So….3 countries later..we decide to update our blog! Yeah, we’ve been busy and just now have the downtime….so be prepared to read for a while..grab some wine or coffee and enjoy!
We made it into Cambodia starting in Phnom Phen..the capital. We were greeted at the bus station (or something resembling one)…by a smiley tuk-tuk driver who was eager to show us around his city..and thus became our personal driver for our time there. We toured the city…saw many pics of Angelina Jolie (café’s she frequented etc.)…stopped into the Canadian Embassy (to pick up much awaited bank card!)…and enjoyed the many markets. We also visited the Killing Fields and S-21, both sites where people were killed and buried (mass graves) during the Khmer Rouge regime. It was a very solemn visit to both sites….and we all had a greater feeling of gratitude and respect for the Cambodian people..what resilience and strength. We then spent 2 days at an orphanage..playing with the kids, bringing them rice, journals, pencils and also fresh food from the markets. It was an amazing experience…again seeing the strength of the children…starting even from the small age of 3...
We then ventured north to Siem Reap…where we spent the next few days shopping, relaxing, trying to stay cool in the Cambodian heat…with no pool or ocean to be found!…and thus finding some good shows on Discovery Channel! Hey…backpacking is tough work..need some downtime! There we also visited a land mine museum, where it explained in great detail the work one man and his crew are doing to rid their country of its millions of land mines. We also went to the infamous Angkor Wat temple…and various other ancient temples hidden in the jungle….for example…the temple in Tomb Raider! It was crazy to just walk into the jungle and stumble across these huge temples…many with buddah or other godly faces built into them…staring out at you! We spent all day touring them, climbing onto them…and being amazed by the architecture. We got caught in a rain storm while in Angkor Wat temple…and it was simply beautiful!
From Siem Reap…we got to check out the dodgy airline…Laos Airlines…because it’s the only way out of Cambodia into Laos from that point. It was nice to fly..but both Clint and I forgot what it was like to fly..and had to have our bags searched…forgot about those nail clippers and screwdrivers..! We thought Clint was going to have to stay behind! We made it into Laos..flying into Vientiane..the capital. We quickly realized that there really wasn’t much to do there..so we left the next day via bus to southern Laos…into Vang Vieng. Now this was a fun place! It was very touristy with nothing but restauraunts, guest homes, and tour shops. We enjoyed good food…complete with a different movie or rerun of “Friends” every night!…it was nice! It was here too that we floated down the river for 4hrs in a tire tube, jumped off swings into the river, kayaked in a torrential rain storm (so thick you couldn’t see anything right in front of you!) and did some great rock climbing! We also went to an organic farm, trekked through a cave with fire torches and enjoyed the beauty of Laos.
We then enjoyed a very scenic and curvy drive to our last stop in Laos…Luang Prabang. Here we decided to see what the “Land of the Elephants” really had to offer…so we went to a 2 day Mahout training camp (elephant trainers!). We got to stay in real cool huts in the jungle, ride the elephants both bareback and in the wicker chairs, drive the elephants by sitting on their heads and saying simple commands, and wash the elephants while still sitting on their backs (we got wet!). It was beautiful walking into the jungle at 630am to go and get the elephants from where they sleep at night…listening to the mahouts sing their songs and letting your body move with the elephants. We also got to kayak back to the city…doing some small but very fun rapids, eating lunch in our boats on the water, and just enjoying paddling for 3hrs in the sun.
Well, currently we are in Thailand!…We flew into Chiang Mai…northern Thailand. We chose the 1hr flight vs. the 3 day boat trip going against the current on the mighty Mekong river!…good choice! We enjoyed some major market shopping and also did a Thai cooking course there. We got to spend all day cooking and eating our own food. It was so good and very relaxing, but all 3 of us didn’t feel well for the next few days…! Guess we won’t be making any of those dishes for you when we get home! We then ventured to Bangkok..on an overnight bus…and our first taste of the big city was being dropped off in the pouring rain at 530am…and now find someplace to sleep! After a rest we enjoyed shopping down the famous shopping street…Koh San Road! Bright lights…crazy folk with corn braids, dreads and all kinds of things to buy. I (Doria) took a road trip to Pattaya..2hrs away..to visit a friend (Kari Satre..for those who know her!)…where I got to help teach her music class ..and be her surprise guest for a day! I also got to arrive back into Bangkok for rush hour!…my taxi driver spoke English so we had a good chat..and he had good tunes on the radio!
We were happy to leave the big city and finally get to the beach….the southern islands!! What we’ve been waiting for! We started on the east side of the country…with Koh Tao…a small island known for its diving! So…we took our Open Water Scuba Diving course in 4 days and we all just loved it! Yeah….we’re divers now! We got to swim with sharks..which to say the least was AMAZING! Our resort was also quite beautiful….and we enjoyed good food and brilliant sunsets every evening over the ocean. It must’ve been good because now, we are currently enjoying the sun on Koh Phanagan…(1hr speedboat south of Koh Tao) but are heading back to Koh Tao to do our Advanced Diving Course tomorrow! We just can’t get enough…we just want to dive..and this time we get to see what kind of animals come out at night! We dive at night…learn to navigate ourselves under water, go deeper to 30metres…and other various fun dives!
So..needless to say…we are enjoying ourselves, getting lots of sun..(and ok tans!) and getting the R&R we wanted and needed! This will likely be one of our last updates…because truly…the rest of our trip will be the same! We are heading to Phi Phi island after we finish our diving, which is on the other coast of Thailand…supposed to be one of the most beautiful beaches…and we will spend a week or so there just beaching it! Then we head to Kuala Lumpur for a few days…then to Singapore for a few…to get a small taste of Malaysia…then we head to London for 9 days. After that, Team DMC is no more….awwww…. We were just getting used to one another!
I, Doria, will be heading home to Canada…getting there late on July 10th. Melissa is heading to South Carolina..to spend some time with her brother before heading home to Canada. Last but not least.. Clinton is continuing the backpacking (brave man!)…into Europe, the States and likely also into Canada because he’ll miss us and want to visit! So….that is the trip! I hope you’ve enjoyed our stories and pics! Thanks for coming along! Stay tuned for the 10yr reunion trip of Team DMC! haha ciao! J
Internet connection not good!...will have to wait till i get home on July 10th for a whole slideshow of pics!! Hope you have a few hrs! teehee