Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cambodia - first day Phnom Penh

Well I arrived safely in Phnom Penh yesterday after 6 hour comfy coach trip from Saigon. The border crossing was very.smooth and professional, not what I was expecting, perhaps to my shameful thinking.

This city is similar yet different to Vietnams majors. Streets are wider, more cars, less horns, not as smarter dressers yet more smiles. Although roads busy, traffic just flows without aggression of Australia, life just seems to go on in this part of the world somehow.

Aside from very relaxing time of massage, food and temples two awesome things have occurred thus far:

1. Last night I took a walk and stopped at what looked like popular local restaurant. There was a bbq with hot coals and some kind of meet with Yummy smells. No one spoke English so took the risk, hoping it was beef and not a domestic pet :)
As I sat alone four friendly guys at next table invited me to join them, and so began a couple of hours of food, angkor beer and language lessons. (thankfully meat was beef).

2. Tonight I sat on the beautiful waterfront at a western cafe being very bad eating one mutha of a big banana pancake and icecream (Yummy).
Mister "hello, do you want buy scarf, book, etc) went on and on by many disturbing my decadent eating and view.
After a little while another man approached me, he had no hands! And a sign saying "I don't want to beg, but want to work, selling books". Well I couldn't resist, I bought a book and invited him to join me and got him a drink.
You may think that's the end, but no. Within 5 mins a boy I'd told "no" was back saying "why u buy his book, and not mine" :) oh dear what did I start lol, he said he's thirsty and hungry also as had not eaten all day.
A quick check of my cash and I didn't have enough on me to stay at western place, so I got them to take me to local food cafe. And off we trod, man, boy and by this time other 3 little street selling kids no more than 8 yo.
I got them food and we ate together, sharing language.
Then the heavens opened and boy did it poor, within 15 mins there was about 20cm water all over the streets.
I wished them good luck they went back to work, I off to my air conditioned guest house to read my new book about horrors of the Khmer Rouge.

Life is full of contradictions.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Some Very Nice People I Met along the way in Vietnam

Halong Bay
Hoi An
Hoi An
Central Highlands on way to Dalat

Happy Kids after I gave them toys
Luak Lake Village Manong People
Chicken Villiage Near Dalat - Coho People
Central Highlands

Goodbye Vietnam

Well i'm back in Saigon. After yesterdays rain storm in the Mekong at My Tho I decided to change my plans and came back to Saigon to catch the bus tomorrow to Phnom Penh Cambodia instead of via boat down in the Mekong. Tomorrow will be 25 days in Vietnam, a little longer and bit more money spent than expected but no regrets, it's been fabulous. Apparently there was major flooding last week in Siem Reap so I'm not sure if I'll be able to go there and thus my time in Cambodia my be shorter than expected .... we'll see.

The highlights of Vietnam for me have been the Boat trip on Halong Bay, Random meeting of locals in Hoi An and my 10 day easyrider road trip through Central Highlands and South Vietnam with Mr Duc and going days without seeing any other westerner. Our trip was Natrang --> Buon Ma Thout --> Luak Lake --> Dalat --> Bao Loc --> Saigon --> My Tho --> Saigon

There were many Happy Buddahs in Vietnam,
different to other buddahs I've seen say in Australia or Thailand. I assume this means a different strand of Buddism or a stage in Buddahs life \ teaching but not sure, I asked but didn't understant.

Just some of the roads we navigated on the motorbike with easyrider trip.
This one I had to get off and push as we got bogged.

Cao Dai Temple

I found this Cao Dai Temple amazing,
there was something amazing about the third eye being centre of all.
The whole building was just so beutiful and full of colour.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Goodbye Saigon hello Mekong Delta

Saigon has been great mix of up and down time.
Heading to Mekong Delta, alas my time in Vietnam will soon come to an end.

Actually 6th Oct, back in Saigon 1 more night due rain in Mekong. Tomorrow Bus Cambodia.