On Thai Weddings and catching up with good friends.

We crossed at Poipet/ Aranya Prathet. It’s amazing what an “imaginary line” can do. As soon as we crossed this line it was more than clear how much more affluent Thailand is compared to Cambodia. The roads were excellent, showing us the most immediate, obvious and visible difference! In no time at all, we had negotiated a tuk-tuk to take us the 7 kilometers or so to the main bus station, where we organised a bus to Bangkok. Before we knew it, we were on our way. The last time we had been to Thailand was about two and a half years ago, and I was astounded by the change. Over the last 19 years I have been to Thailand some 5 or 6 times, and each time I return, I am overwhelmed by its rate of growth and progress. It was great to see! This country had been very third world when I first visited, in the early 90’s, but now, wow, it’s moved into the 21st century with its pedal to the metal and in fifth gear!

Although we normally do not book places to sleep in advance, we had done so for our arrival in Bangkok, as we would be meeting some dear friends, and all attending a Thai wedding together. Just a bit of background information: Bec is from Canberra, and I met her in Bolivia in 1999 when I was on my South America trip. Birdie is Bec’s partner. Megs is originally from New Zealand, and was house sharing with Bec (she’s now back in New Zealand). Pong was also Bec’s flatmate – she’s Thai and was studying in Australia. Link is the man that Pong was about to marry. Alex and I met up with them all (apart from Link, obviously) on the many occasions we drove through Canberra when we had the jewellery business. So, how is this….Bec and Birdie fly from Australia, Megs from New Zealand, and Alex and I bus it over the border….so we can all hang out, and go to a wedding together. You have to love that!

Once we arrived in Bangkok, we caught a bus to our final destination. In Thailand, whilst tuk-tuks are still used, taxis are a better and inexpensive option if you do not desire to accommodate a decent portion of the city’s smog in your lungs. We ended up staying at the Sukhumvit Rd YHA (Youth Hostel). Whilst it was clean, and organised, I found it overpriced and, may I be forgiven for saying, anal. Years ago, I used to use these official youth hostels regularly, but I have found that in recent times they have changed a lot, and believe that they no longer represent the best value for money. In our case, however, it was in a location that was close to the wedding, and where we would all be together. You cannot and shouldn’t complain, I suppose, when it suits your purpose.

As soon as we entered we saw Bec and Birdie! Hugs all around! The last time we had seen Bec was in Darwin in June 2006 (just before we came away on this big trip), where a group of us did a several day hike in Kakadu National Park. Bec and I have a penchant of meeting up in exotic locations. We met in Bolivia (before I met Alex actually), we then met up again in Peru, where we crossed the Amazon River all the way through to Brazil, another time it was in Peru, then Kakadu, and now Thailand! Of course we have also caught up several times in both Melbourne and Canberra. Megs was due to arrive later that night. It felt so good to be amongst good friends! We all had so much to chat about, but where to start……with some good food say I!

Ah, Thai food! My favourite cuisine by a long shot! I had been dreaming about it for months, and in places like China, I longed for it desperately. Thailand never fails to impress me with its food, the best part being that decent food is even obtainable on the streets. In no time at all, I was chowing down a vegetarian and tofu pad thai, whilst the others opted for its carnivorous counterpart. After that it was chicken (or beef?) satay sticks….I may not eat meat but the satay had me licking my chops! Yay, at last decent food! It was lovely to be able to kick back and relax and just catch up. Megs arrived later that night, but we did not catch up until the next morning. I was somewhere between la-la land and seventh heaven!

The next few days were spent relaxing, chatting, doing some shopping, and getting ready for the wedding. Pong and Link came to visit us one night at the hostel. Not sure how they did it as they had so much to get organised, and there were only a few more days to go before the wedding. It was nice to be able to finally meet Link, as we had heard so much about him. On another day, Som (Pong’s sister) took us shopping as Megs and Bec had to get a traditional skirt and top, as they would both be participating in the wedding. The skirt was found with relative ease, but the top……long after Som had gone, Bec was beading blood, as finding an appropriate top seemed to elude her. I might add here that Bec HATES shopping! She eventually found her top (as did Megs) but she was so over it! And I thought I hated shopping! You win hands down Bec!

Pong and Link would be having a traditional Thai wedding, which would go all day, and include several ceremonies. The date was the 2nd of December. We all had to get up at the crack of dawn, as the gorgeous Pong had organised for we gals to have our hair styled. So get up early, and have ourselves showered and dressed we did. I had bought a lovely orange silk dress in Vietnam, and matched it up with some strappy shoes I had purchased here in Bangkok. Alex on the other hand had nothing to wear, but he seemed far less worried about it than I did. Actually at 4.00pm on the day before the wedding, in MBK, one of the city’s largest shopping centres, he had looked at everything but purchased nothing! The pressure was on! He persisted, and finally found the “whole ensemble”, including a shirt, slacks and shoes. I had reached the point where I was saying, “Just buy something and throw it away after the wedding if you don’t like it!”. Perseverance obviously paid off, and he finally got what he was looking for. That’s my tranquil Alex!

The boys watched as we had our hair styled. The girls also had their make up done, but I opted for doing my own. We then caught a taxi to our first destination; a beautiful hotel, where Pong and Link would partake in two small, separate and private ceremonies. The former was a Thai one, in honour of Pong’s family, and the latter a Chinese one, in honour of Link’s Chinese heritage. Being Pong’s friends, we attended, along with very small number of people, the first one. Pong wore different, but very beautiful and traditional gowns, for both of these ceremonies.

“ALater, we would all attend a huge lunchtime banquet. This was more for the family than the friends (that was to come later). In this instance there were lots of people, lots of food and lots of drinks. Our table even had a big sign sayingustralia”, which left the others with absolutely no doubt as to where we were all from. The food just kept on coming and coming, and the quality was top notch. Unlike Australian weddings there was no band or dancing, but it was still lots of fun and very enjoyable. We felt honored and privileged to be able to experience something so unique and different. It was at this reception that Pong wore a gorgeous, western style, wedding dress.

That evening, but in another location, there would be yet another party. This included nibblies and cocktails, and was for friends rather than family. It was more casual than the lunchtime function, and Pong surprised us again, with yet another exquisite dress. Having said that, Pong is categorically gorgeous, both inside and out, and she would look stunning in anything. If you are reading this Link, you scrubbed up OK as well! (In Australia…that means that you looked great too!)

Wow, it had been quite a day, a fun and munch-fest! And all in good company too! Needless to say, we all returned home exhausted, and in need of a good night’s sleep, as well as a sleep in.

The next day saw us all getting ourselves organised for the next part of our prospective journeys. Bec and Birdie had just over 4 weeks in total and wanted to visit Cambodia, and Megs had a total of 6 and was open to suggestions. As for Alex and I (time to let the cat out of the bag!), we had booked a flight home months ago in China, for the evening of the 24th of December, arriving in Melbourne on Christmas Day. We wanted to surprise Dad, but had also wanted to keep it a secret. So, our aim was to spend the last two weeks on a deserted Thai beach, doing nothing but relaxing! Of course, we would allow some shopping days just before our return!

But, where to go? Anything that even whiffed of a resort and a million foreigners, was immediately ruled out for us. Thus places like Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui did not even hit the radar. We finally decided on the area around Ko Chang, in the Gulf of Thailand. What we definitely did not want to do was jump from one place to another, as we’d been doing this on close to 16 months! Bec and Bird were off to Cambodia, and Megs would come along with us. Sorted!

We had all had a wonderful time together, but as always, it was time to move on! I want to make a special mention of a beautiful French family we met at the Sukhumvit YHA. Sylvie and Serge were travelling around-the-world with three children, the youngest being Milla. Despite the fact that she mostly only spoke French, this little girl clearly showed how desire can bring so many things to fruition. She used her French, a little Spanish (that she had learnt in Peru), a little English and body language to make herself understood. When I asked her, “Do you speak English?”, she gave me this cheeky little grin, and answered in French, “Un petite po” (spelling?), which means a little bit. We had absolutely no problem understanding each other. She had such an amazing spirit and energy, and each time she would see me, she would give me a big hug. I will never forget her!

Ombi

Dedication: This one is for Milla. Milla you were like a shining light in a dark room. Although little, your smile was huge and radiant. Every time I saw you you made my heart sing. May you never lose that contagious smile and love of life. I looked at you, and saw myself. May adulthood never change your indomitable spirit!


” I have found that if you love life, life will love you back”
– Arthur Rubinstein (1886 – 1982).

(Photos: 1.- Two very itchy pairs of feet in a tuk-tuk,Bangkok. 2.-Entering Thailand on the Cambodia/ Thai border. What part of “don’t do drugs” don’t people get? 3.-Ombi and Birdie…sipping on a Birdy. Cold coffee in a can, Bangkok. 4.- The future bride and groom to be with the “mob” at the hostel in Bangkok. L to R: (top) Megs, Ombi, Bec & Alex. (bottom) Birdie, Pong & Link. 5.-The bridesmaids and me. L to R: Bec, Ombi & Megs. 6.- Pong and Link after their Thai Wedding Ceremony. 7.-Lunchtime wedding reception. Bec, Birdie, and …..Babe’s youngest offspring on a plate! 8.-The Australian contingent at the lunchtime reception. L to R: Alex, Ombi, Megs, Bec & Birdie. 9.- The Aussie contingent yet again at the nighttime wedding reception. Welcome to the “Cafe d’Love”. 10.- The Jetsons? No, Bangkok in the 21st century! Makes Melbourne look so yesterday. 11.-Ombi with L to R: Milla, Jodie and Brad. 12.- Ombi & Milla.)

Angkor What?

Siem Reap is Cambodia’s cultural and spiritual heartbeat, and indeed no visit would be complete without visiting the infamous temples of Angkor, only a few kilometres away. Siem Reap has become quite the thriving little metropolis! Maybe too much so! It now abounds with throngs of people on tour groups, who probably visit little else in Cambodia. The problem is that many look like they should be on a Milan catwalk, and look rather out of place amongst the poverty that surrounds them. This flaunting of wealth looks not only ridiculous, but totally out of place, in a country where so many people live precariously below the poverty line! Gucci handbags and stilettos have never really been my thing, but here they look both obscene and ostentatious! But that’s not all folks (not only do you get the free steak knives……) Siem Reap is full of pumping bars and pubs, pushing equally obscenely priced drinks………..whilst the locals walk around trying to make a living by selling whatever they can on the streets ! Alex and I refused to go to these places and pay the prices, and indulged in some phenomenal street food instead, thus trying to put some money back into the economy and helping the locals, rather than lining the pockets of the big players and the multi-nationals. Our gesture may have been small, but it was our way of showing some of the solidarity that humankind seems to steadfastly be losing!

Angkor Wat is free to the locals (and so it should be!) but overpriced for foreigners; a day pass costs USD $20.00, a three day pass $40.00 and a weekly pass $60.00. I almost would not have minded paying it, had I known that the money was helping its people. But no, a very small amount goes into conservation of the site (as in 10%) and the rest gets sucked into that vortex, possibly called corruption! I have never seen such a famous site so crowded and full of people. As I looked around and did my maths, I figured that the money being made on entry fees would be phenomenal….but where was it going? Was it fixing the roads? Was it feeding its people and eliminating poverty? Was it going towards a better education and thus helping create a future for its people? Having said all of this, as the Cambodians struggle to rebuild their lives after years of tragedy, trauma and terror, the temples are a point of pilgrimage for them, and no traveller would want to miss their extravagant beauty! Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place!

Nothing, however, could take away from the Temples of Angkor. We had been told to prepare for divine inspiration! Indeed the temples of Angkor, capital of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer empire, are the perfect fusion of creative ambition and spiritual devotion. Regardless of one’s spiritual beliefs, nothing can take away from these most majestic structures, and the spiritual passion that went into their creation. The Cambodian royalty of old each strove to better their ancestors in size, scale and symmetry, culminating in the world’s largest religious building, namely Angkor Wat. What most people do not realise is how expansive the area containing the temples actually is. It cannot all be done by foot. One needs a bike, at the very least (and only for the smaller circuit), and only by taking a motorbike or a tuk-tuk (like a motorised motorcycle, with a carriage behind and taking up to 4 people) can you see the bulk of the sights. Can it be done in a day? It depends how long it takes you to get “temple burnout”!

Being the self-confessed culture junkie that I am, we spent a full three days at the various temples. Without a doubt, they were magnificent, and each had something remarkable to offer. On the first day, we did what is known as the Little Circuit, which is 17 kilometres and begins at Angkor Wat. We took a tuk-tuk, and hopped on and off at will. The way it works is that you effectively pay a driver for the day, and he goes where you wish, and waits for you, then taking you on to the next place you wish to visit.

Our first port of call was Angkor Wat. Although it was packed to the rafters with camera toting tourists, nothing could take away from its majesty. On coming around the corner and seeing it, live, for the first time, Alex and I were speechless! (Yeh, I know, doesn’t happen often with me!) It’s hard to describe, and re-live that spine-tickling moment when you emerge on the inner causeway and this temple of such grandeur presents itself for the very first time. I was overcome with emotion, and my eyes brimmed with tears as I, yet again on this amazing journey, thanked the universe for being able to experience that which I was experiencing! Although full of people, it was still an amazing experience to be able to walk around and explore this temple. Some of it is in excellent condition, and there are other parts that require ducking down and exploring, as if you were in an Indiana Jones movie. The bas reliefs are intricate and delicate, the most famous at this site being its beguiling apsara, or heavenly nymphs. Just to give you an idea of size, and exploration possibilities, Angkor Wat is surrounded by a moat, 190 metres wide, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1.5 kilometres by 1.3 kilometres.

There were many, many temples, and over the first two days we saw many. On Day 2 we did what is known as the Big Circuit, which at 26 kilometres is an extension of the small circuit, and includes a multitude of other temples as well as the ancient gates that once enclosed the city. To be perfectly honest, it certainly is a lot to take in over a couple of days, and although each temple is different, after seeing so many, it can become difficult to recall each on individually. There are a few, however that really stand out. Bayon is one of these. The temple’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of enormous stone faces which are presented upon entering. The overall feeling is that there is a force here that is really bigger than us or that we can imagine! Preah Khan was another. It is a huge, highly explorable monastic complex, full of carvings and passages. The bulk of the fun was to wander and to see where it would take you.

Ta Prohm was undoubtedly the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor, and quite possibly my favourite one. Unlike most of the temples, it has been left to be swallowed by the jungle, and has that real “Tomb Raider” feel. Indeed part of the movie “Lara Croft – Tomb Raider” , starring Angelina Jolie, was filmed here, and you can even see the infamous “tomb raider” tree, where Jolie picked a jasmine flower before falling through the earth into…………probably some studio set! Ta Prohm is a temple of towers, close courtyards and narrow corridors, many clogged with jumbled piles of delicately carved stone blocks, dislodged by the roots of trees that have long since died. This temple truly transported me elsewhere, as my mind wandered…..where, what, why, how!

The list of temples and terraces we saw was both endless and astounding. We saw a spectacular sunset from Baphuon, a temple which is a pyramidal representation of the mythical Mt Meru, highly revered by Hindus and Buddhists alike. It’s a 10 to 15 minute climb uphill to get there, and I truly felt like I was on an ant trail (read chock-a-block full of people!), but the views were mesmerising. The fact that all of these temples are set in and amongst the jungle gives the whole area a very surreal and yesteryear feel!

On our third and last day, we took the 50 kilometre and very dusty trip out to Kbal Spean. Bitumen…..what’s that! We met a lovely Belgian couple in Siem Reap, split the cost, and took a remorque -moto (a motorcycle with a hooded carriage towed behind) out there. The journey to get there was actually half the fun, as we passed many traditional villages and villagers. These people seem to live a very simple and unfussy life style. As we whizzed by, they looked at us with curiosity. They were probably wondering what all the fuss was about . What we find fascinating and amazing is really just their backyard! Kbal Spean is a spectacularly carved riverbed, set deep in the jungle. Again, it’s the stuff that movies are made of. It’s a 1.5 kilometre walk up towards the carvings, and the path takes you through the jungle, passing by some interesting boulder formations along the way. The carvings include Vishnu, Shiva and a number of other Hindu deities, but the most interesting is the hundreds of linga that appear on the riverbed downstream. These are phallic symbols which have quite literally been cut into the riverbed, as the water continues to flow over them.

You may have heard that land mines are still a big problem in Cambodia. Although it is not something that affected us directly, it is still a big issue. On our way to Kbal Spean, we read the following in our Cambodia Lonely Planet guide, ” LAND MINE ALERT! At no point during a visit to Kbal Spean or Phnom Kulen should you leave well trodden paths, as there are land mines in the area.” This is also the thing that movies are made of!

After three days of temple after temple, I admit that we had both had enough of….temples! Instead of going straight to Bangkok, which was effectively supposed to be our next destination, we decided to do a boat trip to Battambang, as we had heard that the scenery was supposed to be amongst Cambodia’s best. In a tale to rival all tales, we were picked up early the next morning and crammed into a mini-bus. Crammed as in, no room left and dangerous! Alex and I began to voice our opinions and concerns, but it was obviously falling on deaf ears. After some 15 minutes of travelling in the foetal position (as there wasn’t room for much else), we arrived at the “port”. I couldn’t help thinking that this was going to be a good one! Apart from the trash and junk lying everywhere, I looked at the various “boats” and wondered whether they were going to be used as firewood, or whether they were truly going to be our mode of transportation. Not the safest looking boats I have ever seen! Needless to say, prospective firewood they were not!

The trip to Battambang took some 7 hours, in a rickety and somewhat uncomfortable sea vessel, which albeit survived the odds and stayed afloat! As we travelled along the Sangker River, we did pass some amazing scenery and many riverside villages. Having spent so much time on various bodies of water in the last months, however, we were perhaps a little bit blaze about it. To be brutally honest we were both looking forward to meeting up with Bec, Birdie and Megan in Bangkok, where we would all be meeting up for a Thai wedding. Battambang was an interesting enough place, and after looking for a place to spend the night, and dumping our bags, we had a bit of a walk around. Cambodia’s second largest city had an excellent market place and some wonderful coffee and food. We indulged in both! Our time here was short and brief, and we were keen to go. We had a couple of options. The first was to take the bus passing through from Phnom Penh at around 1.00pm. As it would take 8 or 9 hours, we did not want to get to Bangkok that late. Option 2 was to organise a private taxi to the border, and then catch an ongoing bus to our final destination. We opted for the latter, as we could choose our departure time, thus being able to leave early and arrive at our final destination at a reasonable hour.

Our tummies filled with good food and coffee, we had an excellent night’s sleep, and were ready to go at 7.30am the next morning. We would be travelling with a Dutch couple who were also on their way to Bangkok. The trip to the border was smooth and pleasant. We did pass an accident along the way, however, which left me a little shell shocked. Lying on the side of the road was a motorbike, and a bloodied person who was being given CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) by a bystander. My humanitarian instinct made me want to stop and help, but then I reconsidered the option of giving mouth-to-mouth to a blood spattered victim in a country with poor hygiene and where the AIDS/ HIV infection rate is the highest in Asia. I sighed deeply and that image I had just beheld was my faithful companion all the way to the border.

We arrived safely some 3 hours later, thanking and paying our taxi driver, and farewelling our recently acquired Dutch friends. Exiting Cambodia was easy and painless, and we soon found ourselves in Thailand, a country that I have visited often and which I love dearly.

Ombi

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act ” – George Orwell (1903 – 1950).

(Photos: 1.- One of the many faces of Bayon, on the walkway to the temple, Siem Reap. 2.- The infamous yet impressive temples of Angkor Wat. 3.- Monks entering Bayon Temple. 4.- Intricate bas relief, Angkor Wat. 5.- Ombi & Alex….tomb raiders! Ta Phrom Temple. 6.- Kbal Spean, river carvings. 7.- Some use a boat, some use a bowl! Leaving Siem Reap to go to Battambang by boat. 8.- On the Sangker River, on the way to Battambang. 9.- Loading up a pick-up…..Battambang style! 10.- That’s me again in the Tomb Raider Temple, aka Ta Phrom.)

R’n’R in Sihanoukville.

As I have already mentioned, Cambodia wins no prizes in the outstanding road stakes. It’s a poor country, and its roads reflect this. The “main drag” from the capital to Sihanoukville was no different. The countryside certainly reflected the nation’s poverty, and as always, it’s interesting to be the quiet observer. Local transport always gives one the opportunity to do this. Sihanoukville is effectively Cambodia’s beach town getaway, but it’s still light years behind most Thai resorts and beaches. This alone , however, surely has to be an enticing thing!

Upon arrival, we caught a couple of motorbikes (drivers included!) in a bid to look for some accommodation, as the main sleeping area was a ways from the bus station. What a sight we must have looked, flying along the road, complete with two humongous backpacks hanging off us! It did not take us long to work out that although we had not paid a lot to be driven around, that the drivers were taking us to places where they would get a commission. After stop number two, we thanked them profusely, and scuttled away to look around ourselves. It is always the cheaper option! We eventually did find a nice little room in a place that was made of wood and set up on stilts. It was close enough to walk to the beach, but far enough that we could fall asleep at night without the echoes of duf-duf music!

It was lovely to be able to just hang out and relax on a beach. Actually, it had been so long since we had done absolutely nothing! Being a tourist is easy, being a traveller is not! Most of our time was spent hanging out on the beach……my hobby being running along it, and Alex’s eating on it! There was always some vendor walking along and selling various tidbits, like fruit or grilled seafood. Speaking of seafood, it was a great place to indulge, and most nights were spent at one of the various beach front restaurants (read: tables and chairs on the sand, only metres away from the sea). No problemo, we vegetarians were also well catered for, and I had night after night of some truly excellent cuisine, mainly in the form of curries. The green curry in particular was top notch! Imagine…..tables and chairs on the beach, relaxing by the moonlight, and eating fresh and yummy food! We were definitely onto a winner! As far as how “beautiful” the beach was is debatable. Rubbish everywhere! That always ruins it for me! A believer in “leading by example”, one day Alex and I walked along the beach, with two plastic bags, and filled them up to the brim with scattered trash. The freaks were back! Our biggest stares were from the locals! I am always saddened by the sight of garbage strewn everywhere, and am mostly infuriated when foreigners throw it. They do not do it in their own country (or maybe they do), so why do it in somebody else’s?

There are a few beaches in and around Sihanoukville. We decided to stay at a place called Serendipity Beach. It’s also a place surrounded by little islands and reefs. We had heard that the diving was only average, compared to Thailand, so we decided to save our money, and do a little snorkeling instead. There are many operators who organise day trips, so we chose one (they all seemed much of a muchness) and just went with it. Our snorkeling day trip proved to be both fun and relaxing, with a stopover on an almost deserted island (I can see that that will not be for long though!), where we also had a picnic lunch. There were a few (overpriced!) bungalows on the island, and a few bar/restaurants with even more overpriced cocktails. I could not help but think that this would eventually become another Phuket. One can only hope not! From what we were looking at, the odds were stacked against it.

On another day, we also hired a bike and visited the local market. Lots of fruit, veggies, food, people, and information (too much of it!). There are parts of the markets we visit that I simply refuse to go through. The meat section is one of them! Sorry, I just don’t do slabs of unrefrigerated meat, under hot tin roofs with flies hanging around! Guess what those flies use as a landing pad? In many of these markets, the hygiene has been appalling; well, the hygiene that I am used yo any way!

We also cycled to a beach called Victory Beach, which used to be the original backpacker hang out. I must say, the beach is hardly very enticing, nor are the people who seem to frequent the area. I found the whole area rather seedy and full of grotesque foreigners with young Cambodian girls. Prostitution is indeed a huge problem in Cambodia, and also huge is the amount of foreigners, with neither morals nor social conscience, who go out with these prostitutes! Whilst I pass absolutely no judgement on these women, I do on the men! Get a grip fellas, do you think these women are with you because you are hot……or because you can provide them with more in a day than they can make in a year! I would imagine that with the paltry wages women make in Cambodia being taken out for dinner for a night, and perhaps being given a piece of jewellery is not only a luxury but a big deal indeed. Not to mention the food for the family, that that newly acquired (tiny amount of) money might buy!

Siem Riep and Angkor Wat were going to be our next destination, but yet again, we would have to go through Phnom Penh (remember, all roads lead to Phnom Penh). At the very time we would be passing through, there would be Bon Om Tuk, the water festival is held here each year sometime between late October and November. Boat races are held on the Tonle Sap river and up to 2 million people are supposed to flood the capital for fun and frolics. Finding accommodation is supposed to be a nightmare! Neither of us were in the mood to find out, and besides, time was running out, as we would be meeting some friends (more of this later) in Bangkok at the end of November for a Thai wedding. We had been told that we would not be able to go straight through to Siem Riep as the traffic in the capital would be horrendous, which it was. The capital was full of party goers, and it was crowded to capacity, but we did find a bus that would be going on to our final destination, thankfully, where we eventually arrived quite late at night.

It was probably around 8.00pm, and we were exhausted. It had been a long day, and all we wanted was a place to rest our weary heads. It’s never that easy though, is it? So, we trudged around until we found a place to our liking, and we finally did! Once in Siem Riep, apart from wanting to rest my weary head, the only thing I wanted to know was….”Who won the election????”. We were travelling on election day, and I was anxious to get the results. So, we walked around for a while, whilst I asked a few people, “Are you Australian?”. I am pretty good with guessing nationalities, so it did not take me long to find a compatriot. And YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES, the race was finally over for Johhny Bush (or is his name George Howard?), his “presidential” term was over, and he even lost his own seat!!!!!! Johnny who? Perhaps there is a god after all!

Ombi

“If you don’t run your own life, somebody else will” John Atkinson.

(Photos:1.- R’n’R in Sihanoukville. 2.- Serendipity Beach, Sihanoukville. 3.- Throw another fish on the barbie, Sihanoukville. 4.- Paradise, on one of the islands near Sihanoukville.
5.- More R’n’R in Sihanoukville. 6.- It’s pretty sad when advertising has to come to this………..TOURISTS SAY NO TO CHILD SEX!!! 7.- A portrait of the photographer (one of the few I can take credit for). 8.- Outside Angkor Wat. Q: Why are we so blissfully happy? Answer 1: Because we are at Angkor Wat? or Answer 2: Because Johnny lost the elections? )