My big plan was to keep the excitement of traveling in Cambodia alive as long as possible. Since I had a 12 hour layover in Beijing to not take advantage of this seemed foolish and an incredible waste of opportunity.
My intention therefore was to arrive in China, obtain a day visa, leave the airport, grab a taxi, and head to the Great Wall.
I knew that this optimistic plan was fraught with issues all of which were out of my control. Even if I could exit in a timely fashion I would then have to communicate to a Mandarin speaking taxi driver my exact destination. The fact that this destination was one of the worlds icons gave me little confidence in my success.
My next issue would be traffic. Not so much getting to the wall, as I would be heading out around 6am so figured traffic would not be so heavy, but heading back. This leg of the adventure I wondered about. Getting stuck in a jam on the way back to the airport with a non-English speaking driver to a plane that would depart Continue reading Wonders of the World
On several occasions as I walked around temples or while on treks through the city or countryside I would be joined by a single excited companion. It would fly its erratic path popping up, down, and sideways as it kept pace with me.
Sometimes it would possess the burnt orange of a monarch while other times it would be a vibrant blue or dark smoldering grey.
Sometimes it would be adorned in uneven stripes; other times meticulous single colored perfectly round dots. On occasion the smooth powdery velvet of its monochrome would be unusually beautiful, enough to render further brush strokes from nature unnecessary.
The butterflies of Cambodia are gorgeous, numerous, and highly regarded.
This was apparent by the many cafes, gardens, sanctuaries, and exhibits dedicated to these delicate and beautiful creatures.
On each occasion as I walked somewhere new I would Continue reading Strong Bugs
The Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh stands as a testament to both journalism and history.
So many stories patched together for the consumption of the outside world who knew so little of what was actually happening here.
So many tensions alleviated via humor and booze soaked evenings overlooking the Tonle Sap River.
A meeting point for folks who spent their days working in the complex underbelly of a nation in crisis. A relatively safe harbor and a buffer between two worlds; where covert met intrigue, where making deals with the devil were not so uncommon, where lawlessness reigned supreme.
To some extent that same lawlessness operates unabated today.
You want to shoot a rocket launcher at a cow; apparently $350 will put your finger on the trigger!
The FCC operated in a similar fashion to the Rex Hotel in Saigon. The Rex served as a center for journalists during the Vietnam conflict. The rooftop bar played host to Continue reading Our World is not all Chocolates and Roses
I arrived back in Phnom Penh last night taking the bus from Kampot. I was sad to leave for a couple of reasons I guess. One was that I just really enjoyed the place and its laid-back style but the second reason was that leaving meant my journey was fast approaching an end.
I still had Phnom Penh to go but I had already been there so it was not new to me. I did decide to stay in another part of town than my previous visit and this proved to be a good decision.
Talk about black and white!
Where I had stayed on my arrival in Cambodia was more what you would call the residential side of Phnom Penh. People lived there. Commuted to work. There were corner shops, kids played in yards, and crossing the road was not an extreme Continue reading Into the Abyss
As my trip comes closer to its conclusion I have decided that one last full day on the beach would not be a bad idea. Place that beach on an idyllic island populated by next to nobody and you have a great relaxing day in the making.
Koh Tonsai, aka Rabbit Island, is just a 25 minute boat ride from the town of Kep. Kep is just a 40 minute bus ride from Kampot.
A series of thumps on my door at the Moliden followed by a very polite but urgent “Sir, Sir, Sir” roused me from my sleep. I was late. The bus for Kep was leaving at 7am and it was now 6:50am. I had to pack my stuff for the day, get downstairs, and make it to the bus depot in 10 minutes.
Luckily this is Kampot and very little is more than a few hundred yards away.
Even in my half-dazed one-legged flop around my room, as I pulled on pants and walked at the same time, I managed to pack all I needed. Mostly because I adopted the “just throw it all in a bag and hope for the best” method. Stumbling downstairs to the tuk-tuk Continue reading Black and Blue