Page 17 of Laura421 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 8th 2012

Geo: 11.5588, 104.917 One of the reasons my daughter, Laila, and I wanted to go to Cambodia was to see the killing fields. History has always been one of her main interests, but I also wanted to go. There are several in Cambodia, but we decided on visiting the fields in Phnom Penh. We hired a tuk-tuk driver for the day; he would wait for us and then take us to the next place we wanted to visit. Some of the roads in Phnom Penh are beautiful and clean, but the roads our tuk-tuk drove on to reach the Killing Fields were dusty and dirty; the dirt flew up from the road and stung our faces, our eyes. These fields are not far out of the main part of the city; it did not take us ... read more

Asia » Vietnam January 6th 2012

Geo: 10.75, 106.667 After our second day in Ho Chi Minh City in VietNam, I really wanted to do something different, since we had pretty much explored the city as much as we wanted by then. And I really wanted to see the Mekong River Delta. As we walked along the main streets and through the alleyways and rabbit warrens (no rabbits, but plenty of warrens) we saw travel agencies everywhere; they offered bus rides to other cities in VietNam or to Cambodia or Thailand, but they also advertised boat tours on the Mekong River. The boat tours were all pretty much the same, varying in price from $8-$10pp for a whole day's tour! We could not pass this up, and signed up for Sunrise Travel VietNam's "One Day Mekong Delta" tour for only $8 each. ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 5th 2012

Geo: 10.7592, 106.662 Laila and I flew into Hi Chi Minh City in VietNam from Bangkok, Thailand. On this trip we were only going to have a couple days to explore Saigon before we traveled into Cambodia. But we typically cram a lot of activities into each day, and the pace of this trip had not hit us yet, so we entered VietNam feeling optimistic about our short stay. Unfortunately, immigration took an unpleasant two hours, and, understanding that we did not yet understand their money, the taxi driver stole the equivalent of $40 right out of Laila's hands, even though the ride to our guesthouse should have been about $8. In Ho Chi Minh City there are more scooters (or motos) than I have ever seen in my life; hundreds of them, seemingly thousands of ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok January 3rd 2012

Geo: 13.7308, 100.521 My daughter, Laila, and I took a few days to explore Bangkok when she came to meet me in Thailand, on her month-long break for Chinese New Year. This Tuesday morning we had planned on going into the center of Bangkok, to see several Buddhas, wats, the Giant Swing, and the Green Mountain. We took a tuk-tuk, as Laila really loves riding in them, plus they are the easiest way to get around anywhere in the city. We visited a wat in the morning, had the most delicious vegan Pad Thai for lunch, and then stopped to look at a map to see how to get to the Green Mountain, one of the places in Bangkok I most wanted to see. As we were trying to decipher the map, a man came over ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pathum Thani December 25th 2011

Geo: 14.0167, 100.533 It is Christmas Day. I love Christmas! I love Christmas Eve best of all, since anticipation is usually even more exciting than the actual event, whatever that event is. I am not Christian, but I do believe that Jesus was one of the great spiritual leaders born into this world, and I believe in something over and above us, some energy, some something, and hope that there will be a great meeting of souls after this life; agnostic would probably be the best way to define my beliefs. But I do love Christmas, for so many reasons: for the story of the baby Jesus, for all the excitement of preparation and gift giving, for the lights and decorations, for the wonderful smell of live Christmas trees, for the early darkness of the days ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pathum Thani December 22nd 2011

Geo: 14.0167, 100.533 Let's go back to the market. I go there at least twice each day, once in the morning to buy my fresh young green coconut, and maybe bananas, oranges, mangoes, and then again in the late afternoon to buy dinner, usually a mixed salad. The market is very colorful; all colors of umbrellas bash against each other, protecting each vendor from the hot sun. The umbrellas are old, faded, ripped in places, and their hanging threads brush my hair as I walk by; many Thais are very short by US standards, but I have to duck and dodge umbrellas constantly. The umbrellas survived the floods here too, and still have enough good use to them, so, dirty, and torn, every day they are put up, and every evening they are taken down to ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pathum Thani December 21st 2011

Geo: 14.0167, 100.533 I should have started this blog over a month ago; that's how long I've been in Thailand now, since November 12, 2011. But I didn't know how to start a blog, so I asked one of my daughters (the one who writes her blog from Shenzhen, China) and she said to use TravelPod: "It's free and it's easy!" We will see. Later on we can go back and fill in the gaps in this story, but I want to write about the markets in Thailand right now. When I arrived in Pathum Thani, on November 30, I had expected to be teaching at a secondary school here, but that didn't work out for many reasons. (Another story, but later.) I would not have ever picked Pathum Thani as a place to visit, much ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Nonthaburi December 12th 2011

Geo: 13.8456, 100.524 Traveling alone has its challenges, but the hardest is feeling isolated. Staying connected by emails, Skype, and phone calls makes this less of a problem, but two of those three require an internet connection, in my experience so far not ever a given here in Thailand. For my first two weeks here I did not have an internet connection where I was staying, so that made life much more difficult. When I moved here internet was promised; it was part of why the rent was higher than other places. However, at best it is not reliable. You have to keep trying, and hope there will be a connection, and hope that it continues, or hope that it comes back; certainly do not try to connect when it is dark outside because of the ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya December 7th 2011

Geo: 12.92, 100.9 I had a lot of time on my hands in Pathum Thani, and, urged by Bill and Ariel and Laila to travel around and explore Thailand, I went to Pattaya for three days in early December. Pattaya is known as a tourist destination, but also for its beautiful beaches. Bill booked me a reservation at the Shakespeare Hotel on Jomtien Beach, and I set off on my journey. I took two buses and one minivan to get into Bangkok, then I took the Skytrain to cross Bangkok to reach Ekemai Station, the eastern terminal. This all took some time, but that's what I had most: time. Taking a taxi would have been far easier, but I wanted to see Thailand as regular Thai people see it, not as a tourist. Traveling this way ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Hua Hin November 27th 2011

Geo: 12.569, 99.9524 One thing I want to do while in Thailand is to ride on an elephant. (I rode on a camel in Cairo, Egypt, being able to look over to the Sphinx and great pyramids while doing it! What a story that was. We'll save that for another time, another adventure, but from memory, since it's long over.) Sunday, November 27 dawned hot and sunny. It was a bit hotter than previous days, but it is so nice not to have to think about piling on 5 or 6 layers of clothing, and then a bulky coat on top of that. Plus hat, scarf, double mittens, thick socks, boots. (I am from Maine.) But I digress. It was hot that day, and very sunny, so my walk into town felt warmer than usual. I ... read more

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