Saturday, July 31, 2010
We made it back safely.... just to pack up and leave the next day for an amazing Abo family vacation up at Whidbey. We're back for a few more days before heading out AGAAAAIN for Family Camp with Geoff's family. For now, I thought the best way to post pictures would be to add on to the posts that I did while we were travelling. So... go back and check 'em out ~ be patient though, our internet is slow and taking awhile to do its thing.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Our original plan starting at Surat Thani prooved to be a bust with horrible weather, no place to rent a scooter and most importantly.... A super dodgy "safe room" to store our bags. So the next day we packed up and took a ferry to Ko Samui. We are pretty sure this is actually the Hawaii for Euros with just the zip code showing Thailand! So we are here but of course making the best of it with somewhat successful scooter adventures to find the true Thailand. It really is a gorgeous island and offers a ton to do, including a McDonalds and plenty of ladies looking for rich white men for long walks on the beach!
We have one more full day here and then we will head to Bangkok, which at first we were so-so about seeing but now we are really excited to go back to the real Thailand!
(Look closely at the picture of me ~ see the creepy guy?! That's a whole separate post....!)
Monday, July 12, 2010
After some decision making we decided we couldn't miss Angkor Wat so a 12 hour travel day later(plane ride, taxi, bus AND tuk tuk) we arrived in Phnom Penh. We really like this city- not too big, a river running through it and tons to see including the kings royal palace, which was impressive. After a few days there we took a 6 hour bus trip to Siem Reap, which is the town of Angkor. We spent 2 painfully hot days checking out Angkor's sites which are from the 9-15th centuries during the Khmer Empire, including the most well know site, Angkor Wat. We got up early this morning to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat which was magnificant. Geoff was in heaven, despite the heat, and prooved to be a great tour guide as well as a great husband to deal with a hot, tired wife! We called it quits around noon today (that's after 7 hours of temples and ruins- not to mention the 8 hours from yesterday) and now we're enjoying our hotels fab pool and for once enjoying the 100 + degree. Pool... Wow, THIS is vacation!
We decided this morning to head to Thailand tomorrow and fly to Surat Thani where we are hoping to stash our bags and take a few day scooter adventure down the coast. Stay tuned!
Friday, July 9, 2010
(The first picture is one of the villages that we scooted through. A woman lost control of her scooter when a big truck came by and dropped it, along with all the goods that she was carrying. Geoff got off the scooter to help her with the VERY heavy bags ~ I'm pretty sure the whole village came to watch!)
We had an interesting day in Hue and I figured it deserved an entire post. We set out on motor bike in the early morning hoping we could be at this waterfall for some swimming by the middle of the day (the hottest time - and I'm talkin heat index of 114). Everything was going well with a few stops at an amazing pagoda and also an old arena where they had lions and elephants fight. We were on our way to check out the beach and waterfall when we pulled over so I could jump off and buy some water. I came out to see that Geoff had made a new friend. The Vietnamese guy fell in love with us and begged us to have lunch with him. We were nit hungry ( and also a bit weary of one of those scams that the book tries to freak you out with) so we asked if he'd mind just grabbing a quick drink. So the drink turned into him really wanting to take us to an old war bunker. We couldn't say no - hearing his stories of the war and his experiences really pulled at our hearts. So on we went. Well after we checked out the bunker we jumped on our bike and we had a major flat tire. We happened to figure it out right in front of a repair shop (I'm using that word lightly). Coincidence? You decide. So they fixed our tire and off we went. We parted ways with our sweet new friend, feeling bad for ever questioning his motives. We got to the beach and decided to have some lunch at this little beach side cafe. Of course we had a ton of kids trying to sell us things but we had a certain draw to this sweet 16 year old girl. We bought her a coke and we chatted for a long time. After our chat and lunch we jumped back on our scooter to head to the falls. Oops.... Tire was flat, again. Our new friend fad her friend take us to the nearest "repair shop". We decided that it would not be a great idea to keep riding so we asked some lady if we could use her phone to call the hotel where we got the scooter. The hotel said they would send someone with a new bike. Great. So we waited, and called back, and waited, and called back. Finally someone showed up to look at the bike but on the way to see us they got in a bad scooter accident and we're all cut up and bleeding and also not happy with us. So we decided to just move on and hope for the best, since our help was really no help at this point. We made our way through beautiful hills and villages. We started to realize that it was getting late and we would not have time for the falls, so we started heading back to town which was about 45 km away when, oops, the tire went out. So at this point we had to get help. We had stoppped in front of a house and they let us use their phone. It took about 1 hr of phone calls to work everything out and at the end they told us to hitch hike back to town. Ahhhh. Okay.... So, we did just that. Ended up getting in the air conditioned cat (heaven) of some nice young men who gave us front door service to the hotel.
So it was a challenging day but also one of the best because we were able to meet some lovely locals and our faith in humanity was uplifted. There are some great people in this world (except for the scooter guy, he was a jerk!).
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(Check out the stool that the lady is standing on.... SO funny!)
We just left Hoi An and had a fabulous time. We loved the town and really wanted to stay longer, however we knew we needed to get moving so we could make it to Cambodia & Thailand.
Hoi An was a welcome sight after the craziness of Hanoi. We spent our days in town checking out cultural sights, eating white rose and shopping- lots and lots of shopping! We like to look at it as helping the local economy! There are over 400 tailoring shops in town- it's amazing that they can all stay in business! There are also cobblers that make any shoe that you want and make it a perfect fit to you, and of course all the things at a great price (especially after my mad bargaining skills!). Our biggest purchase was a very handsome dark grey suit for Geoff. Of course the sales/fitting ladies LOVED Geoff and were so impressed with his size - he even got a few pats on the behind - hilarious!
This morning we took an interesting bus ride from Hoi An to Hue which was about 4 hours and everyone must take off their shoes and the seats are all beds. How cozy. :)
We spent this afternoon exploring Hue on bicycles which is a hair raising experience to keep up with the motor bikes, but also a ton of fun.
Hope everyone at home is well! We can't wait to share pics and videos - Vietnam is an amazing country!
Friday, July 2, 2010
We just arrived back in Hanoi after a 3 day trip around Halong Bay. We upgraded to a fancy boat which was really nice and only had 3 other couples on it. We all got along really well and had a great time. Halong Bay was absolutely breathtaking with giant karsts beyond what the eye can see. It was pretty unreal to lay on your bed, sorrounded by windows while watching giant karsts pass by. We have some great pictures and can't wait to share them. The trip didn't end so well... Geoff got sick (the yucky one that most westerners get when coming to SE Asia!)and had to miss some of the fun and I got stung by a jelly fish! Despite our sour belly and aching leg/foot we spent the last few hours exploring the night market back in Hanoi and experiencing the street side food scene! We fly out early tomorrow to Danang and will then go straight to Hoi An where we are looking forward to getting a few outfits tailored!