxi to my hostel door. The difference in price was only about $8 and after walking around sweat soaked looking for an overhead train, which I figured would have been easier to find, I almost gave in. It’s taken some serious effort to force myself into budget travel, but I think I’m finally getting there.

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