Tag Archives: southeast asia travel

In Search of: A Friend in Cambodia

After leaving Ko Chang, I hopped on a bus and headed to Cambodia.  A friend of mine lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capitol, and the plan was to spend a few days there and figure out the rest upon arrival.

The bus ride through Cambodia was entertaining, per usual.  We stopped at a rest stop to grab some food and use the toilet.  As I waited inside the bus, I watched this cow scavenging for scraps from food stalls.  She was quite the character.  The shop keepers kept shooing her away, and she kept returning to eat banana peels and whatever else she could get her paws on.

The traffic in Cambodia was beyond anything I had seen in Thailand or Laos.  It was insanity. The most accurate description I heard was that it was like water.  You had to go with the flow of the mass of mopeds and cars or you would end up in a wreck.  I wish I had a good picture of the traffic, as this doesn’t even begin to show the craziness I witnessed.  For one, these people are all driving on the correct side of the road!

Coincidentally, when I headed to Cambodia my friend had actually headed to Bangkok.  She made arrangements with her neighbor to let me in the house.  She would be back the next day.  Of course, my bus was several hours late, and we arrived rather late at night.  Aside from an address I couldn’t pronounce and the street map I couldn’t open on the computer at the internet cafe, I had no idea where she lived.  Instead of spending the night at Cori’s house, I opted to join two girls I met on the bus.  We searched for a decent guesthouse, ended up in what could only be referred to as a brothel, then finally found a “mini” suite.  And when I say mini, I do mean mini.  When we walked into the guesthouse and asked if they had rooms available, the man at the desk looked us up and down and declared, “Yes.  I think you’ll fit.”  We burst into laughter and decided we must at least see the rooms.  And although I had to duck to get in the door, it turned out to be a pretty nice abode.  We booked rooms for the night.

After, we headed to dinner at a great little restaurant on the riverfront, and I tried my first Cambodian food.  Yummy!

I took the advice on this sign at the restaurant to heart.  I ate an awesome meal of vegetable amok, then headed back to my room to sleep off that long bus ride.

And it’s a good thing I got a good night’s sleep, because finding Cori’s house the next day ended up being an adventure in itself!

Posted in Cambodia, Southeast Asia

Leaving, On A Jet Plane

It’s just after midnight on June 18th.  I leave for Thailand today! I should be sleeping, seeing as how I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn.  But I’m sitting here with a million thoughts running through my mind.  So I figured I’d throw up a quick post to say just that.  I’m packed and ready to go.  I made lists and checked them, and I’m crossing my fingers that I didn’t forget anything.  Either way, I suppose it doesn’t matter, so long as I don’t forget my passport and debit card (kind of important, you know).  Well, that and my Xanax.  I tell you, that stuff is a lifesaver for a freaked out flyer like me.

The next time I post, it will be from another country.  Until then, I’ll leave you with the song that’s been flying through my head for the past hour.  With the exception of one line, it has nothing to do with my own situation, but it’s the only song I can think of that relates to traveling.  Thus, here you go.  (Plus, this is a super pretty cover of the original.) See you on the flip side, peeps!

photo credit

Posted in Southeast Asia Also tagged , |

Thailand Bound

Okay.  I’ve been wanting to share this for a while.  But I also wanted to be sure things were really happening before I let it out.  Here goes.  I have officially leaped! Long story short, I was offered a full-time teaching position with the school I work for.  I accepted.  Perhaps more import to this story is that a friend living in Thailand invited me to visit over the summer. And you’ll be proud.  It took me about half a second to think about it and answer with a resounding YES.

It sort of worked out perfectly that I accepted the teaching position just before I was offered a chance to do some serious summer traveling.  Having the teaching contract gave me the comfort of knowing I wouldn’t be jobless upon return.  And having someone awesome to help me figure out the trip gave me the confidence I needed to jump at the chance to travel.

So.  On Sunday, I booked a 50-day trip to Thailand. I leave on June 18.

Yes, you read that right.  That’s next week! I’m sort of running around like a crazy person, making sure I have everything I need and attempting to do a small amount of trip planning before the plane takes off.

I have little idea what to expect.  I do know a few places I’d like to see.  But the rest, I’m leaving up to the moment.  Luckily, that friend staying in Thailand right now has been there before and happens to be somewhat of a professional traveler.  I have no doubt that even when I jaunt off on my own, he’ll be able to give me lots of direction.  It’s sort of the perfect first big trip for me.  I’m going solo, but I won’t be alone. I’ll be in great company.

After I pressed the submit button and purchased my plane tickets, I had a small moment of freak-out.  OMG.  This is actually happening. And, yes, I’m still a little nervous.  But mostly, I’m just seriously excited.  For so many reasons, this is absolutely the perfect thing for me right now. So much so, I’m having a hard time focusing on everything I need to get done before I go.  Like I have to grade final projects and final exams.  I have to do some prep for biology class next year.  And I still have another job that I’m committed to until the 17th (and I want to do a good job each of those days).

But at the same time, I sort of want to run down the street, with my hands in the air, screaming, “Woohoo!  I’m actually going!!”

While I’m gone, I hope to blog regularly and update you with pictures and stories.  I’ll tell you all about my adventures in Thailand (and Cambodia and, who knows, maybe Laos).  Seriously, peeps, I’m so excited.  So, so excited.

So send me good vibes.  Have I mentioned how terrified I am of flying?  No worries.  I’ve got my Xanax (my favorite flying partner).  This is all going to be such an awesome experience.  I just know.  I can feel it.

photo credit: 1, 2

Posted in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Trip Planning