Friday, 30 November 2007
Bob says: 'Backpackers mecca', 'Sex trade central', 'a large city in Southeast Asia', whatever you want to call Bangkok it lives upto it. A steaming mix of, cocktails, hookers, street vendors, lady boys and sex shows. And if you fancy buying a crocodile, just pop down the market. One little known attraction in Bangkok is the 'Cats playing Table Tennis' unfortunately we always seemed to miss these shows, on entering the estabishment advertising pussy ping pong we were faced with a whole different ball game!
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Ruth says: To get from Siem Reap to Battambang we took a fantastic boat trip along the river past floating villages and river side fishing communities. There were hundreds of children all along the river bank swimming and playing and messing about in boats. They looked like they were having a fantastic time, a bit of a contrast to some of the incredibly poor children we saw in the cities.
Ruth says: Now this temple is the coolest temple in the world. Right in the middle of the jungle with the most amazing trees ever completely taking over the temple, growing in and amongst the stones . It looks like something out of Indianna Jones, and has been used in Tomb Raider ( hence Angelina's love affair with Cambodia). The bottom photos is with our tuk tuk driver for the day.
Bob says: The scale of Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples is unbelievable. The Khmer Empire was one of the most impressive in history, at its peak it covered most of south east asia and supported over a million people living where the temples are now, when at the same time london had a population of about 50,000. When the empire collapsed around 800 years ago following an invasion by the Thais (which to this day Cambodians seem to hold a grudge about) the area was abandoned, and the jungle took hold with amazing results. The temples were discovered by the French at the end of the 19th century. This will be my last temple visit ever, as every one following this will be a dissapointment, and lets face it, in the main things like this can be intensely boring.
Ruth says: Now then, we're not really temple people, and especially after China we felt completely templed out, but we thought we really ought to go and visit the most famous temple in the world. My history here is not as good as Bob's but basically Angkor, which was the capital of Cambodia's Ancient Khmer empire has all of these amazing temples which were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Angkor Wat is the biggest and supposedly most spectacular ( although we both beg to differ). We took literally hundreds of photos, but here are just a few to keep you interested. All of the above are of Angkor Wat. The girls at the top are in typical Cambodian dress all ready for a wedding.
Ruth says: We did the usual tourist stuff in Phnom Penh including visiting the Royal Palace which are on the top photos ( including the one with the sun shading co-ordinating monks). But we also went to the Killing Fields which is the bottom photo. We have refrained from putting some of the more gruesome pictures on the blog, but what you ca see on the bottom photo is some of the mass graves of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime, which cover the field. It was a really traumatic place to visit, not least because in places where the paths have worn away you can see remnanats of the victims clothes and bits of bone. It is difficult to know what is the right way to commemorate all those people who suffered, but the Cambodian people feel very strongly that this is a place that people should go and visit so that they are not forgotten.
Ruth says: We made two trips to Phnom Penh; when we first arrived in Cambodia and then after our trip down to the coast. As with all the other South East Asian capitols there is chaos all around, manic traffic, crazy markets and a million different sights and smells. However in amongst this manic hustle and bustle there are a few spots of peace and tranquility. The bottom photo shows the guest house where we stayed on our second visit. It was on the lake front, and the pwerfect place to sit and chill out.
The three top photos are of the market. There are lot of very interesting food choices in Cambodia including crickets and cockroaches and chicken embryos. Unfortunately we didn't have the camera on us when Bob sampled a deep fried spider (tarantula sized). He really ate it though...quite disgusting, but he said it just tasted of soya sauce.
The fourth photo shows the commonest form of public transport in both Vietnam and Cambodia, the motorbike taxi. There are usually two of us perched on the back behind the driver, but we've seen four or five people sometimes squeezed onto one bike. That photo was taken at a moment when the traffic was quite tame. It can get a lot worse than that.
Monday, 12 November 2007
Bob says: We arrived in Sihanoukvilla via a short stop over in Phnom Penh (we shall return). Our first accommodation was in the town costing around 3 quid for an ensuite room, after seeing what else was available we splashed out and upgraded to our sea view shack, 5 quid. Bottom picture is the sun rise view from our shack, 10 years ago this would have followed a wild night out, now however we set our alarm to catch it after being tucked up in bed before 10.
Ruth says: When some cool looking guy on the beach came up to us inviting us to a beach party, Bob just turned to me after he had turned him down and said, "I'm 30". There was no more need for explanation.