We left Phnom Penh by bus on the 7th of december. The pick up was at 6:00AM. The bus drove to the border. We arrived around 1:00PM. Here we had to cross the border waiting in long queues. Around 3:00PM we were in the next mini bus which drove us to Bangkok. We arrived around 6:00PM.
It was nice seeing again this city. On the 8th, as usual we walked a lot and visited again Patunam 🙂 At the same time we had a strange feeling: we knew we were spending the last hours together and would not see again before 2 months … in Germany.
The 9th of december was my last day with Nino. We spent the day walking around in Bangkok, a huge city. We went to some places we had never seen before. At 4:30PM we took a taxi for the airport. We arrived around 5:30PM and time to check in we sit in some place waiting until 6:30PM. Then Nino is gone.
I came back with the train. It was the first time, much cheaper than the taxi. It was a sky train, I could see many parts of the city and feel even more how huge it was. As I arrived in my room, I felt a strange sensation, continuing the travel alone was both hard and exciting. We wrote a little with Julieta the sister of Nino and after this I went for a long recovering sleep …
The 10th of December was the first full day I was alone.It was strange, after a long night I stood up and went for breakfast. I went for a walk and read on a small place in front of a river we had discover with Nino. Midday I ate and then I went to take a suit that was made by a Taylor who countersigned that no children were involved in the process of making it. Being back I read some more and then I went for a walk where a huge fest was taking place. Almost only Thai people were there. It was behind the touristic zone. Nice animations and very cheap products were sold. It was interesting. I went later for dinner and called Nino … after this it was time for rest …
I stayed in Bangkok until the 17th of December. Many companies had promised to call me however only a few did. Looks like the end of the year and the due meeting were a too high overhead. Somehow I regretted not to have left earlier to Calcutta. I had put a high priority on the job interviews and I should have rather kept the priority of the travel …
In the meantime I spent sometime reading and discovering new streets in Bangkok. It was very hot but I like this. I enjoyed the weather very much. I took the opportunity to contact a few companies in China to print my book about acupuncture. One seems very good. I had quite a lot of work to prepare the format they needed and discuss about many details. They would first create a sample and then I may decide to go for 500 Pcs.
I also read some books about deeper C++ and algorithms I had been programming JAVA for my acupuncture program but C++ may be more required for the interviews.
On the last day I went for breakfast in a small restaurant and had my last vegetarian Green Curry. In the street a man comes every day to sell mango. However this day I had certainly missed him. Then I walked on the way to the grand Palace and continued further. I found a first small temple where many local people were praying. No tourists at all. I like this discovering local people instead of being in the middle of thousand of tourists.
On the way a saw a woman selling Mango. I bought 3 of them … last day would be my mango day 🙂
A man who was dressed like a woman was singing. Maybe these were mantras. I walked further and entered again another temple. Again almost no tourists (may be I saw 2 or 3). Actually it was like a cemetery as far as I know people get burned after they passed away. Very small surfaces having photos of people were stored below many Buddhas In this place there was a temple as well. I decided to come in a meditate one hour inside.
After this I cam back to my hotel and ate my first mango. After writing a few mails I went for lunch and later to drink my last coconut of Thailand … as I arrived the waitress Guid recognized me as she had served us when I first came with Nino.
We had a small talk and I had my coconut that I drank slowly 🙂 As I left she proposed me to show a few places in Bangkok as this was my last day. I agreed and we went for a long walk. Very interesting. She took the time to show me many wonderful places in Bangkok I was not aware of. As it was the evening, there was no tourists. After the walk we took a first boat, then a second one to arrive at a wonderful temple made by the chinese several hundreds years ago.
After this we went for another long walk and ended in Khao San Road where she met some friends. I showed up very shortly as I had to prepare my luggage … this was my last evening in Bangkok … really nice.
Tomorrow I will fly to Calcutta…
On the 28th the mini bus we reserved would pick up between 8:00AM and 8:30AM for a 5 hours drive to Phnom Penh where I would have some time to write these lines 🙂 Arriving in the hotel we were surprised how dirty it was. We decided we would move next night. We decided to go immediately to a restaurant and then go and meet the sisters. The restaurant was more expensive than in Siem Reap with lower quality … it was strange as the city is big and we do not feel so many tourists are around. After lunch we went to the sisters where a bad surprised welcomed us … already many people were volunteering almost as much volunteer as children to take care hence our action would have not much sense. We then decided we would move back to Siem Reap. If there we would have the same problem we would go back volunteering somewhere in Thailand. However before leaving we had to make a new visa entry for Nino …
Next day we went to the Thai embassy which was closed because of holiday … we have quite some bad luck. We used the day to change the hotel as the previous one was really dirty. We visited the downtown as well which is quite nice. However we went back quite soon as it was too hot outside …
Friday the 30th we could ask for a new Visa … it would require at least 3 working days. Hence would not be ready before Tuesday 4th of December. It was quite long staying in this city as during the day it is so hot that one cannot really enjoy going around. We stayed mostly in our room. I took the opportunity to do some software development. On the 4th we got our Visa! We reserved immediately our way back to Siem Reap.
Later talking about personal things, we came to the point that we had consider going to Georgia instead of continuing our travel in Asia. That meant changing our back flight ASAP to go back to Munich and then fly to Georgia (this was the cheapest way) … Hence another few days had to be spent in Phnom Penh a city we did not really enjoy … We had to fight a little with the travel agency to get a different routing. As they finally accepted (3 more days later) Nino advised me to consider not going with her to Georgia as I will be highly lacking time to prepare my job interviews: Over there many people may come to visit willing to meet the french boy friend preventing any job interview process or software development … we thought about several alternatives. It was quite hard to accept the option we do not stay together till mid of january as planned.
After thinking about various scenarios we decided I would stay in Asia. Nino would leave on the 9th of December to Munich. She changed her previously booked flight to Georgia planned on the 19th of January to leave Munich on the 12th of December and she would stay in Georgia until the 4th of February.
On my side I had to prepare a few jobs interview with good Internet connection till 14th of December. Hence I booked the next cheapest flight to Calcutta: The 17th of December. I hope I succeed in showing up same day at the sister to start serving.
These decisions were however not easy to accept for both of us despite there was no real alternative. On the other side slowly I had the feeling to start a new adventure. I would not have gone to Calcutta with Nino. The city is very dirty, the whether quite hard for women who usually suffer more from the heat than men. Hence this decision may have been the one allowing me to try the experience which first gave me the idea of this travel: volunteering in Calcutta.
On the 27th of November we had plan to see a second time the sun rise on Angkor Wat. However we were so tired that we did not get up at 4:30 and slept further until 8:00AM. Getting up we had breakfast and went to Angkor Wat by bike. We went in different places of the temple, made some photos and as I had a job interview in the evening went back home early so that I could prepare it. The interview was very interesting. Next day we would leave Seam Riep for Phnom Penh where I had already contacted the sister to be able to volunteer.
The 26th of November is my birthday … 40 years old this year and we had decided to go to see the sunrise on Angkor Wat. For this we had reserved a Tuk Tuk at 5:00AM. We woke up at 4:20PM (it was still the 25th of November in Europe 🙂 ) and we immediately brought our backpack to our new hotel. The Tuk Tuk was already there since 4:00AM … After leaving our luggage we went to Angkor Wat. Many many tourists were coming too. We all stood close to a small lake in front of the tours. It was 5:15AM and we started waiting for the sun rise under a sky full of stars. A short time before the sun rose, many clouds were already there. However it was wonderful to see the tours emerging every morning from the night since over 1000 years. We had brought our breakfast and ate looking at the splendid view. After this we went back to our Tuk Tuk and went to another temple we had not seen yet where huge trees grew in between of the walls giving a surrealistic feeling. Again this was very impressive. Next temple was the jungle temple. In the middle of a deeper forest again many parts of the walls eaten by trees demonstrating the power of nature over the years. As we left, our Tuk Tuk driver proposed us to go to a quite far away temple (37km far) for anshort time later came her son (around 8 years old). They looked very poor and one could see they could not wash easily certainly because a lack of water. We gave 1$ to the boy to improve our contact and were laughing thanks to a cat having fun in the grass. Later I asked what was boiling there and whether it was something to eat. The woman went back to her place and came back with 2 glasses. She took a little of this strange potion in one glass and made it colder by emptying one glass into another to make the fluid colder. I tried to say I was not hungry but I felt it would have been very impolite to refuse. Hence I tried the strange potion. It was quite good, very sweet with a taste I could not really define. However I liked it. After more than 30 minutes our driver came back. As I had still a closed water bottle I offered it to our guests. As Nino said this was like a tour … actually much better than a tour it is the kind of present the life offers where we had the opportunity to discover real local people. The Tuk Tuk brought then us back to our hotel around 2:00PM. I went quickly to eat something and then we slept more than 3 hours. After this we went for a walk in the city and looked at the market … unfortunately for tourists only … however we did not miss to buy our evenings Mango 🙂
We arrived in Bangkok in the afternoon, We had reserved a Hotel on the Internet. We ended in the most crappy one of the city … by chance we had reserved only 1 night. We moved next day to the place we were before ; the very nice and old house. We spent 3 nights. I had many jobs interview. On the 23rd in the morning we decided to move to a place close to Angkor in Cambodia. We would have to get up at 6:30AM to get a first bus to the border. Make a Visa and move further to Angkor.
On the 24th of November got up at 6:30AM, time to eat a few bananas and go to the bus stop. We left Bangkok at 8:00AM. We traveled in a mini bus (we were 10 passengers only). We drove to the border and had planned to do our visas ourselves as explained to the agency. We arrived around 1:00PM at the border and noticed the travel agency had cheated us: we had to let our visa done for twice the normal price as the bus dropped us far away from the place to do Visa on Arrival. After crossing the border (it was around 5:00PM), we should have taken another bus. However, we had the bad surprise the bus would come one hour later. Furthermore it would have been a 6 hours drive with the bus (versus 2 to 3 hours with a taxi). Our guide proposed us expensive taxis. The guide also advised us to convert local Thailand currency into Cambodia currency (with a so called fair price as it would be much more expensive in Cambodia (Again it was wrong, in Cambodia one gets dollars from ATM and any touristic place will accept mainly dollars).
Christoph a nice guy from Austria travelling with us found a taxi driver proposing us to drive to Siem Riep for a cheaper price. We accepted, it was a 2 hours drive. The taxi driver explained us that such bus are so slow because they make 2 long break of 30 minutes each in places where traveler are strongly invited to buy many unuseful things.
On the 25th of November we stood up at 9:40AM. We were quite tired from previous day. We went for breakfast and found a Tuk-Tuk who drove us to Angkor the famous city of legend. We arrived to Angkor Wat which is the smallest part. Despite being the smallest one, what can be see there is amazing. Very old stones full of stories spreading strong feeling of so many centuries. Angkor was at its time the biggest city of the world. It was certainly as well one of the most beautiful one. After staying a few hours in the first temple, the Tuk Tuk brought us to the second one; Angkor Thorm. Even more authentic as the first place we saw. It was really wonderful. They are the most wonderful monuments I have seen in my life. I felt the sculpted stone thinking of the person having worked on it more than 1000 years ago, it was the feeling of a connection over 2 different times. Getting out of the second one we went along a long old way made of stone with many elephant sculptures. We saw on the way another small temple. As my knee started to hurt I did not climb but Nino did. After this we continued the way of stones which was quite long and ended to the place our Tuk Tuk was waiting for us. As we were tired we went back home. In the evening we found another hotel almost in front of ours much cheaper and much more cleaned. We would move in the next day.