A Travellerspoint blog

No lack of sun in the Perhentian Islands!

An unescapable sun, a pungent smelling dorm, a great dive and more night bus adventures to KL.

sunny 95 °F

Today is July 12, 2010 and I am headed off of Tioman Islands. Funny things about small islands is that you see the same people all the time. As I anxiously wait for the 4pm ferry, which is really 4:30pm, I have a chat with the old bloke from last night that gave me this idea. I also sit with two younger blokes from Malaysia and they insist on helping me get on the proper night bus to Perhentians once on the mainland. We endured a very cold, air con blasted ferry ride and were soon walking the streets of Mersing back to the bus station. We had intended on grabbing something to eat together but my mouth got the best of me as I stayed and chatted to a lovely older lady at the bus station. Her name was May and she joked it came right after April. After a bit of a debate on which bus to take, I choose the 11pm night bus but would stop at another station at 5am and have to wait until 8am for the local bus up to the port to head to more islands. Looks like it will be a rough next 12+ hours as the time was only just past 7pm.

Just as I mentioned I would find a wifi place, her son offered to let me hook up to his wifi account at the station for just $4 for the entire next 4 hours. Score! I did want to grab a bit and have a look around first. That sure killed time as it was nearly 930pm when I got back to the station. In the meantime, I managed to pick up a can of tuna and headed to a restaurant to order veggie soup and rice. I do that a lot and just add my tuna after I drain the soup portion. It’s my way of having veggies, rice and a protein. Now the thing about Malaysia and many of these South East Asian countries is they are swarming with wild cats. They follow you around like white on rice and if you have food, well, they want some. I told you I had tuna and that is they favorite. So, as I tried to be discreet in opening my tuna can, draining the juice in the bin and then putting the container in the bin, well, that didn’t happen. The cat’s could smell it from miles away. Before I knew it, there were 5 cats around that bin and each taking turns actually jumping in the bin to get a nibble of what I may have left behind. Hilarious!

After my feed and cat entertainment, I headed back to hop on the internet and pass some time chatting with May’s son. The night bus was here and he helped get my bags on and I tired to rest up the best I could. It’s seemed no more that a blink of an eye that it was 5am and I was now laying on the cement bus station bench, watching the locals and thinking how “if my parents could see me now.” This was part of the journey in route to the Perhentians. Before long, 8am rolled around and I was able to hop on the local bus going to Kuala Besut. There, I would catch another ferry to the islands. It was at the port that I got ripped off for trading money as it was the only place to do it and I had no choice. Supply and demand I guess. The dude took a good $10 from me but I managed to get back ½ after I returned and told him how rude he was being to a tourist on a budget.

I feel like this day was so long already but it was just noon as I arrived at Long Beach on the Perhentians Islands. It’s search time for accommodation again and you know it had to be expensive for me to give in and stay in a 16 person “fart” smelling dorm called the World Café. The bonus, it had air con and I would do it for the experience and the day. 30 bucks for this none the less. Prices were higher than I thought and just to think the other day I had a private beach bungalow. Maybe I should have stayed but I would rather regret coming here that regret NOT checking it out.

I am making the most of this day and tried to catch some sun for 1 hr 20 minutes but that was all I could handle. Remember in my last blog I wondered where the sun was? Well, I found it and A LOT of it. It’s was too darn hot and I felt like I was an egg in a frying pan. Heck, I could probably have fried one in the sand as it was that hot. No where to escape the heat either, unless I wanted to inhale the fart smell of the 16 person dorm. No thank you. I will save that for sleeping. I hit the ocean for some swim time and to cool off a bit. I chatted with a local and then it was back to the World Café for a shower and lounging outside in the shade.

My diving break is over. I came all this way and I really want to go again. I spent a bit of time hitting each one and finding out what dive site is the best if one only chooses to go once. I must watch the budget to some extent as my future is a mystery. I settled on a place for 9am the next morning. Until then, I had my dinner on the beach and became friends with the World Café workers as we created an “internet” café with the 3 of our laptops and use of the next door dive shop’s wifi password. The mosquitoes had a feast on my legs but I was able to do some searching on the Philippines and found out my RCI luxury place was no longer available. Hmmm, that changes things. Here I planned to do the Philippines not as a backpacker but a flash packer. I will sort things out. In the meantime, Alex drew up a plan for me to hit Kuala Lumpur as he lived there for many years.

2am rolled around and he were all tired, plus, I had diving at 9am. To the air con fart smelly room it was for this girl. I can’t complain though as it was the best night sleep I had in ages. I love sleeping in the cold and covering up with heavy blankets. Funny really, seeing how darn hot it actually is outside this pungent smelling room. When it came to that sleep, well, I didn’t care what I had to sacrifice and if my clothes attached the smell, well, that is the price I would pay for a night of childlike sleep.

Let’s go diving! It’s 7/14/10, a hot morning and all is good to see some turtle with 3 legs. Our dive guy was Travis from Melbourne and he was great. I just love being under the water and acting like a mermaid. I actually think I wanted to be a mermaid ever since I saw the movie Splash. We had a great dive, saw lots of life and then it was back to the beach for a 30 minute sun session for me. 29 minutes too long I think. I had to take a cold shower and down heaps of water, and a bit of chocolate to feel alright again. After my discussions with Alex last night, I have decided to keep this trip short and sweet and although I endured great lengths of travel to get here, I will take the 4pm ferry back to the mainland for yet another night bus to Kuala Lumpur, this big city I keep hearing so much about.

A wise person once told me that the transportation is part of the overall experience. Okay, maybe I just made that up but you do see so much while taking multiple forms of transport. In my case, it serves to be very true in the time that I have been in Malaysia. I must say that I am no longer that girl that fears public transportation or sharing space. I have changed and what started as a 2 month holiday in Australia with my own private camper, well, I would never in a million years have guessed that it would bring me to this free-spirited traveler that I am today. No private toilet, no private shower, it’s all good. I am making myself do things that I would never have thought and it is making me stronger and more appreciative of the things that I have back in the US, the people that I have in my life and the people I will make more time for in my life. There was a time when I had to live alone because I needed my own space and my own bathroom. I will be happy to just have my own bed someday. Things sure do change.

On that note, I will leave you with the time that I arrived back to the mainland in Kuala Besut. On the ferry ride in, I met a great couple from England that were traveling for 2 years together. They told me about the Philippines and how I must go. One thing I have learned in traveling couples is that they either break up along the way or build a stronger, unbreakable, bond. This couple was an inspiration as I could see the love in them and that they would go the distance for sure. One of the great things of life on the road is meeting people, good or bad, they are people and they do make for interesting conversations.

Good bye to island life and hello to the big city. Tomorrow I will wake up in Kuala Lumpur (KL) but until then, what is this girl to do with 4 hours on the mainland before my night bus? Immediately after my arrival to the mainland I headed to the bus station to buy my night ticket for KL. It was there that I met Lynn, a very nice Malaysian woman who informed me of some public showers and that is when the idea popped in my head. I will make use of some time and do a bit of a jog around town and shower after. I will wear myself out so I can be lazy and try to sleep on the new double decker bus into KL. I changed my clothes in her office, left my belongings there locked up as she took a 2 hour break and off I went. First up, some internet access next door. My how things just fall into place. It is there that I realized the first season of Survivor was filmed on a small island off of the Borneo side of Malaysia. Wow! I just made a rough plan. I came into Malaysia super blind and didn’t really know what this girl was to do. I did quite a bit of bus travel already and I was over that entirely. It was time to find a few areas of interest and the rest would fall into place.

Here goes, I will go to KL then head to Kuching on the Borneo side where I will stay at this Hilton Longhouse for a bit, then up to Kota Kinabalu to hike and to Pulau Tiga to check out where Survivor all began. I was tickled pink that I figured this all out and I was now ready for a run around town. As I may have written in the past, locals find it very humorous as one tries to exercise. No gym makes up for an interesting work out but fun and sightseeing none the less. After my 45 minute jog I landed myself by the water for some concrete block lifting and some cardio kicks. That always gets the locals in a laughing state. Someone told me this is a ghetto version of a work out but whatever gets your heart pumping and sweat falling is good by me. I say it’s better than doing nothing at all.

This girl was a bit hungry and now had 30 minutes to wait for Lynn to get back to the office where I could gather my things for a much needed shower. You really can’t beat it when the cost of the toilet is roughly 50 cents American and the shower is just $1. Score! I will say it was one of the best showers in ages too. I took my time and it was back to the bus station to await this night journey into the city. Lynn and I were chatting and she even had me try some local drink, non alcoholic of course. I love how they use baggies for so many things. Yes, they just stick a straw on the top of the bag with a rubber band and you drink from there. It makes for an interesting way to eat soup though I will say that.

Productive evening on my part and it is time to catch this night bus. I was floored at the cleanliness and new car smell of it all. I was on the bottom with just a few others and many empty seats. Little did I know how darn cold the air con would make and that this would actually be one of the most uncomfortable night bus rides to date. Guess there comes the old saying where what you see is not always what you get. In writing this now I am getting cold chills running down my spine as I remember that oh so cold feeling that I endured for a good 10 hours. Forget my seat, I managed to find 3 blankets (thinner than the average sheet really) to create a dog-like bed on the floor in front of a set of unoccupied seats. Where is a “snuggie” when you need one is what I thought. Just as I would fall asleep in the most strange position, the bus would stop for a break. It was a restless night but we made it and just in time before my nose grew icicles. I may have lost feeling in my legs for a few minutes actually. It was so darn cold!!

It’s nearly 6am now and we have arrived at the bus station in Kuala Lumpur. I chatted with a family and another girl from Australia. The family had been going for over 4 months and it was the parents and their only child, their 12 year old daughter. What an experience to travel with your parents like a backpacker at that age, and it wasn’t her first. It brought back memories of myself on vacation with my family but for some reason I felt Disney World was far more exciting than life on the road at age 12 and I think that is quite normal for me to feel that way. I just can’t see mom, dad, Ryan, Troy and myself doing that without killing one another in the process. I am thankful for my Disney World experiences. Even the one that we took the camper down and had to park on a hill one night due to someone stealing our spot as we were enjoying the night parade with all the characters.

Okay, back on track. It’s early and lack of sleep beginning to creak in on us. Milly, the Australian girl, and myself hopped on the shuttle to get to KL Sentral and then over to Butik Bintang. Thanks to Alex from the World Café in the Perhentians and his ever so trusty email he gave me, all is good. I know of a central accommodation and Milly is headed that way as well. In the midst of our early morning conversations on the shuttles we ended up going too far twice to hit the correct stops but that was fine. Guest houses were usually not opened to check in for hours anyway. We had to laugh that we kept getting off the monorail and back on to head back in the other direction. Finally, we arrived at the Butik Bintang stop and set out to find her old accommodation to store her luggage and the Green Hut for me to find a room. Just when I thought all was easy, I was getting turned away left and right due to no vacancies. Milly left at this point as she was just passing time before her noon flight back to Melbourne. I longed for a bed to crash for a few hours but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I came across a lovely man at one of the guest houses where I could leave my things until a room opened. What to do with the next 4 hours of my time, right? Stay tuned.

jk livin’

The dish is out :)

Posted by Dishtravel 04:19 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Tioman Island has a DUTY FREE STORE!

I'm going on a recommendation and headed to some islands for chill-laxation and more night bus excursions to follow.

rain 80 °F

Today is Saturday July 10th, 2010 and I survived last night. In the midst of the chaotic evening, I realized that I am strong and do have emotions. I wanted to be Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and tap my red shoes to go home. What home you may ask but I wanted to be at my parents. I do miss my family. Just as in life, you will have bumps in the road while traveling with no plan but that is just part of the journey. Things always seem to turn around and I'm looking at the glass as half full. I did have a spectacular seat in route to Mersing and was able to get a little bit of sleep on the way to the port and the bus driver reallly took care of me and made sure I got where I needed to go.

Before long, I was dropped off on an island in Malaysia known as Tioman Islands. In speaking with a women at the port, she told me to go to the ABC drop off as they had more budget places to stay. I roamed back and forth with my backpack and sweaty clothes for what felt like ages but just as I was about to give up and go back on the boat, I came across a beach bungalow, the last one in fact. Timing was key on this journey. I had an older couple as neighbors who came to the island over 6 weeks ago and have been traveling for over 10 years. From hell to heaven in less than a day. You can’t beat my view at Mawar Beach Bungalows. This is definitely a place to chill-lax. After the day I had I so wanted a wine but beer was all they had. My next craving was for chocolate. Sweet! I remember I bought an overpriced 70% organic chocolate bar in Singapore for this very situation. Just as I reached for it in my bag I noticed a bunch of brown all inside. You guessed it, It had melted all over my bag due to the blazing hot day. Have no fear, I salvaged what I could by licking the wrapper and using a spoon.

As I mentioned this is a very chill place. No worries, I had a walk up and down the beach, a view of the sunset from my patio and then a nice dinner on the beach. Ok, I know what you are thinking…I was just missing the pleasure of someone’s company. Such great service and nice people on the island. I feel obligated to eat where I am staying but after a look around, they were the best and you can’t beat dinner on the beach.

Nothing much going on in the evening. I sat on the patio a bit chatting with the older couple and then it was off to bed even though I tossed and turned all night. This was also the night I realized that I left my camera charger in Siem Reap. Perfect! I’m not planning on getting to a major city anytime soon and now I will make it a mission to find someone with a canon camera charger…on this island no doubt. The morning came and it was time for some breakfast. I headed over to the usual spot and I couldn’t have planned it better. I told the owner about my camera charger and said how I would ask everyone until I found one. Would you believe it that the first person I asked not only had a canon charger but he pulled out the same exact camera, color and all!!! I waited for him to finish breakfast and then we chatted in route to his bungalow. Things just happen for a reason because he also informed me of a DUTY FREE STORE over the hill and on another part of the island. It was about 3km each way. He had gone their the prior evening to get some beer and they had wine. Looks like this girl is on a mission today. Just when I felt so secluded from everything and everyone I found this path over to another part of the island. What an adventure to fill an otherwise chill-laxing day. I can tell you that I have never gone through such great lengths to get myself some adult grape juice. As I arrived to the duty free store with sweat running down my entire body and my backpack empty for goodies, I not only bought some red wine (hot weather I know but warm white wine just sounded yuck) but also 3 huge bottles of water and a sarong as I keep forgetting mine in random places and they are so handy and have around.

Next up, let’s head back. I may just do a run over here later if I have the energy. Wait! Why not incorporate my large water bottles into a workout as I headed back 3 kms. Work out indeed. I kept one in my pack and one on each arm. I was feeling the burn alright, raising my arms up and down for what seemed to be ages. Thank God I found a mentos stand as I headed back also. It was a productive day and I ended it with my usual dinner and a chat to a local on where to go next. Of course, I had the wine as well and it never tasted so delicious. The clear air soon turned to rain showers and the combo of that and the grape juice helped this girl to have a great night sleep.

Morning came too early it seemed but I did sleep in again and it was still raining. I intended on running but the rain cancelled that idea (ok and maybe I was a bit too lazy). I had a late breakfast and decided to catch the late ferry back to the mainland and try another island, the Perhentians that so many raved about. The Tioman Islands turned to be a great relaxing experience and if the rain didn’t get in the way I think I would have stayed longer. After all, it is the rainy season but this girl had cabin fever. Where is the sun?

Instead, another long transit adventure is in store for me. What I am in for, well, I have no idea and that is what makes it all the more fun. Sure, I must keep telling myself that.

jk livin’

The Dish is out :)

Posted by Dishtravel 04:12 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Forget the Singapore Sling!

Last minute decision to hit Singapore then venture up thru Malaysia via public transportation.

sunny 80 °F

After much debate and flight searching, I am off to Singapore. Plans are to be there for a day or two then head up into Malaysia via local bus. Oh yes, this is going to be another test of my public transportation skills and just how far I can go trying to transport like a local. I arrived into the Singapore airport with no accommodation, no map and no real direction as to where to go. Wait! I sort of did as I met girls from Singapore in Vietnam (remember the ones that spotting me on the street with one flip flop on as I got kicked out of the tattoo place?). They face booked me and said to stay in little India as it was where many backpackers stayed and it was less expensive. That was the only lead that I had and thanks to free internet in the airport and searched on a few places before settling on taking the subway to Bugis where I would then wander the streets and ask people for directions. No map required. Because I took so long my bag was no where to be found. That was the first time I got a bit scared and realized my life of a year is in that pack. I don’t have much in their but put all my electronics in it and would hate to lose all my picture. Next time, that will go in my carry on for sure. The woman in the lost and found office saw the fear in my face and after one attempt to find it, I walked with her and was never so happy to see that darn pack.

I got on the subway and asked for a few directions as I searched for a reasonably priced accommodation. It is such a culture shock from Cambodia already that I fear going back to the US at this point. I came from my own awesome hotel room for $12 to now searching for a single room in a hostel under $60. It took a while and a bunch of sweat before I settled in at a $35 single prison-size room with no ceiling but no roomies either. I had to take a nap and then it was out to find these food places I hear so much about. It sure wasn’t cheap like I was told because ½ a cob of corn was $1.50 (3 times the price of Cambodia and so gross in taste). I wanted to hit the movies but nothing intrigued me so I passed and just roamed some shopping malls. It sure gave me a feel for the US in that it wasn’t a third world country.

After checking out the shops I decided to go to this 24hr shopping center known as Mustafa. I think it should have been called “Walmart” as in the one in Panorama City outside of LA. Poor kids were in their strollers at 1130pm trying to sleep but their parents wanted to get some bulk food for the month. I will admit the streets are very clean and no one is allowed gum to keep the streets even more clean. A very tired Trish headed back to my amazingly tiny room at 3D Harmony and made use of my free wifi in the room. I also tattled on the boys in the room next to me. Remember when I said there were no ceilings? Well the smoke came right into my room at they got busted at 3am because of me. Maybe their lungs will thank me someday.

I sure didn’t need to set my alarm as I was next to some damn construction yet AGAIN. My ear plugs couldn’t hide that noise one bit. Guess no sleeping in for me, or sleeping for that matter as it was around 730am when it all started and I just shut my eyes at 330am. Might as well get up and get the day going. The bad thing of sharing 2 toilets with 60 people is sometimes you really have to practice your holding skills. Once I had my go at the showers it was checkout time and I just stored my backpack with Faith at the reception. I decided to get out of Little India and check out the “rich” areas of the city. I got directions from a local and I was on my way to the famous Raffles Hotel, the home of the Singapore Sling. As much as I wanted one I had to pass on it due to the price of $25. Wow! I love Singapore. It is totally different than my experience yesterday. This is a great place to visit but just not budget travel. If I had a job I would live here no problem. There is no shortage of shopping and it is very central to travel to other surrounding countries in Asia. Seeing the Raffles Hotel reminded me of The Breakers in Palm Beach and how my parents would love it. Awe, I am getting homesick for Florida now. After my taste of the rich life I would love to win the lottery. I know I say I don’t need all those material things but sometimes it would be damn nice to experience the finer things in life. Right now I have the best of both worlds as I pretend to be rich but go back to the backpackers. Hey, I DID move to California to act remember? Just playing around with you all.

The sightseeing continued but first I made a pit stop at the grocery shops for some sushi to go and a chat with a demo lady who gave me heaps of cereal samples. I ran into 2 guys from the Philippines that were staying at the Conrad. It was hard but I refrained from using anymore of my dad’s points to stay and live it up at the Conrad also. I think meeting the guys from the Philippines was a sign that I too needed to go there soon. I walked with them through some shopping complex and they directed me to the new Sands Hotel and Casino. Can we say VEGAS?? It was just like that except the hotel had 3 towers and a ship on top connecting them with a huge amusement area. I took some touristy photos along the way, mingled with fellow walkers and did a casino walk through with putting just $2 in the slots. Maybe I won millions but I will never tell.

It’s exhausting to roam the city and take in the views and the shops. The day was passing so quickly so I continued on the shopping route. I got the race bug again as I noticed a runner’s expo for a 10km race in the next coming weeks. If it were tomorrow I was going to stay and wait on Malaysia. I did get my foot all taped up good and it did help until it started falling off again. Flip flops for a year are not the best for a short flat-footed person. Hey, but neither are heels. I tried on a few and felt so tall though. I can’t wait to wear them again and be a whopping 5 foot 4 inches.

The show must go on as the daylight soon turned to darkness. All I know is that the buses run every 15 minutes to Malaysia. Maybe I should have researched the last bus out of Johor Bahru though instead of listening to the very nice lady at the reception of the backpackers. She was so helpful and gave me her email to keep in touch. She even said if I had trouble to just come back and she would put a mattress in the computer room for me as the rooms were all filled for the night. By the time I left Singapore it was roughly 10pm because I was chatting for so long and just had to get some corn in the cup for the bus ride. In route to the bus stop someone asked me where I was going and I replied “let’s see which way the wind blows and the bus schedule goes!”

Little did I know that this night would possible go down in history as being my worst night ever of this traveling journey. The big factor in all this was the so-called “budget hotel” accommodation, which ran $25 (absurd), that I had to take after walking uphill over 2kms with my heavy backpacks at 2am. There was no way that I could lay in the bed of the first two due to the lack of cleanliness to put it nicely. It was out of the range for the housekeeping to clean, if they even had them at all. I debated on staying at the bus station or going back to Singapore. No more buses there made my mind up that I was stuck in this town until morning. I won’t go too much into detail but I stayed at the 3rd spot that I saw. Sleep wasn’t really an option and due to the lack of sleep the evening before and many other factors, well, I just wasn’t having the best night. I wish I had magical powers to transport me back to Siem Reap where I had great accommodation and could be having cocktails with my friends.

Let’s just leave it as it was pretty bad and I couldn’t wait for day light to fall. So much that I was checked out by 6am and on the internet seeing where I should go next. Daylight couldn’t even make this place appear any better. The positive spin on it all was things could only get better from here and I sure as heck can’t wait for that. It’s back to the bus station for me. What goes up must go down, right? I am stoked that I get to walk downhill with my backpack on now. I bought a ticket for Melaka because some people told me it was nice, at the last minute I traded it for Mersing in route to Tioman Islands. Everyone was so friendly as I needed that after my insane, sleepless night. ! am off to some islands that here highly spoken of by a ticket seller at the Johor Bahru bus station in Malaysia. I was ready for a 2 hour bus ride and then an hour or so ferry ride to Tioman Islands. Word is if I go near the ABC resort then I can find some good accommodation.

Please, oh please, let this be a good decision on my part.

Jk livin’

The dish is out :)

Posted by Dishtravel 09:55 Archived in Singapore Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

It's temple time!

Siem Reap, Cambodia...it's just not a place for temples anymore. Great place, great people and great fun!

sunny 87 °F

Siem Reap, Cambodia here I come! The home of the Angkor Archaeological Park and some amazing, and extremely old, temples. Is that all I came here to do though? Heck no! It’s time to relax and see what this place is all about. As I arrived at the bus station I was greeted, or attacked, by many tuk tuk drivers wanting to assist me. I took some guy that was free of charge and proceeded to find a nice accommodation at a reasonable rate. Who knows how long I will stay here and I want to be centrally located. In route to the main area, I found a girl walking down the street appearing to be a westerner of some sort and I asked for her help. Good thing I did. Her name was Shirley from Tasmania and she was a big help in finding an accommodation for me. The driver wasn’t too happy as he wanted some kick back from a hotel he sent me to but I had to watch out for me, right? Shirley remembered a cute place on a side street named Eden but didn’t know how to direct me there so I just had her jump in the tuk tuk with me. Who knew this would be the start to a great next couple of days. Once we made it to Eden, the manager Justin informed me the only room with wifi was the #1. Sold. Little did I know what it looked like but that was okay, the location was great. Who needs windows or sufficient lighting? Eden was run by Americans so I felt super safe. Plus, the sign was green which is my favorite no doubt.

It was nearly 5pm when I got the room and made plans to meet Shirley for happy hour at 6pm. I don’t usually go out but figured a new place, new ways and besides I am on holiday and just finished doing a good deed in Battambang teaching some English. It is quite humorous actually how even in a third world country you will see cell phones galore and wifi signs everywhere. It just proves how easily accessible you are no matter where you travel and it does make you feel a bit more closer to home. I mean, you can skype someone back in the states no problem. Maybe I should make use of such a service more often though. I do like that you have the ability to get in touch with family and friends if you need to but that you can also distance yourself for anything and everything American. I mean, I don’t even know anything about the last season of LOST and I am still alive. Can you believe it? I assume Obama is still the President as people make note of it constantly to me as I make my way through South East Asia.

Today marks the first of many happy hour ventures as Shirley and I discovered the perfect bar. Who can beat 2 drinks for $2 and free popcorn? This is where I started my baileys/vodka concoction craze again. It‘s like a dessert that must be sipped and is best when the ice melts a bit to water it down. Shirley had been in town for a bit just relaxing and had a 3 day temple pass that she wished she only got a 1 day pass. We chatted with some people on volunteering and I was a bit annoyed that in a discussion of adoption that I was told it is selfish to bring a Cambodian kid back to the US. He said I need to give up my life in the states and move to Cambodia to give children a better life and keep them in their culture. It made me upset because I really considered adopting in the next 5 years. I will not let that one guy discourage me though because we all know if I want to do something, I will find a way to do it (still going for SURVIVOR after 10 years). Shirley and I chatted a bit before I decided to find some corn on the cob and street veggies where I met a local couple. Their food stand became a nightly ritual for me. After a long day of travel, it was back to the closet room in Eden with only one plan for the next day, meeting Shirley at 5pm for our routine happy hour. It’s a rough life.

I woke up and it was July 1st, 2010. I didn’t sleep very well and decided that I needed to move hotels. I felt bad because the people here were really nice at Eden but the daughter understood. I saw her the day before but it wasn’t until today that we chatted. Her name is Courtney and she was helping her dad get the business going as he was in the Middle East getting surgery. She had been here for 4 months now and lived in Arizona. Looks like I was meant to stay at Eden if just for one night because now I found another new friend and one that I will most likely see again back in the states. She is waiting to get into nursing school in Phoenix. We chatted for hours on how we are unsure as to what we want to do but that we both had a mutual interest in fitness. She was going to do the take the course to be an instructor and I told her that I was doing online courses (or was until I left one year ago) for fitness and then planned for the instructor course also. It was at that moment I decided when I return to the states that it will become my priority to get it done, well, maybe after a find a place to call home first. In our discussions Courtney said one of her guy friends saw me the night before and wanted me to meet him. It never happened but I was flattered none the less. Apparently he saw me walk up to my closet room the night prior as they were having cocktails in the lounge.

Today Shirley was doing her second day at the Temples so I just relaxed.. I didn’t join her as the main ones I wanted to see were already done by her on her first day. My goal now, find a great place to call home for a week as I think I may just chill here for a bit. It’s got great energy and people, not to mention bbq bananas. After sweating heaps in my search for a new place, well, I settled on the Heart of Angkor very near Eden. They had free bikes , however, I failed to see they were next to a night club. I settled in and then hit the streets for a local run around town where again the kids watched me and thought I was funny for running around for no other reason than for exercise. Massage time was next then my nightly routine with Shirley. You just can’t beat free popcorn. As I waited for her, Courtney and I had a few drinks at Eden. Shirley and I walked the streets for a bit and I got some corn on the cob and checked out her digs before we hit the free popcorn. Later, I showed her my favorite food stand and got some veggies then back to the room.

Tomorrow I would take part in a cooking class. I know, me?? It’s part of the changing process. I love to cook and be so creative. I didn’t sleep very well as it was interrupted by loud club music all night, however, I was able to get to class by 10am. The class consisted of about 7 of us and we began by going to the local markets to see where they do their daily shopping. I learned about herbs and some local dishes. I chose to make my favorite fresh spring rolls with prawn and an amok fish main dish. It was a creative blast and I even got a certificate stating I finished the course. I did learn some disturbing information about my mango sticky rice fetish. The girls from Singapore said that sticky rice is called “glutinous rice” in their country. That explains so much. I once lived without it so I can do it again.

After cooking class, I showed a fellow student the cheap drinks place before heading back to my hotel for, you guessed it, a move once more. I just couldn’t sleep with the bar next door. I had eyed up Jim’s Place next to the Mexican joint but they didn’t have a fridge. Have no fear, I was able to go back there and get hooked up in a large window room with a bath tub (I know, I never took one). I stored my fridge food in the restaurant fridge. This would become my home for the next 6 nights. I was greeted everyday with a smile by the staff. I was set to hit the temples for sunset with Shirley’s pass but feared I wouldn’t get allowed in and decided to wait until the following day for a dawn to dusk visit. I found my personal tuk tuk driver that would pick me up at 5am to start the very long, tiring day. We will call him Spiderman as that is what he had on the tuk tuk.

Shirley stopped over and loved my new room. Her place was right next door but she would be leaving soon and traveling onward. It’s sad as you meet people and they leave but that is all part of the journey. Seeing I had a very early wake up call, we only had 2 drinks at the cheap place and then we both headed back. She would be leaving in the morning and I would be taking on a long day at Angkor. Great thing for facebook as we exchanged emails to keep in touch. We took a few photos by a random jeep near Jim’s Place (my new digs) and the people thought we were crazy but no worries, we are on holiday.

It’s 430am on July 3rd and my sleep was very short as the so-called “morning“ came too soon. Spiderman was waiting for me outside the hotel. We had the day all planned out already as it would be full of temples, temples and more temples, a break back in town then back for more temples. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about Angkor Wat other than Angelina Jolie filmed the Tomb Raider movie there. Having Spiderman as my tuk tuk driver was great because he knew that I wanted to check out the most popular “must sees.“ As we headed into the sacred grounds we noticed a fellow tuk tuk driver rain out of petrol. Being the nice guy “spidy” was he picked up the 4 French tourists and we gave them a lift. I still say they caused me to miss the sunrise but what can you do? Nothing really. It was very cloudy and by the time we arrived at Angkor Wat, the centerpiece of any visit to the temples, the so-called sunrise was nearly over. I was able to get one quick photos of the pink sky with massive amounts of clouds. It was impossible to get a photo with no one else in it as this place was swarming with tourists already at 5am. It was as if Angelina Jolie was still there and people were searching for her to get an autograph. Not me though, I’m team Aniston all the way! It was pretty cool to see something that what was constructed back in the early mid 12th century C.E. (current era). I couldn’t help but think of all the people that have come through the place over that time.

God said let there be light and their sure was within 10 minutes of my arrival. Light and no chance of getting a moment alone…ANYWHERE! People are all around like flies on a pile of shit. Spiderman would drop me off and I would roam the famous temples and then get a lift again to another spot. It was amazing to see and hear the history behind so many temples and to find out when they were built. The religion behind all that I saw was either Buddhism or Hinduism. Some temples had so much detail work that it must have taken ages to chisel away and that was before all the fancy tools we now have at our fingertips. One of my favorites Bayon. If you only see two temples, Angkor Wat and Bayon are the one they recommend. The giant stone faces of Bayon have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture. It was there that I met 2 fellow Americans and had a long chat. They were from Texas and moving to Austin. Is this a sign? We had a big Whole Foods discussion and on food while in Asia. They were headed to India soon. Hmmm, should I go too? We were all doing the long day trip around Angkor Wat so I ran into them a few more times and made plans to meet up at the Viva Mexican joint next to my hotel the following day for some 4th of July celebratory Margaritas.

OMG! How could I forget to tell you about the little kids asking you repeatedly every 2 seconds if you wanted to buy a book. Talk about driving one insane. I should have bought one for a dollar from the first kid then just used that to hold up any time I was asked again because my response of “I can’t read” wasn’t accepted too much. Guess it is all part of the experience.

After a few of the larger temples we hit some smaller ones and some crazy climbs were involved. I can’t really remember them all but the Terrace of the Elephants, Ta Keo and Phimeanakas were among the many. I met 2 guys from Vietnam that were in town for the weekend and they became photographers. I believe 3 hours had gone by and now all the temples appear the same but different. We couldn’t forget Ta Prohm and the jungle atmosphere. Not to mention, famous for the Tomb Raider movie. It had the trees in the temple. Quite a walk to see the whole thing and my driver never told me to turn around and meet him back at the start, not the finish. Turns out I had 3km to walk to get back to him and it was very hot. After 1km of hitting the road I spotted a schoolgirl riding her bicycle. She appeared to be around 12 years old and a strong little thing. I asked her for a lift and hoped on the back where one would strap down their school books. I told her that I would pedal but she either didn’t understand or wanted to do it herself. Of course I had to give her a tip and get a photo with her as she was too cute in her little school uniform.

Communication is key and I let Spiderman know that he must tell me where to meet him so that I don’t have to bum a ride from a school girl again. To be honest, I feel I’ve seen enough but he insisted I check out a few more before heading back to town and grabbing a nap and a run then back to see the sunset. It was nearly 1pm the heat and lack of sleep was getting to me. I nearly fell asleep on the bumpy journey back to the hotel but woke up suddenly as I said “Stop Spidy, I see bananas!” You know it, I had to buy a few sticks of my favorite treat and shared a few with my driver. As I type this I crave those little buggers. Seriously, any of you reading this just ask me to try and make them back in the states at the next bbq.

Back to room #205 at Jim’s Place for a 45 minute nap. Although I was completely wrecked and didn’t want to run, I made myself because sometimes we have to do things we just don’t feel like doing, right? Before I knew it, Spiderman was back to get me for round 2 of temple time. I had him circle around the market for the banana cart but no luck so I settled on corn on the cob instead. Another great choice but just not the same. Back to the temples to see a sunset, hopefully! As I passed by the hospital I noticed a free music session later that evening by a volunteer doctor. My intention was to head there afterwards. I arrived at Phnom Bakheng temple just in time to climb up for a sunset viewing. The hilltop location of this late 9th-early 10th temple makes it the most popular sunset location in the area and that would make sense why it was swarming with fellow tourists. Due to the massive coverage of clouds, no sunset was spotted for this girl. I did run into my Vietnamese photographer again and they told he about an English catholic mass going down at 630pm at St. John’s none the less so I just had to go there instead. I let them tag along in my tuk tuk and Spiderman waited for mass to finish. After that, he drove me to the hospital to see the rest show but I froze as the air con was too low. What was advertised as free music was a few songs and a video on how our money donation will help the children. It was sad to see all the pain they go through but amazing to see how the doctors built this treatment facilities to help those less fortunate.

This very tired girl got back at 830pm and went to find Courtney but she was out. I got my usual veggies and corn and hit up a 30 minute massage or shall I saw spine rub. You can’t win them all I guess. I was tired beyond belief but watched a movie and lights out at 1am. What a long day and tomorrow’s plans, NOTHING but margaritas around 4pm with fellow Americans. Life is rough.

Happy 4th of July 2010! I couldn’t help but think last 4th I was in the Gold Coast about to run a ½ marathon. Time sure flies when you are a backpacker with no plans. I allowed myself to sleep in today after the temple adventure yesterday. I had a quick chat with my dad, an even quicker run around and then happy hour with Chris and Diane from Texas. Cheers to America! This place reminded me of Mexicali back in Studio City and makes me feel a bit closer to home. The three of us joked how American this place felt even though it is a Mexican joint. You can’t beat $1 margaritas!! It was nice to meet Chris and Diane and hear stories on their travels. They gave me another idea, Nepal and Mt. Everest. I am not prepared physically or clothes wise for that at this time, or am I? They sure gave me something to think about and now I have their emails if I decide to go to India or catch up with them in Austin.

Can’t beat the travel life and meeting fellow travelers, sharing adventure stories and having great conversations on life, love, commitment, marriage and family. Happiness and communication is key in life and in a relationship. Don’t change for anyone but grow as a person through life experiences. in the middle of conversation I just got up and ran in the street. Why you ask? The banana lady was rolling her cart around and I wanted to share my new addiction with my new friends. Just as I suspected, they loved them. Diane didn’t tell me until after that she is somewhat allergic to bananas but they were little and she ate them anyway. I heard some bad stories from their China visit and maybe should hold off. It is very hard to get a visa from Siem Reap anyway. I was in shock when they informed me of people taking craps in the streets and found nothing wrong with it. Hey, maybe they felt they were being some sort of fertilizer.

Our 4th of July celebration came to an end at 9pm with a massive down pour. Chris and Diane went their way and I went to visit Courtney at Eden for a bit of a chat before my corn on the cob and back to the hotel to watch The Proposal. I woke the next day to do a whole lot of nothing. I love this life as I can step out my door to the local market and now I have it timed as to when and where to find my banana carts. It’s just as the locals say here “same same but different.” It’s another day but the same stuff and I don’t’ mind it one bit. It nice to get a bit of normalcy if you could say that for a week as I traveled so much in the past few months. So much that some days I felt that I was on the run from the law. I love how the hotel staff finds it fascinating that I do a daily run, as do the young kids laughing at me doing cardio moves. Humor is key and if I can bring laughter to their lives then I feel I did my job.

Who would have thought that my 4th of July at the Viva would turn into a nightly event. Courtney and I would meet every night for margaritas and then head to the cheap bar with free popcorn for the bailey’s concoction. Good times. We would chat about life in the US and how lucky we are to be where we are and seeing the world. We have heaps in common and it’s good to know that I can use my bar skills if I choose to go and live in Phoenix. She’s got a hook up for me and will do a bit of bar work while she goes back to school and can get me a job for the time being also.

Over the course of the next few days I would do my usual chilling, roaming the markets, jogging, happy hour and just a whole lot of “chill-laxing.“ However, I couldn’t help but have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach from being helpless as Jameson needed a place to go and very soon. I put on my thinking cap and called where he was last serviced to check on the mileage. Long story short, thanks to help from the Cali dealership, my dad and amazing friend Amanda, all was good. He was set for a tune up and then would be spending some time in Redondo Beach with the Parsons until my return. I am so appreciative to all involved in allowing me to keep on trekking in South East Asia.

One of my last nights in Siem Reap began at a local orphanage where I toured their digs and saw an amazing dance show put on by the children. I am one for the Arts but couldn’t help but think of the money they used on the exquisite costumes and how it could have been used for a better cause. There were only 5 of us travelers there and if I knew of it earlier in the week I would have came sooner and volunteered my English skills. After the show and my tuk tuk driver, yes Spiderman was at it again, picked me up I went to meet my fellow American friend for the usual night out.

What is next for the Dish Traveler? It all depends on the flight prices. In emailing friends I met along the way, it was a toss up. Either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. I know I would do KL later so why not see this spotless expensive city I heard so much about. I slept on the idea and got up early to book a flight as it had to be booked 24hrs in advance. Singapore here I come! I’m a bit nervous to leave my comfort zone that I’ve built here in Siem Reap and to leave my fellow American friend and Happy Hour buddy but the show must go on. I say it over and over again but the hardest part about meeting people is leaving them. It’s hard to explain unless you experience yourself but you tend to connect very fast while traveling because you have no one else and you so far from home. I hate goodbyes and I was super sad when I had to say bye to Shirley (the first girl I met here) and then to Courtney. However, with her, I know we will be good friends in the US and hang out again. We will always have Siem Reap, Cambodia. We had to spend my last night at our usual place, Viva Mexican regardless of my stomach condition. Would you believe that the margarita made me feel a bit better. I guess it numbed the stomach lining or something. I will never admit to being sick from the bananas but it could be from some other street food. After Viva we headed back to the restaurant at Jim’s Place where I resided and had one last cocktail as we lounged outside saying how great we had it. Never in my life will I regret the decision to continue my travels and see more of the world.

The night was coming to an end as I had to pack and Spiderman was set to bring me to the airport around 6am. Courtney would stay another 3 weeks before meeting her dad in the Middle East. I didn’t do too bad with leaving things behind, other than my camera charger in the wall that I didn’t notice for 4 days. As I headed to the airport I couldn’t help but be sad and thought how bananas could make me feel better. No luck though as it was too early for the cart to be out.

I must admit, I never thought of visiting Cambodia EVER but I am so glad I did. I was able to experience a lot and see much of their culture. I enjoyed every moment of it and will cherish my time as I taught English and met so many great children, great people and just an overall amazing journey. There is so much history to be learned here, sad but you can’t sugar-coat everything in life. I am fortunate for all that I have seen and learned while in Cambodia. Life isn’t too bad at the moment.

The day is July 8th, 2010 and I am at the Siem Reap airport waiting for my flight for Singapore. USA Country Music is playing at the coffee shop and it is making me homesick. However, I am realizing that the world is not that big of a place as you are just a flight away. The unknown can be scary but I am ready for the challenge…I think.

jk livin’

The dish is out :)

Posted by Dishtravel 06:25 Archived in Cambodia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Let's put my English skills to good use

Battambang to find a school, check out some bamboo train and see where it all takes me.

semi-overcast 83 °F

It’s June 26th, 2010 and I am in Battambang, Cambodia. It is actually the second biggest town in all of Cambodia but to me had a very local feel as it is less of a tourist place. The name means “disappearing stick” so I was told. As I mentioned, I headed here in hopes to find an orphanage or school to donate my superb English skills for a few days. However, my first agenda was taking in a run around the river. To much of my surprise, and excitement, as I finished and headed back through the market to what did I find you may ask….THE BBQ BANANA cart!!! I bought a stick of 4 and headed back happy to take a shower and find my tuk tuk for a noon pick up. I wanted to be a good traveler and take in a few more famous sites. The tuk tuk driver brought me to the killing caves (Phnom Sampeou) outside of town. There I ventured up the endless staircase before I ran into a fellow traveler that informed me of the easy route up the street and ending down on the stairs. Guess I wanted the challenge and I did take her little boy of a guide with me to tell me about the caves and temples. He came at a dollar expense. I was told that would help pay for his school books so I felt it was a good deed as well.

My little tour guide, we will call him LB (little boy), brought me to a few temples and into some caves where I donated another dollar to get a bracelet that would mean good luck (it was a piece of red string but I didn’t want to mess with luck so I took part). Then we headed over to the killing caves in which people were blindfolded and either had their throats slit then thrown down the cave or just pushed down to their death. Another stupa was inside that recovered some of the skulls of the victims. This was again all part of the Khmer Regime and headed by vicious Pol Pot, that bastard!

Afterwards, LB and I took the winding path down and he was teaching me numbers in Khmer and trying to teach me the basics. I also had the pleasure of hearing him repeat the refrain “1.2.3...I know you want me!” I found out later that this was a very popular song to the little lads. He also knew it in his native Khmer language. It was funny to hear him break out in that tune and I even sang along with him.

Next up, my tuk tuk driver and I were off to the famous Bamboo train. This was used to haul things back and forth in the countryside and very useful, and fast, might I add. There was only one track so if you had an oncoming train (no you didn’t play chicken) the one with the lighter load stopped, disassembled the train and let the other pass. I went for the joy ride with a Switzerland guy and we were surprised by the speed. The weather was blazing hot and the wind from the train was very nice. We even had pillows to sit on as we embarked on a 45 minute ride to the rest stop in which we both had an Angkor beer (on him of course). I met a couple from the states and we chatted a bit before heading back to the start. Take me home Mr. Tuk Tuk!! I was hoping to find the banana guy in route back to the hotel but no luck.

I decided to venture out and grab some grub at a restaurant with wifi. I bought some wine on the way back and then saw a sign by the computers to help at an orphanage school. Basically, it was a few kms out of the town and was a place for poor children with no parents or with one parent to get a free education and learn English. The children lived outside the school with sponsors that could feed and cloth them. I really wanted in and would stay to help out at least a day. I had the reception guy call for me but being a Saturday and all, the school would be closed until Monday. I figured why not stay and see what it is all about. Looks like tomorrow I will just relax, relax and take a river jog, find my bananas perhaps and watch some cable TV.

It’s hard to sleep in until 10am with no air con. Good thing I switched rooms today as it is my lazy Sunday. I ventured out to find the daily BBQ banana cart and to much of my surprise he was not there. I tried to explain him to non-English speaking market people but no luck. What am I to do with this addiction of mine that I can not get a fix for?? I mentioned to the guys in the hotel if they see him to please buy and I will repay them. To help with my lounge day it was raining so cable TV and computer time for me before I managed to do 3 struggling river laps and some cardio and weights with some bricks that I found on the street. Sure, I had a crowd watching and laughing but I am used to it by now. Did I mention that I was staring at the corn on the cob cart every time I past it? Yes, I brought some back to the room later.

The agenda for the evening was a shower and TV and I caught an episode of Oprah in which Ryan Seacrest was the guest and boy was that a great segment. First of all, that boy is busy and I would sure like to be him (well, not exactly him but you get it). He talked about a show he was doing with the talented chef, Jamie Oliver. It was not a diet show rather one on healthy living and I wanted to get on the phone or send him and email ASAP saying I loved the idea and wanted to be part of it. I wanted to go to our nation’s schools and view the lunch programs and see what they are feeling our growing youth. Not to criticize but to help them find a balance in everyday living. I didn’t turn on the TV with the intention of something powerful trying to change my mind on what I want to do or to make my mind up rather, but I find a great interest in this which could mean I must do something on the lines of nutrition, kids, physical activity perhaps. Who knows but it did touch me. Yes, I was pondering my future for a bit.

After all that TV, I headed back to the usual restaurant for the same veggies and the waiter commented on my sweet, slow voice. Yes, he said I spoke very slowly. I know, a shocker right? Back to the hotel for sleep as I will be picked up by Sophon at 11:30am for a day with the children and back around 6pm. They have classes from 8-10am then noon-2pm, 4-5pm and 5-6pm. I am opted to pass on the first one and do the rest. You can just do one class if you want but I figured 1 day for me is like a week for some as they just do 2 hours.

I woke up feeling good about my English skills. It’s June 28th, 2010 and I am headed to a school to help out the Cambodian kids. I have always wanted to do something like this and guess now I can mark another thing off in my list of things to do.

As I arrived I noticed there were no children but 2 that had sponsors at the school so they lived there pretty much. The two girls were sisters (no parents) and 8 and 5 years old. The names of these children were very unique yet hard to remember so I just call them my friends. I was given the learning schedule but as in many things in these countries, they don’t always go as planned. In the down time, I read many sad stories that were said to be written by children in need and as much as I would like to donate $25 a month, well, this girl has no job and figured I would donate time and take it from there. I do have the information for later and I will tell you that as the day progressed I just wanted to take a bunch of them home with me. I even asked on the adoption process in Cambodia and it is very difficult (unless maybe you are Angelina Jolie) and frowned upon. They would rather people give money donations and allow the children to stay in their familiar environment. I honestly considered it and if it takes years to do then I thought maybe if I started looking that by the time I was 35-37 then I could bring a child back with me. I thought about adopting an older one perhaps as usually people want the young ones. They all need homes, right? Again, the answers given weren’t a definite “no” but not what I wanted to hear either. Never know what the future will bring my way.

Back to the school. The time was now 12:30pm and still no kids. They teachers were having lunch and invited me but I didn’t want to take the kids food. They insisted the children waiting for class already ate and that I must eat with them. I took a look over at the kids that were snacking on plain rice papers and one girl on crickets. YES CRICKETS! I had to ask again “are you sure they aren’t hungry?” Sophon told me she liked them very much. I didn’t try those but did eat fish that was not gutted, scaled or anything. This girl is branching out and it wasn’t all bad, tons of bones, but not too bad.

After lunch the kids started to arrive and almost immediately they handed me a book and said “teach!” This was my very first time EVER and I just did what I could. I picked up the lesson book and taught colors, the alphabet, played hang man (they loved that word guessing game) and sang jingle bells and twinkle twinkle. The kids ranged from age 5-13 and loved my solo singing and later joined in. During the school break one of the teachers brought out of wireless laptop (I know, right?) and we all danced and they taught me some moves. They laughed at me but I wasn’t offended in the least. I couldn’t help but be so happy to be taking part of everything and being part of 1 day in these remarkable and inspiring children’s lives. They have so little and couldn’t smile any bigger, laugh any louder and love one another anymore. It really gives you perspective on life and how you do not need all the material things to be happy. I looked at these children as innocent to all of the bad stuff in the world and although they have a constant struggle to get food and shelter, they are the happiest people that I have ever met and love to have visitors from other countries and just talk in English.

After the dance session, I walked into town a bit with one of the teachers and 4 of the children. I bought them all a sticky rice & banana in a banana leaf then back to school. The later sessions weren’t as easy as I was teaching some older students on conversation and grammar. They didn’t have enough work books to go around so I had to write everything on the board and then discuss it. Very time consuming and difficult at times with the language barrier but the children understood the major points and we ended with some hang man again.

I had a great day today. I was very touched and the children left a lasting impression on me. I was honored to take part in a day of their lives. Sophon took me back and the rain began. I had a dinner of street food, a newly discovered Amok fish in a banana leaf, a traditional Cambodian style fish cooked in lemongrass, coconut milk and other herbs and spices and steamed in a banana leaf. Of course I had to pick up a few cobs of corn to complete my dinner, a wine and some TV time. Instead of leaving in the morning, I will stay one more day and emailed Sophon to pick me up again at 11:30am so I can run the river first and then back to the kids. I see why people do this for 6 months to a year as it is very rewarding and a great experience.

Day 2 with the kids was just as enjoyable as the first. The kids are so smart and remembered my name, my age and were excited to see me back again. I brought a bucket of lollies for each one to have as they came to class and the kids loved the sugar rush. I forgot to mention that in route to school I made Sophon stop as I saw the banana guy and bought some BBQ bananas for the ride. Before classes began I watched the kids play with little plastic pieces on the floor and make up games. It was so cute. They even had this jump rope game they created and made me participate with laughter from them of course. Side note, these kids are all so polite and respectful to me. My heart just melts for this kids.

Today, I taught them the “days of the week” and created a song out of it. I had then all up individually reading the days of the week and they all participated with no problems. During the break, two of the teachers and myself all went on one motor scooter (it was a trish motor scooter sandwhich) and visited local killing fields and another stupa. One of the teacher’s father- in-law was killed there and reading the signs were just bone chilling and made me sick. My heart truly ached knowing the pain these people faced and for no reason but maybe they appeared to be intelligent and Pol Pot and his people did not want them around.

Back to school for some afternoon lessons with the older kids. Okay, not the hard grammar today but more of a fun game. It was similar to musical chairs but was called the “I love you” game. I can’t recall a time in my live when someone looked me in the eyes and repeatedly told me they loved me. I couldn’t get enough of the game and we did play for the full hour of class. I totally dug the game and yes, I lost a bit and they all laughed and made me do the monkey dance and sing a song.

The last class of the day was here already and more grammar and conversation for the older students. I felt a bit like I was in an acting class as I kept reading the part of one character as I had all 20 students read the other character’s lines to me one at a time. I would use different accents to make it interesting. It was so much fun. I also taught them about when to use “any” and when to use “some” in conversation and it made me realize our language is hard. What another great day in Battambang for Trish!

Time to say good bye for real as I will head to Siem Reap tomorrow. Lisa will be gone to Bangkok by then as I stayed here longer but I am sure to meet some interesting people on the next leg of my Cambodian journey. A different teacher brought me home and we stopped by to see some monks and I became a mosquitoes feast. Once back at the Royal Hotel, I decided to do 1 river lap and get the street food again with my usual crowd watching me to cardio moves. I can’t forget my corn on the cob and new fish treat. Throw in some wine and some TV and call it a night. Wait! I knock at my door, who could it be? Why it was the hotel guy that remembered how I was addicted to BBQ bananas and he bought me 2 sticks of them. Dessert!! I feel like a monkey as I keep eating so many bananas. I thought that was very nice of him and loved that he remembered. Forget flowers, buy my bananas and I will remember you always. I will treasure this time in Battambang that is for sure.

The day is June 30, 2010 and it is time for 1 last river run then the markets to search for the BBQ banana guy. What! I lost my banana money on my running route. Have no fear, I found him and went back to shower and pack up and back to get some for the road. I even found a fresh spring roll lady for a few of those too. It would be a 6 hour bus ride. Aren’t you jealous?

Good Bye Battambang, Cambodia and let a new adventure in Siem Reap begin.


Jk livin’

The Dish is out…

Posted by Dishtravel 06:17 Archived in Cambodia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 29) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 »