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Better Late Than Never

Written on: Wednesday February 7th, 2007

A journal entry from: Vietnam & Camboda

This journal entry is well late - since I just found this cool site to update you all on my travels. So I thought I would paste in my update emails that I sent out to all of you in case you forgot....

 Feb 10, 2007

Hi All
well sorry for the mass email but i have limited time to write to you all individually, but just think - if you got this email then at least i was thinking of you!
so here is the scoop - first of all group dynamics
So i am on an intrepid trip there are 8 total including me:
Verena - my roommate - 26yrs female from Austria - very nice, thankfully
Matt & Joanne - 20 something couple from England - often have trouble understanding them and just nod and laugh ---hehehe
wait it gets better.....
Helen & Dick - old, from Vancouver, complain like they are americans...
Jan & Laura - friends from WA & CA - actually Laura is less like an american..they are little old ladies , i think Laura is like 70 - go grandma
anyway it is an interesting group to say the least.
so my day today - we are in a place called Hue, pronounced Hway. We arrived by overnight train from Hanoi this morning. It was an ok train ride...had a couple of beers and then hit the sack...
we got to the hotel, showered (yeah) and headed out for the morning. Verena & I stuck together and decided to go to the local market. we were walking all over town but it was good. In the market you can buy everything under the sun - today i bought my first souvenir - a vietnam hat (very touristy) for 30 000 dong - that is the equivalent to less than $2 USD. So we were in the market and we were walking around and then i felt my stomach grumble...ok i know you don't want to hear about this but it is really funny...i said to Verena that i don't feel so well and need to find a bathroom....i am so damn lucky that there was this building and i ran over and it was a WC....phewww...so i ran in and ewwww it was a squatter and not the cleanest i have seen but what can you do when you are about to explode....so i rolled up my pant legs and the rest is history - you should just know that everything turned out ok in the end.

So we continued walking around....then later in the afternoon the group met at the citadel for a tour. we were walking around and i was standing with our leader Tho (pronounced Taw) and we heard this loud FART - yep Helen let one rip and Tho said to me that he thougth the canadians were dropping bombs in Vietnam. we couldn't stop laughing....it was really funny because she tried to cover it up by commenting on how nice of a tree there was in front of us....but we knew - i guess lack of fart control is all something we have to look forward to. For my ship friends - you know what i am talking about when you are walking up the stairs and Mr & Mrs. Brown are in front of you and just keep letting them rip----ahhhhh
so tomorrow we are going on a motorbike tour - this should be great. We will visit the incense village and the place they make the conical hats - yes they do wear them here.
well i will leave you with one thought to ponder:
Went to the market in Hanoi and saw what you ask? well....it was a fried dog - (sorry Lori) yes fully fried...not to worry i wasn't going to eat it, but the Vietnemese do eat dog!!! Now just think folks - it's not wrong, just different
Well Miss you all
lots of love

Feb 13, 2007

Hi Everyone,
well i thought you must have recovered from the last email, so it is time that i write again.

So I am in a place called Hoi An in the southern part of Vietnam. It is a really cool place. Everything in Vietnam is busier than usual - so in stead of a million motorbikes there are like 10 million (ok exaggerating a little - but not much) because Lunar New Year or Tet Festival is coming up in a few days. actually it starts on Feb17.

Hoi An is a great town - famous for shopping & custom tailoring. So of course i went to the tailor shop...and well the rest is history - i came out with 2 suits, 4 shirts, 2 dresses....all for a bargain price of $500 USD. Well actually in all I got 18 pieces custom made to fit me! So when you break it down it comes out to be about $30 per piece....really a steal....i mean the suits were only like $125 each and that included the jacket and 2 pairs of pants (one long, one cropped) they are really nice....so no gasping at the price....
The thing i like to do the most is wander through the local market and take photos, when i get home i will send you a link to view the photos. the craziest thing i saw in hoi an was a little boy of about 3 or 4, peeing in the market - his mom was helping him...this wasn't the crazy thing - but the fact that he was about 2 feet away from the veggies his mom was selling was the thing that shocked me the most....then mom went back to selling veggies.....ewwww....
we also saw a lady with a plastic glove selling noodles, they were sticky noodles, hence the glove, but after she would put the noodles in the bag she was eating the noodles off the glove - what is the point??? it was quite funny.
oh and i had my fortune told by this little old lady....it was funny. she said that in two years i would be very happy with a boyfriend who is 2 years older than me (I guess the CH HK is out - for the ship folks) and that there are going to be two men who love me very much but i only love one of them. she also said i would live to be 91yrs.....what joy i have to look forward too.....it was quite interesting...
so the group is still the same...no real developments....helen & dick are still complaining about everything.....so what else is new....crazy tourists...thankfully they are not continuing the trip into Cambodia but are leaving in 2 days...
so we are off to Ho Chi Minh City today the locals still call it Saigon....and this should be fun...i need to stop buying stuff though...but it is really hard when things are so inexpensive...last night went for dinner and it cost me 14000 dong  - less than $1 USD.
well folks.....i am off to find a new adventure....
talk soon & miss you all
Feb 18, 2007
Hi All,
well i have now arrived in Cambodia. We left Vietnam this morning at about 8am in a tin can of a boat....motored down the bassac (sp) river to the capital of Cambodia Pnomh Penh (sp). It is super hot here today. I think it must be more than 40 C. I was just dripping with sweat....yuk
so it is very different here to vietnam. much more poverty, more beggars...in vietnam this is controlled by the government so you don't get people asking you for money which is very nice. here it is not like that...you have a lot of small children asking for money . i feel sorry for them but we have been told by our leader not to give them anything because often the parents take them out of school because they can earn more from begging.
so we took a Tuk Tuk (a cart pulled by a motorbike) to the Russian market to find that it was closed due to chinese new year...then we took the same tuk tuk to the central market and found only a few stalls open outside. i bought a couple of small souvenirs and that was it...we were dying from the heat so we decided to head back to the hotel to cool down.
tonight we are going to a local restaurant for dinner - an intro into Khmer food. Should be interesting. Tomorrow is going to be a heavy day - we are going to the S21 & the Killing Fields....so i am sure this is going to weigh heavy on the heart tomorrow.
well that's all for now....no funny stories yet...and all my girlfriends - no guy stories...i know you are all disappointed about that one...hehehe....
talk soon
love and miss you all
Feb 25, 2007
Hi Everyone
well i have made it to Bangkok finally. It has been a great trip. we arrived in BKK on Friday at about 630pm... it was a bumpy trip from Siem Reap all the way to the border of Thailand at Poipet.....i am not talking little bumps i am talking huge bumps...the kind that make you feel like your organs are being crushed together inside....lovely trip for 5 hours....the highways in Cambodia are dirt not paved...so you can really see how poor the country is and how much they are lacking on their infrastructure. it seems that the government would rather build new pagodas than spend money on improving the infrastructure of the country. during the Pol Pot regime or the Khmer Rouge they turned all the schools into prisons or destroyed them and killed millions (approx 3 million) educated Cambodians...this way Pol Pot could control his subjects better if they were uneducated. So no one went to school..all the children were forced to work in the fields or they were recruited to become Khmer Rouge Soldiers...you must read more on the subject...this mass genocide is somehow forgotten....and it was worse than what Hitler did in WWII and only happened between 1975 -79. I was shocked an appalled to learn about all of this. If you are interested in hearing more i will share but i know for a lot of you this may be a little bit boring so i will move on to other things....
so we got to the border of Thailand & got into our pimped out vans...i am telling you the difference between the two were like night & day...these were nice a/c vans with lights on the ceiling...not sure what for...we called them the pimp mobiles..we drove along a very smooth & modern highway for 4 -5 hours into bangkok....so the whole journed was about 12-13 hours....i would have preferred to fly but the morning flights were all booked out..so i urge anyone thinking of taking a bus between siem reap & bangkok to shell out the extra dough and fly...your bum & back will thank you for it later.
we went out for our last group dinner on Khao San Rd. (the main backpacker area) it was really nice..said goodbye to all. then the next day my roommate & I got up early and headed out to the weekend market...and i know you guys won't believe this but i didn't buy a single thing..i don't know if i am shopped out..or if i keep comparing prices to vietnam(this was the cheapest place to shop) then we went to a place called Panthip Plaza - a huge electronics mall and again i didn't buy anything...i think i better go to the doctor as i must be ill or something....
after all that shopping i needed a nap then went for a thai massage - 1hr for $5. If you have never had one i highly recommend it....they twist you, turn you, stretch you and crack you and after you feel like you are in heaven. so my masseuse was a small thai lady (as they are all small) and the first thing she does is comment on how big i am....geeezzzz. can't a girl like food?? then when she gets to my arms she again comments on how big they are....what a way to make a girl feel good about herself. but i know they don't mean it in a bad way...but it really makes me want to go on a diet....hehehe..
well today we are off to get a little pampering with a manicure & pedicure and then tonight we are going to see  Muay Thai or  thai boxing....ring side seats for only $40, a little pricey but hey, when are we ever going to see Muay Thai again.

I am trying to fly home on Monday for those of you who might want to call me. Not because i want to but because my conference for work is on saturday and i wouldn't mind some time to wind down before having to leave again.
so with all that said i will go for now.
talk soon
miss you all tons!
love linz