A Travellerspoint blog

Laydeee, one dowlaaah

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

I am always a lady and its always a dollar- in their singsong, always polite, definitely annoying tone, kids and adults try to sell you beads, bracelets, postcards, their grandmother. Just for a dollar! The whole idea of US dollar being the unofficial-official currency of Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia is amusing. They don't use their own money themselves...for example, the tuk tuk driver bought gas for 2 USD (not in khmer riel). I think currency is one of many ways one feels a sense of national identity. So, the Cambodians trade in USD and their signage is in French. Hmmmm...Oh well. Idle thought while spending a fabulous few days spent among the ruins of Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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The pictures are endless- have patience clicking through, as I just couldn't decide which temple, which ruin, which photo took my breathe away. Everytime I walked in to a ruin, I almost could hear the soundtrack of Indiana Jones in the background, and I wished I looked as good as Lara Croft in shorts! 

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The first misconception I had was that Angkor Wat is just one temple-- true. However, it is one of many in a complex of temples built over a 1000 years ago, over a period of 200 years. Second misconception was that I could ride a bicycle from one site to another. That is such a laughable thought- the complex is sprawling, with miles and miles of paved and dirt roads. And the sun is exhausting (100 degrees!). But I guess I cannot be Indiana Jones from inside an air-conditioned car. So, mode of transportation was tuk tuk, with private driver no less ($12-20 a day). 

The wonderful thing about such ancient history is that if I take my future kids to Angkor, it will be unchanged, remaining the same, proudly saying phoeey to the eroding sands of time.

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Posted by Goofy9 03:08 Archived in Cambodia Comments (3)

Strong 8

Miami

What I need on a regular basis is to be reminded that I am a girl!! No, seriously, I get caught up in work (addictive personality?) and then suddenly everything feels like work, including shopping, manicures, and even eyebrow trimming. Luckily, Ani to the rescue. We had some good ol' fashioned girl time- key ingredients are shopping, eating, and talking about life, which can mean fashion, money, boys.

1. Shopping
We literally shopped to the point that we had to walk back to the car just to drop off bags. And then go a second round!

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2. Food
What's a well stocked fridge look like-- I know it's been many years since college, but a good girlfriend weekend rounds off nicely with junk food!

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Few other photos from the trip

3. Conversation
We talked about artists, setting up a studio, swim lessons for kids, financial advisors, life drama and what it means to be happy...On a scale of 10, 1 being "I am a waste of oxygen" and 10 being Wow, we agreed that our lives were a "Strong 8."

How happy are you on your scale of 10? 

Posted by Goofy9 03:51 Archived in USA Comments (5)

Seoul

The start of a new year

When I was just past being a teenager, New Years was a big deal - my girlfriends and I talked about what to wear weeks ahead of time, the social calendar was hopping, parties were being planned. It's been ages, thankfully, that I did that. It's been freeing to not plan, to not bother with an outfit. Ended up in Seoul…

I gots to say, me likes the Koreans! They are wonderful bowers - not too deep, but not indifferent either. They have a gentle 30 degree bow to acknowledge you or your question. They are not self conscious of their English and the American influence is rather high. Like, the road signs are exactly like in the US - in English, big green boards, interstate numbers written in the same format.

It was bitingly cold, and the winter fashion was wonderful…lots of furry boots, big wool scarves, down jackets. The fashionable streets smelled like Seattle - coastal and coffee! I should say that the people are SO nice. At this one café, the proprietor lady stepped out and stood in the cold just to flag a taxi.

Oh, oh, wait, before I forget - the loos require a mention. The loos are heated!!!! No, seriously, the toilet seat is heated, the water coming out is heated. You can even press a button for a massage. Ewwy, but almost Japanese in its absurdity! I couldn’t stop laughing every time I sat on the pot. Too funny.

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What one society judged to be strange, another might more sensibly welcome as normal - Alain de Botton

Ok, back to the people…went to this club in the hotel. And urban rumor is that the club has an age limit. Not the kind that I thought - the more discriminatory kind…you cannot enter if you are older than 33! Well, luckily, no IDs were being checked. The people are super friendly, chatty and don’t hit on anyone. They just like to converse. In fact, the girls restroom looks more like a lounge, with couches and stools and good lighting for make up.

Cant end an entry without the mention of food. Tried something called Royal Cuisine…the travel book said that it was how royalty impressed visitors, with lots and lots of tiny dishes. Wowed the visitors with variety. I kid you not, the table was full and these are only half the dishes. Shared a bottle of soju (?) with a friend, and it had flecks of gold it in. So exotic. It's silly how I get sucked in by stuff like that!

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More pictures

Posted by Goofy9 02:41 Archived in South Korea Comments (1)

Christmas - Bali style

I want the world to feel familiar; not exotic. When the world is familiar then there is no fear. I am calm; and enjoy immersing me at the local food stall and/or bar.

This christmas is so different in every way...no Polar Express, no 16ft tree (or was it 12 ft?). But what counts is family. Mommee and daddy made it out to be with me. I was on the verge of sulking but they made me choose not to.
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Good day. Dad had Balinese coffee- sort of sludgey. Mom was brave and had mei goreng (fried noodles!). Drove through the country side, narrow roads and lots of scooters. Highlight was the Ubud community market (bought an animal for a friend's zoo collection!).

No, wait, the highlight was the Ubud Hanging Gardens!! That's going to be the next holiday destination, I promised me that.
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Sitting by the pool. Listening to the surf above the sound of the rain...more photos from the trip.

Posted by Goofy9 18:03 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Why do people travel?

Why do people travel? Cliche- to get out of their comfort zones.

Why do I travel? To discover my comfort zone...it's sort of disorienting not having a home currently, not truly belonging to any place specific. Trying to stumble my way to finding a new spot to shelter my uprooted self in; to find that elusive zone. It's also heartening that home can be everywhere I look- anywhere I am.

But at the same time, it's definitely confusing trying to re-find myself. At 28, I thought I had finally discovered me and finally known peace. And here we go again! So travel is about discovery - places, me, purpose of life, and all that jazz. Perhaps, soon, I will bump into a place that will feel familiar and will feel new all at the same time. Someplace that will say, "Pick me! Pick me!" Why do you travel?

Was in Hanoi in November. I like Thailand for the warm people and the beaches, but Vietnam, there's something special about this country. I don't think it's the people- they are not necessarily warm but definitely not cold, maybe just indifferent. They seem worn, but full of character.

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Copyright: Edwige

What they have going for them is community- case in point, streetside bars! Narrow roads, a huddle of plastic chairs, people gather in groups, eating, drinking watered down beer, talking late into the night. I never knew that watching scooters going by, while sitting while amongst the locals could be fun in it's own way. Its not just the down and dirty street side gatherings of people drinking, its also their exceptional food. Went to a seedy place located in the middle of a warren of streets and ate the best fried fish and rice noodles ever.

And the Green Tangerine (thank you, my friend who refers to the Lonely Planet!)- pure brilliance. French, pretty food, elegant restored villa. They do that sort of thing very well- take old buildings, convert them into eating places that make you want to stay late and drink another drink. Oh, yes, and the bakeries. Well, I shall say no more. Feast your eyes on breakfast.

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I had not really heard of Ha'Long Bay before...it's a Unesco World Heritage site. A beautiful bay, shrouded in grey, massive monolithic rocks jutting out from the water, wondrous caves,- very Pirates of the Caribbean! Took a cruise (oddly called Amigo Cruises!) on a beautiful old teak boat, lovely silk bedspreads in the cabin, cute little windows, and a deck made for reading and contemplating life. That contemplation got me into a lot of trouble! I left Ha'Long resolving to not be "safe", not be excruciatingly sensible anymore. To return to a more free, borderline reckless, me. Fearless - cheers to that!

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Other photos from the trip.

Posted by Goofy9 19:11 Archived in Vietnam Comments (3)

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