Lara's Blog

Sunday, 28 January 2007

catch up...

Wow i can't believe blogger actually loaded.... Last day in PP, we're heading to Bangkok tonight.... v excited about copy bags and DVDs
Yesterday we went to the Russian Markets in PP and got some DVDs too... unfotunately after buying the complete series of grey's anatomy and seasons 4 and 5 of scrubs i only had $2 left so no movies for me.
In the arvo went to the Genocide museum (again). this time with everyone else and we watched the 1hr documentary.
Today we visited the royal palace and silver pagoda. Silver pagoda is so named cos its floor is covered in 1kg silver tiles. very cool. there are lots of buddha statues and other things that are silver, gold and have diamond and other gemstones inlaid. Very pretty. The place has remained like this becuase the khmer rouge decided not to destroy it to pretend to the outside world that they were protecting cambodia's heritage. although it didn't stop them from destroying 60% of the stuff in there anyway.
ok i'm going to copy in a couple of emails ive written just to catch the blog up (rather than REtype)....

26th Jan 2007

Hi everyone!!!!
7 days left of my holiday... then i will start looking for a puppy!!!.... (and a job)
I think my last email was from nahtrang.
We all flew to Ho Chi Minh City, then i leftthe others and they continued to phu quoc island. I had a couple of days in HCMC by myself. I went on a tour of the cu chi tunnels and the caodai temple.Cao Dia is a relgion that has been influenced by hinduism, buddhism, catholocism, confuscionism, taoism.... i can't remember exactly but something like that. The templ was pretty amazing, all bright colours and dragons (and left eyes, the eye close to ur heart). Cu chi tunnels were WAY smaller than the vinh moc ones in the DMZ. the only way to get through them is to crouch-walk. My legs were feeling that for the next few days! I crawled through the full 200m available (most ppl can't make it through the 1st 100m due to claustrophibia) and my legs almost died. even the soldier taking me made us rest halfway through the 2nd 100m!!!! the tunnels are incredible though, how anyone could live there is amazing. we were also shown the way they dissipated the smoke from cooking, so no plumes would be sent up to warn the enemy. oh and i also shot an AK47. Bit of a cop out though cos its bolted to the table so no kick :)
in HCMC i also went to the war crimes museum which has photographs from the vietnam war ("american war") of people about to be killed, or killed, and photographs of the victims of agent orange. Very full on.
next i arrived in phnom penh and met up with my mum.
aaaah the intercontinental hotel!!!!!! that's what i was made for :) My mum was workign during the day so i relaxed by the pool and had massages (hard life). Sally, one of the ppl workign with her, is an austrlaian that has been living in PP for 3 yrs. She can speak Khmer and would take us around to shops and restaurants and night. Very nice! She also took me out to see the diabetic clinic in teh slums. Interesting to see how thy all live.... and although incredibly poor they seem happy. Difficulty with having diabetes in these sorts of countries is the doctors are poorly trained in the disease, and people can't afford treatment. Oh and no fridges to store the insulin. on the weekend we went up to Siem Reap and visited Angkor Wat. Its amazing. the intricacies of the carving!!! also visited another temple that has been overgrown by massive trees. apparently they used it in Tomb Raider (now i'll have to see the movie!)
my mum left on the monday and i've been in Phnom Penh by myself since. Its been nice although very hot. I'm staying on the riverfront where there are lots of international restaurants and expat bars. I've got a nice tuktuk driver (the motorbikes that pull a covered cart thing - much safer than catching motorbikes, head injury is the number one cause of death in cambodia and i've seen at least 3 accidents while i've been here). I've visited the genocide museum (another full on museum. it is in an old high school that was converted to a prison during the khmer rouge and of the 17000 prisoners only aboiut 12 survived the torture.)and the killing fields (where the prisoners were killed, usually bludgeoned to save bullets). both full on. as well as some nicer stuff like shopping, the national museum and having massages. Yesterday an elephant walked down teh street under my balcony. very random! but I think he lives on the hill with the temple and is walked every afternoon.
the others arrive about 1pm today, we head to bangkok on the 28ththen home on the 2nd!
thanks for all the emails, i've read most of them (except for your one about the cat case mich, as much as i love cats........)
see you allsoon

12th Jan 2007

Hey every one, I hope Australia has warmed up a bit and actually tried to give you a summer! i'm in Nah Trang - at the beach finally! Bu ti can't load blogger on this computer for some reason so can't upload (you all must be devestated)
Anyway the DMZ tour north of Hue was good - Vinh Moc Tunnels and visiting Khe Sanh were probably the highlights. The tunnels haven't been enlarged for westerners (unlike the cu chi tunnels outside ho chi minh city). All the men and a lot of the women had mud down their shoulders from bumping into the wet muddy walls as we walked (crouched??) along in the darkness. Pretty amazing.
Back to Hoi An to meet KC!!!!!!! the next 5 days were speant ordering and collecting shoes and clothes (between the 5 of us we got an extra 52 pairs of shoes. FIFTY TWO!!!!!) and avoiding the rain. It was fun at first but a lot of thigns didn't turn out as expected so a bit of frustration and disappointment!!! Mine was pretty much fine cos i ordered a lot of thongs (can't really go wrong) and not many clothes. Unfortunately during our time in Hoi An KC got sick. So sick in fact we called the dr. After he gave her an injection he tried to throw the (recapped) needle into our hotel bin but i said "NOOO!!!!!" and told him to take it with him to the hospital. He thought i was very good. haha. (Anyway she's much better now, just can't enjoy the food very well.) So anyway cos she was sick (and alurelle got sick the next day but not as bad) i didn't want to leave the two of them alone. Nat and Cassie went to Marble mountain and China beach (which were both good apparently)
Now we are in Nah Trang and had our first day at the beach yesterday!! I got a massage on teh beach - which i think i'm now bruised from. In the arvo we had mud baths at the hot springs. Pretty funny. green mud everywhere! Going on a boat tour tomorrow i think snorkelling will be involved.
I leave the group on the 14th at HCMC airport while they continue on to Phu Quoc Island. I have 3 nights in HCMC (just managed to book a hotel after calling FIVE places that were booked out) then i fly to Pnom Penh to meet my mum for a few days before rejoining the group again.
At the moment We're meant to get to bangkok on the 28th jan and stay 3-4 days. Laurelle Kc and I are still going at this stage but if any new developments occur we'll try to change our flights. If anyoen hears anythign i'd appreciate an update.
Anyway keep emailing me :) see you all soon


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