January 31, 2016

Cambodia Day 7, Phnom Penh

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5/11/2015 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Left Sihanoukville, for Phnom Penh. About a 3-4 hour drive. Once we arrived back in Phnom Penh, we went to the Russian market, which was pretty much similar to other markets across Asia, such as Ben Tanh in Vietnam, Silk market in Beijing etc. Got a couple of magnets, an aluminium gecko and some rice balls which were very nice. Freshly cooked street food, meaning a delicious lunch for a dollar, is always worth a mention!
From there I went on a sunset cruise, cruising around the Mekong river. Saw a really nice sunset, but otherwise the river was really quiet. A few people fishing, a few other sunset boats, a ferry. The water level is low and they have cancelled the water festival this year because the river is so low.
Some nice lights from the river, could see the Kings Palace, this time it was a view from the river. After a quick tuk tuk ride back to the hotel, we went out for tea, a western type restaurant because it was close and quick.


January 30, 2016

Cambodia Day 6, Bamboo Island Sihanoukville

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 12:41 pm
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4/11/2015 – Bamboo island, Sihanoukville
Day trip to Bamboo island where we did some snorkeling at another nearby island first. Could see a little, but nothing compares to Kota Kinabulu. I think snorkeling is ruined for me forever seeing as I started with such an amazing place all those years ago. Saw some zebra fish, one our two others, but that was it.
Water was nice and warm. From there, off to Bamboo Island, did a little swimming in the beach, had some lunch, fish, colesaw, fried rice & rested on the beach. Got sunburnt a little. Boat trip back was good. Had a look around some of the shops, tea on the beach. Massive amount of rain, huge lightning show, the lightning would light up the whole harbour. Still raining as hard as it could an hour or so later when we headed back. I’m also still waiting on the postcards that I sent that day to arrive. So if you haven’t yet received your postcard, it could well still be on its way!

January 29, 2016

Cambodia Day 5, Chambok

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 12:18 pm
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3/11/2015 – Chambok, Cambodia
Up at 6am for the hike to the waterfall. Not a bad waterfall, unfortunately not many places to actually see it as we went along, or to see it once we got there – which in some ways is good as it means they have preserved some natural areas. Waterfall was nice and refreshing and good to see some natural things rather than just the city all the time. It was nice walking through the forest, not many flowers or birds though, which is typical of Asian forests. Off to Sihanoukville not long after breakfast, more time to sleep in the bus. Quote from one of our tour passengers: “It is inevitable you will sleep on the bus”. Indeed. And we had a lot of bus travel this trip. Stopped at some kind of place where you make an offering for safe travel to some foreign gods & you ca also feed the monkeys if you want.
Spent time on Serendipity Beach for a late lunch, rested by the pool, out to tea and had to dodge the rain coming home.

January 28, 2016

Cambodia Day 4, Phnom Penh – Chambok

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2/11/2015 – Chambok, Cambodia
Went to the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center killing fields today, where many Cambodians were killed. There was a monument there that had skulls in it that been exhumed. Even now bone fragments & clothes surface on the paths we walk on after the rain, from all the people who were killed.
Then off to S21, a prison where Cambodians went before they were sent to the killing fields. Here they were tortured, interrogated, starved.
Part of it was in my life time, 1975-1979. So recent, but yet we as humans don’t learn and continue doing the same thing.
From there off to our homestay in Chambok, up in the mountains. Had some young kids do some dances for us after our meal.

January 27, 2016

Cambodia Day 3, Phnom Penh

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 11:50 am
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1/11/2015 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A day on the bus. Travelled from Vietnam into Cambodia, crossed the border at Bavet. Took quite a while as land border crossings generally do. Stopped at a place to eat just inside Cambodia, but they gave us water, cake and a pizza thing on the bus. Just enjoyed the free wifi in the restaurant instead!
Had wifi the whole way through Cambodia on the bus to Phnom Penh. Amazing really, Australia can’t even get wifi in most places yet.
The ATMs in Camodia dispense USD, kinda weird really. Took a night tuk tuk tour of the city. Saw the Kings Palace, the Sihanouk Statue (pictured) and the statue of Lady Penh.

January 26, 2016

Cambodia Trip Day 2, Ho Chi Minh City

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 11:39 am
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31/10/2015 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Flew into HCMC, arriving about 10am. Was able to check in to my room & spent an hour or two resting after flying all night. Went to the Bitexco Tower, after getting lost and saw the city from the top. Was after an embroidery picture for Michelle, which were displayed at the top of the tower 12 months ago. They had gone from the top of the tower, but they gave me the address & I went there. Got her one, met the group & went out for tea.
Have had a massive tooth/jaw ache for a couple of days.

January 25, 2016

Cambodia Day 1, Melbourne Airport

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 11:36 am
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30/10/2015 – Melbourne

I guess you could call today the first day, although all I did was get to the airport for my 12:15am flight to HCMC via KL the next day! Had a family tea at a restaurant in Sunbury before leaving. Ok meal and good for us to be all together. Had the day off & went to Mitiamo Rock, a bit cloudy, great view still and good to get away. The line to get into customs went from the door, around the departure terminal & nearly back to the door. Moved quickly enough though, but that eclipsed my previous “longest line ever” at customs, seeing as this was just the line to actually get in there! Got pulled aside for an explosives check. Welcome way to skip the majority of the line.

January 24, 2016

Vietnam Day 25, Home

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 10:25 am
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13/7/2014 – Melbourne
Our flight from Bangkok was quite good, it landed early. Spent some time with Heather, then came home. Unpacked, did the washing and discovered my hot water service wasn’t working. Never mind, it was a good trip. The highlight was definitely the area around Ha Giang, Cao Bang and Meo Vac. Would highly recommend that (just take a different tour company to us). The scenery is spectacular, equal to, or better than, any of what you’ll see in other parts of Asian mountainous areas. The people are friendly, and still haven’t started taking “advantage” of tourists – for example there’s still one price for everyone, rather than the price being jacked up when they see a tourist.

At the time we went it was relatively untouristy, but just in the beginnings of being developed/opened up. We actually still needed a permit to travel around in that area, something we spent ages getting the second day. I don’t know what happened, but what was meant to take only a few minutes ended up taking nearly an hour and our guide mentioned something about “problems”. I wonder whether the Chinese Visa in my passport aroused suspicion seeing as we were right near the Vietnam/China border.

Mum and Dad for the most part enjoyed it, I’m sure Mum would go again. Dad, despite enjoying it at the time and telling everyone he did when he got home, has since had a shift of mindset and has decided he won’t go anywhere near something that might be similar to Vietnam.

January 23, 2016

Vietnam Day 24, Hanoi

12/7/2014 – Hanoi
A day of shopping. Looked around royal palace again, bought some more shoes, then went to the old quarter for some last minute souvenirs. Had some help from the friendly staff at the Yin and Yang Restaurant to find some of the things we were after. Purchased a good supply of cashew nuts! Got to the airport, now to fly away. The pic is on our way to the airport.

January 22, 2016

Vietnam Day 23, BaBe to Hanoi

11/7/2014 – Babe lake
Dad told the driver to slow down, now I could walk faster. Thanks Dad. Agreed, the driver needed to slow down, but why wait til we’ve hit the flat stretches of road! Anyway, driver wasn’t well at all, he shouldn’t have been driving but he wouldn’t let me drive (tour guide couldn’t drive). Would have been much better if he’d have handed over the driving as I’m sure there were a couple of times there he drifted off. He claimed he wasn’t asleep when I spoke to him, but I am not convinced. I was glad to be back safely anyway.
Day started off with a bike ride. Mum picked the hilly route, then fell off the bike on the first hill. Found a little side track leading into the forest, abandoned the bike and went exploring. Found a few different insects, more huge spiders. Good to see the forest up close. Rode back, then went around the other way quickly. Not too bad a morning. Travelled from there to a place for lunch via some pass, then stopped off at the Ethnic Minority Museum in Thai Nguyen. That was good, good that they had preserved some of their history, too bad we didn’t get to see some of it in the natural, but we did stay in one of the houses they had there.
Back to Hanoi where I stayed in the legacy hotel, a very nice hotel, sensational shower. Tea at the same restaurant as last Saturday, the yin and yang.

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