Visas and Elephants
Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
82Trip End Sep 01, 2006
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Where I stayed
Although the plan was to already be in Vietnam by now, due to Chinese New Year and not being able to get a visa, Danny and I have stayed in Cambodia for an extra week. Don't really mind as Cambodia has been great. While finding this out in the tour place we spied a poster for 'Nature Lodge' a guest house in Mondulkiri (East Cambodia) with cheap bungalows, elephant trekking, meditation and swimming. So great was the poster we booked a bus trip on the spot. As we don't seem to be having much luck with buses, it was no surprise when it only managed 30 minutes on the road before spluterring to a stop. Two hours and a new battery later we head off again. This time the bus lasted 10 minutes before giving up and we had to head back to Phnom Pehn. Up at 5:30 the next day to try again and noticing it's the same bus as before now with twice as many people we don't hold much hope
Unfortunately no meditation or yoga yet as the hut is yet to be built, still the guy who will be running the classes was a lovely Korean guy affectionately referred to by the owners as Viet-cong. Although said in jest there are in fact a huge number of Vietnamese living in the area. He is also setting up a gallery called 'kiss on the hill of wind' a great name and the literal translation for Mondulkiri.
Over the next couple of days we went swimming in the river pool at the bottom of the garden (freezing and full of frogs), explored the local area which reminded me of Aussie bush as there are so many gum trees and we went elephant trekking. The trekking was so much fun and to be so close to such beautiful huge animals was great, especially when I helped give her a bath in the river
Another early start the next day (so much easier when it's warm and you don't have to drive to work) and the bus back to Phnom Pehn, thankfully no problems and no loud karaoke from the on board tv which seems to be so popular here.
So back in Phnom Pehn again and we checked out the notorious 'Heart of Darkness' bar which is supposed to be the hardest bar in Cambodia. Not much darkness since Lonely Planet got a hold of it and is now just a trendy nightspot for khmer and backpackers but dancing was fun.
On to Vietnam tomorrow (bus willing) and it always feels strange heading into a new country with new currency (another one to calculate with), rules, fears and vibe
The best guide book quote from Cambodia we found is under dangers and annoyances "Should you be held at gunpoint, raise the hands in the air, as to go for your pockets is to reach for a weapon in the mind of the assailant" !!! I just have this image of someone being held up, being told to lie down on the ground or hand over their wallet and them holding their hands up saying sorry Lonely Planet told me to hold my hands up!
Both of us are valiantly fighting off colds but looking forward to what Ho Chi Minh has to offer,
Missing you all, Kate & Danny :)
ps. our tally so far is 2 broken down buses, 4 flat tyres, 7 pairs of flip flops (AKA thongs) and 4 pairs of sunglasses, and it's only been 4 months!