Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's been awhile...

So, how time flies when you are on the move. The last few weeks have been, well...filled. Our trip has finally taken shape and has become it's own monster. I've seemingly been lost in the hussle and bussle and now look up two weeks later realizing that I have not told any of our adventures. So here is an update.

After several days of planning and exploring in Bangkok Athena and I left for Cambodia, officially starting our trip. Our plan was to take an early bus from Bangkok east to the border town of AyunPathet, cross the border into Cambodia into the town of Poipet and make our way to the city of Siem Reap and explore the temples of Angkor for a few days.

The first leg of the journey was an easy and comfortable drive through the Thai countryside. We were droped off by the bus in AyunPathet, a few kilometers from the border and quickly hailed a Tuk-Tuk (motorcycle pulled taxis) to take us the last few kilometers to the border. Now, it must be said that land border crossings and visas are somewhat of a mystery in SE Asia. Everyone has stories of the borders but until you experience a border crossing in Asia, you are somewhat in the dark as to how they work. The Thai-Cambodia border was, well, less than pleasurable. We were taken by our trust Tuk-Tuk to a fake Cambodian consulate which attempted to scare us into buying overpriced visas. We are proud to say that, out of a group of six, Athena and I were the only ones not to fall for the con and after some arguing left for the real border. We past through the border easily and emerged into another world on the other side. We were now in Cambodia, for real.

After some more price haggling and scene making we found a taxi to Siem Reap and watched the views of thatched huts and rice fields as they slid quickly past our car. Cambodia is a different and shocking world. Unlike Thailand, Cambodia is a blatantly impoverished country. For the first time in a long time, I was faced with the real world. It's shocking everytime.

Athena and I spent the next few days exploring the temples of Angkor and the overpriced tourist hub of Siem Reap. Exploring the temples was incredible, but I quickly began to feel the same way I do at any historical site...tired of watching thousands of people. Angkor was amazing, the people were not.

The weather was less than desirable and Siem Reap was shockingly expensive so we made plans to work our way to Vietnam.

We work early on the morning of the 20th and caught a bus to the Cambodian capital Phnom Phen. We arrived easily and found a guesthouse for the two nights we were going to spend in the city waiting for our Vietnam visas. We visted the National Museum in the afternoon of the 20th.

On the 21st we decided to explore Cambodia's more recent history by visiting the Killing Fields and the infamous Khmer Rouge prison, S-21. The two visits were very powerful and shed light on the past and present of Cambodia. The cruelty of the Khmer Rouge was disgusting and it is blatantly obvious that the scars they gave to Cambodia will never really go away.

We abruptly left the capital early in the moring with a plan to make it to the Vietnamese coastal town of Rach Gia. This day was one of the longest and most complicated days of travel I have ever had. It involved 13 hours of nonestop travel and 9 different modes of transportation including a bicycle tuk-tuk, motorbikes and boats. We had the misfortuen of falling into several different backpacker traps along the way making it incredibly demoralizing and more expensive, but we eventually made it in one peace to the town of Rach Gia. We booked tickets for the SuperDong ferry to Phu Quoc Island and fell asleep.

More updates to come...I've spent too much time on the internet....sorry for bad sentences and spelling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Some 20 hours of air travel later and I have found myself on the streets of Bangkok. I've forgotten the feeling of Southeast Asia...the smells of the street and the feeling of the humidity take me back to Semester At Sea. I'm glad to be back.

It is now time for Athena and I to really plan what we are doing for the next few months. There is much to talk about and information to gather before our next move. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but then I remind myself that I'm on vacation, there are no deadlines or things we have to do...our time is our's to spend. That is a beautiful thing. For now we will take advantage of the nice hotel and rest ourselves.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Number 2

Update from beautiful Santa Monica, CA:

The Grand was amazing! Awesome group, awesome weather and every camp and hike we wanted! The trip turned out completely different than I could ever imagine. After some swimming and some rigging problems, Athena and I decided that it would be more enjoyable for us both if I rowed the raft. It was a great challenge and a new perspective that I really liked. Couldn't have asked for a better trip.

After 21 amazing days on the river it was back to Flagstaff where Athena and I met my parents. The four of us then drove to Joshua Tree National Park for a few days of relaxation and prep for the next leg of our three month travel extravaganza.

With one huge trip and many road miles already behind Athena and I, we are perched on the brink of yet another adventure. Tomorrow's travels will send us to places that are unknown and unimaginable to us both. Soon we will be exploring!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The First Step

After months of planning and way too much packing, the day has finally come to leave the home base of my parents' house. These last few days have given me a chance to tie up loose ends and get some much needed rest. The next 3 months will be filled with new experiences and hopefully some good pictures! I can't wait to see you all on the other side!

The fist leg of this adventure will take me to the Grand Canyon for 21 days of paddling. My next post will be from California before we fly to Bangkok!