December 09, 2005

Onward to Vietnam

I spent the last day and a half being guided around Angkor Wat. It's a huge city sized complex of Hindu and Buddhist temples near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Built between 1000ad and about 1300ad, they are impressive and compelling. I took about 450 pictures, but they don't convey the scale of it all - if possible, see it in person. While I saw a fair amount in my limited time, three or more days would be better. I highly recommend a guide and a small group, as it's too big and too complicated to do on your own, and too frustrating to do with a tour group, IMHO.

I'm excited to move on to Vietnam, where I have high hopes in terms of learning about and experiencing the cuisine.

December 08, 2005

Touring Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Although Siem Reap was a bit cooler and drier than Phnom Penh and the last few cities I've been in, the pool was a welcome, unexpected bonus with my $15.00US/night room at the Freedom Hotel.

After a small situation with my passport, I hooked up with the guide that I had been referred to. He likes to go counter to the big tours, entering from the less popular entrances, at the opposite times of the day. We entered Ta Prohm temple from this gate.


Continue reading "Touring Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia" »

December 07, 2005

Rolling to Siem Reap by coach


I got about three bites into this rice soup setup above when Mr. Jame (chem) from the Tai Seng Hotel (aka World Star Hotel) came to get me for the minivan to the bus station. BTW, there are some links on this site that I put on just because I think the web should be that way, and I don't necessarily endorse them. In this case, I do recommend them - it's a decent room in a convenient part of town, at a very fair rate (I think US$12.00 plus $2.00 surcharge for booking over the net - in room bathroom, AC, satellite TV), with a massage school and spa attached to the hotel. And on top of that, they're very, very helpful. I actually forgot my passport at the hotel (a fairly common occurrence, because hotels pretty much insist on holding your passport while you're staying there), and one of the employees, that same Mr. Jame, personally hand delivered it the next day in Siem Reap - a twelve hour round trip!! Of course, I paid for his time and expenses.

The coach I took from Singapore to KL was so plush, it would be hard to beat it. It was as professional and formal as an airplane, and more comfortable than most flights since the seats are about like business class seats. But the coach from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is a reasonable second place. For US$14.00, it's a seven hour bus trip through some gorgeous scenery. I could have taken a boat, but it takes just as long and the scenery is supposedly pretty boring after a while.

Below, France colonized Cambodia for a time, and the Frenchies can't do anything without baguette, of course.


I would have rather tried those dusty baguettes than these sad, sad little pastries provided by the bus company. One was pain aux chocolat (chocolate pain) and the other was chicken mousse pate. Both greasy and ungood.


Continue reading "Rolling to Siem Reap by coach" »

December 05, 2005

Phnom Penh by moto


In Cambodia, most cars are left-hand drive, so they usually drive on the right-hand side of the road, like in the US. Usually. In the US some cities have the bi-directional lane for making turns, and it's popularly called the suicide lane when used as a purgatory before turning onto a busy street. Here the suicide lane IS the oncoming traffic lane. Most traffic only goes at about 15-20 miles an hour anyway, so I suppose it's easy enough to react to some guy pulling out directly in your path. Anyway, I rented a moto driver for the day to show me around Phnom Penh. About half of these are taken with one hand, while holding on to the bike with the left hand.

Continue reading "Phnom Penh by moto" »

December 04, 2005

Holiday in Cambodia

After all of that, the airline put us back on the same plane. The flight was a bit shaky, and the landing a bit loose, but all is well.

Flightus Interuptus

Currently about 5:15PM, Sunday afternoon, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

I almost went to Cambodia. We boarded the plane, got the emergency instructions, and were about to start taxiing (?) down the runway when they pulled back into the gate. They worked on it for a while, then had the passengers deplane "for our comfort." From the gate area it looks like they're working on the front landing gear, so I'm happy to take the delay rather than end up on a sensationalistic Fox news special. I can see them transfering baggage to a new plane.

They just made a statement of the obvious, that we are delayed, but no info of changing planes. I may be here for a while.

Maybe they'll give us a free snack or something.