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Biking Biking Biking

Day 16 Ho Chi Minh City

Today was our first official day in Vietnam and if we had thought the traffic in Cambodia was crazy, this was even worse.  There are 10 million people in this city and 4.5 million scooters!  They are literally everywhere.  Kinda funny but we started off our time by actually leaving the city, going to a different province and seeing the Mekong River which is a river that runs through China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.  To be honest, I didn't know it was so far (2.5 hours each way) so we were a little bummed out.  We biked (bicycles) around a few islands where is was incredibly hot, and stopped to have some fruit.  One of the fruits is called Durian.  Its saying is "its like you're eating icecream while in the toilet" which means that it smells really bad but tastes good.  I would agree with the toilet part for both the smell and taste, I couldnt have more than a bite...whereas Tyler said he couldn't smell or taste anything.  I'm not sure what's wrong with him.  Apparently resorts ban people from bringing this fruit into the resort because they are so foul smelling.  We ended the afternoon by taking a boat down the river, seeing a floating market and having lunch at an "ancient house".  We ate elephant fish, and what we were worried was dog (but was actually pork..apparently).  We felt a little disappointed by this tour, it was really expensive, I think they ripped us off.   We got back to the hotel with just enough time to get picked up for our night activity.  We went on a "Saigon after dark" tour where you ride on the back of scooters and they take you to local Vietnamese places.  The guy who runs it is from the States and so it was nice to have someone who speaks English well.  Well Tyler got to ride on the back of his scooter and I got "Bop" who didn't speak any English.  Being on a scooter in the traffic is actually less scary then watching it, it was actually fun.  They first took us to a restaurant (by restaurant I mean food stall at side of street with tiny plastic chairs and tables) for appetizers which includes scallops, crab legs, clams, and snails!  It was honestly so delicious.  I hope we don't regret this in the morning.  Next we went to another place for the main dishes.  This consisted of "pancakes" which are massive fried things filled with bean sprouts and shrimp. When it comes to your table you wrap it in lettuce and dip it into fish sauce. We also had sausages that again you wrap in lettuce and beef that you cook on a little BBQ and wrap in rice paper, lettuce, basil, green banana and star fruit.  It was again all very yummy.  Next we headed to a secret cafe.  It was in an alley, through a gross kitchen, through a car wash, past a barking rotweiller and up a set of stairs.  Upstairs was all dark, lit by candles, with lots of silent people sitting and watching a pianist, violinist and singer. It was cool actually until a massive rat ran out of the kitchen past my feet, and I was ready to leave. Last stop of the night was a Vietnamese rock bar for cocktails and the band was actually  pretty good.  It was a really fun night, and we're very happy we did it.  

Posted by tanyatyler 03:05 Comments (0)

Tomb Raiding

Day 15 Siem Riep

Today was Angkor Wat day.  Angkor Wat is a bunch of temples that were built in the 1100's and it's usually included in the 7 Wonders of the World list (there are lots of lists, slightly different from each other).  The temples are massive and have very very detailed stone carvings, not sure how they did it.  We had a guide with us so it was nice to have some explanations and perspective.  One of the temples was the one where the movie Tomb Raider was shot.   Basically huge trees have grown into the temples and wrapped around them, I think this one was our favourite.  There is another one that has such steep and narrow stairs that tourists often slip, fall and sometimes die.  No thankyou.  Supposedly the stairs are like this because they were meant for gods to climb, not silly humans.  We refrained from climbing this one, Tyler was actually worried about me!  We were supposed to have stayed until sunset but it started pouring rain so we bailed.  This was a cool site to see but we can't imagine how people can buy 1 week passes.  Tyler has his own special experience with a toilet hose but I'm sure he can share that in person for those who would like.  While we waited for our taxi we got some free massages at the hotel which involved the ladies putting our arms in weird positions and I swear kicking our backs.  So that wraps up our short time in Cambodia.  We tried as much local food as we could, pretty similar to Thailand with curries and stirfrys.  We were craving some fast-food for dinner tonight though because we've seen lots of KFC's around.  We purposely waited until we got to the airport to eat figuring that they usually have fast-food places...but we were disappointed when it didn't.  We were very sad kids...just wanted some grease.  We flew to Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), Vietnam tonight and on arrival there was throngs of people looking forward to seeing their arriving guests...  Tyler treated it as his own welcoming crowd and walked through them waving like a celebrity...some waved backed.  We are looking forward to see what the new city brings in the morning.

Posted by tanyatyler 03:02 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Honk hooooooonkkk!!!!!!!

Day 14 Siem Reap

Today was another early morning to catch a bus to Siem reap.  It was possibly the worst bus trip of my life.  It was over 6 hours long and I swear every 2 seconds the driver honked the horn for the next 5 seconds.  It was awful, I'm not exaggerating.  Tyler had sweet headphones which drowned out all the sound and had a nice sleep.  When we finally got to the station again there were throngs of tuk tuk drivers waiting for us get off but we lucked out because I had already arranged for "Sam" our driver to pick us up.  Sam seems cool and after checking into the hotel we headed outside the city to see a floating village.  This is literally a full blown village that is floating along a river.... They have a floating school, hardware store, church, volleyball court, grocery store, and all their little huts... Which apparently they can tow along the river depending on the water level... After the floating village tour we briefly stopped at a locus flower field... Nice crop... We then headed back for a mice Cambodian dinner before checking out the night market... Which was actually one of the nicer markets we've seen..and we actually bought some gifts!!  We quite like Siem reap and look forward to tomorrow

Posted by tanyatyler 08:09 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

I'm hungry...

Day 13 Phnom Penh

We woke up bright and early today for our first activity.  We drove into the Cambodian countryside with ATVs (and yes I had my own).  It was actually exactly like I would have pictured it.  Dirt roads, ox pulling trolleys, huts for houses, and people working in rice fields.  The best part were all the little kids (mostly naked) running to see us, wave, say hello and touch our hands (again because we're white and they don't see many of us around there).  At one point a woman gave me her baby and kept staring and pointing at my face.  I thought maybe I had some dirt or even worse, some ox poo on my face (because a lot of dirt flung up while we were driving) but soon realized she was fascinated by the colour of my skin.  It's funny, we want to tan to be darker and they want to be lighter.  We stopped for some sugar cane juice...they literally squeeze the sugar cane right in front of you to make the drink..pretty tasty actually.  We ended the morning by going to the Killing Fields where approximately 20000 people were killed in the 1970's during the reign of the Khmer rouge.  It was a really sad site to see and we couldn't  believe it had happened so recently in history (we then quickly realized the same thing could be happening right now in other countries).  After a nice shower we decided to walk to all the sites in phnom penh...which we soon discovered was not as easy as it appeared.  We first went to a famous temple, then to the central market.  By this point it was 3oclock and were were starving but we had no idea how to order (or even what to order) from little stalls in the market.  Unlike tourist restaurants there were no menus or English translations so we just aimlessly wandered, thirsty and hungry.  Finally, Tyler suggested we just go for it and we chose a lady and she just started pointing at ingredients and threw them into a soup for us..really good actually.  I thought we were going to starve in Cambodia.  We then walked really far to the royal palace only to be told it was closed for a ceremony.  We still didn't give in to our tired feet and walked to the S21 prison and museum where many people were tortured before being killed at the killing fields.  I found this even more disturbing as they still had the small tiny cells intact and barbed wire...and pictures of everyone that was there...sad.  We finally gave in and took a tuk tuk to the final market, "the Russian market" which was really small and disappointing but we bought fruit for breakfast tomorrow morning. As we walked around the market we were again stalked by tuk tuk drivers and Tyler would tell each one that we would be back when we were ready to go.  At one point we turned around and saw 3 following us.  This is a hilarious image in my head.  We tried to lose them and when we turned a corner we found another guy to drive us back to the hotel.  I think Tyler has learned his lesson not to tease the tuk tuk drivers anymore..or I hope he has.  Finally we went out for some traditional Cambodian food (with an English menu) and Tyler indulged in some 75cent beers.  All in all, we didn't love this city...it's kind of dirty, brutal traffic and stinky (but we're very happy we were able to the countryside)

Posted by tanyatyler 08:06 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Plane, trains and automobiles...

Day 12 Phnom Penh

Today was unfortunately a travel day...and lots of different forms of travel I must say.  We had to take a taxi van to the pier, ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui, taxi to the airport, plane to Bangkok (with delays) and then another flight to phnom penh (cambodia), and then tuk tuk to our hostel.  When we got out of the airport there was a like feeing frenzy of tuk tuk and taxi drivers wanting to drive us (our white skin and backpacks gave us away).  Most dangerous thing we've done so far on this trip was riding that tuk tuk.  There aren't really any lanes, people purposely driving in the opposite direction, no stop lights, honking everywhere...its just insane.  Our hostel is pretty bad too actually. After today's events I really didnt feel like doing much but because we're on limited time we pushed through and went to the night market for a bit.  We still haven't bought anything, I wonder when we will buy this elusive souvenir.  Can't comment on the city itself yet because we've only seen in the dark..stay tuned...

Posted by tanyatyler 08:04 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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