Monday, August 30, 2010

Fleeting thoughts of doubt

I've literally been doing nothing worth talking about the past few days.

I have ended up staying in Kuta the entire time I've been in Bali. I'm a little mad at myself for not at least going to Ubud, but I really liked my hotel room and I've been pretty content. I just don't really feel like exploring is what it comes down to.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's beach time.

I have been so incredibly lazy since I got to Bali. 

I think I've just worn myself out to the point that the idea of exploring makes my brain tired. Instead, I've opted to sit on the beach and do nothing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

In Transit: Cambodia to Bali, Indonesia

I woke up bright and early this morning to get myself ready and make sure I didn't leave anything behind. By 6 a.m. I was downstairs with all my stuff paying out my hotel bill ($25 for the full four nights plus two days of breakfast, I love this!).

Today, my tuk-tuk driver was not late, thank goodness. I decided to use the guy that took me around Angkor yesterday, Sahd, since I felt like I could trust him after a whole eight hours of hanging out and small talk.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Angkor Temples: Enough Said.

When I was 18 and in my first semester of college I took this art history course. There was a 3-hour credit fine arts credit to fill and I decided this would probably be the easiest way. I was over playing the flute — which I had been doing since I was in the 7th grade. 

The course was really broad and touched on all forms of art from every era, time and place in the world you could think of. To this day, my favorite part was the architecture section of this course — particularly when we learned about the Angkor Temples. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Transit: It took me 18 hours to get here, but I'm in Siem Reap, Cambodia!

I have been in and out of Internet access and when I've had the access, I've been using the time to e-mail my family or call my parents. I'm trying not to be so dependent on the Internet when there are so many other amazing things around me.

Found these suprisingly incredible knock-offs of Pringles on the Laos-Cambodian border crossing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Si Phan Don: Four Thousand Amazing Islands between Laos and Cambodia

I took a ridiculously long "bus" ride to the Mekong River where I caught a tiny boat to Don Det one of the many islands on the river between Laos and Cambodia.

I essentially alternated between sleeping and reading in a hammock for a day and half prior to drinking and dining at night with complete strangers.

Then I went Kayak for the first time ever. Not sure if a first time kayaking experience should be on the Mekong River during the high season, but it was awesome.

Details to come soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In Transit: Laos - Tha Khek to Don Det via Pakse

I lived a charmed life, I know.

After my super long and wonderful trip to Kong Lor I was exhausted but time was still of the essence and I had to get on the road the next morning. That said, I still ran a bit lazy all morning. I took my sweet time getting out of bed, eating breakfast and repacking all my freshly laundered clothing. (Oh my goodness, I love cheap laundry service.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Half Loop: My 400km round trip adventure to Kong Lor Cave

I took an amazing 200km motorbike trip to Kong Lor Village. I slept in the home of a Laos family. I rode a long-tail boat through one of the most amazing caves in the world. I trekked through the mud... and got covered in it. I made an equally amazing 200km return trip.

This was probably the most incredible adventure of my life (at least up 'til now).

On the road.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Transit: Hue, Vietnam to Tha Khek, Laos.

I realized that I completely left out Laos in all of the tales of my Southeast Asia trip thus far. That's sad considering Laos was probably my favorite country to have visited in that part of the world. 

(Just to be clear, I don't know that I will ever be able to pick a favorite place in all the world so at this point I'm sticking to the idea of having a favorite per continent.)

I really had to book it going through Laos and that was unfortunate. Honestly the nature of the country has nothing to do with speed. Everything is done at its natural pace and typically that tends to be quite slow. Something that those of us living in the States have a problem with. 

It certainly helped me realize how impatient I've become, especially after living in such an incredibly efficient place as Taiwan. 

Either way, Laos was amazing. Slowing down really helped me take everything in. It's an amazingly beautiful country. 

Simple and yet simply gorgeous.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vietnam Demilitarized Zone aka My Day With a Vietnamese Veteran

After a day spent on a bus then a dinner accompanied by a few drinks (and some rowdy Danish guys), I was impressed by my ability to wake up sans alarm clock this morning and still make it downstairs to the lobby before my arranged pick-up came to take me away.

However, I'm slightly less impressed with my choice of dress for the day. I should have anticipated hiking through the woods and fields on a DMZ tour, but I guess the typical idea of an effortless tour stuck with me. I certainly preferred what I got, I just wish I had dressed for it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The gastronomic and photographic approach to travel

After getting into Hoi An on the night bus I found that quite a lot of the hotels were full, particularly all of the budget options. The best I could find was $15 per night. I know that most of you are thinking that's a great price, but up to now I've been paying $7-$8 per night. 

Besides, I'm in SE Asia, things are just plain cheaper here.

Conical hats, colonial architecture, bicycles and scooters. That's Vietnam.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Diving in Vietnam is not like diving in Thailand.

So diving in Nha Trang was mildly disappointing. I think at this point (despite learning to dive in Taiwan) I have the whole experience built up in my head.

It was certainly different.

The view from the boat.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Alive and soon to be kicking underwater

It's funny how many people here ask me if I speak French.

It makes sense given that Vietnam used to be a French colony but it's just interesting when you think about it.

Obviously I don't speak Vietnamese and I'm sure they're thinking that their French is better than their English so that might be their best bet.

It's kind of like when I met someone in Taiwan and sometimes I would prefer to speak to them in Chinese because it was just easier. Or like the time the guy at Teppanyaki asked me if I spoke German because my Chinese wasn't good enough and his English was non-existent.

Oh the language barrier.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I already lost my camera, but I'm having fun.

I've been in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam for a day and a half now. I'm taking some time out from my day to rest and get out of the sun and pollution for a bit.

Saigon is a fun city and there truly are a bajillion (work with me) tourists. There are also a million bajillion motorbikes. People here do ride scooters but there are more actual motorbikes with gears and such.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

When do you feel like a grown up?

It's nearly 2 a.m. on my last night in Taiwan and I'm no where near ready to go to bed. 

I should be but my brain is going too crazy for that, so I thought I would take this time to reflect a little on the past 14 months in Taiwan and the upcoming months of travel ahead of me.

Many of you may remember I cried when I left America and came to Taiwan. I was excited and nervous, but a lot of that was alleviated by the fact that I would at least know someone who was here already.