A Travellerspoint blog

May 2008

More from Cambodia

Dave here, coming to you from Phnom Phen. Our time in Cambodia is almost up. I had some spare time before our bus trip to Vietnam tomorrow so I thought I'd upload a few more photos of interest.

Here's a few more from the remarkable ancient temples:
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There are hundreds of statues throughout all the temples, but they are all headless. Sadly, people with nothing better to spend their money on love to illegally buy up these ancient artifacts. Its too hard to sneak out and transport the whole body so they pay someone to sneak in and break off and steal the heads. This has gone on for a long time. If you do see any heads still there then they are most likely modern replacements. But those even often get stolen. You can see one headless statue here at this temple entrance:
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Yesterday we spent much of the day browsing the Central Market here in Phnom Phen. It is a huge, yellow, domed, Art Deco building that looks like an old train station inside. There are counters and kiosks set up all throughout the inside and all around the outside of the building selling everything from clothes, jewelry, and electronics to fresh vegetables, meats and kitchen supplies. The place is mostly for the locals but there's a few touristy T-shirt shops as well. We loved just walking around and watching the locals go about they daily business.

This shot shows the center and just one of the four wings of the building:
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This woman must have had a rough night. Actually this is not an uncommon sight. We saw many people napping in their kiosks. They must spend so much time there, with seemingly few customers, that sometimes they just need to get a few Zs.
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There were so many stands with meats just haning out in the hot air with flies buzzing around. This rack doesn't look too bad but a lot of it looked really dried out. I can't believe they can let it sit out for so long unrefrigerated. It was gross to think about how long it might hang there collecting bacteria before someone buys it. Then we realized we are probably eating this stuff every time we go to a restaurant here. Yuk! It makes me think that since we haven't gotten sick and since they probably have done this for a long time with little or no problems, that maybe we are a little too germ crazy back in America. I don't know. And this woman looks like she just woke up from her nap and is still wearing her pajamas. But this is actually a fashion trend that Lynette noticed. Many of the woman wear these matching patterned outfits that look like PJs.
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You always see these shrines outside the modern Buddhist temples where the locals go to "worship." (for lack of a better term). Sometimes there are several and they are very big and elaborate and sometimes they are smaller like this one.
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This buidling across from our hotel looks pretty rough. It is not representative of the majority of the city. Most places are in better shape. I just thought these shots looked cool:
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These photos give a better idea of what we've seen of the city:

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Again, most massage places here are much nicer than this one. I just thought this was an interesting shot. I can't imagine going in there for a relaxing massage. Seems you might get a nice deep tissue massage in the gut with a rusty prison shiv instead.
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We took a 6 hour bus ride from Siem Reap back to Phnom Phen the other day. I was horrified when I got on the bus and saw the seats. There was only about six inches of leg room. Obviously not built with the comfort of larger foreigners in mind. I could not imagine being able to fit in there, let alone be able to sit there for 6 hours. But somehow Lynette and I wedged ourselves in. I could not move my legs one bit. They were wedged in one uncomfortable position, and my body was stuck in a very erect posture the entire way. When a leg went numb from lack of blood flow or my back got sore I'd stand for a bit. From the photo it may look like I could just swivel to the side and put my legs in the aisle, but there is a very solid, immoble armrest pressed against my right leg. The seats backs were very tall also. So I could not see over them to look out the front window. And looking out the side windows made me nausious. So I had a view of the back of the seat for the 6 hours. I don't know what it is about the buses in Cambodia but they have not figured out how to keep the ear wrenching noise of the horn blast on the outside of the bus. The driver blows the horn constantly as he passes the slower traffic, and it sounds like I'm standing outside with the horn up to my ear. That, along with my inability to recline meant no napping. So needless to say it was a long ride.

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Here's a few shots from the bus of the countryside:

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It is the rainy season here now, but it actually hasn't rained all that much yet. A few times in the evening we got a downpour. Like yesterday while we were sitting at this street cafe and I got these cool shots:

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That's all for now. Next time we should be writing from Vietnam. Wow, Vietnam!!!

Dave & Lynette

dbuck242@yahoo.com
lschimpf@gmail.com

Posted by schuckley 01:52 Comments (3)

We can't believe we are in Cambodia

We can't believe we are in Cambodia. Dave and I have uttered that phrase numerous times since arriving here a week ago. It is just an odd place to be able to visit due to its turbulent history. It really only opened its doors to tourism in 1998 so this whole foreigner business is still a relatively new concept here. It has been full of surprises and destroyed assumptions for us. The cities of Phnom Phen and Siem Reap are full of hotels and restaurants and bars that cater to tourists. Dave and I ended up on our first day in Phnom Phen eating at the Freebird Bar and Restaurant. When we first walked into this place we immediately commented on how it looked like any bar and restaurant in the states and on further observation we realized it was completely decked out in American flags, pictures, and other memorabilia from the states. We had the nachos and they tasted just like back home. It is just a bit strange to eat at a place like this in a country where you would think wouldn't have restaurants like this.

The other thing about Cambodia is that they use the US dollar for pretty much all transactions. Their currency is called the Riel but we have hardly used it. Only for small transactions and tips here and there. The price for almost everything is quoted in US dollar - food, hotels, taxi service, merchandise, and on and on. This is the first country that we have visited that doesn't want to use their own currency (even in Nepal, the 2nd poorest nation in the world, uses their own currency). Cambodia also is not the cheapest place we have been either - maybe due to the use of the American dollar for everything!

Cambodia is a more conservative country than Thailand and clothing is of major concern here. It is all over the guide books, in the information supplied at hotels and even in restaurant menus that westerners need to dress appropriately. This means you should not wear shorts or short skirts or tank tops or spaghetti string tops. The guide books will tell you that Cambodians are way too polite to say anything to westerners if they are not dressed appropriately but you can count on maybe a prolonged stare or maybe a dirty glance. It is just considered disrespectful to show a lot of skin especially in sacred and ancient temples and religious structures. Can you imagine going to church wearing daisy dukes and a tank top? Well, that is basically the inappropriate equivalent of wearing a short skirt in Cambodia. Yet, everyday we see western women and men wearing the clothing that they specifically ask them not to. This really bothers me because here you are in a completely different culture that has a completely different set of values and you are a visitor yet you do not adhere to a simple request to cover up. I understand that it is really hot and humid here around 100 degrees but still, you are a guest so put on some pants!

We flew from Bangkok to Phnom Phen about a week ago and spent 3 days in Phnom Phen. This is the capital of Cambodia and the largest city. It doesn't take you long after arriving in Cambodia to learn about the Killing Fields, Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. The effects of this time still resignate throughout the country. Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia in the mid to late 1970's. He declared it year 0 and was determined to build some sort of utopian society. At one point he announced in Phnom Phen that the US was going to bomb it and that everyone needed to immediately evacuate the city. So everyone packed a few things and left the city and ended up being forced to work in the rice fields only getting 2 spoon fulls of rice to eat a day. As you can imagine many people died of starvation. He had some idea that formal education was not needed only hard work was valuable and that the poor and uneducated peasants were the only viable citizens needed in Cambodia. With this philosophy he went about killing anyone who was educated, looked educated (meaning wore glasses), he didn't like, thought was against him, and on and on AND their families, children included. Him and his regime took children away from their parents to receive approved education by illiterate peasants. It gets worse. He created the notorious S-21 prison (in Phnom Phen) out of an old school where only 7 people out of 21,000 came out alive. Unspeakable acts of torture and murder were committed here. Then there was the Killing Fields (about 13 km outside of Phnom Phen). This is where people were brought to be executed and then tossed into mass graves. Both the S-21 prison called Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields can be visited. Dave and I went to both of these and to describe it as horrifying and unsettling would be an understatement. Although it is allowed, taking pictures of what we saw at both of these places just seemed completely inappropriate and disrespectful to those that died there so we have few photos. It was emotionally hard to visit these places and makes me emotional just thinking about it and writing about it, but I'm glad we did it so we could show our respect to those who suffered so greatly.

We are currently in Siem Reap. We took the "Mekong Express" from Phnom Phen 4 days ago. Unfortunately the "express" part didn't really apply because the air conditioning on the bus broke down about an hour into the trip and since it is brutally hot right now aircon is a must. So the bus pulled over on the side of the road in rural Cambodia and we waited for about an hour for another bus to arrive.

We just spent the past 3 days exploring all the ancient temples they have here including the most famous one - Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat gets all the attention and it is definitely the most well preserved out of the Wat's but there is this Wat in Angkor Thom called Bayon which is incredible. It is falling apart like all the temples but it has these pillars that have faces carved on all sides. It is beyond magnificient. All of the Wats were incredible - you could spend forever wondering through them and looking at the carvings. The whole experience of visiting these ancient buildings was one of the most magnificient things we have seen on this trip. Dave and I were blown away by what we saw. It was overwhelming looking at these temples, palaces, and buildings from an era so ancient, that are still full of intricate details and carvings. When we see things like this we truly feel blessed. This is the reason why we travel and seeing this is worth every effort we put into this trip.

The first day we went to the temples we had a guide who explained to us the meanings of the various carvings and architecture. He actually was pretty funny and made jokes about everyone from the King of Cambodia to Buddhist monks (What do you call more than one monk? Answer - monkeys) and he even had a joke about hunchbacks (how does a person with a hunchback sleep? Answer - Just like us, with their eyes closed. Here is another - Why does this deer carving only have one eye? Answer - I have no I dear. It was a fun day listening to our guide and his really silly jokes. He also was extremely informative not only about Angkor Wat but also gave us a run down on Cambodian history to its involvement in the Vietnam War to communism and of course about the Khmer Rouge. We liked Siem Reap so much we decided to stay another 3 days here.

After Cambodia we will head to Vietnam and then on to Laos. We are not sure of our exact day of departure to Vietnam but will be around the first week of June.

Dave has got some photos for you below.

-------Hey gang, Dave here. Once again I've got way too many awesome photos than I do time to post them so here's a small selection. The ancient Cambodia temples are absolutely extraordinary and I took hundreds of pictures. I picked several scattered below that I thought you would enjoy plus some photos of some other things we've been up to lately.

Here is one of the gateways to Angkor Thom (an ancient walled city)
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The sculpted tower faces of Bayon were awesome. This temple complex was one of our favorites.
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The Sofie Star rises above Angkor Wat.
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Since Taj Mahal we've notice that the Japanese touritsts enjoy jumping in front of mounuments for photos. This is the first time we tried it and its actually fun. Here you can see that Lynette has still not lost her acrobatic skills from when she was a highschool cheerleader. Look at that perfect form! I did not include mine because I need to work on my flexibility a bit.

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Here's the USA themed restaurant Lynette wrote about. It was like walking through a portal into a TGI Friday's. We felt at home for about an hour...
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...Until I went to the bathroom. I've never seen pineapple slices used as urinal cakes in the states.
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Here's two shots from the temple that they used in the movie Tomb Raider. Recognize?
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Don't ask me how those trees grew so large without soil for the roots. I have no idea but it looks cool.
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We went to a badly produced 41 minute movie last night that explained some of the Cambodia history. As you can see its a far cry from the theater we experienced in Bangkok.
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Another exotic culinary experience to share. Last night at the Night Market a woman was selling bottles of liquor that had a dead scorpion and snake fermenting inside, and she offered me a taste. Well I couldn't refuse such an offer. I took a shot. It was about as harsh as a shot of tequila, so nothing I couldn't handle. But there was a distinct and foul aftertaste I had trouble with because it distinctly tasted reptilian.
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You can see that the saleswoman was enjoying watching me cringe from the taste. When we asked if she liked the drink she winced and said,'''Eeeew, no, this is for men." I expected the next day to wake up with a fuller goatee or more hair on my chest or something. But it was not to be.
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In case any of you are curious what the internet cafes look like in places like this here's a shot. I'd say the most primitive internet cafe we've been to was India. And one in Nepal is a close second. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of either.
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The hotels here are really nice and very affordable. Here's what ours looks like.
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More temple shots. We can't believe the complexity and quantity of all the intricate carvings.

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Some shots from the Grand Palace in Phnom Phen, Cambodia.
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It sure is nice to get off a plane or bus and have your hotel pick-up driver waiting for you so you don't have to worry about dealing with the taxis or tuk tuks. We've enjoyed this a few times but this has to have been the nicest sign yet. Usually they are typed very small or handwritten (and misspelled.) There is a huge crowd of men pushing and shouting with signs you can't read. You have to walk by slowly while they stare at you and look closely at all the signs to try and find your name. This one stood out in the crowd.
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We've experienced something about the people here that we find unusual and refreshing compared to the previous places we've been in Asia. We've seen two different tuk tuk drivers and one waitress giving their own money to street beggars or crippled children. This was definitely not something we saw in India, Nepal or Thailand. It is usually an act left for us "rich" tourists. Cambodia has had a rough history and the people have been through a lot. You really get the feeling that the people have a strong sense of unity from this, and care for their fellow Cambodians. Even though they themselves may not have a lot they give to those who have less.

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Thanks again to everyone for all your blog comments and emails.

Till next time,

Lynette & Dave

lschimpf@gmail.com
dbuck242@yahoo.com

Posted by schuckley 20:33 Comments (1)

1 Month in Thailand

Dave and I are back in Bangkok. The big city. It is like an Asian New York City. It is big, loud, rude taxi drivers, and iffy service. I definitely enjoy the smaller towns more, especially the beach towns! Thailand overall has been wonderful and amazing. It is easy to travel in and you can eat almost all of the food without worrying about contracting some kind of bacteria. This is a really enjoyable country if you can get used to some of its quirks. It is very clear here in Thailand that the Asian culture values certain mannerisms and behaviour that are not valued in the west. Keeping your temper is an absolute must here, even in situations where you may feel justified in getting angry. Another one is being indirect. In the states you say what you mean and you are clear about what you want. That makes sense right? Well, the lines are a bit foggy in that regard here. Keeping an open mind is imperative when you travel and that is especially clear to us now that we are in Southeast Asia. We have, however, discovered some keys to successful travellng in Thailand. Maybe THE most important key...SMILE. It doesn't matter what you are doing or saying - just keep smiling. Smiling like a complete lunatic works wonders.

We just spent the last week and a half on the island of Koh Samui (pronounced Kah Sah-moo-ee). It is an island paradise with miles of white sand and clear water. We stayed at a nice little resort in the quieter area of the busy Chaweng Beach. We did a lot of nothing. We sat by the pool, swam, ate, drank, looked at the water, walked to the internet cafe, then sat by the pool some more. The most adventurous thing we did on the island was take a day trip to the nearby marine park - Angthong Marine Park. This was a 2 hour boat trip over rocky seas from Koh Samui. The marine park is a series of small islands and rock formations. We kayaked around the rock formations and through some short caves. There was this really cool area where we kayaked through a small cave and found ourselves enclosed by rocks all around. This marine park is credited for inspiring A. Garland to write the book "The Beach." Leonardo DiCaprio was in the movie version several years ago and several scenes in the movie were filmed at the marine park. The marine park also has an enclosed very large green lake that we hiked up and over rocks to see. You can't swim or even kayak in it but it was really pretty from the high view point. We also did some snorkeling and practiced our fancy jumps and dives off the back of the boat into the water - lots of fun and definitely worth the bahts we paid to experience it. The weather is really unpredictable right now because it is monsoon season so we lucked out that it was a clear day and didn't rain or storm on us.

We have been in Thailand for almost a month and so it is time for us to move on. We fly to Phnom Phen, Cambodia on the May 22nd. At this time we are unsure of how long we will be there - maybe a week, maybe two. I just realized that Dave and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in Phnom Phen (May 23rd). We will have to go to a nice little Cambodian restaurant to celebrate.

Dave has posted some photos below of our time in Koh Samui.

Hey gang. Dave here. Below are some photos from our last Thailand batch that I thought were cool.

Here are several from our kayaking excursion. They were all taken from the boat or from land, none from an actual kayak. I was too paranoid I'd drop the camera in the ocean. So I have no record to share of the absolutely awe inspiring views that we saw from the water as we paddled the base of these amazing ancient rock formations. But the beauty of the place is still evident from these takes.

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These two shots show the main tourist drag on Koh Samui island near our hotel. There are tons of restaurants, bars, and shops. You can get great cheap brand knock-offs here. I got a fake Giorgio Armani cap, and Ray Ban sunglasses. And if you are in the market for a cheap suit this is the place to go. Every time we walked down here I got at least 4 different guys asking me if I wanted to buy a suit. I always politely just smiled, shook my head and said "no thanks," even though I really wanted to scream, "NO, FOR THE THOUSANDTH TIME, NOOOO." One guy even asked me "Why not?" The gull!! I didn't stop to explain why.
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You've probably seen ice cream or soda hawkers on the beaches back home, but have you ever seen a corn cob vendor? This guy walks around with this mini fire stove slung over his back on a long pole and cooks up nice fresh corn on a stick for the hungry beach-goers.
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The beach is strewn with little shacks offering massage or hair braiding, each with a sign out front similar to this. Its an odd sight to see the long row of decapitated heads on sticks (with beautifully braided hair mind you) fading off into the distance.
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There is various night entertainment on the beach. Launched fireworks, or 3 foot tall candle-fueled paper balloons drifting into the dark sky were a common sight. And at a primitive little beach bar we sat and enjoyed this talented fire performer.
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(shield your eyes from the light)
Back home I take my shirt off in public once a year to scare the children at Halloween. Now I'm scaring lifeguards around the world by baring my lifeless skin tone and floating limp in the pools.
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This makes for a good segway. Street touts are always calling out, "Where you from?" in order to get you to stop and hopefully buy something. Sometimes they guess where you are from, and upon seeing my ghost-like white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes most call out to me, "Where you from, Finland?" And the other day our kayaking guide, who was himself a very Arian looking German dude, asked the same. FINLAND!! Isn't that a hoot? Its happened numerous times. Its a running joke between me and Lynette.

Now for all you geology lovers out there, here's a series of shots with rocks that I thought were cool.

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That's all for now. Take care everyone,

Lynette & Dave

lschimpf@gmail.com
dbuck242@yahoo.com

Posted by schuckley 02:24 Comments (0)

Thailand Tidbits

First I've just got to say that Lynette and I have cracked our heads on more things during this trip than in our whole lives previously. In India and Nepal the doorways were so low. One night on the trek I missed the sign above the door inside the outhouse that read "Watch Your Head" because there was no light inside. I had to relieve myself in pitch blackness then cracked my head on the doorway on the way out. I had a painful bump the size of a Nepali dollar for days. And let me tell you that's a big bump. And they put shelves in odd places, like directly over the bathroom sink. Lynette bent over to spit out her toothpaste and knocked herself silly on the edge of the shelf. Here in Thailand they have really low rooflines. Their building code, if they even have one, must not account for the head height of foreigners. I was just walking with Lynette out to see the beach and gashed my head on a low hanging corner of a roof. Now I'm sitting here with a bag of quickly melting ice on my head to hopefully keep the swelling down. Most people are short in Asia, as you may expect. And we feel like giants. I couldn't find a shirt that fit me from Malaysia to Thailand, and Lynette is an Extra Extra Large in Thailand T-shirts!! Doesn't do much for your self image.

When we arrived in Thailand a few weeks ago I was delighted to find that "Hello" in Thai is pronounced "Sa-wa-dee-crap" and "Thank you" is pronounced "Cor-poon-crap," so I got to say "crap" at the end of everything. And without offending anyone even. The males pretty much put "crap" at the end of everything to identify they are male, as the women put "Ka" at the end. Of course when I said it I pronounced it with a hardy and clear "CRAP" at the end. But the locals didn't respond the way I thought they would. I'd say "hello" and get no "hello" back, "thank you" and no Thai, "your welcome." Thailand is supposed to be so friendly, The Land of Smiles they call it. But these people were just downright rude. Later however I found out that its spelled "crap" but pronounced "cop" with a very faint "p." Most of the time sounding to me very much the same as the female "Ka." So who knows what I was actually saying all along. No wonder they gave me such the cold shoulder. It doesn't help that their pronunciation of things involves the slightest variations to mean different things. For instance, a guide was demonstrating that "Ma" means horse, "Ma" means dog, and "Ma" means even something else, I forget what. To Lynette and I the three words sounded exactly the same. But he said there were very subtle differences in the tone of how he said it. They must have a very finely honed sense of hearing to detect those subtle differences. So even now with my correct pronunciation of the "crap" at the end of things I might be saying something much different than I intend.

As Thailand is famous for their Thai massages, Lynette and I had to indulge. Here we are getting our first of several so far. The Thai massage is a bit different than a traditional massage, perhaps a bit more painful, especially for someone with bad flexibility such as myself. Some say its like doing yoga without the effort because the therapist bends your limbs in some unusual positions to stretch your muscles. I have real problems when they get to the calves. The women laugh when I winse in pain but don't let up on the pressure.
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They have a hairy fruit here called a rambutan. Check it out below. Doesn't it look like something out of the Aliens movie? Not just on the outside with the long tenacle-like hairs but also on the inside with the stark white slimey egg like center. Very tastey though. :-)
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Another delicacy they have here in Thailand are the insects. We walked by some vendors with metal trays full of various fried bugs, including grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and even cockroaches. Felt like a scene from Fear Factor. And for some reason God only knows, I got it in my head that I wanted to try a bug. I guess "When in Rome..." maybe. So during a tour in Chiang Mai our guide suggested, for a beginner, to try one of these awful looking things, the bamboo worm:
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We definitely got out the camera for this.
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Here's the moment of decision. "Should I really go through with this?"
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Well I did it. I popped it in my mouth expecting some horrible bitter explosion of bug juices. But I was surprised that it wasn't that bad. Just a bit crunchy, the juices probably all cooked out in the frier. Thank goodness it wasn't a fresh one. I actually almost enjoyed it. I could imagine sitting in front of the tube snacking on a bag full. Would need some salt though.

Speaking of food, we took a Thai cooking class a few days ago. It was really fun. We each made Pad Thai, Green Curry Chicken, Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Hot and Sour Prawn Soup, Fried Spring Rolls, and Sticky Rice with Mangos and Coconut Milk. After making each single portion dish we were able to eat our creation. And they actually turned out pretty good. But by the end of the day-long course we were thoroughly stuffed. Of course we'll probably never remember how to make all the dishes especially by the time we get back home. Fortunately they gave us a cook book with all those meals plus more. So we'll make Thai for everyone when we get back! Here's some photos:
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We've discovered that in Eastern countries (at least all the ones we've visited so far) they serve drinks in bags. Of course the cup is also widely used, but the locals often use bags instead. We thought this was kind of odd and a few days ago got our first chance to get ones ourselves at a local food market in Chiang Mai. They are tied really tightly around the top with a rubber band so you don't have to worry about spillage while holding it. But setting it down can be an issue. Here Lynette is enjoying an ice coffee:
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I'm more of a pineapple shake kind of guy:
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YUMMMY!

The other day we went on a hill tribe tour. We wanted to experience a more rural Thailand and a less modernized area but doing it on one of these organized tours somehow seemed strange to me. Its not like on TV where the travel host goes out to some remote rarely touched jungle village society. I mean busses of tourists visit these people every day. So much so that the tribes moved "for the tourists" from their previous location 3 hours away to a closer 1 hour away from town. Don't get me wrong, I mean I love the fact that these people are able to make a living off the curiosity of the foreign visitor but it sure does take the authenticity out of the experience. However, considering the difficulties involved in finding and then getting to a remote village we did the tour. After the drive out into the country to one "village" you pass a few cinder block houses that while they look a bit primitive hardly appear "tribal." Then you go up a dirt driveway into a large field with a few long rows of bamboo and thatch huts, each filled with various handmade wares for sale, such as scarves and wooden trinkets. And each hut had the same stuff. I feel bad for the poor shmuck in the back. By the time a tourist gets back there, if they haven't bought something already, then they're probably so sick of seeing the same stuff that they sure aren't going to by something at that point. Some villages were more real and lived in than others. Some actually had bamboo houses, but there again the front porches had all been converted into rough store fronts.

In some villages women sit and tend their merchandise, and as you walk by they ask you to buy something. In others, hordes of children, and some women, run up and surround you with hand fulls of bracelets and bags. They sound like zombies, pitifully moaning out, "ten baaaht...ten baaaht" (baht = thai currency) And God help you if you actually do buy something from one of them as I did. Then they all know you're weak and they swarm closer, more aggressively beckoning you to buy, buy. I felt bad that these kids had to work the tourists instead of being out playing somewhere, so I bought a bracelet from one girl. then ten seconds later the same girl was amongst the crowd trying to sell me another. I jokingly said, "Hey, I already bought one from you!" She smiled, but kept on trying. Eventually I took the bracelet I bought and joked around by trying to sell it back to them saying, "10 baht...10 baht?" They laughed. I didn't make a sale but that got them to move on to the next tourist, for a while.
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Here's Lynette being overwhelmed by the young touts.
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On the tour at one village we got to meet Long Neck Karen. I'm not sure which one she was but she was one of the women with long necks. You've probably seen them sometime on a National Geographic show or something. They use the the metal rings to elongate their necks. According to our guide those rings were originally used long ago to protect the women from tiger attacks as the tigers would usually go for the throat. But over time they instead became a thing of status and beauty. Contrary to belief, using the rings does not destroy the muscular strength of the women's necks, so when you remove the rings their heads do not flop over. They can remove them but only do so on rare occasions in order to add another ring. We saw a photo of them without the rings. Pretty freaky.
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Here's a sight for you. This is actually a CLEAN towel. I wrote before about the stained towels we've gotten at hotels and guest houses along the way. Well here's a perfect example. We can tell its clean, it smells like detergent, but its just badly stained. I just still can't get over thinking I'm drying my face in someones fresh butt wipings. I mean look at those brown blotches!! (ignore the love handle)
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Check out this cool bug. Its body is flat and paper thin. It almost looked like the marks on its back were painted on. -- I didn't eat this one.
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Right now we are on the island of Koh Samui in south Thailand. We plan to be here for 6 more days then fly back to Bangkok for a flight to Cambodia. Can't believe Thailand is almost over. We hit our 4 month mark on May 7th. We are 1/3 through the trip. Its hard to believe its only been 4 months with all the places we've gone so far. Long way to go but we are still loving it. No signs of stopping!

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"Peace"

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Posted by schuckley 06:42 Comments (2)

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