No sense of direction, an inate inability to read bus timetables (or maps come to think of it) and phermones enough to attract every small winged bitey beastie within a 10 mile radius. Combine this with a 3 month sojurn through SE Asia and what do you get?

You get... ME! Woot!

See you all when I get back; a more rounded, organised and generally more affable individual (just thought I'd slip that in incase my boss is reading!).

Asia » Cambodia » South » Kampot March 2nd 2011

Things started in the right foot in Kampot when I alighted from the bus, collected my bag, and hired a moto driver to driver me to my chosen hotel.... all of 200 feet away. Of course I should by now be used to the wiley ways of moto/tuk tuk/taxi drivers. For the uninitiated among you here's a short example of a very probable conversation between new tourist in town and their driver: Driver: Where you stay? Tourist: Happy Land Hotel Please. Driver: Ah, so sorry, Happy Land out of business last year. Toursit: Really? But I booked with them last week? Driver: Yep, Yep, burned down Tuesday night, very sad. Tourist: Oh, but I emailed them only yesterday and they said all OK. Driver: Hmmm, Happy Land many prostitute, you stay my hotel, better for you. ... read more
Pepper plantation
Nice flowers
Cooking the Crab

Asia » Cambodia » East » Mondulkiri February 26th 2011

Ever wanted to get up close and personal with an elephant? Then this, ladies and gentlemen, is your golden opportunity. For the meager sum of $50 (or $25 if you're prepared to work in the afternoon rather than ele watch - I did not chose this option, my excuse being lack of food to provide energy for working in the blazing sun. Ahem, it may be weak but it's all I have) you can spend the day at the The Elephant Valley Project and do just that. The project rescues mistreated elephants and lets them live in elephant heaven (quite literally as it turned out) for the rest of their days. A very worth while effort I'm sure you'll agree. Upon arrival we joined up with some of the long term volunteers and headed out to ... read more
Trying to appease Merlot
Enjoying a bath
Coffee Tree

Asia » Cambodia » East » Senmonorom February 25th 2011

Leaving Kratie was not as easy as it should have been, not by a long chalk. Was up bright and early and, deciding to forgo breakfast (in lieu of recent tummy troubles and upcoming bus journey) was waiting outside the hotel by 6.40. Mini bus was due at 7 so I was in plenty of time, 7am came and went, 7.30 and I popped into the hotel brandishing my ticket querying what went wrong. "No speak English" was the only response I could elicit (they spoke enough to sell the ticket though) so eventually I had to give up as my Khmer was in no way sufficient to get to the bottom of the problem. 7.45 am and I was booking a ticket for the big bus at 9.30. So $9 wasted but nothing too bad ... read more
Rest Stop

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kratié February 23rd 2011

Fresh water dolphins are possibly the biggest attraction in Kratie, and I was determined to see them. Ideally alone, but then when is life ever ideal? My moto driver arrived a little late and driving a tuk tuk with 2 people already seated in the back. "You travel with 2 other tourist" he beamed "cheaper for you" (lol, more money for him more like, but who am I to begrudge that), as I reluctantly nodded my assent he thrust $2 back at me and off we went. My two companions were very nice, proper backpackers who'd met that day on the bus and were already sharing a room (I'll never understand this need the average backpacker has to save a dollar and share a room with a complete stranger - do they not crave some time ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Koh Ker February 19th 2011

Finally made it to Koh Ker. Woohoo. Cost me $95 mind and I had to gate crash someone elses private tour but hey, I made it. Mska, the German I was traveling with was a very keen photographer (hmmmm, already you are seeing the miss-match) and eager to see sunrise at Koh Ker. So, 4.30 am was our start time, man it's worse than being at work with all the early rises out here (not really). Alas, seems 4.30 was not early enough, and we caught sunrise along a very dusty and narrow road. Nothing worth stopping to snap and (as it turns out), Mska was not interested as he only snaps old rocks. Around 7 we pulled in for breakfast where poor old Mska nearly had an apoplexy when he heard me order noodle soup... ... read more
Elephant Ear
Prasat Pram
Prasat Thom

Asia » Cambodia » North » Tonlé Sap February 18th 2011

Joy of joys, this trip was to be taken in air-conditioned comfort. What a treat indeed. I may have mentioned how hard am finding it adjusting to the heat out here. Have I? Am sure I must have, it has pretty much been my all consuming thought this last week. Am sure I didn’t have this much difficulty adjusting the last time and I’ve been pretty darned miffed over it I can tell you for it is impacting on my enjoyment to an uncomfortable degree. However, I subsequently discovered that 2 paracetamol (taken after a particularly rough run in with a particularly unyielding rock whilst clambering through a particularly tight space at Bang Malea) makes the heat that much more bearable. It is likely then that I am running a small fever of sorts; this cheers ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 17th 2011

This time round I elected to make use of the free sunset option with my Angkor pass (purchase your pass after 4:45pm and you are alowed into the park for free to watch the sunset) and pootled off to Angkor Wat to enjoy it relatively crowd free (although it was still anoyingly busy - didn't they know they were meant to be clambering up Phnom Bahkeng for sunset?) Still, managed to amble around soaking up the ambiance, in spite of the inconsiderates around me. Particular favourites are the amazing colours of the stones (alas my camera let me down, for whilst it has captured an essence of the beauty it failed to get anywhere near the truth if the matter), and also the stunning views framed by the many doorways (again camera just couldn't read my ... read more
An old Bridge
The Ubiquitous Tuk Tuk Driver Pose
Of course not...

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 14th 2011

Gosh, so early in the trip and already I am behind with the blog. Really must try harder. Am still in Siem Reap as I write this and plan on remaining here for another few days yet (hmmmm, really must let the guesthouse know of this plan or they will throw me out Friday) but enough of the future, lets back track a little shall we... Arrived in Siem Reap 7:50am Monday morning, 1st plan of action was to find a guest house. Not so hard (I thought) as I had a few ideas of where would be good. Had swithered over booking before I left but on this trip I am holding firmly to the "this, or something better" philosphy and so booking is not allowed. Seemed to go well enough at first, there is ... read more
My First Cambodian Meal

Asia » Malaysia » Kuala Lumpur February 14th 2011

Have you ever suffered from claustraphobia on a plane? No? Me neither, until now that is. Yikes, need to find a workaround for that toot sweet or my travel days are over for good. Creeping sensations of it appeared before I'd even entered the plane when a herd of elephants (oh alright, a small group pf people - but they surely sounded like a herd of elphants!) thundered up behind me on the walkway. Got on top of it fairly sharpish though, made it on to the plane and all was well. Or so I thought, alas it returned with a vengance a few hours later. The next 9 hours were spent counting my breaths in an effort to deflect my thought (at that point they mostly centred around the hurling onself out of the nearest ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam February 12th 2011

Slept in. Again. Highly irksome habit of mine that. However, by dint of some super driving on Dad's part, I made it to the airport with the requisite 3hrs to spare. Hurrah! Shame then that KLM's staff hadn't been quite so diligent in their efforts to get there. One hour (and one stupidly expensive coffee) later and I was able to drop off my luggage. Small problem arose when the machine took my ticket at face value and refused to print a label from Edinburgh to KL, seems even the machine thought my ticket was a farce. Fortunately there is a manual override and I am hopefull that despite all efforts to the contrary my luggage will be there to greet me at KL. There have been some big changes at Edinburgh airport, not least of ... read more

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