15 July 2011

Ferry to Rabbit Island
Walk
Other Walk
Shack

An early start to catch our ferry to Rabbit Island.  The ferry turned out to be a small boat that sprayed water over everyone each time it hit a wave.  As the Island is on the South Coast of Cambodia, there were a few waves, and Anna & I got soaked.  This wasn’t too bad as it was a nice sunny day, and our biggest worry was being sunburnt.

The trip out to the Island took about half an hour with an engine slightly better than an egg beater.  However it was worth it.  On pulling up at the island, Rolling up our jeans, taking off our shoes and socks, we jumped off the boat into the water onto a stretch of beach that was almost pristine.  There was a row of coconut trees about five metres from the high tide mark, with rows of shacks arranged behind this.  These shacks ranged from the accommodation though to bars and restaurants.

We grabbed our bags from the boat and went for a walk to find where we would spend the night.  As we hadn’t booked, we walked along asking the prices for each place.  They were all set the same.  $4 for a basic room with a hammock hanging outside in various stages of disrepair.  $10 would get you electricity, and as we were only there for a night we didn’t even find out how much an en suite was.  However this was probably a bad idea, as the toilets left a lot to be desired, and the showers?  We were better off in the ocean.

Having found a shack, we dumped our gear and set off to explore the island.  This was a walk back along the beach to check out the facilities.  There were none.  A few places you could grab a bite to eat and a few more where you could wash it down afterwards.

Having explored the habitated section we set off around the rocks at the edge of the beach.  This wasnt too bad to start with, there was another beach just over that had nothing, a few trees, a lot of shells and sand beyond counting.  Nice, although it was too early to just waste the day lying on the beach we went on.  The jungle got thicker and the beach got less.

As we progressed around the beach we found that the tide was coming in, so we went further inland, trying to find tracks where there were none.  You would follow a path for 5 metres and find that it ended.  However we made our way around the first quarter of the island without incident.  Then we came across a lot of boats tied up, and one on shore.  This was when we found out that tourism was only a part of the story of Rabbit Island.  There were still traditional fishermen on the island.  Repairing their boats and nets away from the prying eyes of most normal tourists getting drunk and messing around on the other beach.  As we didn’t want to disturb anyone we cut around the few houses and made our way back to the shore (we had run out of beach).  Realising that there was now no way to walk only along the water we decided to cut inland a little.  Finding paths that ran under brambles and over logs was a bit of fun, however it was hard going with a lot of backtracking.  Having made it halfway up the main hill on the island we decided to go back to the water.  By this time I hope we were almost half way around the island.  We found a deserted house that could have been nice to squat if we had the time and equipment, but just sat there for a few minutes looking at the view.

Working our way back to the start we had a refreshing drink and continued around the other side of this island.  We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into!

It started off easily enough with a proper formed track through the jungle just off the waterline. This then split left into the island, but we wanted to find the perfect beach so we started rock hopping again.  There were less beaches over this side, and we had to follow the few tracks through the jungle.  After a while we found where the path led.  There was a village here of about five or six huts where the people supporting the tourists lived.  Moving on from there, we eventually found a seaweed farm.  A lot of fishing line strung out between posts with plastic bottles used for buoyancy.  It made an interesting sight.  Especially with the rickety jetty stretched out into the ocean.  After this we had to cut inland again and the trouble started.  Firstly were the vines.  These things could suck the skin off you faster than you can suck the sugar from lemon.  They were everywhere.  Then we found the ants.  As you tried to untangle yourself from the vines, the ants would swarm up over your shoes to declare war on your socks and shins.  These ants were packing some serious firepower for their size.  Honestly, stand still for ten seconds and you paid for it.

Hitting a swampy area we had the flying insects attack us in waves like dive bombers going for an unprotected town.  This was bad, but we pressed on.  Eventually we had to give up as we had made it most of the way around the island (we could see the strip of land that we had seen from the other side and that was good enough for us). This is where I made my mistake.  I took the wrong path.

As said before, most of these paths disappeared to nothing, and eventually we were bushwhacking our way through the jungle as even the path behind us had disappeared!  This is when even the trees turned against us and started producing barbs longer than my pointer finger and they grew on everything including the leaves.

Making our way though this was (CENSORED).  As the only thing to guide us was my imperfect sence of direction and the sun, which by this stage was getting fairly low.  When you could even see it though the insects, barbs and vines.  Somehow we skirted around the edge of the main hill and found our way back to familiar territory.  From there it was a skip, jump and long walk back to the tourist beach.

14 July 2011

Travel to Kep
Rain

We have to go to Kep today.  It is a beachside town, slightly more touristy than Kampot apparently.

Walking to the bus station to get the bus, we were surrounded by people.  They were private taxi’s.  On enquiring how much it would cost, we were told it was $5 for us both.  As this was only a dollar more than the crowded but would be and a lot faster, we decided to take it.  The bus wasnt supposed to leave for another hour and a half, so we thought we had a good deal.  As it turned out, nothing is that simple.  It is a shared taxi.  Have you ever wondered how many people you can fit in a taxi?  Well, I am sure it is more than 8,but 8 is enough.  There were four of us in the back, and it wasnt too bad, as we just managed to fit on the seats.  There were also four in the front.  Two in the passenger seat,and two in the drivers.  The driver was at the front, wedged between the gear stick and steering wheel.

Still, we have had more uncomfortable trips.  As it went, it wasnt too bad.  It is only 28 km to Kep, and we had already driven most of it on the bike, and the rest on the bus to Kampot.
The unfortunate thing was that as we passed the white horse, the rain set in.  On arriving at Kep it was pouring down.  We got our bag, and were shunted off to the guest house closest to the station.  Probably not the best choice, but the rain looked set in.  $8 for a room, wasnt bad.  It was a bit musty, but everything worked, and the bed isn’t the worst.  Had a quick bite to eat in a restaurant that we thought was separate to the hotel, but turned out to be the same.  Talked to a guy looking for accommodation.  He turned up again later and let us know there are better ones along the beach for the same price if we end up staying longer.
As it was still raining, we grabbed lappie, and went looking for a bar along the waterfront to have a drink or two, and catch up on the typing.  The beach itself is nothing that special.  There is sand here,but as we had found out from the English ex-pat in Kampot, the sand had been imported.  There are some pretty islands off the coast that swim in and out of vision depending on the amount of rain at the moment.  Some are quite jagged, and other smooth hills.  The locals are swimming in the ocean, all dressed up.  It is a bit chilly for me, but I suppose, once you are wet, it doesn’t matter if it is raining or not.  Walking along the beach front, there is nothing.  A few places being built, but then forest.  Kampot is a lot more developed, and Kep seems to just stretch along the main coastal road.  Much like most towns in Cambodia.

So here we are at a restaurant drinking expensive beer, as there are no cheap cocktails.  Hopefully it will clear up soon, and we can find some!

8 July 2011

Travel to Phenom Penh

We thought this should be fairly easy.  A direct VIP bus that isn’t supposed to stop except for a quick lunch break, and the main highway in Cambodia.  You have to keep the tourists happy traveling out to see Angkor Wat and back don’t you?
No.  You don’t.
The bus was ment to pick us up from our hotel at 7:45.  We knew it would only be a mini bus, as the proper bus leaves from the bus station at 8:30.  We were waiting out the front at 7:45 as told.  No bus.  8:00, still no bus.  8:15 and we started worrying, as we weren’t sure if the main bus would wait for us, or the mini bus had gone to the wrong hotel.  You know all those fears and ideas you have when things aren’t working to plan.  8:30 came and went.  I was still thinking everyone was working on Cambodian time still, but cutting it fine, when the mini bus rocked up, threw our luggage and us in the back and raced off.  The pickup lasted less than 5 seconds!  At least we knew we were still going somewhere today.  Only six more hours to go.  It is 240km after all.  At the main bus station we were accosted by the usual people selling you overpriced baguette, pineapples and the like.  However after making sure our bag made it onto the right bus (It does pay to check here) we were on and in our seats.  After the waiting this morning, the bus left at a reasonable time. 8:45.
The trip started out well with us being given a water and choice of custard roll or donut.  The  custard roll was quite good, and made a small breakfast.
After driving out of the city, we found out that we were using the north highway to go to Phenom Penh.  This is the side of the lake that we had done on our other trip to get to Siem Reap.  Not a good sign.  So a lot of the country side we had seen in the dark was now visible to us.  The fluorescent lights we had seen everywhere at night were still there, and we had worked out that the sheets over and under them were to catch crickets.  They are still a popular snack this side of the country.  About two hours into the trip and 50km, things started to get interesting.  There was a traffic jam.  Not to worry, it’s the highway.  They will clean up the accident soon, and we can continue on our way. An hour later we still hadn’t moved, and no one knew what the problem was.  Not to worry.  We asked to be let out for a minute, as I needed a cigarette by this stage, and the floodgates opened.  Everyone left the bus.  20 minutes later we were all asked to pile back in,and we moved on.  A whole 100m or so.  Then nothing.  Finally an explanation came, and one of the other customers on the bus that could speak english translated for us.  There was a road block further up and people were protesting corporate and government land grabs.  However the police, and mayor of the region had been called and it would be cleared up soon.  Cambodia time remember.  Half an hour later we were out of the bus and dripping in the shade when we were told that we would go 25km back to the last village for a quick lunch while the situation was resolved.  On the bus again.  There was a complicated sequence as the bus turned around, and we drove half way back to Siem Reap.
The food at this joint didn’t look that appealing, so we crossed the road to the small street stall.  The lady there was a bit shocked that Europeans were choosing her small stall over the big complex.  A drink, baggie of chips, and some small bits of bread only cost about 6000r.  There was a good laugh by everyone, as our Cambodian is non existent, and her english was as well.  She knew her numbers, but got hundreds and thousands mixed up, so I way overpaid.  She gave the excess change and while I thought for a bit that I had paid tourist prices, it all cost about $1.50.  Makes you realise how much you are ripped off in the city.

Waiting there was annoying.  It was hot, sticky, and smelly.  There was very little shade, apart from in the food stall, and a few scraggly trees outside that were either occupied by people or ants.  Biting ants at that.  The food stall was a tin shed filled with people from all the other busses that couldn’t get through either.  The 7am bus was there from our company, plus half a dozen others.  So there was the human heat as well.  No fans, and the only seats were the ones for customers.  After an unknown period that felt like years, we were finally allowed onto the bus again for the next attempt.  There were a couple of people on our bus that gave up and organised a taxi back to Siem Reap, as they would miss their flight to Bangkok and their connection home.  Thinking it was better to do a bus directly from Siem Reap to Thailand.  I still am not sure who made the better choice.
On the drive back to the road block we were told the solution.  We would need to grab our bags and walk three kilometres through the road block to get to the bus that was coming the other way.  They would have to do the same, so it would be a bus swap.  It was past midday now, and hot.  We were not looking forward to this.  However it seemed there was no other solution.
After driving as close to the road block as possible, we all got out and picked up our luggage.  It was chaos.  There were people everywhere, motorbikes nipping around stopped cars, trucks that were sideways and trying to turn around, and being pushed from every direction, or pushing yourself to avoid the bikes, or just to go forward.  There were already people from busses the other side walking this way, and they did not look happy.
The walk through the chaos was not too bad considering.  It was about 5 or 6 hundred metres to the road block from where the bus finally stopped.
The road block and protest itself was a bit disappointing.  All the houses were cashing in by setting up stalls selling drinks food and water at hopefully vastly inflated prices.  There was a palm tree lying across the road with people sitting or standing in front of a large banner.  As it was in Cambodian, we couldn’t read it.  There weren’t many people there.  Maybe 50 or 100.  Then there was a break of about 50m where there was nothing but tourists, luggage, and motorbikes going in every direction.  The other side was a repeat of the first, but they had a wagon!  Then onto find the bus.  It wasnt too hard.  After getting all the luggage onto the bus, and most of the people we headed off.  As we had not been kept in a group it looked like we would leave some people behind, but it turned out that they had walked too far, and we picked up the missing passengers in dribs and drabs.
The excitement over, we drove past long lines of busses, trucks and people selling drinks.  One driver was making the most of it, and set his hammock up under his truck.  Someone would wake him when he could move again.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, but a serious dent in time.  It was well after five in the evening when we got into Phenom Penh.  After extracting ourselves from the multitudes of people offering tuktuks, motos, hotels and food, we took stock of our surroundings.  The bus company was kind enough to give us a map of the city, and we had been dropped off on the rivers edge right next to the night market.
There was a guest house on the opposite side of the market so we made our way there.  The room was ok, but smelt a bit musty.  It would do for a night.
It was time to look at the capital.  A quick stroll around the night market was a bit of a let down.  This was mainly clothing and a few trinkets.  Nothing like the Siem Reap markets.  There was a stage with performers.  Everything from love duets, to contemporary dance, and kids having fun.  The food was interesting.  Mainly a selection of things on sticks.  You gather what you want and they cook it for you.  There were big mats on the ground, where you left your shoes, and sat on the mat to eat.  Not too bad, but I think you really need to know what the products are.

7 July 2011

Roluos Group
Lolei
Preah Ko
Bakong

Drive to Kampong Phluk
Boat onto lake
Bake to Lolei for lunch
Booked ticket to Phenom Penh
Packed
Dinner

Another Early day.  However I have recovered from the outing two days ago!
At 8am our Tuktuk driver ?Peerdon? was waiting outside the hotel.  He couldnt come in as the hotel has a deal going with their own tuktuk drivers.
He was rearing to go, and we stopped off to pick up some water and we were off.

The drive out to the Roluos Group is about 13km.  It is single lane highway, and as the tuktuk was slow he had to drive in the breakdown lane.  It was nice though, he wasnt as gung-ho  as the last driver.  We got to see a bit of the countryside.  Mainly rice paddies, wooden thatched houses with street stalls out the front with the occasional expensive house scattered in between.  We went to Lolei first.  This one is the least impressive and furthest away.  A good place to start.  The Roluos Group is the first major capital of the Angkor Empire, called Hariharalaya.  Dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, it was completely Hindu.  Started by Jayavarman II around mid to late 9th Century.  It lasted as the capital for 70 years before moving to the Angkor region.  However building still happened here until the mid 12th century.
Lolei:  Built by Indravarman I in the late 9th Century.  It was the last temple built here, but the first on an island.  Originally an Island temple, the area is now dry.  The unique thing about the Roluos Group is that they are made of brick and not sandstone.  Very similar to My Son.  However there is some remains of the stucco that was over the brick and carved into pattens.  There are four towers on a raised up platform.  Right next door is a working Buddhist Wat, and a small village on the other side.  At the front there are the now compulsory stores selling gifts and food.  As we got out of the tuktuk, we were accosted by the kids trying to sell coconuts and postcards.  After getting out tickets checked and going up the entrance stairs, there were two school children trying to raise money for their orphanage/school.  This is happening a lot in Cambodia, well, we have seen it a lot in Siem Reap.

The towers themselves are in very poor condition, with two collapsed completely.  However they are nice in themselves and we would have spent twenty minutes walking around them.  There is not much detail left, but it was interesting to compare them to the Angkor ones.  The only stonework was the carvings of statues, and the entranceway.  However the walls around the complex were stone.

We then drove back to Preah Ko.  Constructed by the same guy (there were a couple of kings that did serious building sprees).  This one is built on a dais,and has six towers.  3 large ones at the front east side, with three smaller ones behind it.  There was little evidence of the buildings that would have been surrounding it, but the original wall was still there.  The outside section is about 500m2.  Again there were the kids, shops and ticket guys.  I know why it is so expensive.  If you have to hire four people for each temple to check tickets…  We wandered around a bit, and got some good photos of the area.  Here the insides were in better condition, and the original wood lintels were still in pace.  Devoured by termites long gone, but still there.  The wells underneath the yoni alters were also not filled in, and you can imagine them full of water, with some mechanism to pump it up through the altar.  Most of the sandstone carvings were in ok shape, and there was faint outlines of the brick carvings as well.  There were also statues of bulls at the front of the complex, although these were badly weathered.  However you could still tell they were Brahmans.  We started to encounter some tourists here, but it was doable.

On the other side of the road there was a carving / sculpture shop.  They had done some magnificent replicas of the temple complexes, so we snapped our best photos of Angkor Wat here!  Plus overviews of most temples.  It was good to see it, and put it in an aerial context.

The last temple complex of the Rolous Group is Bakong.  Again, started by the same guy, but building here went on until the mid 12th century.
This is the best one of the group, and is dedicated to elephants.  There are 5 tiers going up to the shrines, these had elephants at each corner and the staircases in the middle.  Although there were shrines around the outside, there was one major one at the top.  This one is a bit different from the rest.  Well, very different.  It is also in pretty good condition.  However the elephants were in a bit of trouble.  Some had weathered away to their pedestal, and all were missing their trunks and tails.  They also had no ears.  The other major difference is that the complex is mostly stone, more in line with the Angkor region.  It was fun to walk around the brick base shrines, and up to the final stone shrine at the top, over 15m high.  Bakong also had a working Wat next door, and it was playing music quite loudly.  There were kids cycling through the ruins, as well as doing their homework at the top of the complex.  It has a moat around it, which on the quiet side is good to sit in the shade and relax for a bit (It didn’t help, we are both very sunburnt, even with sunscreen!)

We then wanted to go to one of the floating fishing villages, so after a brief discussion with the tuktuk driver, as we wanted to change the itinerary, he took us down to Kampong Phluk.  It is supposed to be the least touristy.  Ya right.  We got to the main gate of the conservation area, where we found it was going to be an additional $20 EACH to get in.  Understandably upset, as it was already costing us $20 to get there.  It is only a village after all.  However our tuktuk driver wrangled $30 for the both of us.  This is because you have to take a boat to get there.  5 years ago, you could negotiate with the boats directly,but now it is corporate.  We footed the bill and went down a very rough road.  Almost as bad as Mimili, but not as long.  The end of the road is by the channel, and there are masses of boats there.  Peerdon is not happy about the company, as it put a lot of people out of work, and even negotiating a small price was still more than what the company pays the boats now.  They aren’t bad, a bit more sophisticated than the lao boats.  They even have steering wheels!
We were a bit worried at the start, as it looked like we would be on a boat with a japanese tour group.  This was not to be the case, as the tuktuk driver stepped in again, and we got our own boat.  Cruising down the river, you see all the crab pots, shrimp and fish nets, then there are the old broken boats, moving onto the newer ones, then the floating houses (a boat with a house on top), floating pig stys and more boats.  The village itself is on stilts about 10m high.  Unfortunately the water level was still low, and there was no water near them.  Lake Tonle Sap is tidal, and for six months water from the Mekong flows into it, and for the next six it flows back out.  At the moment it is starting to flow in, but will take another two months until it is that high.
We bypassed the village, with a bit of trouble, as the boat is long, the rudder isn’t the best and the canal is narrow.  There was only one collision though.  Out into the mangrove swamp, nothing like Australian ones, these are proper trees.  The water was starting to flow through there, and we were offered to take a smaller boat through the mangroves, but this cost extra.  Like all of Cambodia so far, there are hidden charges, and you get half way through something then hit up for more money.  We decided not to.  Out to the lake was a pleasant trip, and as you break through the final line of water reeds you hit the lake.  It is quite large and you cannot see the other side of it.  We sat there for a while talking to our boat driver and looking at the view.  To put it in perspective, he is in Year 12.  It costs him $600 a year for school, and to pay for this he works on the boats where he is paid $30 a month.  The rest of the family has to chip in to support him.  The company charges $20 per person, and there were a lot of people doing this non touristy village in the off season!

On the way back we stopped off in the village.  These people are poor.  I know we have seen a lot of it in every country we have been in, but it hit home here.  On the drive in, we saw all the old fashioned well hand pumps that have been donated by people and organisations around the world, and happy to see Aztec from Melbourne had sponsored quite a few.  Here they were bathing in the river, repairing the boats, fish nets or whatever.  We were accosted like usual, but with a difference.  This time it was to buy excercise books and pencils for the school children.  We bought a pack of each, expecting it to be sold to the next tourists, but we were given them.  We had to take them through the village to give to the children ourselves.  This was a bit humiliating, both for us and the kids.  I am not sure what school consists of here, but there were a lot of kids running around in school uniform, and not a teacher to be seen.  However when we went up to the classroom, all the kids ran inside and sat down.  When we went in, they all started rehersing something.  Not knowing what to do, we just started handing out a book and pencil to each one.  We had chosen the primary school, and there wouldn’t have been someone over eight there.  However they all put their hands together and bowed each time.  Once for the book, and once for the pencil.  We soon ran out, and took a few photos and left.  We had only supplied about half the “class”
Walked the rest of the way through town to the Wat, and watched the kids playing.  They had a game where there were three small plastic animals like we used to put in cocktails in the 80’s.  They were taking turns to kick rubber disks off a step to rebound back into the square with the toys, trying to knock one out.  Back onto the boat and off to lunch.  This turned out to be back at Lolei.  The tuktuk driver made it clear that he got a free lunch there if we ate.  He had been good, so we did.  It was $10 for us, and as he pointed out, we could have been their only customer for the day.  However they started packing up in a car, so probably don’t do too badly in the on season.  However they have to pay rent for the sight, and bribes to ticket security to make sure nothing happens.

That was the day, we drove back into town to book our ticket to Phenom Penh, at the drivers ticket office of choice.  There is no real difference, but we hoped he would get a commission.  We couldn’t get the boat there, as there is still not enough water, so had to book the bus.  This is a 6 hour trip, and we decided on the fast one.  No local bus this time.
The driver dropped us off back at te hotel, and was off.  Business done, and onto finding the next customer.
We had tried to talk to him over lunch, with limited success.  We found out that he came from a country province ten years ago to Siem Reap.  Started as a moto driver carrying locals from the markets to home, then bought his tuktuk about five years ago for $300, and a new second hand bike for $200.  Business was good for a while, but now there are too many tuktuks, and more people coming in from the provinces.  He had left his wife and child at home, and only gets to see them for a few days over new years.  It is a hard life for a lot of people out here.

Well, that’s it.
AA

5 July 2011

Angor Wat – Crappy Sunrise
Angor Thom
South Gate
Bayon
Baphuon
Phimeanakas
Royal Palace Area
Terrace of the Elephants
Victory Gate
Chau Say & Thommanom
Ta Keo
Ta Prohm
Banceay Kdei
Prasat Kraean
Sras Srang
Pre Rup
East Mebon
Ta Son
Neak Pean
Preah Khan
Cancelled Sunset
Then Home
Drinking
Sleep….

4 July 2011

Walk around Siem Reap.  (Siem Reap – Victorious against the Thai)
Shopping
Tourist Info
Shopping
Walking
Lunch / Dinner
Comedy of errors.  Apple Ice cream turning into salad
Typed

Early start tomorrow.

Little house shrine

Considering we arrived at the hotel around 1:30 last night, Anna was up early, and scouting for an ATM before 8.  Came back complaining that everything is in dollars and expensive.  Got up and had breakfast.  A nice omelet with a single slice of cheese.
Going out to find the ATM again started us on our day.
Wandering through the Old market we found some great hammocks.  We have seen hammocks used everywhere, and slept in them on the 4000 islands, but never seen them for sale before.

Fun touristy crap

The price started at $8  (everything here is in US$ except small change)  I was tempted then and there.  The next stall however had them too.  This time it was $5.  When we found a stall selling Moomoo shirts, we thought Anna should get one.  Haggling for that, we dropped the price down to US$15  This was for a replacement handbag, Moomoo, hammock, and got a free set of chopsticks thrown in.  We tried for some cool lights, but that was a bit much.
With the shopping out of the way we continued through the market.  Ha.  The Cambodians

Lion statue

are as pushy as the Vietnamese when it comes to making a sale at the markets.  There are always calls of “you want this”, “come and look at my stuff”.  It does get a bit annoying.  Then there is the look of expectation when you stop in front of their stall.  It may be to re-adjust your underwear, but it is an open invitation to turn on the lights, and beckon you into the stall showing their finest wares.
We had not expected Cambodia to be this touristy, but had heard some stories along the way about Cambodia embracing the dark side of tourism.  They sure knows what sells.  I could have taken most of these stalls back whole to Mimili and sold it all.  It was hard not to buy any more.

However at the next market we did buy more…  A quilt cover set.  It started at $55 and we really weren’t interested.  However the price kept coming down.  Every time we tried to walk away it dropped.  Eventually it was too good a deal to pass up, and we spent the next ten minutes deciding on the colour and pattern.  Turns out it is the same as our hotel room!

Siem Reap

More walking.  Stopped at tourist info, where they were really friendly, and Anna got her photo taken talking to the guy.  To be included in the next Siem Reap tourist brochure. Outside we ran into a guy volunteering for a school with a lot of orphans from their parents dying of HIV.  Had a chat with him about it, but like every thing it came down to him wanting money.

Siem Reap

We passed the imperial residence, which wasnt the most impressive, and walked on looking for a Wat.  We didn’t find it, however we did end up in the slum section of town.  I can always find these areas for some reason.  It is amazing that there can be really up market houses and shops, yet two doors down there is a tin shack.  The road disappears, and it becomes a winding track between fences, laundry and people on the road.

 

Cute Elephant statue

Having been there, we decided to call it a day.  Stopped in for a meal.  Had pot luck on what we ordered.  Turned out pretty good.  We both had a good meal.  Lak Luk for me.  Rice Salad and small cubes of beef.  Soup for Anna.  It was a bit spicy, and had some seafood, but was still good.

Back to the hotel, past an old Wat now used as a school, and we were there.
Tried typing the last week or two.  Caught up with Hannes.  He was typing his blog all day.  I probably should have done this, but shopping was more

Monks out for a walk

fun.

The comedy of errors.  We have ordered two cheese sandwiches for the morning, but I can’t see that as happening.  Breakfast took an age to arrive, Hannes didn’t get what he ordered.  Tonight Anna ordered Apple Ice cream.  an hour later a salad turned up.  It was hers.  There was a whole discussion about it, with two possible outcomes.  The first is that they were out of ice cream and substituted it.  The second was that they placed the wrong order.  It was number 70, and the salad was 7.  Oh well, we will see if e have breakfast in the morning.

Have to be up ridiculously early in the morning, so will finish my beer and call it a night.

AA