Cruising cambodia

Trip Start Jan 06, 2006
1
46
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Trip End Feb 27, 2007


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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Birds of a Similar Feather
Three birds sit on a tree branch. They are great friends, and are nibbling away at a shiny green bug, an insect that supposedly gives you extraoridinary curiosity and wonder for the world outside their own.

The first bird swallows his plump bug and immediately begins to dream of far-away destinations, exotic forests, mountains, and oceans and takes off to the WEST as fast as his wings could take him. His journey takes him through the Southern Hemisphere and later into Asian dreams, visiting the lands of the biggest flocks. The worm was working and he couldn't stop whirling around the world.
  
7 months later, the second bird flaps his wings to satiate his own desire for discovery, heading EAST. For 3 months, he flies first to European getaways before making an unprecedented migration southward to the tip of Africa, seeing a whole new global perspective. Then on East exploring Pacific lands and continuing up to Asia. 10 months after the first bird leaves, the two finally cross paths in the steamy city of Bangkok to relish in their travels and share their experience together. 

The third bird listens to his worm's side-effects a bit later and heads SOUTH to tropical beaches and funny sounding birds in Costa Rica. His feathers get bushier and his dreams for global discovery overwhelm, so he spreads his wings to meet the other two in Asia, 10 months after their separation.

As the first two are whizzing through ancient temples of Angkor in Asia, the third tracks their scent (this travel thing seems to accecuate odor) and meets the two as they perch on a tree branch at sunrise overlooking Angkor Wat. After almost a year, the three birds reunite and celebrate their distances crossed and their experiences gained. They rub their scraggly feathers together (a motion faintly resembling a human high-five) and watch the theatrical performance of citrus hues and purple skies act out the days beginning.
----
-Day 320-
At last! Orlando heads east, I head west, and we meet in the middle. 10 months later. His colossal journeys took him to Europe, way down to South Africa and over (via cruise) to Australia, then up to Thailand, all in 3 months! Huge trip. So we essentially headed out in opposite directions to circumnavigate the globe and rendevoused in Thailand. Unreal.

We celebrated our intersection over the King's birthday in Bangkok, then get the helloutta dodge to the East, to the Angkorian lands of Cambodia. Traveling with a best friend just seems too easy. Crossing to Cambodia felt a bit like switching from watercolors to crayons. From smooth roads and sleek buses to mine-field highways and crowded taxis, Cambodia nonetheless satisfies.

First stop Battambang, where we teamed up with a Swede related to Beethoven and (via motorbike) explored the smalltown attractions. Scrambled to the hilltop temples, India-Jones'd it through dark bat caves, snacked on slimy silk-worms, and sped away at sunset on the imfamous Bamboo Train, a platform on wheels propelled 2-stroke-style through endless rice fields. Words dont do justice. 

Off to Phnom Penh, the capital and commercial hub. Not as bad as I thought, Bustling city, traffic, all the ingredients. Took in some rather tragic sights, the Killing Fields and S-21, to inform ourselves on the brutal PolPot Regime of the late 70's. Horrific stories, genocide, you name it. Humanity's darkest hours revealed.
After a dose of historical blemishes, we cruise south to Kampot, gateway to Bokor National Park. We spend a day hiking through jungle, bouncing along horrible roads, and meandering through old hill-stations atop great ocean views. At night, an employee of the guesthouse invited us to the local theater festival, where we watched 3 hours of Cambodian comedy, playing guessing games at the content in sheer joy.

Then off to the beachside town of Sihanoukville, where we spent three days lounging and island-hopping. We stayed 10 feet from the water, in a guesthouse where you pay $2 to spend as long as you like there. The guesthouse owner liked us and gave us a bar tab to promote her party that night. So we spent the afternoon beachcombing giving hundreds of flyers out for her festivities. The night resulted in a upsurge of people and a fabulous night.

After the Sandy Sessions of Sihanoukville, we made a long huck north to Siem Reap, where Rory Byrne (bird number three) awaited our arrival...
 
 
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Comments

sherrypace
sherrypace on

Can't wait to see Cambodia!!
Nick- Another wonderful update!! I am so excited and anxious to explore Cambodia!! How fun you have connected with Orlando and Rory!! Please send my love to Orlando and big Holiday wishes to a fellow traveler!!!
Peace,
Sherry

cristenv
cristenv on

hey Nick!
What fun to be traveling with buds from the homeland...yay! still looks like fun there, I cannot believe how long you have been traveling...all is good here. the family gathers for christmas time and we will all be thinking of you over there. Continue on this spectacular journey knowing we all love you!
Peace be the journey...Aunty Cris

jtriolo
jtriolo on

flockintogether
great you three birds are churpping the same tune!
good on your cultural, quest. you continue fulfilling your statement of purpose for the journey.
love to you and the boys, POPS

jmurf14
jmurf14 on

Nik-o..you're seeing what I missed....
...when I worked in the Cambodian refugee camps in '79 and '80 we saw what was left of a population of those beautiful people from the havoc wreaked by the Pol Pot regime, as they straggled into the camps along the Thai border. The stories, indeed, were horrific. I thought at the time that someday, when some semblance of peace returned to that tortured country ( first by us, then by the Vietnamese, and then by their own Khmer Rouge) , I would fulfill my dreams of seeing the Ankgor Wat ruins and some more of the beautiful countryside. I never got there...so you have done it for me! I am envious, but, so grateful, that you had, and, took, the opportunity. It has stirred a lot of old memories for me. Can't wait to get you home and hear all about it.

Big love to you, Nick...we will miss you heartily at Xmas!! ( I spent my first -ever Xmas away from home on a barge down on the river in Bangkok with a bunch of other relief workers...called the 'Blue ________' something....wonder if it is still there?

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