Tom's Trip to South East Asia

Out of the 'Boat for a few months of tropical travel. No lease, No Dog, No work, No snow, might be the best time of my life to do something extreme. Watch from your office as I soak in sun and culture in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam this mud season.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I have safely arrived in Cambodia, after a long two days of travel from Vientiane. The first day I took a while to decide to seperate from my Loas friends and got a late start for the Thai Border. After taking my first truly public bus to the Thai Laos Friendship bridge, I crosed the border and headed for the bus station in Nom Khai. I had few hours to wait for the next bus towards Khorat and wasted them away in the midday heat. The bus was an experience. Blaring Thai folk pop videos played over the entertainment system and the bus was standing room only at times. I was the only westerner on the bus, a theme for the whole two days of travel. My Ipod batteries had died in Laos and I had lost my charger in a hurry to leave Chang Mai, so I had only sleep and my book for entertainment. Many of you know how good I am at sleeping but 9 hours of it on a crowded bus is beyond my talents. I arrived late at night in Khorat tired and a bit disoriented as it is not a tourist/ backpacker stop and no one was waiting to point me to a cheap room and friendly bar. I found a real hotel room with my first tv of the trip for about 10$ and settled in for some rest. The next day I woke up realizing I didn't have much cash and needed to cash in travelers checks, a difficult task on a Sunday coinciding with a major buddhist festival. I found a an open bank after about an hour of searching, missing the first bus of the day to the cambodian border and catching a noon bus. Again blaring thai folk videos and no white faces, but at least it wasn't crowded. Four hours later I was crossing the border into Cambodia. Poipet, the entrance into Cambodia, is sketchy. I felt quiet uncomfortable and just wanted to get back to a tourist destination. But I was being run around and ripped off on prices for the next leg and it took untill six before I could secure a ride. I paid 15$ for a shared taxi in an ageing camry that ended up holding 7 passengers and a driver as we headed east on the worst road in the world. Imagine a forest service road that was a major artery and had been flooded three weeks ago, or the Waterway off Glen Rd, then drive down it at 80Kmh crammed in a jacked up Camry. Not much fun but we did the trip in thre hours and I was here, whew. Town was seething with Khmer (Cambodians) celebrating the water festival launching candle lit flower boats on the river. The first white face I saw in two days was wearing a red sox t-shirt so I screamed at him from our passing taxi. He heard "you suck" not my hoarse "Go Sox". I found a nice room, nice enough that mom and dad might stay here, for 5$, and watched a bit of English Premiership on my second tv, cleaned up and made my way out into the dwindling festivities. As I walked the streets I bumped into the guy with sox shirt sitting at street corner table and introduced myself. He filled me in on his puzzled look from my cheer, and I found out he was from northfield Ma. Turns out he owns the restaurant, knows people I went to highschool with and his cooks wife graduated from Bates in 98, small world. I hung out with him for a while and agreed to meet up for the Pats game this morning. Brady looked horrible, that first drive and interception I knew were a bad sign. We should have been blown out but somehow stayed in it to keep it interesting. That pretty much brings me to now. Tomorrow I will start exploring the awesome ruins of Ankor just outside of town. The were built beginning 1000 years ago and include the largest religous building on earth. Should be very cool. Hope you enjoy the picture update. These last two are from Vang Vieng. Or not, now they wont upload, next time I guess. I will have more after hitting Ankor.


At 5:50 AM, Blogger mom said...

whew, it's good you write after the trip. Glad you have survived your transit. What's the plan for the next week or so?
I've looked at Ankor Wat travel site and it seems spectacular. enjoy.


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