Brief Blog Hiatus

Hey guys,

I’ve been in New Zealand since early March, and it’s been great. I’m at a yoga/meditation center, and while it’s been great for my body and mind, it’s not such a great place to find the motivation to blog. And so, the blog will be on a short hiatus until the 2nd week of April. I have loads and loads I still want to share, so stay tuned!

Marilyn

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Adventures in Cambodia – Part 2

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Siem Reap at Sunset

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When you’re bored in Bangkok

I had to do an overnight layover in Bangkok and had a free day before my train to Southern Thailand. I wandered around a big mall until someone stopped me to take a photo with this dude:

Me and Tom Cruise

I was told about a magical place, where there were tons of other people that I could take pictures of myself with. And that is how I ended up at Madame Toussaud’s Bangkok.

Here’s me dancing with Beyonce:

And me being one with Michael Jackson:

Trapped in a cell and Hannibal Lector's hungry.

Me and my buddies the Obamas:

Venus thinks I'm funny

And even though the conversations were one sided and my new friends didn’t move very much, I had such a good time hanging out with the celebrities at Madame Toussaud’s. I’m sure you’ll have a good time when you visit too!

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Adventures in Cambodia – Part 1

Hey Fine Folks,

I just got back from a whopping ten days in Cambodia. That’s quite a long time, considering that going was a completely last minute decision on my part. I spent my time in three regions, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.

Me doing my best Angelina Jolie Cambodia Louis Vuitton Ad Impression (Boat from Siem Reap to Battambang)

So, I’ll start my posting with my time in Phnom Penh. It’s actually a really pretty, comfortable city to be in. They have a lot of really great boutique hotel options, and you can get a really nice hotel room with every normal amenity for under $40. Plus, tons of great French food options. My first meal was an amazing steak swallowed down with Merlot, and it only cost $10 bucks. But anyway, I only had a couple of days there, so what I did for my first full day was take a tuk-tuk tour. Basically, my guesthouse arranged for a tuk-tuk driver to take me around the city for a specific amount, which can vary from $15-20.

Phnom Penh by Tuk-Tuk

We made a stop at many of the major points of historical interest, such as the Killing Fields and S21 (which I’ll post about later). My driver also took me the Royal Palace, where I took the following photos.

Royal Palace

Me at the Royal Palace

Royal Palace

It got really hot after I went to the Royal Palace, so I finished up my tour and then went to eat some French food. I had a good day though. The next day, I took a Mekong Express bus to my next destination, Siem Reap. More to follow on that soon.

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Update

Hey guys,  sorry, this is a no picture post. My camera is kind of on the fritz and I really just wanted to give you all a roundup of what I was up to.

So, I am in Phnom Penh, Cambodia right now! Just got here today. I’m staying in a mid-range business style hotel for the night because it was the only thing available, but it’s pretty nice. Has a tv and hot water, all I need. My first impressions of Phnom Penh: horrible traffic and really, really poor. Also, let’s not forget that Phnom Penh is pretty much one of the sex tourism capitals of the world. I saw this super young looking Cambodian girl, she looked like she was 16 but who knows, with this OLD white dude on the plane, and realized this probably the lightest of what I might be seeing. The plane ride was just filled with all of these dirty old single Western guys, and it was pretty obvious what most were making their trip to Phnom Penh for. I questioned coming to Phnom Penh, but I truly feel like being here and getting a glimpse of life here (for better or worse) is key to understanding South East Asia. So tomorrow, I’ve arranged for my trip to visit the killing fields, S21 and other places of historical importance here. It’s gonna be an interesting weekend.

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Playing with some elephants

Hey folks, I’m in Thailand now! As per my initial plans for my trip, I would be making my way from Singapore into Malaysia right now, but I changed my mind and decided to go to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a quick trip. One of the places I went while in Chiang Mai was called the Elephant Nature Park.

This is a conservation center founded to create a home for mistreated and injured elephants.  I hadn’t actually planned on going to the conservation center during my trip, but I had heard a lot of great things about the organization on various travel blogs during my planning stage and happened upon a location selling tickets for a tour while wandering around Chiang Mai.

And folks, it was wonderful. There aren’t really too many words to describe, so just look at all the photos.

Her name was Mae Kham Geag

The one I'm touching is the blind one. She was in her seventies, but still fabulous.

A lovely elephant family.

The center does such good work. What separates it from other elephant places is the fact that these elephants are allowed to just be. They’re not show animals, and all tourist activities are meant to generate funds so the elephants could continue to get the care and love they need. My favorite was the blind elephant, and the way she was nurtured and cared for made me want to be a better person. Elephant Nature Park is well worth a visit.

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Macau

Ah, Macau. Land of the casino and mainland Chinese tourists. And good portuguese food. Odd, right?

Macau is a former Portuguese colony that was returned to China in 1999. It has a lot of old Portuguese churches and sites, and looks kind of like Salvador, Brazil to me in some places because of the style of the buildings.

Buildings in Macau

View from Macau Museum courtyard. The hideous building in back is the Grand Lisboa Casino.

I shared each sight with tons of mainland Chinese tourists.

In some places, you’ll hear the Macanese mixing their Cantonese with Portuguese, which makes for interesting eavesdropping.

But there’s also good food! Really good food. Meats mixed with seafood and other stuff. Every meal I had was good.

And of course, I went to the casinos! Of course, as a budget traveler I couldn’t actually play, but they were pretty cool. There are a few Western style casinos, but most are geared towards the mainland Chinese tourist. With China literally being within walking distance of Macau, that makes sense.

My casino photo

I only spent a full day in Macau, but I’m glad I went.

Seen in a park

Lasting Impression of Macau

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