A Travellerspoint blog

Noise, hills, buildings, cars, people - loving it!

rain 31 °C

Hong Kong has definitely reawakened some of my ‘western’ senses!!! This city (of what I have seen so far) is busy! People, buildings, cars, trams, buses, trains …. After 6 months in Siem Reap my brain had forgotten this style of living. I have come from a place where pjs and thongs are appropriate attire for going out in to suits, heels, laptops and mobile phones (though Cambodians do love their mobiles!) Also with this comes the ease of moving around the city. Arriving at the airport you can catch a train straight to a major metro train station. Then you have to go to an assigned spot to catch a taxi – oh it is so organised here! In one way it gives you a feeling of comfort but in another sense where is the ‘adventure’?

I have spent the last 2 days just wandering the streets of the area I am staying in. There are lots of alleyways and side streets. It is really cool and funky – I like it! One thing that I have noticed is the hills. After living in Busselton and Siem Reap for the last 8 years – I had forgotten what a hill was! Thankfully there are hills, as they will hopefully keep the kilos off that I am adding with the yummy food.

Today I discovered Des Voeux Road – in other words (Dried) Seafood Street. Shops full of many different types of dried seafood and strangely nuts too! Smells of fish, prawns, urchins and many other unidentifiable products wafted, actually forced their way into my nose. There were a few moments of holding my breath or just breathing through my nose. One of the last shops that I passed had a very fat cat sitting on the shelf underneath fishy products – what a life!!!

In addition to the dried seafood shops, the area also has many Chinese medicine shops, which are a little disturbing … there are many things waiting to be grinded and mixed and I am positive that they are not all nice ingredients. There are also coffin shops – which I embarrassingly thought were furniture stores until I looked closer!

From the smells of dead, dried fish to the lights, noise and yummy restaurant smells of my first shopping mall (and a small one at that). The excitement of seeing summer sale signs and shoe stores together! Tomorrow the credit card will need to stay at home – I have to wait til KL – but it is going to be hard!!!!

Posted by Arkgecko 06:18 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (1)

Happy Birthday!!!

A shared birthday party for Rem, Sarah and I!!!

A wonderful night, with wonderful friends and wonderful food!!!!!IMG_9138.jpgIMG_9126.jpgIMG_9113.jpgIMG_9108.jpgIMG_9101.jpgIMG_9087.jpgIMG_9085.jpgIMG_9084.jpg

Posted by Arkgecko 07:38 Comments (1)

Bye Sarah!

In honour of Sarah’s last day in Siem Reap we decided to have a pamper day. Breakfast – shopping – pedicure – manicure – massage – dinner and show!!

Considering Sarah never does the shopping – manicure – pedicure bit I think I did quite well in convincing her to do a pamper day!!! And if it is one thing that Siem Reap does well it is pampering cheaply!!!

A wonderful day was finished off by an interesting evening. We went to see the Smiles of Angkor show. Firstly we got to have a buffet – that was pretty exciting to be one of four westerners in a massive room full of food and Asians! The show was actually quite good. We were a bit skeptical but apart from a few tacky and ‘seedy’ moments (too hard to explain!) I really enjoyed it!

Bye Sarah!!!

Posted by Arkgecko 07:30 Comments (2)

Another mode of transport

There has been tuktuks, bicycles, horses, quad bikes and now a moto!! There have also been a few accidents along the way and today was no exception – though no injuries (except maybe my pride).

Sarah and I decided to do a Khmer Ways bike tour. Getting picked up early on a Sunday morning we were taken to our bikes so we could practice in a quiet road. I have never really ridden a moto before or a motorbike so at first it was a little scary but I seem to get the hang of it rather quickly.

Off we went. As it had been raining quite a bit we didn’t go down too many dirt tracks – which was fine by me. The first difficulty I ran into was turning. It actually took me nearly the whole morning to figure out what I was doing wrong. When we went quad biking we were told not to lean with bike. I was using this technique – thankfully I did realize eventually and started leaning with the bike as I turned corners and life was much easier!!!!

The countryside we went through was again beautiful. One thing that has been great is that on all the tours I have been on we have gone somewhere different. As I said above there was one slight occurrence. I got a little distracted by some cute dogs and puppies and did not see the side of the road disappear. ……… it was quite funny. It was like I was going in slow motion and I was thinking Oh shit and then oh its ok and the oh shit again!!! Sarah was behind me and she enjoyed telling me that I looked hilarious and she was thinking the same thing ….. there she goes, oh nope she is ok, nope there she goes!!!! There were no injuries sustained – only trying to get the bike back up was a bit hard but the owner of the cute dogs helped me out!!! Lesson learnt – concentrate on the road not on the cute animals by the side of it! AND take the bike out of gear when trying to move it!!

We were taken to the ruins of a beautiful temple and pagoda (the pagoda is not in ruins). The pictures painted on the side of the pagoda were strange indeed. Whoever painted them didn’t seem to like women much!!! (have a look at my pic). We climbed up the path to the temple and ate some beautiful fruit that was given to us by the guide. It was quiet and beautiful.


Posted by Arkgecko 07:15 Comments (2)

Tourist Day in the Bong!

After the fun of the Battambang Bamboo Train we were off to see what else the province of Battambang could offer us. Being from one of the best wine areas in the world how could I refuse the offer to see Cambodia’s one and only winery. The grapes looked like grapes, the vines like vines, the wine bottles like wine bottles but did the wine taste like wine – oh no it did not. On the tasting plate was a red, a brandy, a grape juice and a honey and ginger juice. I have never tasted anything so gross. The red was like vinegar, the brandy was too strong for a Cadbury kid like me, the grape juice was like cordial BUT the honey and ginger juice tasted quite nice – nice enough for us to buy a bottle each. I don’t think the Cambodian Red will be winning any prizes soon.

The next stop was Wat Banan, which is older than Angkor Wat. It is set in an amazing location with beautiful trees and hills. (Siem Reap is a bit like Busselton – flat as a tack!) We get to the base of the stairs – it looks like there are a few but not too bad. As we got to the first landing those thoughts all but disappeared. There were sooooo many stairs. With me being a barang tom tom, the humidity and no asthma spray it was a challenge – but I did make it, though Sarah got to spend a long time up there looking around!!! Haha! It was worth the hike of the stairs and it was a beautiful spot up the top. It was a bit of a reality check too when you looked beyond the stairs and paths to see warning signs for land mines.

Recovery from all those stairs (it was nearly as hard coming down too) we had lunch at a little stall at the wat. It was a good time to chat to Chantha (our tuktuk driver) about life and history – he was very knowledgeable and it was great to be able to ask questions. The lunch was pretty darn good too!

Sombering up a little our next stop was the pagoda, killing caves and old weapons that were used in war. Pagodas in Cambodia (and elsewhere) often are very beautiful from the outside but full of neon paintings inside – not sure what the obsession is with hot pink!!! This pagoda was being restored as the interior had been destroyed during the Khmer Rouge days. The views surrounding the pagoda were beautiful. Following the stairs down we reached the Killing Caves. This is where the Khmer Rouge stood on a cliff at the top of the cave and threw people (including babies) down. Like the Killing Fields there was a silent atmosphere down there. Spookily one of the photos I took has the shape of a person in the bottom left hand corner – I swear I could not see it!

Our third and final stop seemed a bit trivial after going to the Killing Caves but it was the thing to do!!! At sunset at a cave nearby there would be many many bats flying out. Unfortunately for us the weather had turned bad and the bats did not want to come out in the rain – scaredy cats!!!

The day ended with some take away food, sitting in the gazebo at our wonderful guesthouse and an early night!


Posted by Arkgecko 01:06 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 87) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 .. »