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The Rarest of All

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Feeling refreshed on my last morning in Siem Reap, I decided to do a last minute,very touristy activity, and take a ride in the hot air balloon over Angkor Wat. Since my 3 day pass had expired the day before, I was concerned that I would need to buy another one day pass, but my moto driver Red assured me that he knew a way around the checkpoint, and after calling the place to make sure they were flying, off we went. Red took me the long way around, towards the airport and onto a backroad, where the checkpoint to enter Angkor Wat was only two blocks further up from the the hot air balloon place. Relieved, I was greeted quickly by an attendant, and told it would be only about 30 minutes, since they were in the middle of a large tour group. I was the only person there on my own, the entire waiting area was full of Japanese tourists. Since I had never been in a hot air balloon before, I was a little nervous, but quickly assured after realizing it was attached to a large wire. After paying my exhorbant $15 fee, I waited my turn and finally boarded the huge platform area with about 15 other people. The balloon quickly took off, and lucky for us, it was a nice clear day, or else we wouldn’t have been able to see diddly squat. Angkor Wat was miles away, and without a decent telephoto lens, the pictures I took are laughable.  The breezey 20 minute ride was soon over, and with that so was my visit to Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat temples. [read on]

Reaping the Rewards

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

The Temples of Angkor Wat is a huge and vast complex of temples, varying in degree of age, architectural style, and cultural and religious significance. Slightly misleading is the name, as Angkor Wat is actually just one particular temple, but the name “Angkor” refers to the capital of the ancient Khmer empire, spanning over 600 yearsfrom AD 802 to 1432. There are hundreds of temples included in the complex, as well as some that are hours away from Siem Reap and are not included in the Angkor Wat pass. The big decision is always on how many days to visit the temples, as you have choices of only a one, three or seven day pass. Most people I’ve met go for three days, though I’ve met one woman who did a seven day and loved it, and a few who did a one day and said that was enough for them. Paul and I opted for a three day pass, based solely on time restraints, and though I think I might have been able to do a few more days, we managed to accomplish quite a lot in the time we had. [read on]

Bada Bing, Battambang

Friday, July 14th, 2006
The town of Battambang is actually Cambodia's second largest city, situated on the banks of the Stung Sangker river. Paul and I didn't know much about Battambang, only that the boat trip to Siem Reap was the main reason people stop ... [Continue reading this entry]

A World Away

Friday, July 14th, 2006
The sun was shining brightly as I woke up in our luxurious guesthouse in Pnomh Penh. I checked my watch, and it was only about 8:30am, which was clearly not a long enough sleep after the previous days' travel, but ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Holy Shit Factor

Sunday, July 9th, 2006
(Congratulations to my sister and her husband on the birth of their son, born July 7th. I love you guys!) The small town of Trat in southern Thailand is the last stopover before crossing over the border into Cambodia, about an ... [Continue reading this entry]

Bangkok, Volume I – The Khao San Road Experience

Monday, July 3rd, 2006
Everyone has an opinion about Bangkok, whether good or bad. The capital city of Thailand, Bangkok can be just a quick stopover on your way to the next place, or will keep you marooned as days and weeks seemingly float ... [Continue reading this entry]