Sunday, July 7, 2013

Super Awesome South East Asia Adventure-Goodbye Cambodia, Hello Vietnam!

The second day in Phnom Penh was a less heavy affair. I am physically incapable of sleeping in it seems. I headed off to the Royal Palace, which was about a block away from my guest house (best. location. ever.)

I hired a tour guide who was very informative. Unfortunately, you're not allowed to take pictures of the coolest things, which was the emerald buddha. She told me it was made of emeralds, but it looked more like jade. It was amazing. The floor of the pagoda was silver tiles.

This is a very lucky flower (and it smells wonderful), it's collected by the monks to make tea.

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The Silver Pagoda. The locals actually call it the Emerald Pagoda, because it houses the emerald buddha.

The Victory Gate, where the king enters.

After, I went to Daughters of Cambodia, a non-profit organization that
helps victims of the sexual slave trade get out. This is, without a doubt, the best
eggs benedict I have ever had in my life.

Interesting fact, during the Khmer Rouge time, the royal family closed the gates of the royal palace and stayed there for the three years.

I also found out that the current king, who is 62 years old, is unmarried. Although he did spend a year at a buddhist monastery, which is the tradition for monarchs.

After Phnom Penh, I went to Sihanoukville, which was supposedly a beach town on the coast of Cambodia. I was unimpressed. So much so, that I didn't write anything down about it. I also took only these pictures.

Maybe it was the weather, it rained the whole time.

To help make up for my disappointment in Cambodian beaches, I headed to Phu Quoc island, which is off the coast of Cambodia, but belongs to Vietnam. It was quite a trek to get there. Starting at 7:30 am with a minibus from Sihanoukville to Kampot. In Kampot, I was unceremoniously deposited on the side of the road (with a nice couple from Spain) to wait for another minibus that took us from Kampot to the border crossing. After getting ripped off at the border ($1 on each side for a "health check") we waited on the Vietnam side for another minibus to take us to the ferry terminal in Ha Tien. It was a little hairy when it's 12:45, the fairy left at 1:30 and it was a 15 minute drive to get there, but we made it.

The ferry was packed with locals and took an hour and a half. Not the worst ride in the world though.

Especially when it brings you here.

Guys, I'm at a beachside resort (private beach) that cost $20 a night. I could have paid $10 for a room without air conditioning, but I'm not a heathen.

The view of the garden from the porch

I do love a nice sunbathe. In the shade. Slathered with sunscreen.
Still got burned, the joys of white skin.

I spent yesterday sunbathing, getting a massage (which started at $5 and ended up at $12.50 after then just started slathering fresh aloe on me), and then watching a movie when the afternoon thunderstorm started. It's exactly what I wanted to do on my beach stay.

This morning I flew to Ho Chi Minh City. It was only slightly more expensive to fly, but it took about 1/7th the time. The flight I got went to Rach Gia, a town on the southern coast, then we got off the plan for about half an hour, and then got back on and finished the journey. About 4/5ths of the plane went the whole way through, about 10 new passengers got on. It was weird to make a stop because both flights were only about 20 minutes long.

The airport on Phu Quoc had a Burger King. Who could resist this breakfast of champions.
I should have, my body is clearly not used to all that greasiness.

This kid had the funniest haircut, I couldn't get a good picture though.
He was what you might refer to as "a holy terror". And he sat in front of me on the flights.

"What we think is being a forest" What the heck does that mean?
So much delicious pho.

I tried to go to a movie, but it didn't work out, so I hung out, took a nap, and had some dang delicious pho for dinner. Did I mention it was only $2.50? It's probably half as much for the locals, but that's still perfect pricing for me.

Tomorrow I booked a tour of the city and (hopefully) I'll be able to do a church activity in the evening, we'll see how it works out.

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