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Hola!
As the heading suggests we have been busy here in the capital with a name that no one can pronounce, Phnom Penh. We started by diving head first into the Cambodian history and horror under the Khmer Rouge by visiting the killing fields. The sun was shining, the grass was emerald green, the trees were blossoming, the birds  singing, the butterflys fluttered, the whole shebang, and yet this was the place where about 20,000 men, women, and children were tortured or else worked to death. Murdered and buried in shallow graves. And walking around listening to our audio guide you could still make out traces of the nightmare, a bit of fabric buried in the dirt, dents in a tree trunk, or bits of bone brought to the surface by the rain. It was hard to imagine, and still... this only happened about 42 years ago.
The rest of the day we walked about town. We went to the central market and improved our bargaining skills being fluttering silk pants. Dark lavender blue for me and jade green for Elsa.
Day two on our submersion in Khmer history was a visit to the high school turned secret prison, S-21. Walking through the rooms where the prisoners were beaten and kicked, waterboarded and electrocuted, and so so much more. Seeing the faces of the  12,000 that came but never left. I finally believe the saying that the human being is never more creative than when it comes to harming another. This is all incomprehensible to me. How could anyone do this to another human being? How? Yet we repeat the same things, the same horror, the same nightmare over and over and over. Will we ever learn?
I hope so.
And with that philosophical note I leave you to ponder.
Later, gator - see you in Vietnam!

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A bungalow on the beach.
A sky blue horizon that melts together.
A burning sun.
Yes, please!
And that is exactly what we got at Otres Beach in Sihanoukville. Just a few days do wind down from the buzzing cities. Sunbathing, swimming, and runs on the beach. Elsa reached her goal of no longer being pale as a Swede during winter.
Just a couple of deep breaths.
Next up: the capital.
See you later, alligator.

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Hi there everyone!
After Siem Reap we headed to Battambang, which is Cambodia's second largest city and is located along the Stung Sangker river. As it turns out it is a quite small and very friendly town with a pace of a content sloth. On the bus from Siem Reap we met 2 German girls in about our age, Julietta and Kaja, and decided to share a tuktuk for the next day. The rest of the day we just walked around the town. We made a rout to go to the Bamboo train, sett some of rural Cambodia, the really big fruit bats, the killing caves, the mountain temples, and the bat cave at sunset during the flight of the bats. We call a tuktuk driver and agreed on a price that we all were satisfied with, or so we thought. We were picked up in the morning and driven to the Bamboo train, which for the record was among the coolest things I've done. But when we got back we had been deserted my our driver who as turns put was not at all happy with the price, even though we repeatedly asked of it was fair. And now what? Fortunately we met a very helpful driver who asked his customers, 2 women from France and Austria, if we hijack them as they were doing the same rout as us. So everything turned out okay. We drove through the country side and saw the gigantic bats. Then we climbed the 352 steps to the mountain temple, and as the pig heads we are Elsa and I made it into a competition - climb all the way without stopping. It was magical. I believe that if I was going to find God or reach nirvana it would be there, at the top of a mountain in the shade of an old temple ruin. Then we ran a bit short of time so we (all 4 of us, including the Germans) ran up the bat mountain to the killing caves  as a pickup up was waaaaay too expensive, so we could see everything and still be back to see the flight of the bats. First we ran to the wrong cave, then to the view point at the top, and then the actual killing caves. It was dusk when we got there and all deserted. It gave us all the creeps. As we depended the ladder into the cave it was dark and drizzling, turning the steps slippery. In the beam of our flashlights we saw the piled skulle s in there cages and the opening were the prisoners were pushed down. Ooooh, spooky. All alone down there you really could imagine the nightmare it was not that long ago. Then running down the hill just in time to see the bats leave the batcave. Forget batman, this is were the real thing lives. Between 3-5 millions to be more precise.
The following day we just walked about town again, fikade, and took a run along the river. Then on the morning of the 13th we started our 12 hour journey to Sihanoukville, thr beaches in Southwest of Cambodia.
That's all for now.
See you later, alligator.

PS. The Internet is a bit iffy so not everything comes in order... DS.

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Howdy!
The first phase of awesomeness finished. After our somewhat rocky start most things fell into place. Elsas bag arrived, we got our actual room, and woke up well rested - or at least I did whilst Elsa struggled with jetlag. The first day we sort of just walked around, taking the pulse of the city of Siem Reap, visited the National Angkor Museum, and ate. We also booked our three day tour of the Temples of Angkor.
Starting day one with the big circuit where you visit some of the "smaller" and older temples like Preah Khan, Neak Peah, Ta Som, East Mebon, and Pre Rup. They render you speechless. The intricate details carved in the stones and the statues. Wow. We were both amazed by how freely we were about to move. No restrictions or guards. You could go wherever you like pretty much.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat itself dead om the agenda for the second day. So like slugs we crawled out if bed at and quarter to five... Only to realize that it was raining. But a little rain ain't kill nobody, and off we went. Though not ideally, it was still awestriking. But even though it was amazing in all that it was, for me, it was not the most beautiful one. Then on to breakfast, and Bayon - the then thousand faces. It literally has, well maybe not then thousand faces, but at least 216 stone faces hidden in and on the temple. Here you can definitely feel God's omnipresence. Then on to what might actually be the coolest temple, the temple of Lara Croft's tomb raiding (like EVERYONE liked to point out) - Ta Prohm. It really does look like something out of a movie, but more an alien movie, with the trees slowly taking over the place. We were also invited by our driver to come to his sister's wedding that afternoon, and when we asked if she would made him answered that "in Cambodia when a man loves the woman he pays for everything, so money no problem. But if no money, no honey". Tiredness, queasy stomachs, combined with the fact that he sort of creeped us out resulted in us taking a nap instead.

The third day we went to the old Rolous group temples. These were perhaps the most breathtakingly beautiful of all the temples in their relative simplicity.

And today we took the bus to Battambang. First night in a dorm. Exciting!
Full rulle kanelbulle!
See you later, alligator!

First pic: our room in Siem Reap
Second pic: our dorm in Battambang

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Hello - Goodbye
Or goodbye - hello more accurately.
After 4 wonderful, culture packed days in Bangkok I today followed my mother and sister to the airport at 9 in the morning (although my flight wasn't untill 17.40. It seemed like a good idea at the time, okay?). Followed them through the queuing and all that stuff, and hugged them goodbye, fairly quick and painless - only to receive a text seconds later from my sister saying "moms crying". Not so painless after all. I am able to check in early, dopp off my backpack (which I have named Steve), go through security, and find a Starbucks in a quiet corner - only to receive another text saying that they are still at the gate due to delays. So I run like a maniac across the entire airport (of course I'm at the exact opposite end) only to reach them when they are about to board. I managed to sneak a last goodbye in there,at least. It's about 11 a clock, only 6 hours to kill. Like so many times before Netflix is my knight in shining armor. Tick tock , tick tock. It's 17, time to board - it's only that there is no plane, no staff no nothing. Shit. What did I do wrong NOW? Everyone else is looking as confused as I am though, - good. It's half past, it's 6. Nothing. Half past 6. Announcement: the flight is delayed... No shit Sherlock. At 7 we actually board. Hurray! 10 hours at the airport... As i said it felt like a good idea beforehand. I arrived to Siem Reap and met up with Elsa (who had now been waiting for 3 hours). Pick up my bag, but as it turns out her is lost in the post. The bag is nowhere to be found, but she has filled in all papers and they will (hopefully) send it to the hostel. Hopefully! Check in at last... bur as it turns out they have missbooked us. Of course. Their log says that we are to check in tomorrow, although I have confirmations that I am right and we have booked from today. Oh well, now we have a doom to ourselves, so we'll survive. Tomorrow we get the actual room. So yeah, a bumpy start I must say, not that I'm complaining. It's great! Let's see what tomorrow brings.
See you later, alligator.

Some Bangkok pictures

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Hello party people!
Merry Christmas and Happy new year!
I hope you all had a great time, I know I had. How could I not now that my family has joined me in paradise. Missing them had been a roller-coaster, meaning that sometimes I did (mostly in the beginning) and most time I had too much to do or simply forgot to.
First 4 nights down south in Baan Krating at Nai Harn, living the sweet life. White, silken beaches, azure blue seas, and a lot of volleyball.
Then we took our bags and moved up to my turf, Nai Yang, where we stayed at the Golddiggers Resort. From there we visited the Barnhem one later time, rented scooters and drove around for hours, ticking off mountains, valleys, banana beach, Bang Pae Waterfalls and the GRP (... again... for me at least). We also made an excursions to Thailand's oldest national parks, Khao Sok, where we hiked and when do a boats trip on the lake. And of course more sand, swimming, and sun. Then new we welcomed the new year at the beach.
Next up we packed our bags once again, but going our separate directions, my father back to Sweden and us, the ladies, up to Bangkok for another 4 days of thai-people, thai-culture, and thai-food.
During my time I Phuket we had a Thai exchange student at home for a couple of weeks, P, and today we were guided around the city by his amazing family.
In 3 days the pack packing starts. The backpack is brought... But how is everything going to fit?!?
Stay tuned, and find out.
See you later, alligator!

Nai Harn

Khao Sok

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Merry Christmas to y'all!
One week has passed since I stopped "working", but the amazing Sussi and Hans let me stay as a freeloader at the Barnhem. The alternative was to stay at a hostel fairly close to Nai Yang, renting a bed in a dorm, being responsible for cooking and feeding myself, and having to leave the kids. Instead I got to stay in my own bed, in Sara's and my room, with meals included - for free! A Merry Christmas for me indeed. I like this arrangement loads. I get to do what I want, go boxing when I feel like it, and hang out with the kids of course. Pretty sweet.
Count down to family reunion.
See you later, alligator.

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Hola amigos!
Quick update from paradise. Nadine and Kathi has up and left me (but not before introducing me to banana beach), amazing Linda 43 from Visby has joined the league, and Sara is expected this Sunday. The sun is scorching, the thunder deafening, and the Internet failing. It still rains once in a blue moon but we make the most of it. We cooked some traditional Swedish food for the kids as well, meatballs with mashed potatoes, cream sauce, and lingonberries. It was nice for a change. More Wakeboarding, running, and muay-thai. So, in short, everything is quite fabulous. And I am going to miss it. So. So. Bad. Only 16 days left now.

I'll keep you posted as the end draws nearer.
See you later, alligator!

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"You're gone and I gotta stay high all the time"
Sorry to say it but I might be suffering from post project depression after my week with Hanna and I've done my best to keep busy. And I have definitely succeeded. Wakeboarding one day, sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur the next.
Actually I went KL so I wouldn't get deported from Thailand, but details,  details. I flew there at 8 am and arrived back at 9 pm, and in that short window of time I did my best to see it all - and did so from the roof of a hop-on-hop-off bus. All of the tourist spots covered? Oh yes! And although the man in the security back in Phuket was VERY suspicious to say the least, he must have decided I looked harmless enough to be set loose on the streets of Phuket once again.
I have also taken on a new hobby - the hitting and kicking, and elbowing and kneeing of alternating big bags of sand and small but extremely muscular men (needless to say aloud that I prefer the latter) called Muay-Thai or Thai boxing.
"Hey learn some muay-thai for exercise and self defense!"
"Great, now I can neither run nor fight!"
I swear, two days in a row on the mat; my chins are swollen to the degree that I can't walk and I can't straighten my arms. At least they were right about the work out being hard-core.
Otherwise everything is back to normal and all my (old) cuts and bruises have healed.

See you later, alligator

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Hello party people!
Well hello all non party people as well I suppose...
Let's just agree on "hello guys" , shall we?
I'm back at the Barnhem after a week of amazing adventures and a fantastic friend, that even made hot showers and real beds fade in comparison. Let me take you through it day by day.

Sunday the 30th - ARRIVAL
After running around the airport like a complete scatterbrain for about an hour in the rain I found the right exit (and I'm not going to tell you that it was the only one for it would make me look even more like a no-brainer... ) But then there she was. With bags under her eyes, hair they stood in all directions, and a thick knitted scarf (don't ask me why), in short, the picture Swedish sophisticated grace... Haha or not!
(Please notice the very nice sign)

Monday
🎶 Raindrops keeps falling from the sky...🎶
...so why not take a cab straight across Phuket to a gigantic mall-ish, only to realize that you have arrived in party part of Phuket number 1 on Halloween afternoon /evening. Normal bars, Go-go bars, strip clubs. I must say that I didn't really feel like it was our crowd. But try something new every day, isn't that what they say?

Tuesday
The one positive thing I can say about the weather is that it is constant and at least warm despite the rain. But as a little rain has never killed someone, let the adventures begin. On Tuesday they consisted of driving the scooter to the airport, finding a buss into Phuket Town, switch there for a buss to Chalong Bay, and touring of the Wat Chalong temples. Followed by a short taxi ride to the top of a mountain and the Big Buddha. To sum it up in one word: spectacular.

Wednesday
Sun-day on the beach in the morning, work in the afternoon. Hanna belonged like a stinking foot in an old pair of sneakers, and since a picture apparently says more than a thousand words I will spare you the essay.

Thursday and Vera-forces-Hanna-to-hike-up-a-waterfall-day
As the weather allowed it we took the chance and headed out to Bang Pae Waterfalls and the GRP. You can definitely spend your Thursdays in worse ways and in worse company. The hike ended in the obligatory photo-shoot I am slightly embarrassed to admit, and viewed below is the selected the cream de la cream.
In the evening we left for Chillva market, and I am proud to pronounce that I drove all the way (about 45 minutes). Good food, nice shops, and a relaxed atmosphere - that is until all hell broke lose just over our heads. Told not to drive in the storm, we were trapped at the market for a couple of hours, until we could finally drive home, all wet in the whipping rain with no gas. Hanna thought we would be stranded on the highway, though I knew better. Take a moment to appreciate the luxury of a scolding shower if you have it.

Friday
Once again one of those rainy days. And when we say rainy in Thailand we don't mean a few drizzling drops, but bucket after bucket of lukewarm water being poured over your head, effectively and completely drenching everything and everyone. So what better to do then a long brunch on a rooftop overlooking the stormy sea and then to cuddle back into bed with Netflix? When a lazy day turns into a stary night nothing wraps the whole thing up like a midnight stroll on the rain-washed beach.

Saturday
Swapping the starlit sky for a clear blue one, we started the day at the beach. Though Hanna's tan needed some serious work there is simply just to much to see to spend an entire day doing "nothing', so I forced her back onto the buss and into old Phuket Town. After getting completely lost due to equal lack of sense of direction we hitched a ride to the weekend night market. Though there is a lot to see and buy, I mainly go there for the food to be completely honest, plus you can't go home without having been there.

Sunday...
Instead of facing the fact that this was our last day together with heavy hearts we decided to make the most of the time we had left, and what says Thailand more then snorkeling? So that is what we did.  We saw a Nemo and a Dory, and even a Gill, plus a million other fishes and sea creatures.

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