…entre nous soit dit…

between me you and the gatepost.

More updates!!

Finally put up some more of the old posts… Eventually I’ll get there, but I’m so back logged at the moment. Siem Reap may take me a while seeing as I still have to sort through all of my temple photos before I can finish off the wrap up for Siem Reap. So I might not get that done for a while yet.

In the mean time, enjoy these random ones:

A Boat Trip. A Boat Trip. A Boat Trip… Sorry am I repeating? It felt like the trip was THAT long…

and

Kraitie… is dismal.

and

Random Thoughts

and 

Kampot is here!

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February 11, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, just a quick note, Travel, Updates! | Leave a comment

What a great fucking night. Not.

Well tonight I was actually fucking scared.

I was scared because some freaky ass guy was fucking stalking me. He followed me for three whole blocks while I was walking alone at night time.

And it’s not like I imagined it or exaggerate either. When I first realised he was there I began walking into shops and pretending to look at things so that way if he wasn’t following me he would end up infront of me, but he didn’t. He’d always wait outside or the one time he saw me looking straight at him, he walked a couple of shops up the street and waited there instead.

Then when I was nearing the end of the shops and the lihts (and too freaked out to keep going), I turned around  and went back a couple of  shops. That’s when I realised that it was official seeing as he followed me backwards. There was no escaping the fact then.

So I went across to the big hotel across the street, freaked out as all hell, and he watched me go. I went to the reception and he called someone to take me back to my hotel.

I got back and walked into our room. Mum was there because she’d been out with others from our group tonight instead, hence why I went off alone. This was the exact conversation that followed:

Mum: So, what did you buy?

Me: Nothing except a cyclo ride back.

Mum: Oh ok.

Me: I wouldn’t have taken it, I would have just walked, except someone was following me so I just wanted to get home and away from him.

Mum: How much did it cost you?

Me: Fifteen [fifteen thousand Vietnamese dong = roughly just under US$1]

Mum: Oh well not much then. I picked up your laundry…[and then she launched into her story about how she went across to the place where the boys were having drinks and coincidently where the laundry lady is, and how she got the laundry and then sat with the boys. Then about how they had told her about how they had both slept with one of the girls in the group and mum was saying how amazed she was about it and basically that Sarah was “doing the rounds” (Mum’s equivalent of saying being a slut) and the boys didn’t think much of Sarah.]

Not once did she ask me about the guy that had been stalking me. Not once did she care about any detail to do with it. She didn’t care at all. It was more important to talk about the laundry and the groups dirty gossip than to ask her daughter about a man that perhaps could have beaten, raped and mugged her daughter if things had gone differently (and I was carrying US$150 with me as well). Heck, he could have just kidnapped me and sold me into the sex industry. It’s not like it doesn’t happen here.

Ok, I know those possibilities are far fetched and unlikely. If anything had of come of it, it most likely would have only been a mugging…. But I was carrying an excessive amount with me tonight, and a mugging is a mugging – it’s still going to frighten the fuck out of anyone. No one is used to something like that to the point where it isn’t frightening anymore. 

I honestly couldn’t believe it, and so I shut myself in the bathroom to do some more laundry in the sink. After  came out of there she said some small things but I was in no mood to talk – especially not about that guy. She tried probing and I told her I didn’t want to talk to her about it seeing as she obviously didn’t care about it… that resulted in a fight naturally and her defense was that she didn’t know what to do or how to react because I’m always snappy and moody. 

So I told her that if she really thought that was the best way to deal with it then that was fine, and the next time she was stalked and felt like her life could be threatened, then I’d also ignore it as well and talk about something completely and utterly menial.

Then she told me I was being ridiculous, and I said I wasn’t because the fact was she didn’t care. She was a mother and didn’t as even a single question when her daughter came in and said she’d been followed. She hadn’t been worried even in the slightest and now she was just trying to change the direction of the conversation so that she could feel better about herself.

It was just after that, that I took the childish option to leave (dramatic I suppose). I walked out of the room and took my laptop. Now I’m sitting downstairs in the empty restaurant almost wishing that I was back home (part of me was sad tonight that there’s only just over a week left of traveling – despite the fact that I still don’t like Vietnam all that much).

I think I’ve sat down here for the last two hours purely because I wanted to punish her and make her worry. She deserved it. But that’s just the childish part of me coming out again. I couldn’t have stayed in the room though. It was too stuffy in there with the two of us and I wouldn’t have been free of her annoying me.

Anyways, I think the staff here have almost given up hope of me leaving. The restaraunt has been empty except for me, for the last hour or so. They’ve made it clear they want to go home – actually I think they have all gone home except the manager. So I might clear out and go back upstairs. I’ll shut myself in the bathroom and wash my hair or something –  a last resorted attempt to shut myself in another room/somewhere away from my mother.

Goodnight.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, experiences, family, just a quick note, life, moods, people, Personal, trouble | Leave a comment

Some Old Photos From the Orphanage

I was looking through some of the old photos from the orphanage and I thought I’d load up these ones.

The first one is actually one of my favourite photos from my time at the orphanage. The boys had found a mask left behind by one of the construction workers and had realised that if you look through it everything looks different. They pulled me over one day and said, “Come look at the sun, it’s blue!” and gave me the mask. Because it’s a welders mask, it has tinting in it to protect the eyes from the glare of their work. I’ve got to admit though, it did look cool. The photo is of Vichhay looking through the mask at the sun.

This next one is from when I was taking photos of all the kids for a profile board and my first two subjects got a little carried away with the photo shoot. They both dragged me round the corner to different parts of the playground so I could take photos of them both. THis was the best photo from the small collection.

And lastly, this one is just cute. Soklina is teeny tiny for someone that’s 11 years old and I took a photo of our hands being compared. If you saw her, you would honestly think she was about 7 years old – she’s that small.

February 10, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, photography, Travel | Leave a comment

*sigh*

Well tonight was kind of a shit night. I was tired, upset from todays disappointment in Hanoi (first impression), and feeling worse for the fact that our tour group seems to kind of suck (n first impression). I’m the youngest one in the group (not that that matters too much) and our guide seems like an idiot/jackass.

Plus other stuff is going on and I think being so tired and exhausted has made me more susceptable to being emotional in my quiet way, and made me think a lot more than usual about things. Possibly made me jump to conclusions. I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to wait and see…

Anyways, here’s the result of my nights procrastination – besides watching movies and surfing the net (which for once didn’t include Facebook seeing as the Vietnam government is communist and they’ve banned it along with twitter and youtube).

I took the photo whilst visiting one of the smaller temples near Ankor Wat. The ruins were small and off to the side – not part of any attraction or bigger complex at all. They were sort of random. But everywhere we went I kept seeing door in broken walls like this and it always used to remind me so much of the land of Narnia and how in ‘The Silver Chair‘ (the sixth book in the Narnia Chronicles by C. S. Lewis), Jill and Eustace (the two main characters) manage to get to Narnia through a green door in the brick wall that surrounds their school. I always used to think that was so magical. 

Just for fun, I decided to edit one of the photos I’d taken of one of the many door frames that I encountered at the temples…. Well I thought it was kinda cool anyways. Night xx

February 7, 2010 Posted by | bored, Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, emotions, just a quick note, photography, procrastinating, Travel | 3 Comments

Vietnam Tour Itinerary

Day 1      Join Hanoi
Day 2   Hanoi – City Tour, Water Puppet Show
Day 3   Drive Halong Bay – Overnight Boat Cruise
Day 4   Halong Bay. Reunification Express to Hue overnight
Days 5-6   Hue – Perfume River Boat Trip, City Tour
Day 7   Drive Hoi An – UNESCO Ancient Town
Day 8   Hoi An – Free Day. Optional Myson Tour, Cooking Class
Day 9   Hoi An. Fly Nha Trang
Day 10   Drive Dalat – City Tour
Day 11   Dalat – Free Day. Optional Walking & Biking
Day 12   Fly Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Day 13   Ho Chi Minh City – City Tour, Cu Chi Tunnels
Day 14   Saigon – Free Day. Optional Mekong Delta Tour
Day 15   Ho Chi Minh City – Tour Ends After Breakfast

(obviously this isn’t quite the same as the tour I’m doing because I’ve already done the Cambodia part, but the stuff drawn onto Vietnam is accurate for what I’m doing on this tour.)

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, Travel | Leave a comment

Xin Chao!

Well we are now officially in Veitnam – welcome to Hanoi.

I was most surprised when we got here as the pictures one typically sees of Vietnam with someone wearing the cone shaped hat while working in a rice paddy was practically the first thing that we saw once we drove out from the airport. Talk about stereotypes being correct for once. Go to Thailand and no one’s riding an elephant. Go to Russia and no one is walking around with a bottle of vodka practically glued to their hands permanently. Go to Australia and not many people actually sit around in a singlet, shorts, thongs and a cork hat with stubbie in hand… ok so there are quite a few who do that, but what nation doesn’t have a bogan society?

But for once, a stereotype was right. Go figure.

So we drove away from the airport in our luxury car (mum took the sign not to trust dodgy taxi drivers all to seriously and got a taxi through the tourist desk, rather than just walking outside and seeing that there are actually official airport taxi purely so that tourists don’t get gypped). I fell asleep shortly after getting into the car thanks to the fact that I went to bed at 2.30am and had to get up at 3.30am for a 4am departure from our glorious 5 star hotel in order to get to the airport in time.

So a very tired me arrived at the airport only to be pushed and shoved by the mobs of Asians – and no I don’t say that in a racist manour. It is just my belief that Asians have a different perception of what a line is to westerners and they are much more particular about hurrying to get everywhere because in some of their countries if you don’t push and shove, you don’t get anywhere. My biggest problem was how stupid some people can be – and this is not aimed at just Asians, but everyone.

You put your bags through the scanner at the airport naturally. I did so. Walked to the other side, got frisked and waited for my bags. One didn’t come out. Naturally, I started to slightly panic. Then someone suggested checking to see if it had gone through so I walked back to the other side and there was my bag: one strap buckle caught on the edge and hence it wasn’t going anywhere – just causing problems for all the other bags trying to get past. But no one touched the one strap buckle. No one did anything. They all just loaded their bags on only to sit and watch as they struggled to get into the machine because of my bag. When I tried to untangle it, no one would move to let me get to it seeing as they were in too much of a hurry to put their bags on.

So I finally push it through, pretty darn annoyed by this stage, and walk to the other side. The man sitting there asked if everything was ok. I said yes, I had a bag coming through, and pointed to the machine. Then he asked if I was going to cry.

I couldn’t believe it. I actually asked him to repeat it twice because I couldn’t believe that was what he actually said. I wanted to slap him. Or at least say something rude. Somehow though, I don’t think abusing guards anywhere in an airport generally goes down well… it should generally be avoided unless you fancy a short stay in a lovely Asian gaol.

So all of that, combined with a lack of sleep on the plane (those damn seats on Air Asia are ridiculous) made one extremely tired me. That fact was further recognised by the guy at the front desk of our hotel, who commented on it and started talking to me like I was 5 years old. I had to bite my tongue extremely hard to keep from saying something very sarcastic about my age.

But alas we’re here now.

The Ninth story of the Hong Ngoc Hotel in Hanoi – just a small room with a beautiful view. Nothing fancy, but still lovely and a step above staying in a backpackers/guesthouse. We have a couple of hours to kill this afternoon before meeting everyone else in our tour group at 6pm tonight. There are 17 of us altogether. Mum and I have bets going on as to how many Australians there will be seeing as we know how prominent Australians are throughout South East Asia thanks to the close proximity. Last time we did a tour with Kumuka in Thailand the majority were Aussies. This time Mum’s bet that 8 out of the other 15 people in the group will be Australian, and I’d say she’ll probably be almost dead on.

Anyways, instead of continuing to write even more of a novel, I’ll finish this off and go exploring now. Mum tells me that, from what she saw in the car ride, the streets in this area are lovely and very similar to those of France… In other words, they’ll be beautiful but we’re bound to get lost. Should be good. Photos will no doubt be coming soon (if my computer doesn’t die from the overload of excessive photos first).

Tam Biet!

PS. Thanks to the exchange rate, I’m now a millionaire… in Vietnamese Dong anyhow.

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, observation, people, sleep, society, stereotypes, Travel | Leave a comment

Updates

Location: Kuala Lumpar – a five star hotel connected to the airport!

Well I’m currently sitting in our five star hotel suite. It’s nice. Nothing amazing though. I half expected chandeliers seeing as it’s five star and all, but alas no. This is just a night’s stop over before our connecting flight to Hanoi in vietnam at 6.30 tomorrow morning.

But it was a chance to finally start on the updates that I meant to do long ago. Seeing as I didn’t have internet access at the time I wrote them all down in a book and now I’m slowly getting them up and adding the pictures. Finally. The first two are up now:

Christmas Day Photos Update

and 

Bokor Mountain Update

and

Crazy Driving Update

And now my dear friends, I’m going to make use of the 24 hour gym (don’t freak out just because I’m actually doing exercise) and then I have to attempt to try and repack some of my bag so it won’t be 3 kilos over again… Stupid packing… I swear I don’t know why on earth I brought some of the things I did – I haven’t even worn half the clothes I brought. I threw some out to save packing when we left Cambodia (then again I’d bought at least 3 times as much as I threw out so it didn’t really balance out anyway).

WARNING TO ALL TRAVELERS: DON’T PACK ANYTHING

… Well almost. Bust seriously, on the clothes front, take like two pairs of shorts and 2 shirts (3 or 4 max!) – that’s it. You’ll pick up stuff along the way for sure.

Night xx

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, Travel | Leave a comment