Showing posts from 2008

Wrapping and lapping it up in Bangkok.

As soon as we arrived in Trat (via the back of a pick-up) we made it to the bus station, where we promptly caught the first bus to Bangkok. We just had enough time to grab some munchies, and get on the bus. The ride was rather comfortable, and as it was only five hours, not too long. I couldn't believe it, we actually only had days to go before we'd be back in Melbourne. We'd kept it a big secret, and Dad didn't even know yet. I was planning on telling him once in Bangkok. I felt like I'd died and was racing towards the white light, with my life flashing before me, except this version was a little different. My life went back to August 18th, 2006, when we'd embarked on this journey, after which 27 countries and 16 months flashed before me. Wow! We had seen, done and experienced so much. I figured the end of the tunnel was Melbourne! I felt overwhelmed. I'd lived to be able to tell, yet another of my many travel tales. As most of you would only know too well…

Secluded bliss, at long last.

We had been travelling for close to 16 months and whilst culturally and spiritually invigorated, we were physically spent! I am usually into "doing" something rather than simply laying about, but I cannot begin to tell you how tantalising the whole idea of lying around on a secluded beach was steadfastly becoming. We had talked about what our last few weeks would look like, and now that time had come, we were ready. We wanted a couple of weeks on a spectacular beach doing absolutely nothing, before coming back to Bangkok, to fit in some shopping (and a few other things).But where in Thailand would we go? To what beach or area? Needless to say, the likes of Pattaya, Phuket and KoSamui did not even make the top 100. Glitz, glam and sleaze were not on the agenda! (By this stage I was precariously close to wanting to do battle with anyone who even remotely looked like they were trying to crack onto the local delicacies).

As usual, our next destination lay only a few days ahead of…

On Thai Weddings and catching up with good friends.

We crossed at Poipet/ Aranya Prathet. It's amazing what an "imaginary line" can do. As soon as we crossed this line it was more than clear how much more affluent Thailand is compared to Cambodia. The roads were excellent, showing us the most immediate, obvious and visible difference! In no time at all, we had negotiated a tuk-tuk to take us the 7 kilometers or so to the main bus station, where we organised a bus to Bangkok. Before we knew it, we were on our way. The last time we had been to Thailand was about two and a half years ago, and I was astounded by the change. Over the last 19 years I have been to Thailand some 5 or 6 times, and each time I return, I am overwhelmed by its rate of growth and progress. It was great to see! This country had been very third world when I first visited, in the early 90's, but now, wow, it's moved into the 21st century with its pedal to the metal and in fifth gear!

Although we normally do not book places to sleep in adv…

Angkor What?

Siem Reap is Cambodia's cultural and spiritual heartbeat, and indeed no visit would be complete without visiting the infamous temples of Angkor, only a few kilometres away. Siem Reap has become quite the thriving little metropolis! Maybe too much so! It now abounds with throngs of people on tour groups, who probably visit little else in Cambodia. The problem is that many look like they should be on a Milan catwalk, and look rather out of place amongst the poverty that surrounds them. This flaunting of wealth looks not only ridiculous, but totally out of place, in a country where so many people live precariously below the poverty line! Gucci handbags and stilettos have never really been my thing, but here they look both obscene and ostentatious! But that's not all folks (not only do you get the free steak knives......) Siem Reap is full of pumping bars and pubs, pushing equally obscenely priced drinks...........whilst the locals walk around trying to make a living by sel…