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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]

Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed..

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

As most people have experienced at some point while traveling, the weather can have a huge impact on your time spent in a certain place; what activities you do, how much a city appeals to you, etc. A much needed beach holiday can basically ruined by rain, as much as a skiing holiday can be a waste of money by lack of snow. Since it is an uncontrollable aspect of any day, traveling or not, you have to have some sort of back-up plan if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Unfortunately, if you’ve already paid for a certain tour or activity, and they do not factor in weather conditions, how much you enjoy that experience is really up to you.

[read on]