Monday, October 16, 2006


I just came back from an amazing trip to Cambodia! It was pretty intense with our early morning rises though!

13/10 Friday:
We woke up at 4AM because our flight out was at 6am! BAHH! I got like 2 hours of sleep! We landed in Siem Reap two hours later to a very empty, very large parking lot which was called the airport. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, but I didn't really know what to expect; however, their airport did surpass my expectations as it was very simple yet clean...the complete opposite of Vietnam's, yuck.

There was one main road that's paved by the Japanese only two years ago and transportation is mostly by either moped or bikes...and bikes are the most common. I put in a photo of this guy with all these pigs just on a motor bike!

Anyways, we stayed at this place called Garden Village which was pretty hip and affordable...actually, if it werent for the Visa and departure charge, it would have been a pretty affordable trip. Just the Visa, departure fee and ticket to get into the temples were almost $70 USD! So crazy...

Anyways, while checking out the hostel, we could either stay in the rooms where it had 3 rooms in each and pay 7 USD a night, or sleep in in the upper roof area for $1 a night. The first photo of the hostel is of the lounge/bar was actually pretty cool since they had really good music!

The next picture is of the upper sleeping quarters of $1/night (to the right). Looks pretty nifty and cozy right? Look to the next photo.

Pretty raunchy, actually. Those pink things are misquito nets all balled up above your head. Our friends who stayed there two weeks ago used repellent, the patch AND pills and they STILL got eaten alive at night! Say no to Malaria!

So after seeing how cheap we COULD be, we decided that we didn't want to be completely miserable and just took the rooms where we only had to share it with gekos.

After taking a nap, we all got up again to head towards the floating village; we decided that we were too exhausted to walk through temples all day today. Our tour guide drove us there and then walked us through the muddy path to load onto a boat that took us all the way to the village.

On the way, there were tons of children who just would smile and wave frantically while saying, "bye bye! bye bye!" They were so adorable, no wonder Angelina Jolie fell in love with them. I have tons of photos of just kids from Cambodia.

As we made it to the floating village, we see so many tiny children rowing their own huge boats along! It was really nice, very un-touristy (as far as I could tell). Our guide said that this was a real village and that they dont get many tourists...he even brought us to his relative's home and fed us lunch there! We made a donation after, of course. But it was one of my best memories from the entire trip.

While we were waiting for lunch, he brought out really simple fishing poles to let us go fishing! I caught the first fish!

After that, we went through the flooded forest which I, guiltily, fell alseep through the last bit of it since I was so exhausted from the lack of sleep and heat. But it was all beautiful from what I remember.

On our way back, our guide was kind enough to treat us to fresh sugarcane juice. I know all of us were a bit skeptical of the juice since there were flies everywhere and we were scared to get sick the first day, but we couldn't deny his generosity, so we accepted a bag each...and I have to say, it was the best sugarcane juice I'd ever drinken! I had had sugarcane before, but never did it taste so good! I don't know why it was so amazing, I just know it was.

As we walked back towards the car, we got to spend some time with the local children as they were so adorable and unassuming. We were scared that after all the stories we heard that they just wanted to sell us something, but these kids were just genuinely happy to see us. They were so estatic when we gave them our ice from the sugarcane drinks. That's how deprived they were, it made me so sad. I really wished that I brought food or candy along with me to give to them.

We went back to the hostel, ate dinner upstairs and crashed out really early since our guide told us we would leave the next morning at 5am.

14/10 Saturday: Tomb Raiders!

I was really excited to see the temples since I had heard so much about them. And I wasn't disappointed since I wasn't sure what to imagine. But it was immensly beautiful to see all the old ruins with the moss and greens growing everywhere. Lots of tourists though.
This reflection shot is a photo of Ankorwat, the main ruin, I suppose. It was really nice to be up so early in the morning, despite the heaviness in my eyes and legs. I'm not sure how many temples we visited since I didn't know when one ended and another began, but we toured from 6am to around 2 or 3 pm...not quite sure.

We also headed to the temple that had the leaning tree, or something...I'm not quite sure of the names, I just know that by this time, I was really really tired.

We did some shopping in between temples and it was just incredibly cheap. I got these nice Ankorwat Tshirts for like 3 for $5 and pants for $2. So I got lots of those for people back home...comfy. It was so heartbreaking to have to tell tiny children "no." I know that they were just trying to con me with their tears, but they were so good at it, I ended up buying post cards, bangles and scarves that I probably wont use. =/
We headed back to the city after we got too tired to go on where we had lunch. I'm sure I got sick off of this food because I was visiting the toilet the next day, but it...tasted good?

I noticed that the difference between the children who were trying to sell us stuff and the city children was that the city children were actually starving. This was apparent as little boys were coming up to us asking for food and snatching our scraps whenever offered. Watching the little boy bow to us for an eggroll was heartbreaking; it took so much of me to not start crying. I got a little upset when we gave a pork-stuffed tomato to a little boy and his (I assume) older brother takes the pork and gives him back the tomato. Hierarchy, I suppose.

We went back to the hostel where I passed out from exhausted and napped for a good 3-4 hours. Then I woke up, ate dinner, showered, and went to sleep so that I could wake up at 6am for our flight out to Singapore. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, one of my all time favorites from my time in East Asia so far.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bugis Bugis Bugis!

So two days ago, Irvin, Jeff and I went to Bugis after class (I had this horribly boring and drawn out group meeting that could have been finished in 15 minutes if we did everything efficiently). We got there at around 5:30pm, but then saw that Talledega Nights was having a sneak peek viewing that night at 12:15AM! So we were like...should we just chill here for over 6 hours waiting for Will Ferrel? HECK YES! So what did we do? We did what typical Singaporeans apparently do: Eat, shop, and watch movies.

Okay, I don't know why blogger won't let me upload more photos so I'll try to figure it out later...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bangkok, Thailand

So I'm going to do my best to document my midsemester break trip for you guys! I'm going to try and write it one day at a time along with a few photos and videos (rest of the photos will be up on Facebook, eventually).

Friday, September 23rd!

Beginning with the airport...

Singapore is supposed to have one of the best airports in the world; as in, it has a gym, swimming pool, spa, movie theatre, and so much more. Unfortunately, we didn't get to take advantage of these since our flight was at a decent hour of 10AM or so. We did, however, manage to run into a few creeps while exchanging money. This guy heard me and Alva talking and since we have an American accent, he proceeded to ask where we were from. Then it got weird. I think him and his two buddies were on some sort of drug because they kept looking at us with big eyes and smiling in this very crude manner while insisting that we cancel our Thailand trip and go to Sumatra on their big boat and go surfing with them (they were from Huntington Beach). Very, um, interesting way to kick off our vacation.

We made it to Bangkok and checked into the Sawasdee Inn (Sawasdee means "hello" in Thai) and let me tell you, the staff was terrible! Yes, we tried to sneak in extra people, but they still acted rude after overcharging us. We ended up fitting FOUR people onto a queen-sized bed. Fun slumber party for sure.

That night, we decided to see a caberet show! For those who don't know what that is, it's a fantastic show consisting of beautiful women...women who are actually men. But really, it's amazing how beautiful these guys are! Even their motions are very feminine and graceful (some of them, anyways). Of course, some of them are much more convincing than others, but it was incredible none-the-less. Trust me, even the boys (Irvin and Jeff) were like WTF after seeing them perform.

Okay, the ones right above were the unhot ones, lol. For more photos, go to Facebook!

After the show, it was very schematic the way they have them all surround you at the exit. So many beautiful women who are calling out towards you (with deep voices) that even I, a female, was completely overwhelmed. It was just crazy how beautiful they were! Talk about a self-esteem drop, these guys were way more attractive as women than I could ever be as a girl!

It poured buckets that night so we got completely ripped on taxi fare...lemme tell you, always go for meter rates, don't even try and negotiate because they will rip you. But overall, a very fun and exciting night!

And here we all are in our hotel room...4 of us sharing ONE queen-sized bed...lolll. College students to the extreme!

Saturday: September 24th:
Grand Palace tour, Nancy, a lot of wasted time, Canal boat ride, Chatuchat, lots of buying, clubbing but Irvin couldn't get in...

We had booked this tour from the airport the day before, so the tour van picked us up at around 9AM (after the hotel staff busted us for too many people in the room). We went to the Grand Palace with this really nice tour guide named Nancy. Unfortunately, we also had to go to a lot of random places that tried to sell you stuff and thus wasted time. The reason is because the tour guides get a comission if any one of us buys something. ::shrug::

We also went on a canal ride through Bangkok. Note: The water is DIRTY. Not just dirty, but it's their sewege system. Talk about nasty. Surprisingly, there were living fish in it! Lots of catfish! I don't think you'd want to eat any of it since it was so dirty though!

Me and Irvin got suckered into buying these hats...I don't know why! It was only 100 baht though...

After that, we went to this huge weekend market called Chatuchat. OMG, seriously, the best shopping ever! And so cheap, it was torture. It was so huge, I didn't get get done with one section within 4 hours! They had tons of real Hollister and Ambercrombie, amongst all the goodies.

That night, we went out clubbing to see how the night life was. We went to this one strip (I forget what it's called) where there was supposed to be this hot club called Route 66, but Irvin couldn't get in since he wasn't 20 yet. So we went to this bar where a live band did cover songs. It was actually really cool and they did a really good job performing!

Rollin' in style with our pink!

Irvin got suckered into buying 6 roses that night by these cute little, pedophile!

And that finished up our night! Here's a closing picture of Jeff being a princess is our now seperate!

Sunday: September 25th:
Slept in like whoa, visited Reclining Buddha, Marbel Temple, Temple of Dawn (but closed, sad), tanks, ran into Anna and them, tried to go to JJ Market but didn't know where/when. Movie: JSA

Today we slept in a lot (too late to go back to Chatuchat! Sad!) but we went around to as many temples as we could with the time that we had...which wasn't very much either. The Reclining Buddha was amazing though!

Lots and lots of getting lost and going in circles while taxi drivers tried to rip us off. But over all, lots of fun! We even went around and took pictures with the military coup guys...they're like celebrities here! Parents lining up to have them hold their babies and everything! Right next to their gun, lol.