Archive of ‘Cambodia’ category

Unhappiness.

I’m feeling energetic, my stomach is happy and usually full but unfortunately I have to report that “toilet-time” has increased considerably. Maybe I should eat a whole wheel of cheese to equalize everything. These are the joys of travel.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap.

Our adventure started at 5 am this morning when we met our tuk-tuk driver outside our hotel. Pitch black outside and a cool 27 degrees, we had no idea what to expect from our mini temple tour. First you stop at the ticket station, $20 in cash, quick photo, ticket printed then you jump back into your tuk-tuk taxi. Our driver Thom delivered us at the entrance of our first temple Angkor Wat and showed us where to meet him once we were done. In complete darkness thousands of tourists with flashlights and cellphones funnel their way on an uneven path, over a bridge, up old stone steps and across a field all while getting harassed by vendors jumping out of nowhere begging you to buy useless nic nacs. At the end of the field lays…who knows what the heck is there, it’s completely dark and you can’t see a thing yet everyone clumps together facing East!

Once daybreaks it all comes together, in front of you sits a 12th century stone Wat as big as your eyes can see, a still pond separates you and the Wat reflecting the temple like a mirror and finally the moment everyone has been waiting for, the sun. Huge, red, golden, warm and stunning, the sun bring with it a new day full of happiness and adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great eats in Siem Reap Cambodia.

Vietnamese Pho soup sold from a busy cart in front of a corner store, one flavor, one price ($2).

 

Fast food type lunch. Korean BBQ boneless chicken leg burger with perfectly crispy fries and light and crispy chicken wings (almost like a tempura batter).

 

Fried rice, BBQ beef with pepper lime sauce and greens.

 

Lemongrass beef curry with eggplant.

 

Dry cured crocodile. It tastes like a cross between beef jerky and fish.

 

Cambodian style noodle soup. Simple salty broth, your choice of 2 different noodles, carrot and turnip, random bits of beef or pork and some greens and fried garlic.

 

Thai suki hot pot. I didn’t even know that Thailand eats hot pot!

Phnom Penh, Cambodia fun.

I’m saving most of our travel pictures for when I come home and have a proper computer. I just wanted to let you know that we are head over heels in love with Cambodia. The food is great, it’s wild and chaotic and the people are the nicest, warmest, most happy people on the planet.

We are on the top floor of a clean hotel with a rooftop pool. Check out our view, we can see the Royal Palace from here.

 

Rooftop pool with view of the Mekong River.

 

The loveliest lady on the planet (with the exception of Kathleen Bordas).

 

 

 

Hungover?

 

 

Phnom Penh, Cambodia fun.

I’m saving most of our travel pictures for when I come home and have a proper computer. I just wanted to let you know that we are head over heels in love with Cambodia. The food is great, it’s wild and chaotic and the people are the nicest, warmest, most happy people on the planet. The only sad thing we’ve noticed so far is that the sex trade, especially child sex, is so readily available. I see so many single men roaming the streets often coupled with girls or boys a quarter their age. Many bad things happen here.

We are on the top floor of a clean hotel with a rooftop pool. Check out our view, we can see the Royal Palace from here.

 

Rooftop pool with view of the Mekong River.

 

The loveliest lady on the planet (with the exception of Kathleen Bordas).

 

 

 

Hungover?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The markets are a bit much…even for me.

 

Matt’s worst nightmare.

 

 

Beef noodle soup (the weakest one yet) and shrimp, squid and abalone. I have a small checklist of ingredients that I want to try before I die, a culinary bucket-list if you will, and abalone was at the top (maybe because it starts with an A?). Considered a luxury item in most parts of the world, abalone is often served at special events. I was absolutely surprised at how tender and delicious it was, the flavor and texture is almost identical to king oyster mushrooms.

 

BBQ’d chicken butts (SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOD!), chicken wings and steak with those crazy sweet greens.

 

Setting up the night market.

 

Fried noodles with fried egg.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cambodia is amazing!

BBQ Snake. It tastes like chicken beef jerky with a little more crunch.

 

Pork noodle soup with sprouts. The broth is simple, clear and salty.

 

Steak marinated in a sweet BBQ sauce with lots of hoisin. It came with a huge plate of greens I had never eaten before, very unique and herbal.

 

 

 

Thick udon like noodles fried with sprouts, bok choy and beef.

 

Deer steak with the most amazing pepper, garlic, chili and lime sauce.

 

Beef, chicken and shrimp Pho with sprouts and greens. One of the greens tastes like a mild sweet basil, it’s out of this world.

Too many socks, backpacking vs. campervaning.

By now it is clear to all that Matt and I enjoy traveling. We prefer to do it as much and as often as possible. Over the last 2 years we’ve spent more than 12 months living out of our campervan exploring Europe, we’ve also enjoyed several camping trips around lesser known parts of Bulgaria and finally, we are currently enjoying a 6 week trek around Southeast Asia. Our thirst for adventure in unquenchable.

 

A few days ago while we waited for our bus in Bangkok to take us to the southern islands of Thailand we met a friendly Canadian from Calgary who also had a passion for travel. As we told him about our year long trip around Europe he pointed out how different it must be now traveling out of a backpack.

Neither Matt nor I prefer a style of traveling over the other, they are just too different but I thought it would be interesting to make a list of pros and cons.

 

Campervaning:

 

Pros:

  • You get to see places and things most tourists will never see. I have a list of a hundred little villages and towns no one has ever heard yet are just as beautiful if not prettier than the tourist destinations.
  • You have your house with you, it’s impossible to get homesick.
  • You can cook like a local as you have your kitchen with you.
  • No waiting around wasting time. You don’t have to arrange your days around bus and train schedules, if you want to pack up and go you can.
  • You can stay neat and orderly, shirts are hung on real hangers and your pants are folded neatly in a cupboard.
  • A tiny bit of room for storage. Our camper has a “trunk” where we store tools, camping equipment, and a badminton set. Our roof top bin holds folding chairs, a table and a mini BBQ.
  • If you are in the mood to party, pull over and start dancing and drinking, no need to drink and drive, your bed is only 2 feet away.
  • Never knowing where we’d end up next.
  • You always have a washroom and a shower available.

 

Cons:

  • Everything you own is contained within a tin can thin walled vehicle. You always worry if the car is parked in a safe area, braking into a van is rather easy to do.
  • The cost of fuel
  • Parking and driving an oversized vehicle. Some ancient cities have tiny narrow roads, steep inclines are scary especially if you need to brake rapidly. Low hanging trees, electrical wires and driving under small bridges or tunnels can also be of concern.
  • Managing electricity, water and waste is a lot more complicated that you think. The first month with the camper we consumed water and electricity so rapidly that we needed a campsite every 2-3 days, by the end of our trip we could free camp for a month without any problems. Click here for more.
  • Showering. Our camper has a nice hot shower but it takes up a lot of water. Modern truck stops often offer showers for only a few dollars.
  • Never knowing where we’d end up next.

 

Backpacking:

  • Meeting new people (an often likeminded people). As soon as you strap on a large bag to your back fellow backpackers will find you and strike up fascinating conversations.
  • Interesting accommodations (with lovely hot showers). Sometimes you can luck out and get ultra-luxurious room at an affordable price.
  • Matt and I can experience everything together, sometimes I felt that Matt was missing out because he always had the responsibility of driving.

Cons:

  • Everything you own is in a thin fabric bag. Pickpockets target backpackers as they know that they will surely find something worth stealing.
  • Waiting for buses, planes and trains, so much time is wasted this way yet you can’t do anything about it.
  • Booking hotels, haggling for deals, not knowing where you will sleep next.
  • Food is more expensive when you have someone else make it for you.
  • Not being able to perform my #1 hobby, cooking.

 

So far our backpacking trip has gone smoothly with the exception of us catching colds. Our packs are comfortable and weigh 6 kilograms each and our day bag (we only have 1) an additional 4 kilograms. The only thing that I’ve packed which now seems superfluous are 5 pairs of socks, Matt brought gloves (?).