Tucker in Asia

Friday, June 30, 2006

Cambodia, Thailand, and Lao Blog

I have taken quite the little break from blogging and now don't know where to begin. The fact of the matter is that nothing nearly as exciting as the little incident in Saigon has come to pass thus I have not blogged. Regardless, the last few weeks have been interesting and exciting; I just have not had any poles swung at my head. Maybe the most "exciting" times were when we took buses to no where. This happened twice. The first was pretty minor, only cost us maybe 50 cents and an hour and a half. Basically what happened is that we were trying to go to dinner in China town so we got on a bus and then didn't know exactly where to get off and the next thing we knew we were over the river and miles from China town so we got off the bus, crossed the street and took the bus back to where we began to have dinner some place else. We were thankful that we could save the embarrassment of not having to get back on the same bus once we crossed the street (we had to wait at least 20 minutes in which time the original bus could have made a loop). A few days later we were trying to go to a national park in Northeast Thailand and so we went to the long distance bus station in Bangkok and proceeded to get on a bus that went in the complete opposite direction. We then turned around and traveled to a third city from which we could catch a bus the following day to our desired destination. We easily turned a 3 hour journey into 24 hours. It was fun. Initially we thought that the lady at the first bus station was just trying to screw us but now we are guessing that the location was just lost in translation. Apparently nodding while looking at the map was just a formality for her.

We are now in a quiet town called Luang Prabang in the north of Laos where we have been basking in the hospitality and kindness of the Lao people. They are by far the most receptive to travelers and most pleasant to visit with of all the countries we have seen in Southeast Asia. Justin and I are now joined by Justin's sister Stacey and our friend Sara. They both flew into Bangkok around the 21st of June and we are more or less traveling as a group for the next few weeks.

Going back.... From Saigon Justin and I cut across the Mekong River into Cambodia. The highlight of Cambodia was, of course, seeing Angkor Wat. The vast array of ancient temples are all amazing and most are seemingly unique of each other. Angkor Wat (Wat means temple) is the largest in the area, in fact it is the largest religious building in the world. It is in remarkable shape giving off a feeling as though it was abandoned just yesterday. All in all to get the real feeling you have to visit the area (which everyone should) and for a close second you may want to view my world class photographs when I am home. I have roughly 300 digital photos that all look the same.

Leaving Siem Reap and Angkor we set overland to Bangkok which turned into another first, that is driving across African quality roads in a car hotter than a sauna. The trip did take a turn for the better when we crossed into Thailand; suddenly laws, freeways, and order were present. We made it to Bangkok for the big 26 and stayed up late enough to finish watching the U.S. blow it against Ghana. The games are all on late here and I generally don't make it that late into the night. Being a year older I was able to make it close to midnight.

In the remaining 3 weeks of our little holiday we are going to head back to Thailand to see part of the north and then migrate south to the beaches before flying to Bozeman on the 22nd of July. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here but am getting a bit sore about living out of the backpack with the same stinky clothes day in and out. So until later on, hope everyone's summers are fun and filled with adventure!


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