Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cruisin aroud Bangkok

While hanging around, waiting for my flight to Kathmandu this Saturday I have been cruising through Bangkok courtesy of the public transport system.
Not far from my hotel is a wharf for the ferries plying the Chao Praya and for 50 cents you can go from one side of Bangkok to the other. When I did get off the boat and started on a walk through China town it took me only a few minutes to get lost though. Should have stuck with the boat.
Never mind there is always a tuktuk to get you back home again.

Today I hope to get on the monorail and look at the city from above. So maybe some more pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bangkok again

Well I am back in Bangkok after a trip hat actually went smoother then I had anticipated. A combination of share taxi and minibus saw me back in the Rambuttri village inn just after six in the evening.
I expect to spendt the remainder of my time in Thailand in and around the city before flying to Kathmandu next Saturday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Agni Air

Just hearing that an Agni Air flight between Lukla and Kathmandu had crashed. Agni Air is the company I had my flight from hell with a few years ago.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Four Seasons

After spending almost two weeks in Siem Reap the urge to move struck me again.
It was still dark when I woke up and a light drizzle came down while I waited for the bus to take me to the boat landing at Tonle Sap.

The choises on the boat to Battambang are simple sit inside and loose your hearing from the noise of an unshielded diesel engine and loose your lungs to the diesel fumes or sit outside, that is on the cabin roof, and take your changes with the elements. I climbed on the roof.
The drizzle steadily turned into rain and the number of people on the roof dwindled until there were just two of us left braving the weather. Although I had my raincoat on I still got wetter and colder by the minute. My watch has a thermometer and it revealed that the temperature had dropped to 25 degrees. I felt hypothermia was close.

We left the lake for the river leading to Battambang, the rain slowed down to a drizzle and occaisionally the sun came peaking out from behind the clouds. A few not so hardy souls started to venture out from the cabin and return to the roof suitably amazed that two of us had stuck it out there the whole morning.

Finally the rain stopped and the clouds disappeared. The roof top got busier all the time and people started breaking out the sun screen. An English couple went from pasty white to lobster red in about an hour and I dried out and warmed up again. The mercury rose to forty degrees and after twelve hours of travel I was happy to arrive in Battambang.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More ruins and a bike ride.

After a days rest I got back on the bike, and feeling a lot better then during my first ride tackled the "Grand Circuit" a trip that takes in most of Angkor's main temples. It turned out to be quite a day. In the end I cycled almost fifty kilometers over highways and byways visiting numerous temples and feeling yet again like death warmed up at the end of it. What is nice about being out on a bike though is the ability to go where you please and stop where you want. I've seen monkeys and birds, and people working in the rice paddies where all those in a tuktuk just raised by. I seem to get a better reception from the locals as well, who of course all travel by bike as well.

Another funny sign.

This one in the public toilets at Angkor Wat

Saturday, August 07, 2010

On yer bike.

I did something profoundly stupid today and rather then getting a tuktuk to take me to the monument zone I decided that I could easily bike it.
So I rented a bike and off I went. OK it seemed a bit further then what I remembered from last time but the road is level and the traffic not too bad.
By the time I got to the entrance of Angkor Wat I was both sore and thirsty so I was glad to park the bike, buy an exorbitantly priced bottle of water from one of the roaming vendors and do some exploration on foot.
The complex is magnificent and well worth spending a few hours to look at the murals that are literally hundreds of meters long as well as the buildings that are magnificent in their own right.
Then back on the bike and on my way to Angkor Tom. This time however the pain in my bum and creaking of the knees came back pretty much straight away. Luckily there are plenty of reasons to stop along the way, admire the scenery or a small temple and get a rest.
Angkor Tom is the site where one of the ruling kings had Buddha images carved out of the stone work that make up the temple and apparently there are over 250 of them.
I have always found this place quite eerie in spite of all the tourists. The enormous heads staring out over the jungle are more something out of an Indiana Jones movie then something you expect to see for real. Never mind I am happy enough to appear on a photo with one of them. By the time I have finished looking around this place it's nearing the end of the afternoon and I am back on my bike and peddling towards Siem Reap. Now I could tell you I just cycled back to town but the truth is I stopped five times to give my knees a rest. Don't think I'll be going very far tomorrow.

another odd bit of trivia.

In Siem Reap a small bottle of water costs one dollar. A big mug of beer fifty cents.
Not that I am complaining.

Sign at the hotel reception desk

And you know, it really works I haven't seen a single person carrying hand grenades in the hotel yet.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Just arrived in Siem Reap

Most of the day it's been absolutely pouring down with rain, to the extend that when I crossed the border the water was knee deep on the street and the immigration office was sand bagging their entrance. Anyway cleared customs and got a Dutch couple to share a taxi with me for the 150 kilometer ride to Siem Reap. The road has been greatly improved since I last made this trip and we got there in only two and half hours. A hotel was quickly found and right now I am enjoying a beer and trying out a Banana flower salad. Different!

Sunday, August 01, 2010


All being well I will travel to Siem Reap in Cambodia tomorrow. The travel agent tells me that the road has improved since I went there last time but it will still take all day.
Tell you more when I get there.

One day out cooking

Yesterday I spend another day cooking to make sure I can remember how to do things properly in the kitchen, and because I enjoy it.
The setup was a bit different this time in that rather then getting stuck in straight away the teacher would first demonstrate how to cook the dish, then we would have a tasting, and only then did we cook the dish ourselves. This helps you get an idea of what the various processes should look like while you are performing them as well as what the dish should taste like.
The school is run by a culinary school teacher and cook book author and she doesn't let people get away with doing things by half. I thought my arms would fall off from all the pounding of ingredients in the mortar and pestle. "That looks almost right Eric, just another five minutes of pounding or so".
I really enjoyed it and had a great day.

I'm going to fly away

But not yet.

I have booked tickets to fly back to Kathmandu on the fourth of September and back to New Zealand on ten November although I might still change that to the ninth.
In the meantime I will be doing another cooking course here in Bangkok and on Monday or Tuesday I will head off to Cambodia to have another look at that beautiful but troubled country.