Sorry it has been so long since the last entry, but here is a long one, sorry! We have traveled from the Southern most tip of Thailand and back up to the some of the northern reaches. When we last wrote we were in Koh Lanta and soon headed to Koh Lipe on the border of Malaysia. We spent our last evening hanging out with a few Farangs (Tourists) Americans who were actually from Lake Tahoe! We ate fresh fish and drank a few Shinghas (the local beer at 6% alcohol...). The next morning was a bit rough when we had to catch our bus at 6am :( But the rough and tumble ride to the mini bus crammed with people woke us right up. We finally reached our destination and found it to be a great little island, but of course it was almost all booked. We found a tiny little bungalow at the Happy Bungalows, for around 200Baht(that is 2 dollars!). We toured the island in it's entirely the next day and found the west shore to be a little less crowded with long tail boats, and got a cute beach side Bungalow at the Porn Resort (nice name huh?) The snorkeling off the island was fantastic and we saw a million little Clown Fish (Nemos) and puffer fish too
. We lazed the days away on our rafts and on the little porch, and finally decided to do a little dive the next morning. Of course it started pouring rain and thunder and lightning, so we had to post postpone slightly and spent the morning eating these fantastic cinnamon rolls and chatting politics and social issues with a few Canadians, Hungarians, and Americans. The view of America is pretty slighted in most foreigners eyes, so we had to set them straight over a few issues and also had to agree over a few more (sorry Mom and Dad, but we did some Bush Bashing). Also did you know that in all of America only like 20% of all citizens hold a passport? So if this finds anyone of you reading this travelpod without a valid passport, you should renew or get one and it just might spark something....... So the rain subsided and we set off for a dive, we were told our second dive would include a shark so we were very excited! The Vis unfortunately was pretty bad so Dive 1 was murky, but still very cool. For Dive 2 the current was extremely strong so we did not get to see our Shark ( I can't tell you whether I was bummed or excited about that!). But we saw a million fish, coral, and all kinds of sea creatures. We saw a giant puffer fish and tons of Lion fish. The next morning we packed up and headed for our long journey back to Bangkok, first a mini-bus to Hat Yai and then a big overnight bus to Bangkok. We boarded the big bus at 5:30pm and pulled into Bangkok at 8am the next morning. The bus was mostly Thai, so we spent the first couple hours staring blankly at a very strange Thai movie that was all in Thai. I spotted an empty spot at the back and dashed for it to lay down, and before I knew it a small Thai girl jumped up for the spot next to me. We spent the next 15 hours curled up on the long back seat of a jumpy bus feet to feet. Needless to say it was a relief to get to Bangkok, even though we got dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and to settle into our home base at New Siam II
. We got a bunch of stuff done and planned our last few days in South East Asia. We booked our trip to Koh Chang, bought our flight to Cambodia, and reserved a room in Cambodia and in Bangkok when we got back. The next morning we boarded another big bus and made to trek to Koh Chang for the Thai Lunar New Year holiday of Songkran "The Water Festival." We arrived at the White Sand Beach Resort and made our way through the vacationing Thai families and peppered Faranges (tourists) to our haphazard little bungalow on the beach. We spent the next few days being squirted by laughing Thai children and adults and strolling the beaches and enjoying great sunsets. The streets of Koh Chang were crazy with people pilled in cars dumping buckets of water on people and squirting everyone yelling "happy new year..happy Songkran!" While we enjoyed our last days beach side we actually began thinking about "what we were going to do when we got back home?" Well if we thought the streets of Koh Chang were crazy, then we had no idea what was in store for us when we arrived back in Bangkok. The traffic to get out of Koh Chang was ridiculous and then outrageous when we tried to creep through the streets in Bangkok in our giant bus. We laughed as pickup trucks full of kids and adults sprayed the windows of the bus and dumped buckets of water all over the outside, but when they told us to get out in the middle of the chaos Conor and I looked at each other with a streak of fear in our eyes. We wrapped up everything we could the best we could in plastic and braved the packed streets of Bangkok on a Saturday night in the middle of Songkran with our packs and all. At first we thought we could escape getting wet, and maybe even escape the traditional wet talcum powder smears we saw all over everyone else, but alas....no. We got about 5 feet before the first spray hit us and then about 5 more before a Thai boy with a beaming smile cried "happy new year" and slopped a big gooey handful of talcum paste all over our faces
. And then the next person did the same and then the next and so on and so on.... We did get a little relief when between the talcum smears we got blasted with a super soaker, water bottle squirt, cup of water, or the oh so refreshing bucket of water! At first you don't know what to do, millions of people packed together in the streets, water everywhere and peoples hands all in you face, but then you look over to where the squirt came from and it is this cute little old Thai woman with a super soaker..I mean can you get a better mental image! So we laughed and accepted our fate and pushed on towards our guesthouse. When we arrived we were covered in talcum and water, and even the older women working at the guesthouse were chasing each other with squirt guns and some one had dyed the dog purple! Needless to say it was a blast! We could not enjoy in all of the festivities (lots of drinking) because we had to catch our flight to Cambodia early the next morning. On our way to the airport the next day we were amazing at how clean the streets were and how quite everything was compared to the night before! We made our flight and headed towards Siem Reap in Cambodia. It was an amazing thing too, we had the choice of taking a bus for 15 hours to Siem Reip or taking a 1 hour flight? It still does not compute how a 15 hour drive can equal a 1 hour flight, but we chose the flight (I mean we had just done the 15hour bus thing a few days before!). As we flew into Cambodia we saw why it could take 15hours, on the way there you could see nothing but Jungle and dirt roads, and as we landed the small city if Siem Reap emerged
. We landed to a balmy 35 degrees Celcious (I think that is in the upper 90's) and 100% humidity, but you could feel it was such a different place than Thailand. First of all the currency was the US dollar and everyone (I mean everyone) spoke English (it was a little odd!). We checked into our guesthouse and wandered around the streets of Siem Reap. We found lots of nick naks and come great food! The area seemed to cater to every taste bud and we found that the Cambodian food and the Vietnamese was amazing! We ate Amok and fresh spring rolls, vegetables in coconut milk and grilled beef wrapped around slices of onion! We did indulge in the finer things at this lovely little cafe on Sivatha Road, I could not pass up a green bean and goat cheese salad with walnuts and a citrus vinaigrette dressing (would you?). We spent the next day exploring all of the Temple Ruins - Ankor Watt, Ankor Thom, Banyon, Ta Kaom, Preah Khan, Banteay Kidel, and the watched the sunset from the top of the mountain temple of Phnom Bakeng. Ankor Watt was so large and in such good shape, but my fav was the Preah Khan temple that was falling apart with massive trees growing right through the 1 ton bricks! It was a great place to see and we wish we had more time to explore so much more of the land and people of Cambodia. The warmth of the Cambodian people is everywhere seen in every wide smile both young and old. The craziest thing we did see was at the souvenir shop on the way to the temples (an unplanned stop but our driver insisted) was the Kumer Wines and honey in bottles with real cobra snakes inside! We managed to get a little one, but not sure if it will pass American customs...we shall see :) We flew back to Bangkok today and we are flying to Japan on April 21st. We can't wait for Tokyo it is going to be so different!!! We are feeling funny about the trip really coming to an end, but we are also so excited to see everyone on the state side. Sorry for the long e-mail hope you are still awake! Lots of love and can't wait to see you all soon.
Miss Ya Love Ya,
Molly and Conor