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Halloween and Ta Prohm

Ancient Buddhist ruins largely referred to by everyone as the "Tomb Raider" temple. So instead of pondering ancient cultures, feel free to instead think of a terrible movie staring Anglina Jolie.

I was about to leave and get dinner when the monsoon rains hit. It's hard to move around in that much water pouring from the sky, so I'm waiting it out. Also, I'm pretty glad I packed my waterproof hiking boots as my new hotel (just checked into this one today) is fairly hidden away down some pretty muddy side streets. But it's a nice place and I'm the only resident here, at the moment. They just renovated (the name of the place is: Secrets Pavilion Urban Boutique Hotel). I get the pool, bar and outdoor dining area all to myself. I'm enjoying it. Especially having the pool... Fantastic.

Last night, I checked into a crappy hotel (this is the consequence of "winging it" on my part) and after seeing Angkor Wat (not for the last time on this trip), got a fish pedicure and food at the Night Market. Then took a nap and went out again around 10pm. Completely forgetting it was Halloween.

All I can say is, Siem Reap, you do know how to get down. I was pretty awed by the display of hedonistic partying I saw on Pub Street last night and it deserves a video or two for you to really see it as well. Anyway, it was fun for a bit, I tood the advice of some friends and sought out more dignified destinations. Miss Wong's bar is pretty stylish and I recommend...also it's in a quieter little alley where the grownups can go and leave the kids to their house music elsewhere.

Here's what I mean:

My driver, Mr. Lee, suggested the "Tomb Raider" temple today. Ok, sure. I've never seen the Tomb Raider movie, nor do I ever intend to in this lifetime. Not much of a gamer. It's based on a video game, right? Anyway, don't really care. But the place itself, having been built far, far, far before people sat in front of their TVs for hours on end playing games, had its allure for me. It was built 11 or 12th century and unlike Ankgor Wat (which is Hindu), it's Buddhist. It's surmised that it was a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university.

All I can say is it's very peaceful and awe inspriring. That is until you enounter a group of Russian tourists also exploring this ancient place in a much different way than you are, complete with one of the women yelling at her husband in Russian and him yelling back. Her three Russian girlfriends took her side (all dressed in expensive dresses and one had heels? Long nails, bad attitudes all of them...). The parrots above us being startled out of the trees by a cacophany louder than even they could produce. And parrots are loud. Took me a few video takes to get rid of them and capture the sounds of the jungle instead.

This trip; if it wasn't the Russian toursits or the drunk Germans who annoyed me, it was also the Americans. I even saw one US guy at Ankgor Wat stroll right past a large sign that tells everyone NOT to sit on the ancient balustrades and plant himself on one for his "hilarious" photo of him pretending to meditate. Restraint, Karen, restraint.

Here, enjoy some photos and please do me the favor of not picturing Anglina Jolie. Just imagine a lovely world in the jungle filled with an ancient ruin that probably took more than a few lifetimes to build and has been enjoyed for several hundred more.



Posted by oedipamaas 06:53 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia ta reap siem prohm Comments (0)

Well...leaving wonderful Cambodia

I love this country and really want to come back again and again

So much to say...but today did the massive temple tour, starting early. All in all, I hiked about 5 miles, climbed straight up four temples and in exploring the ground levels of all of them still did stairs and clambering around runins all day...in 80 degree heat with 80% humidity. As soon as I wiped my face down with the scarf I got in Dhaka (now I'm getting why everyone in SE Asia has scarves), I was sweaty again. I even tested this with mopping my face down, then starting again on the forehead, but by the time I got to my chin it was covered in sweat.

This was good. I need to lose more than a few pounds. The last few days I have been doing lots of temple hiking and climbing on just a mango/bannana shake. I have burned many fat calories this way and I feel better about working off the Bangladeshi food.

Anyway, goodbye Cambodia!!! You rock and I will be back!


More to say, but have to be up early for cacthing my flight to Phuket...

Here are photos!


Posted by oedipamaas 13:25 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia reap siem Comments (0)

Hello from the South Adaman coast....

On the tiny island of Koh Lipe for awhile..

So I left Cambodia behind an ended up in Phuket, Thailand for a day and a half. Quite a contrast it was. At the Phuket airport, a French Canadian asked if I wanted to share a cab to Patong Beach, which was a surprisingly expensive ride otherwise (1,000 baht). We rode together for about 40 minutes. He said he was from Vancouver B.C. and could no longer take the rain there. He's told his wife he was leaving for Thailand, his favorite place in the world, for a month to clear his head. His excitement was evident as all through the car ride, as he kept rolling the window down, to the displeasure of the driver, to "listen to the sound of the birds". He'd never been to Cambodia, but immediately had judgements about it...all resulting in Thailand was better, etc. etc.. If you ask me, he seemed a little manic. But maybe it was just the long plane ride.

Anyway, I stayed at the Lub.D backpacker hotel. It was very "millineal" oriented to kids and young adults either in gap years from school or working somehow to live there and work from there while island hopping, partying, practicing Muay Thai moves in the lobby's fight ring or swimming in the pool next to the backpacker bar. It was ok. But I did not wish to linger long in Phuket. Too many Russians and Chinese. Too impersonal of a city. At least on Patong Beach.

I felt like i had researched the whole Thai island thing so much, I was at a complete loss as to where to go next. I tried asking a few "travel agencies" and tour operators on the streets, but they just kept trying to sell me on Koh Phi Phi, etc..

FInally, I asked one woman about getting a one way ferry ticket to somewhere very unlike Phi Phi and she smiled and said Koh Lipe.

I hesitated as it was to be a long journey...seven hours by speedboat! But I bought the ticket and the next day, shoved off at 7am sharp.

The journey was on a small speed boat through some rather large stretches of ocean. I had read that injuries on these things were not uncommon and indeed as we got further out into open water, we started launching off the tops of the waves and getting airborn. But it was quite fun. I was one of about seven people on board...some Koreans, a French backpacking couple and a jaded looking German guy who liked this was old hat to him. The scenery was magnificent and as I jammed away to my music (this drones out the loud motors, btw) , this atstonishing arrangment of limestone cliffs and islands rose out of the sea.

We stopped at island after island as we went...letting some off, gathering others. I was the only one going all the way to Koh Lipe. Finally some Irish girls got on who were going there too. They'd done all the other islands and heard about this one through rumors that it was one of the last "good ones" left, not overrunn with crass tourism, etc.. And when we pulled up, I could tell the whole high speed thrill ride had been worth it. Aqua clear water, white sand beaches and a large National Park full of coral reefs surrounding it. My hotel was there to pick me up and I got put onto a tuktuk with a Croatian couple and off we went for a harrowing ride through the tiny village (home to an ancient tribe of sea gypsies, not making that up) that looked very third world. We all started to get a little worried as we went deeper into this village and the flooded roads and the chickens and livestock and such. Finally we pulled up at to same very ramshackle huts and he motioned for us to get out. The three of us looked at each other in complete disbelief...like, what the fuck? And then we turned a corner and there was this beautiful hotel and the gorgeous beach.

But yeah, with the sea gypsy village right behind it. I actually walked through the village today. They don't even look Thai. Almost African meets Thai? It is the Andaman coast so it matches other tribes located here. Fascinating place. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moken_people)

Well, I'm here now and my original plan was to stay a few nights and island hop back to Krabi. But here I will remain. I found what I was looking for and feel peaceful. I'm also enjoying the snorkeling. Tomorrow I will switch from the hotel to a nice beach shack with a hammock on the front deck and even a TV (probably won't work) so I can theoretically watch the elections. So I will stay until Thurs.. Unless Trump is elected. Perhaps I can look into remote work if that occurs.

But it is a truly beautiful and special place. Will add photos as I do more exploring. For now you can behold the tiny craft that brought me here.


Posted by oedipamaas 05:25 Archived in Thailand Tagged islands thai phuket koh lipe Comments (0)

Varigated world...

Some people suck it up, others don't quite know how...also I have the best writing desk in the world right now.

After two nights in a relatively newer hotel on Sunrise Beach, I declared my interest in switching to the much cooler assemblage of beach huts next door at the Zanom Sunrise Beach Resort...a diving camp with thatched roof huts, hammocks swinging on every porch, large cabins, a dive shop, a beach bar and restaurant. At dusk each night, they fire up the charcol grill and begin preparing the fish and prawns fetched from the longtail boats 25 feet away by the fishermen (mostly sea gypsies).

I've already partaken of the red snapper with two unusual sauces that come on the side. Amazingly good. Tonight will be the large prawn.

As I write this, the sun has set and the ocean is deepening to a blue on blue that will turn to an indigo before fading to the many lights of the Thai fishing boats offshore. Yesterday, I booked a snorkeling trip for today and then one for Wednesday. I'm skipping Tuesday so I can watch the election on my shitty internet connection from my hammock with a view of the Strait of Malacca seas in front of me. Later, despite the outcome, I will kayak beyond the small island I can see from here to explore the reefs.

And there are many reefs. One, in fact is just 50 meters from the beach. It's good to point out that when swimming here, always take a mask and a snorkel. Stepping on the wrong thing can put you in a world of pain...or if it's deadly, well, at least you died doing what you loved. Yesterday, while snorkling at dusk I encountered a sea snake... There's all manner of sea life to behold though. I've never seen such beautiful tropical fish up close. Brilliant blues and yellows...just a varigated other world.

Today, I woke early and went to meet my boat, no breakfast or even a mango shake. Just not hungry while I'm here, until dinner. Then I eat fish. Anyway, it was captained by a sea gypsy and the others who were going along were all Thai youngsters on vacation. it was raining. One of the young women was clearly not having it with the rain and refused to enjoy the boat trip to the national park, instead burying her face in a towel while her boyfriend shot video. She stayed in the boat while we snorkled and enjoyed the sublime wonders. She pouted.

The snorkeling was amazing! Crystal clear water...and the landscape around us was forested and tropical with mist tufted in the trees. When we got out for lunch the group asked me in very broken English if I would be ok with cutting the trip short and going back. Well, no. I paid money for this and it's a warm rain and there's nothing making me miserable right now.

Anyway, the sea gypsy captain dissuaded them and threw me a wink...he knew. I think he even told them to just suck it up. Seriously. And then it stopped raining 30 minutes later anyway. Though she continued to hang in the boat. Ah, to be young again!

So we went to three more dive spots, including one in deeper water, where I got to witness the captain effortlessly finning his way down into the depths and remaining there for, what seemed like two to three minutes at a time, so he could get photos for my compatriots on their Go Pro. I tried diving as deep as I could, but only got halfway before having to race back up.

Beautiful day, I don't care if it rained. I go again on Wed. anyway.

Now I've got the best writing desk in the entire world, I'm showered, I did my laundry in the sink and hung it to dry on my hammock and have a small whiskey at my elbow. The blues out there keep deepening.

I keep wondering how I could work remote full time. The time is coming when I have to return home, and home seems, so well...distant...right now. Like a nice fading memory. Which is kind of what I wanted. To go as far away as possible to lose myself in something beautiful and new.

Which means, come Monday, I too will have to suck it up. And keep this as the fading nice memory in turn.


Posted by oedipamaas 03:30 Archived in Thailand Tagged islands thai phuket koh lipe Comments (0)

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