Reminiscing about South East Asia with a montage

It’s been almost 2 years since we left New Zealand and set off through South East Asia for two months. We went through Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and at the time we thought we would struggle to live out of a suitcase for that long.  We thought wrong.

I think that trip was the best I’ve been on (which is a tough competition) mainly because it was longer and that allowed us to really soak up the place and relax.

We’ve been throwing ideas around of future longer trips we could take and also getting nostalgic for our trip; back when we didn’t have jobs, a lease on a flat or many possessions.  Life was simple and fun then (not that it’s particularly bad now though!).

We’ve been looking at buying a GoPro for recording some more travel clips along with other gadgets and have been wishing we took more video when we travel.  I spent a bit of time digging around on the computer and I found a treasure trove of video clips from our trip back in 2012.  Most of them are pretty poor quality (I’d like to blame our cheap little camera but mostly its my poor camera skills at fault).  We did manage to do up a bit of a montage of our trip anyway.

Hopefully we get back there one day as this video makes me miss the place!

Finishing up in Bangkok – the last of our SE Asia trip

Leaving Phi Phi and Phuket behind, we arrived in Bangkok (3 of the better place names there!) to some great news – we were getting a free upgrade of our hotel room at Baan K residence to a suite (pretty much a one bedroom apartment).  We had wanted to book somewhere nice so we could spend our last few days in Asia in comfort and this place fits the bill perfectly.

Upgrade to a 1 bdm suite!

Kitchen and lounge

Huge TV

Sweet TV

Living room, bedroom through the door

Lounge and bedroom through the door

Our first impressions of Bangkok were that it’s huge and really spread out.  Despite having a pretty good public transit system the traffic is terrible here and whenever we go anywhere by taxi it seems to take at least an hour.  At least the taxis are cheap though.

The main problem we’ve had with taxis are the idiots driving them.  Most of the time we’ve been really organised and had a map with the name of our hotel and directions written out in English and Thai.  Despite this, nearly without fail, taxi drivers will have no idea where to go.  At one point we were pretty much on the main road that we needed to drive down to get home but the taxi drivers were so confused they wouldn’t take us (I offered to drive the taxi myself as it was so easy to get there).  Map reading skills are definitely not their strong point.

On our first night in Bangkok we got a taxi to one of the (very) few places taxi drivers can all find here, Khao San road.  I was expecting a packed, crazier, busier version of Bangla road in Phuket but Khao San was actually pretty tame in comparison.  The main feature seemed to be a lot of stalls selling the usual cheap t-shirts.

We did find a really cool bar with live music to sit and have a few drinks at.  The musicians here can be so good at covers it’s crazy.  They can’t speak English that well but that doesn’t stop them from perfectly imitating Chris Martin for a Coldplay song.

Our second day in Bangkok also happened to coincide with my birth 26 years ago so we had a good excuse to go out.  Being in Thailand where there’s so much good local food, you would think we would go out for some more nice local fare right?  Well after 2 months in SE Asia, I am quite over rice, noodles, curries and soups and we instead opted for the home of Bangkok Burger Company (the same place we went in Phuket).  The choice was not regretted.

The only problem with our choice of dinner location was that it was quite far away from our next intended stop – the Sky Bar at the Lebua.  If you’ve seen Hangover 2 then you would know this place from the rooftop bar scenes there.

We tried getting a taxi but couldn’t find one that spoke a word of English so ended up hiking around for quite awhile until we found a sky train station.  From there we didn’t have a problem though.

The Sky bar is outside on the 64th floor and has an amazing view of Bangkok. The drink prices were also amazing (a beer cost $18) but it was worth it for the view.  We made the error of not taking the right camera lens so we couldn’t get any really good photos but we still tried.

Going high up

Bangkok River

Cool View

We haven’t been feeling like seeing many of the tourist sites here and we both decided that this is probably travel fatigue finally setting in and the fact that we are already quite busy with trying to get jobs in London.  However, we did shake this off for a day of sightseeing to see the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.

We discovered another scam (there’re SO MANY) outside the temples where local Tuk Tuk drivers explain to you very kindly that the temples and palace are closed until 3pm for foreigners and only locals are allowed in until then.  They conveniently had a list of alternative places that they could drive us though while we waited.  So nice right?

We smelled a rat and left on foot where shortly after we heard a loud speaker that basically warned against the scamming Tuk Tuk drivers.  I think the frequency of scams like this has definitely contributed to our travel fatigue but mostly we try laugh at how stupid the scams are.

Shortly after we were at the Grand Palace swapping our inappropriate western attire for some more conservative local clothes.  They (very kindly) rent you these clothes for free just inside the entrance to the Grand Palace but that doesn’t stop “entrepreneurial” locals (I would probably use another word to describe them) trying to drag you in to their store to get you to pay to hire the same clothes.

Sweet pants Matt had to wear

Sweet pants Matt had to wear

Cover up the legs!

And Dayna’s sweet skirt she had to wear

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

Reflection

Dayna’s self portrait

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

The rest of our time in Bangkok has involved a lot of phone calls and emails with recruiters to discuss jobs and set up meetings and interviews.  I now have 12 meetings or interviews set up for next week in London (and Dayna’s list is quickly growing) so it’s going to be busy!

We did find time to make a sweet pants purchase on another trip to Khao San road.  We were inspired by my free rental pants at the Grand Palace so went haggling our way around the pants stalls for similar pairs.  Dayna opted for a somewhat traditional pair of “Elephant pants” while I opted for what I’m calling for the moment my new “Party pants”.

Rocking our awesome pants

Rocking our sweet new pants

And so now here we sit (in our sweet suite), enjoying the last of our opportunity to chill out before we hop on our flight to London at midnight tomorrow!

The change in temperature alone might be a bit of a shock…

The final days in Phuket

I was able to console Matt about losing his travel beard (I think a kick in the shin was all he needed to understand that some things are definitely MORE PAINFUL than shaving off a beard) with a trip to Patong to get a Bangkok Burger that Cath and Jono had raved on about. After 2 months of eating weird looking beef and not even wanting to attempt a burger, the thought of a good one was enough to make our mouths water.

*Side Note: if anyone can suggest the best place in London to get a deliciously massive steak and yummy side salad, I would really appreciate it as that’s all I’ve been craving for the past 2 months*

Thank goodness the burgers lived up to the hype.

Bangkok Burger

We couldn’t decide on the type we wanted so we ended up sharing them both. And look! Curly fries! It was all so so tasty (and expensive by Thai standards – worth it though).

After that, we walked down Bangla Rd to get a proper look at it this time. The street is just crazy, eh. The video I took pretty much sums it up – being offered a Ping Pong show (for the love of God, Mom, please don’t google it) and seeing Ladyboys posing with tourists.

We found a bar and sat down to have a drink and ended up meeting this American guy who had been living in China for the last 10 years and chatted with him for a while. Really cool to get his perspective of the country and be able to ask him questions for when we eventually get around to visiting China.

After just a couple drinks (I was kinda bummed cause I lost out on a ‘Burberry’ bag thanks to my poor haggling skills) and a banana pancake (for Matt) we headed back to Kata for the night.

Probably best that we had an early night with few drinks because we had booked another snorkelling trip for the next morning. I, of course, forgot to take my seasickness pills but thought I’d be alright cause the water was really calm for our last trip. I was so so wrong.

I didn’t take any photos of the waves, because I couldn’t, but I was looking pretty green within the first few minutes of being on the boat. Thankfully, the islands we were going to weren’t very far so I managed to make it to shore with no projectile accidents.

The first place we went to was just a nice beach for “relaxing or swimming” so we got some beach chairs. No sooner had I settled in when I felt something on my foot and looked down to see a SNAKE slithering past. It was only a little thing, but STILL. Not something you really want to worry about when relaxing on a beach.

On the beach

I don't get it.

Asians make it very easy for everyone to recognize that they’re a couple.

After that, it was back to the boat (my stomach flips just at the thought). A spew and a half later (not me, thank goodness) we stopped at our snorkelling site. I thought the water was clear on our last trip but it was so much better this time! I’m not the best swimmer but snorkelling really made me want to take lessons again.

Fish

Even more fish

Well played, Fish.

Matt feeding and being attacked by fish

A few more stops (including a very dodgy lunch which we hardly touched) and a boat ride from hell later, we were finally back on dry land.

Lots of fishies

Cool clouds

Dinner was carb loaded as my tummy still felt off. And we spent the rest of the evening watching Dupree and Me (it was the only movie on TV that wasn’t dubbed over in Thai) and packing for our final destination in South East Asia – Bangkok.

Saying goodbye to the Travel Beard

It is with a heavy heart that I have had to say goodbye to my Travel Beard in Phuket.

It’s been with us through 7 countries and has shared some good times.  It’s come in handy for saving food for later and looking thoughtful (rubbing your beard always makes you look deep in thought).  It’s protected me from getting a sunburnt face and kept me warm when the aircon is on too cold.  It’s even helped Dayna find me when shopping (“Man with beard?” “He go that way”).

Unfortunately, job interviews are fast coming up and I need to at least look like a respectable guy.

I haven’t had a clean shaven face in about 9 months so this was an emotional experience – pretty much like giving birth I imagine.

Last shot of the Travel Beard

Last shot of the Travel Beard

Mid shave

Mid shave

Possible new look?

It was very tempting to leave it at this stage

Movember is coming...

Looks like I will be set come Movember

No more beard

…and now I look like a 12-year old

Dodging Bedbugs, Coral and Fish in Phuket

I would love to be able to say we left our mixed luck in accommodation (and bed bugs) behind us in Siem Reap.  But I can’t.

After our first look, we thought the place we had booked in Patong was fine for what it was (cheap).  We ventured out for the night to Bangla road to dodge people trying to drag us in to a Ping Pong show (table tennis is apparently REALLY popular here) and find somewhere to eat.

Bangla Rd

Walking down Bangla road in Patong

After a pretty average, overpriced meal (that was, at least, in a really nice setting on the beach front) we headed back to our guesthouse, looking forward to a good sleep that we both desperately needed.

So it was that I found myself lying down on the bed reading and generally minding my own business when my pillow erupted with a handful of bed bugs scuttling out to attack me (and Dayna erupted with shrieks and screams).  I did a pretty impressive gymnastics move to flip myself up and away from the bugs – pretty sure Dayna thought she was watching the Olympic games already.

I took a moment to compose myself before venturing downstairs to very calmly and politely explain to first one, then another staff member that we were, in fact, sharing our room with a large family of bed bugs who did not seem to like us and we would like to avoid them for the night.  After getting nowhere for awhile, I made the suggestion that perhaps a move of rooms could be in order.  They agreed.

Bed Bugs

One of the many bed bugs that came crawling out of the pillow case that my head was laying on

And so we spent a night having nightmares of being eaten alive by huge bed bugs in the room over the hall (Dayna’s pillow was immediately thrown to the other side of the room where it stayed for the rest of the night).

Giving a guesthouse a review mentioning bed bugs is kind of a killer so I won’t name them online (to their credit they were clearly trying hard to get rid of the bugs the next morning and I did really like the owner).  That said, if you’re ever travelling to Phuket and want to know where NOT to stay – send us a message and we’ll let you know.

We had only booked one night there and you’ll be glad to know our luck has picked up since then.

We booked in for 3 nights at Villareal Heights at Kata beach (a much nicer beach than the slightly seedy Patong) and were immediately wowed by how friendly and awesome the owners (Phil and Jo) are.  After we arrived, Phil (a British expat) took us for a drive around the town to show us all the best places for everything and they also talked us through all the different tours we could do (for which they take zero commission).

They also have a massive DVD selection and the comfiest beds we’ve had our whole trip.  They’ve even given us a cell phone to use (which is coming in handy for phone interviews and calls with recruiters in the UK).  Needless to say, we’ve now extended our stay here to 7 nights.

Our luck has also been great with weather – perfect blue skies and hot days when apparently it was flooding here last week.

We’ve spent a lot of our time at the beach swimming, reading, watching the sun set etc so there’s not much exciting news to report on (unless you think our trip to Dino minigolf is exciting like I do!).

Dino Mini Golf

Dino Mini Golf

The one piece of (actual) exciting news, for us at least, is that we have ticked off number 46 on our 100 Thing’s list – Go snorkelling in the open water in Thailand.

We joined a speedboat tour around Phi Phi and the surrounding islands for a day and there was barely a cloud in the sky.  The perfect day for swimming around beautiful clear water with a close up view of coral and all sorts of fish.  Our underwater photography skills aren’t amazing so we didn’t get any pictures of the bigger fish but got plenty of the little colourful ones.

Matt Snorkeling

Matt snorkeling near Phi Phi Ley

Fishes and coral

Fishes

More fishes

I got quite friendly with the coral/rocks at one of our snorkelling stops (the waves kept wanting me to hit the rocks despite my objections) so I keep discovering small grazes and cuts all over the place.  A small price to pay for a great day though.  I now can’t wait to go snorkelling again.

We have another few days of paradise here in Kata and then on to Bangkok for our last 4 days before we hit London (Eek!).

Maya Beach

Maya Beach (where part of “The Beach” was filmed)

Me at Maya Beach

Dayna retracing Leo’s steps (despite never having seen the movie)

Matt at Phi Phi

Breast Soap

Soap for breasts – who knew?

Watching the hockey game

Watching LA win the Stanley cup

Matt feeding a monkey

Monkey feeding

Sunset

Adventures and Mishaps in Siem Reap

NO MORE BUSES, YOU GUYS! We had our final 6 hour bus trip to get us to Siem Reap and besides watching a clearly pirated copy of The Avengers on the bus’ TV (you could hear people laughing in the theatre it was filmed at…dodgy bus company!) and trying to tune out the really LOUD and BAD Asian pop music with my iPod, it was a pretty uneventful trip.

Matt has been to Siem Reap before and had talked it up as one of his favourite places ever so I was quite looking forward to seeing it myself. As an added bonus, we had 6 nights here. SIX WHOLE NIGHTS IN ONE PLACE!

Clearly, I was pretty excited to not have to pack my bags for a while and just relax. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that well but more on that later.

Amy (who we met on our Halong Bay tour) raved about the Mexican restaurant here called iViva so we made a beeline there for dinner the first night and have been back a total of 5 times. Delicious food and $1.50 margaritas!

First Margarita at iViva

We had already decided that the next day would be a ‘rest day’ (love them) so we figured it was the best night to try out the famous local bars. We made our way to Pub Street, the main area for bars and restaurants in Siem Reap, and settled on Red Piano for a Tomb Raider cocktail. Angelina Jolie made the bar famous while she was here filming Tomb Raider and created this drink (obviously not called a Tomb Raider at the time). It’s made with Cointreau, fresh lime juice, tonic water and holy, is it ever yummy! Every tenth one ordered is free and they bring it to you while ringing a bell so everyone knows you got it.

Pub Street

At Red Piano

Delicious Tomb Raider cocktail at Red Piano

After that we headed to Angkor What? (clearly a play on Angkor Wat, the temple which I’ll talk about later) and I had my first ever bucket! Well, Matt and I shared it because seriously, there was no way I could finish a drink this big. Can’t remember what was in it *ahem* but it was good. And had lots of straws.

Angkor What? Bar

Bucket at Angkor What? Bar

Then (I know) we went across the street to Temple Club and ended up sharing a few cocktails with a group of students (one of which looked exactly like Justin Bieber) and a Marine from Wisconsin (of all places).

At Temple Bar with our buddies (for the night) from Wisconsin

The night ended after a lot of dancing and a walk back to our hotel that I’m still confused about. I knew where we had to be, but didn’t know how to get there and still managed to figure out a pretty direct route without any issues.

The day after our well needed rest day, we headed to Angkor Archaeological Park. Most people hire a tuk tuk for the day to take them around all the different temples but since we had a 3 day pass, we wanted to take our time seeing everything. For some reason, no one could understand that we only wanted to hire a tuk tuk for a few hours instead of the whole day and wanted to charge us the same price for half the time! So we had the crazy idea to BIKE around the park instead.

We started early at 7am so that we’d get most of it done before the heat really settled in. Not that it really helped though cause here’s me at the first temple:

Sweaty Dayna

Mmmm…sweaty.

We picked a good time of the year for this trip. Usually all these photos would be FULL of other tourists but with it being the beginning of rainy season, there was hardly anyone there!

Biking around Angkor

At Banteay Kdei

Dodgy scaffolding

At Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm – the “Tomb Raider” temple where it was filmed.

Matt in front of Thommanon

Matt in front of Thommanon

At Thommanon

At Thommanon

Elephants Terrace, Angkor Thom

Elephants Terrace, Angkor Thom

At Bayon, Angkor Thom

At Bayon, Angkor Thom

At Bayon, Angkor Thom

These faces are all over the Bayon temple

We were absolutely knackered by the time we got back to our hotel. We had done about 30kms total but luckily it was all flat so besides a sore bum from the seat, it was actually a pretty cool way to get around all the temples and I’d definitely recommend it – especially if you want to do things at your own pace without having to worry about relying on a tuk tuk driver.

The plan was so get to bed early so we could get up at 4am for the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Of course because I knew I had to be up early, I couldn’t get to sleep for the life of me. Finally I did but after only 2 hours, Matt woke up thinking there were bugs in his bed and turned on all the lights to see what was crawling on him. Annoyed, I told him he was imagining things and to TURN OFF THE LIGHTS ALREADY. He did and we went back to trying to sleep only for me to wake up again at 1:30am for the same reason he had previously. My sheets were unbelievably itchy and I felt like things were crawling all over me. The difference between Matt and I was that he had a restless night attempting sleep, whereas I gave up on sleep very quickly. I spent the next 3 hours thinking about random things, looking up other hotels, playing games on my phone, and getting more and more pissed off at the hotel for having DIRTY, ITCHY, BUG FILLED sheets.
As soon as the alarm went off I told Matt we were switching hotels and he agreed.

This would have to wait as it was 4am and we had more important things to do before dealing with that. We took a tuk tuk to Angkor Wat for sunrise but nearly left it too late. The sky was already pretty bright by the time we arrived and some dude trying to get us to buy coffee from him said that we had time because the sun rise wasn’t until 6:30 even though it was already CLEARLY rising and everyone else/everything we read said it was at 5:30. Douchebag (please keep in mind that I was running on a few hours of sleep and was a little…testy). Lucky we knew better because if we had believed him, we would’ve missed ticking off number 12 on our 100 Things List – See a sunrise over Angkor Wat (which was an amazing experience despite sharing it with a bunch of other tourists).

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

A few of our friends that we shared the sunrise with

This was my favourite temple out of all of them just because you absolutely got the feeling that people had lived here once and it would’ve been amazing to see it when brand new.

At Angkor Wat

At Angkor Wat

At Angkor Wat

Dayna having a moment at Angkor Wat

Candid Camera

Mom’s comment unintentionally turned out to be foreshadowing – Matt wasn’t feeling well from dinner the night before (lack of sleep probably didn’t help either) and was feeling a bit off while we were at the temple. We got back to our hotel and he quickly made the Porcelain Throne his seat of choice and made sure he was only a few quick steps away from it at all times.

However, we still needed to get out of our hotel so after quickly researching other hotels, we found one around the corner and went to check it out. We weren’t able to see the room because they were all full (a good sign as we were the only people at our hotel) and no one had checked out yet. We immediately knew it was much better than where we were staying so we said we’d take it, went back to our lame hotel and packed.

I worried about what they’d say as we checked out 3 days early because I hate confrontation and even though the hotel was horrible in every way, I felt bad telling them that. Luckily for us (and this proves how crap the hotel was), they didn’t even realise that we had only just altered our booking. The guy thought HE had made a mistake in thinking we were staying 6 nights instead of 3. Clearly, we made the right choice in leaving.

We planned to do our last day at the temples the next day but with Matt not feeling well, we switched it to a rest day (again, love these) and spent it chilling in our, now awesome, hotel room.

Our final day in Siem Reap was pretty packed. We headed to our last temple, Banteay Srey, this time renting a car as it’s about 40kms out of the city. This one is famous for it’s intricate carvings and different colour than the rest of the sites.

At Banteay Srey

At Banteay Srey

At Banteay Srey

Then we headed to the Cambodian Landmine Museum which was created by Aki Ra, a man who was once a child solider in the Khmer Rouge. They killed his parents when he was 5 and forced him to join the army when he was 10 years old. He defected to the Vietnamese Army which eventually forced the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia and now he’s made it his life work to defuse landmines that are still active in Cambodia. It was amazing to read and see pictures of his work and just how much of an impact these landmines have on the Cambodian people. I don’t think we’ve gone a day here without seeing quite a few people missing limbs because they came across an unexploded landmine. No one knows how many are left (it’s estimated at 6 million) and many people are still being injured or killed by them.

Cambodian Landmine Museum

Some of the many mines Aki Ra has diffused

We finished our night with a free cello concert at the local Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. The goal of the concert is to fundraise for the hospital that provides free services to children in Cambodia. The work they’re doing there and the struggles they face really impacted on me and Matt. It was all pretty overwhelming and maybe a bit much to put into this post at this point but it definitely got us thinking about how we can help.

Dr Beat "Beatocello" Richner - founder (and fundraiser) of Children's hospitals in Cambodia

Dr Beat “Beatocello” Richner – founder (and fundraiser) of Children’s hospitals in Cambodia

We’ve realised that with all the travel that we’re going to do, we’ll be coming across this kind of thing pretty often and it would be impossible to ignore it. We’ve got a bit of a plan to bring awareness to charities that impact on us, so watch this space. Back to the hospital, 90% of the funding comes from private donations and to quote the founder, “When is saving a child’s life a private matter? Why don’t the countries that supported the wars that created Cambodia’s poverty, support saving the lives of the children it continues to affect?”

Travel is more than just seeing pretty sites and doing fun things, it’s about making a difference in the places you visit.

Reunions in Phnom Penh

We said a very sad goodbye to ABC Bakery (by stuffing our faces with bready goodness) and the rest of Ho Chi Minh City and made our way by, you guessed it, a bus, to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This was a bit of a special border crossing for me as it marked the 10th country I’ve been to.
We had to get visas when we got to the border which can sometimes be an interesting experience but we knew that as long as we had a new crisp $20 USD bill, we should be fine. Luckily most tour buses crossing the border will sort the visa out for you so that’s what we ended up doing (cost us $5 more but they didn’t really give us a choice). Poor Matt was the last waiting at every checkpoint of the process. Particularly when he was waiting for his passport to be returned with the visa inside – maybe they have special screening requirements for Kiwis? Either way, there was a lot of me waving goodbye to him wondering how long it would take for him to come through as well.

Besides that though, the process was pretty smooth and the immigration officials were much more relaxed than Matt had me thinking they were going to be. My guy just chatted on his cell phone while processing my passport and fingerprints!

After crossing the border into Cambodia, our tour bus stopped for a lunch break. Most tours will have a deal with a restaurant and staff of the bus company will get a commission or free meal (or something along those lines). Unfortunately for us foreigners, this usually means stopping at the dodgiest stall on the street, full of bugs and inedible food. This one was particularly bad so Matt and I ended up buying Pringles for our lunch. Not the most nutritious but it was far better than food poisoning.

We arrived at our destination of Phnom Penh about an hour later than scheduled for no good reason, really. I was just happy to check off another bus ride knowing that I only had one more left after this. We checked into our hotel (that ended up being quite nice) with enough time to have a quick Skype catch up with Matt’s Mom and Allan before heading to FCC for happy hour.

FCC (Foreign Correspondence Club) is a pretty famous bar in Phnom Penh for expats. It’s right by the river and has a great view from the rooftop bar.

View from FCC

View from FCC

Most of you know that we lived with Cath and Jono in Wellington for the past 4 years and they’re also moving to the UK. They’ve done a similar trip to us on the way over and our paths crossed in Phnom Penh.

We got to hang out with them for 2 days, talking about our travels and exploring the city. It was really nice to have people around that we knew and could talk to about all the things we’d both done. We’re going to where they’ve already been and vice versa so were also able to give each other tips on where to stay and what to eat. We stayed in the same hotel and they even booked the same place we did in HCM based on what we told them. Love sharing travel tips! Is there a job in the UK for me to do that? Cause that would be so much fun!

Meeting up with Cath and Jono for happy hour

We had a cute little girl trying to sell us books at dinner. She was so tiny and could barely lift her box of books, we all felt so bad for her. When Matt said to her that she’d get big muscles from carrying her books, she flexed her little arm…and then I died from the cute.

She could barely lift the box!

Seriously, Cambodia wins the Cutest Children award and I want to adopt them all.

Matt drank a bit more than the rest of us thanks to a happy hour beer deal he thought was awesome (2 big jugs of beer for $3) so he wasn’t feeling so hot the next morning. Lucky for him, at the convenience store we found this drink and apparently it actually works!

Matt drank a bit more than the rest of us and found this. Apparently, it works!
After that, we headed to the Russian Markets. Upon reading Wikipedia, it’s called that because of Vietnamese occupation at the time it started (and we all know how much Vietnam loves Russia). We know it because it’s featured on our favourite TV show, The Amazing Race, a few times. There are hundreds of stalls and quite a few of them sell the same things but it was pretty fun to walk around looking at all the silk scarves, t-shirts, etc. We went in the morning as we read that it gets very crowded and hot later on so not all the stalls were opened. I still managed to buy a couple silk scarves and ‘Giorgio Armani’ sunglasses for a grand total of $7.

Cath and Jono in the tuk tuk

Us in the tuk tuk. I know.

I was mid sentence and Matt…I don’t know.

Russian Markets

Matt’s been here before and went to the Killing Fields and The Royal Palace but to be honest I didn’t really feel like going to them. The Palace seems like a place that would leave me pissed off – I don’t want to see your gold statues and walls and silver floor when right outside the gate are people living on less than a dollar a day. Share the wealth!
As for the Killing fields, I’m really sensitive to places like that. I know that’s not a really good excuse to not go but I know myself and I have to be really careful with places where horrible things have happened because of the effect it has on me. I’ve watched very powerful documentaries on the brutal killings and torture of the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge and just looking and being around the people here is enough for me to feel the pain they’ve been through. I also have a problem with the fact that the bones and skulls of the millions of people that were killed are on display for people like me to see. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind.

So, I spent the afternoon in the hotel room watching the A-Team and editing photos while Matt went exploring for 3 hours in the pouring rain in search of a massage place. The things that boy will do for a massage.

We met with Cath and Jono again and went in search of dinner. We went down to one end of the river only to realise the place we were looking for was in the complete opposite direction. After about 25 minutes of walking we found the place…only for it to be closed. So we walked BACK the way we came and found a random place that ended up having yummy food and cheap margaritas.

Pretty lights

Margarita

And then it was time for our 11th and final bus trip. This time to Siem Reap.