Friday, October 24, 2008

Notes from the Road: days 1-8

I thought I'd write a brief post about my Southeast Asia trip thus far.  I plan to update with pictures and more details when I get home.

Day 1:  Busan-->Tokyo-->Bangkok
This was a day of travel.  I had an extended layover in Tokyo which inspired me to do a guide to hanging out in the Tokyo airport.  I've recently become a fan of the Australian show Kath & Kim.  In one episode Kath spends her honeymoon stuck in the airport, but has the time of her life.

Day 2:  Bangkok
Spent the day on a bicycile ride through town on Bangkok Green Bicycle.  The rental was free--and you get what you paid for.  The chain fell off my first bike, and the second bike had a bent pedal!  But it was a great way to see central Bangkok.

Day 3:  Bangkok
Stayed near Siam square in the more developed part of the city.  It was really need to see the urban Thais in their element.  I encountered some teens playing cards on the skywalks connecting the malls.  On the way back to the hotel, I passed two old men playing checkers with beer bottle caps.

Day 4:  Bangkok-->Saigon
Spent most of the day traveling due to dire warnings from the hotel staff of demonstrations that would disrupt travel.  So, I left extra early for the airport, only to find that the ride took 25 minutes!  While newer, the Bangkok airport has less material for a guide to hanging out there.  I rode Air Asia, the new budget airline in Southest Asia.  The planes are brand-new, you have to pay for any extras (can of Soda, $1), and the flight attendants wear a lot of makeup and red mini skirts

Day 5:  Saigon
I can't believe how many motorbikes there are in the city.  People drive in swarms in many different directions.  It is madness.  Checked out the war museum.  Pretty nasty stuff:  pictures of the horrors of the war, weapons the US left behind, and a tank full of fetuses deformed from Agent Orange.

Day 6:  Mekong Delta
Today I spent probably the best $10 on any travel I've ever spent.  Went on a guided tour of the Mekong Delta.  Was with about 12 other people.  We toured a honey farm (the bee dissapearances in America don't seem to be impacting here), a place where we listened to traditional music and ate local fruit (dragon fruit), a place where they make coconut candy, and finally a nice lunch and chill time in some hammoks.  Very great.  On the way back, I sat next to an American who teaches LSAT classes back home!  I picked her brain about applying for law school, studying for the test, etc.

Day 7:  Saigon-->Phnom Penh
It was a long bus ride, but very comfortable.  There were ten people on a full big bus.  The air conditioner was frosty, and they showed pirated movies on LCD screens that flipped down from the ceiling.  I went to the National Museum when I got into town.  Pretty amazing.  The Khmer people used to be the dominate force in the region--for a long time.  But their downfall seems to follow the same way of Romes (curiously at about the same time): overextending themselves, then constant attacks from invaders.

Day 8:  Phnom Penh-->Siem Reap
Spent the morning at the Killing Fields.  I don't really have words for it.  They built a huge monument to the dead made of skulls.

Tomorrow, Angkor Wat.  Pray that tensions between Cambodia and Thailand don't get too messy--I need to cross the border in a couple days.  Also, Pray that the Thais at least hold off on a coup until the 31st--the day after I leave!

1 comment:

  1. I'm jealous that you are getting to travel through SE Asia so much. Can't wait to here all about it and see the pictures in November.


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