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Ending 2005 and Starting 2006

a travel blog by 50watts

hi everyone save this page to your favourites and hopefully as i travel far, slightly not so far and further than i have ever been before you ccan check the progress and pictures, here we go...

you can email me at hallasbrian@hotmail.com.

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How cold is it tonight?

Barnsley, United Kingdom

Nah then lads and lasses this is the state of me a day before flying after a month of planning, i think you will agree, i have looked better, i believe even after a few too many smirnoff and some ice that i have even looked better. just like other travels, the plan to come back looking happier and healthier!

...this is going to be crazy.

see you at the next and first international entry. its the 3D city of tokyo and home of manga art and oriental cuisine, sushi style. they also have road crossings which go diagonally and apparently people look at you like you are a goldfish, in a bowl. i have always wanted to visit so i will don my camera in true japanese tourist style and show you all some pics soon i hope. until then bye and bye also to normal GMT, im going to be 9 hours ahead as of friday at 12pm, i eventually found a use for my nocturnal living habits. me.

permalink written by  50watts on November 30, 2005 from Barnsley, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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noodles,manga, neon and more

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo has to be one of the strangest places i have been, not a bit of it, all of it. houses intricately placed with skyscrapers, vending machines and strange highways. and the car parks well they just take the micheal, they are unbelievable and unexplainable in an email. imagine a ferris wheel attached to the front of a building but covered with a rotating 'thomas the tank' style table in front of them and porters and you might start to dream of the reality.

since i arrived very early yesterday you could count on your hands the number of non-japanese people out here and im staying in an international hostel. but heres johnny, we have been helping each other out, this is us taking noodles in the quietest noodle bar we could find, manners, chopsticks and english hunger dont always mix. but heres the nice lady who came outside as we pointed to the food we wanted. not many folk speak english but they do try and if you have a map they usually get you there which is cool.

the hostel is by the river just around the corner from here->
you must also do all the traditional things like take shoes off and that but its nice and the facilities superb.

we went for a tour of electric town which is completely crazy, there is just every imaginable product ever and some of the stores have 7 or 8 floors. there is also an obsession for computer games and this type of pinball game. we walked in this one place and on each floor is a different game but like 40 machines for each game. the players are fixed and seem to have individual techniques for success. i dont think one saw the two foreignres nearby- everywhere else people seem to notice. the area also gave a first glimpse of manga art and the creative ways its used, thats all im saying, but there are many uses, mainly one, here is a snippet of a picture-

today it rained a bit and umbrellas were everywhere, dont think they like to get wet out here. anyway we went to a special temple meiji-jingu which was destroyed to ashes during the war but was rebuilt unlike any other temple, its paths and trees and temples are fantastic peaceful retreat.

After we went to shinjuku which has two of the largest department stores in the world. they are like the size of the main building if not bigger for anyone associated to aston. imagine then that they pasted the outside with neon and that every street surrounding looked like this. this is really is a breathtaking site of its own proportion, even though every street may look the same you still grab the camera and hope for more battery power!!! i cant upload a picture because the file is too big, sorry, just imagine!

The people are all really, really well dressed people and clean, some do the mask thing but we just think they have cold sores as the air here seems better than london. Today our subway train was stopped because of a smell coming from our cabin, it wasnt us but we made some friends as we were kicked off the train and left needing help. anyway it seems it was quite an issue with the well suited inspectors. there are never any phones going off either- anywhere!

christmas is quite big out here too, there are people everywhere wearing crazy outfits too and santas outfits for the women are quite popular with the harajuku girls. finally and i will leave with this, the highlight of last few days, the tiniest bar/cafe in tokyo up a spiral staircase next to one of the busiest districts, no one there not that they could fit with us there, just johnny, me and the barman, oh and his entire and unimaginable jazz vinyl collection. a surreal experience and from what it seems a summary of tokyo so far.

we have been walking some more around the city and luckily were able to take kei with us from the hostel one day. she took us to a temple that is still used by the japanese people today. the smoke you can see in the picture makes you clever apparently and the fortune boxes revealed i will have good fortune, could have been worse!

it was nice to see more of the ornate japan as much of the city is built on numerous floors. everything seems to go off above or below you and is quite futuristic. having said that the people still continue to amze both me and johnny. today on the train we were watched by some tiny and well ordered school children. japan seems to be intent on ensuring the young people follow tradition and order. which personally from what i have seen is a lot better than the uk.

kei as seen here as also told us about some of the strange things that go on here. the masks are for people who have a cold to ensure they do not pass it on. when you finish drinking you must keep your glass full as a mark of respect and there is definately no eating in the streets. oh yeh and ladies there is no such thing as first.

from the extraordinary to the slightly more ordinary, we went to the beer museum too. the entry was free, the musuem two rooms and since it was all in japanese we decided to make the most of the sampling bar, probably the cheapest bar in tokyo and definately worth a visit!

we even met some local ladies who were on the next wall...

the museum is part of the garden palace complex in ebisu, the beer is called yebisu and took its name from the factory and beer. well it kind of grew and now it stands with 39 stories as part of the city which is garden palace. it must be the size of an area of central london and much much higher in places! here is the view from the top.

tokyo has been great. the place clean, the people all have a role in society and there is respect for everything! you are guaranteed to see the crazy, the wonderful and the amazing! tomorrow we will go to the largest fish market in the world and then later in the day its back to the skies...

next stop: CAIRNS AUSTRALIA!!!

ps. all those japanese cars we have- they are hardly seen on the streets here!


brian san

permalink written by  50watts on December 3, 2005 from Tokyo, Japan
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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straight into the land of Oz!

Cairns, Australia

Its been an eventful time in Australia since i arrived. the weather as you can imagine here in the northern area around Cairns is really hot! I managed to spend the first few days settling in, losing cash, then bank cards on another day, enjoying a realxing session in the lagoon and finally meeting a few others for some good nights out in the centre.

This is cape tribulation beach and what a beach! i stayed in the jungle village which was awesome, just a great place to relax, swim and meet Eetu- the finnish wrestler in the photo, we walked up a cliff and watched the sun over the cape.
We met on a trip to the wildlife habitat in port douglas, an introduction to the crocs, birds and other creatures unique to this big island. Australian birds (and i do mean the birds) are fantastic and colourful. The koalas were pretty cool too but they wake for a second, then back to sleep!

this cheeky chap was under my seat most of the way along our cruise down the daintree river, another chance to see crocodiles too and this time in the wild! Neville the guide knew it was there and i had to take a quick photo. there are more photos in the photo section,try it!

the food has been good but a little expensive at times out here as they definately take advantage of the tourist activity. a stick insect tried to put me offer my burger on the tour but it didnt manage to stop me! travelling soon equals hunger!

today i joined up with the Rum Runner, a catamaran that takes people over to the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef. I went snorkelling in the Mid-reef and it was great, again the animals and colourful coral made it a fantastic experience. It was helped by a few drinks, Eetu and a few others! Then it was backto the beach and some more travelling awaits...

permalink written by  50watts on December 14, 2005 from Cairns, Australia
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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Festive Times & Island Madness

Noosa Heads, Australia

Merry Crimbo everyone reading and best wishes for the New Year!!! This is me celebrating with some guys i met but more later...

Since Cape Tribulation and the trip to the reef there has been much more sun, plenty of swimming and snorkelling and a stay on a true Paradise island in the Whitsundays!!! There was also the fabulous Fraser Island too and 130 km of sand island in a 4x4!!!

The Whitsunday experience aboard 'reality' was 3 days of ocean cruising surrounded by paradise islands, turtles, coral reef and blue waters!!! However the best bits could also have been the millions of stars visible each night as we drank and drifted out at sea. Or the long island beach resort where the bar was in the pool. Or the wildlife everywhere, huge bats flying between trees, parrots feeding next to your hammock and kangeroos on the beach as the sun set!!!

It will be a fantastic memory and at least on the boat i could not lose much! We also went to Whitehaven Beach (above), it is the most perfect white beach you have ever seen. So perfect when we arrived offshore i jumped ship with a ball and made for its crystal clear shallows. As i ran along the Paradise coast kicking the ball, i decked it face first in view of the whiole boat!!! I literally ate the sand i fell in, all that way and i go and do that, anyway it was funny! You see your feet just sink- its not normal sand!

On the boat i also met Karen who worked in Schuh Birmingham and knows Libbie Jellie a good friend of mine), i must have started working there just after her, we had plenty to talk about as she also studied on the Aston Campus but with UCE. Small world.

The trip was also made better by Ricardo and his bro, both from Milan!!! Imagine being slightly drunk at 4am in Paradise wondering home with these two and bumping into about a dozen kangeroos who were no more than 5 yards away! We sat with them a while and chatted in italian and english! Poor Roos. Two great guys though and we may meet in Thailand.

Speaking of meeting people again...

These are some of the guys from my trip to Fraser Island. Katcha, Alberto, Stefan, Shona and Andres. The chilean guys are heading to Asia as well and after non-stop laughing for 3 days hopefully we will be meeting again. We went to Indian Head, Eli Creek, Lake McKenzie and i will never forget Lake Wabby (because i had no shoes and it was nearly 2km of red hot sand dune!!! With these guys and the accompanying 4x4 of germans (22 people in all)it was an excellent trip to Fraser Island!

Alberto, saw sharks from indian head and they were.... {<<--this----big--->>} and the mantrays.... well they were...

This was a small bit of the view (above) and afterward like the previous night we set up camp and did our best to keep the dingos, snakes and spiders out! Probably the best part of the trip so far though was the wonder onto the beach in the evening! With no light pollution the stars are so visible you see things you never realised existed; planets, stars consillations, satellites and the clearest milky way stretching your entire vision! Sublime!

The days on Fraser were mostly spent driving over the miles and miles of sand beach with stop offs at crystal clear lakes and creeks. On this trip i made some really good friends and had times i just wont forget! thanks.

Christmas Eve we returned to Rainbow Beach and as the Germans celebrated we slowly merged into Christmas Day where the remainder of the group carried the festivities on. It wa snice and we achieved Andres' mission, all the cocktail was gone by 5pm as we relaxed in the pool for a few hours!

And i so nearly forgot, but never will. I woke up on christmas day to find a kitchen towel under a little tree i had. On top lay a note, 'merry xmas from claus' ...i believe again!!! Such a cool thing to happen, the german guy in our trip to fraser who was in my dorm with his girlfriend had left me a beer and some candy. The little things are the best! Also got a wicked card of Bruce my brother via email... awesome bro thanks!!!

So thats it for now. I am currently chilling out in Noosa at a very cool hostel for chilling! Plans are to go kayaking for 3 days with moer camping and then to spend New Year here before Sydney. There was so much to write and so much to tell but i hope this snap shot is enough, my email is always open too!!!

permalink written by  50watts on December 28, 2005 from Noosa Heads, Australia
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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Meeting Sydney

Sydney, Australia


Today its saturday and tomorrow i will end my month stay in Australia. But the trip is not over, oh no...

...as of tomorrow i will start the third and final leg of my trip, Asia. The plans are simple, tomorrow morning i fly to singapore. From there we see what happens.

Anyway, I have enjoyed Sydney lots, the place is smaller than i thought in the centre. The sights plentiful, the buildings clear cut on the blue sky and the atmosphere always happening. I arrived into the Kings cross area, which has its own sights by night and day. While staying at the hostel i met Debs and we were to meet again. We shared quite a bit in common. a lot in common. Then i went out to meet a relative in the suburbs. Back in the central city it was the pitt st region of town where i met up with turra from earlier fraser times.

We had a great night last night on the goon and in a few of the bars nearby. Sydney is definately an international city, there are people from all over the world here and its noticable. Haha. I just remembered something that happened last night though, at the bar i could hear an english guy next to me and when i looked at him i thought i knew him. It was earlier up the coast we had met i was sure of it. But the guy (Paul) later admitted to me that he had no clue at all. As you do, where are you from? We muttered Sheffield at the same time. Where? Stocksbridge was Pauls reply. At this point (as basically we live very close to each other) we thought it was a little more possible we may have met, but certainly not in Oz. It became clear as we spoke that we had indeed never met. The other guys with him (also from stocky, were amazed) as we then realised that i had recognised his mannerisms from his dad, someone i met a few times when i was considering playing for stocksbridge football club. The furtherest it went was a phonecall by his dad asking me to join the club, this was a fantastic offer but at this point i realised that i would always just enjoy my football. I declined but did not forget. Now in a bar in Australia, the other side of the world, i had recognised this character. I asked if it was true that people comment on similarity with is dad, to which his mates answered. Yes. So i met Paul Bethnal, son of Alan in a bar in Sydney by a hunch. Crazy.

This is a very special lady. Meet Aunt Rene. Aunt rene is the only person i will ever meet who is blood related and of the generation before my parents. I was not born when she last visited Barnsley, her home in the UK. Her brother was my grandfather. I joined rene and her two sons for a day and night and we enjoyed a lot of talking (we never talk on the phone) some much appreciated food and the other things you cant put words on. She is a brave lady and for the past 7 years has helped her husband battle numerous problems and conditions, until a few months ago he passed away to weak to live. I left rene knowing that i had had my encounter with someone never to be forgotten. I waved by and left in the taxi, she stood on the porch with her walking stick, in this house she had settled in Australia after the war. Thank you Aunt Rene. And rest in peace Sydney your husband.

So it really has been a god start to the new year. Celbrations were chilled, despite the firepoy in the photo. We had a bbq and went to the beach, people jumped in the water, people poured more and more goon, we ate yet more food and danced to those tiny little speakers. It was all good. And for a while we even had guitar anthems... the people were from all over so the selection was interesting.

The trip is going well. As said plans are being realisd for the next leg so until then and until singpore at least, bye!!!

permalink written by  50watts on January 7, 2006 from Sydney, Australia
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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News just in!

Singapore, Singapore

ok ok. I am waking up with a coffee in terminal 2 of Singapore Changi Airport. Last night or at least so it seems i joined up with two australian friends for my last night in Sydney. It was fantastic to see each other again after two years in passing when we met and partied hard in Berlin together! We were joined by Tugra, a great guy (conincidently from Berlin) who was on fraser with me!

"Sleep less, do more" is the only way to describe what followed.

Getting to bed at 4am having sworn only to have a couple of drinks there was some doubt as to whether i would make the flight. But i never doubted it, and sure enough in not exactly the best state after 2 hours sleep i made it to Sydney airport. Here i recieved word from two friends; Andy from my times in Nice was in Koh Phi Phi (Thailand) and would be there for a few days more; So too were the Italian guys from the Whitsundays again for a few days! Both emails recieved at same time...

But in my state i was more concerned with my plans for the arrival in SE Asia, because no concrete plans were ever made, just those that on the 8th Jan i would arrive in Asia for 3 months to travel much more. By the time i reached the stopover in Bali i had started to think about a few different ideas; stopping in Bangkok before moving on, travelling slowly north through Malaysia and into southern Thailand; plus a few more.

Then as i touched down i decided, book a flight to the nearest point to koh phi phi and make it there to stay for a while before working my way around and back down. So having booked my ticket for less than 35 pounds in McDonalds at the airport and am now awaiting the last couple of hours before my flight.

Bit mad but next stop will now be Koh Phi Phi (Thailand) for a weeks well deserved rest!

permalink written by  50watts on January 8, 2006 from Singapore, Singapore
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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You want massaaaage!!!!!

Phuket, Thailand

Famous final words in the last entry!

There has been no rest at all, only the crazy experience that is already Thailand. From the secluded Paradise of Toh Koh beach on Koh Phi Phi island to the insane streets of Patong Beach in Phuket. My head is trying to find the point where normality for the Thai people lives!

Well after leaving Singapore airport, it went something like this; flight to Krabi, introduction to the art of speaking to Thai booking agents trying to get to Koh Phi Phi, large boat to the island, taxi boat transfer and mid sea exchange to get to a small sandy spot on the other side of the island. Upon this beach sat a figure and a very shocked Scottish friend reading his book!

Upon jumping overboard we spent several days catching up, enjoying the superb hospitality of the family run bungalow where we stayed and venturing for 50mins through jungle after a night out in the central area of the island! This journey included a head on meeting with a very LARGE snake which was fond of andys torch light! It was definately an experience and incredibly hot. It was nice to see Andy as the last time we had seen each other was 2 years ago in Nice, where we both lived. It was Andy who saw me to the train station when i last travelled from Nice to Spain. It was probably the best decision made while hungover i have ever made!

On Phi Phi we also met the Italian guys from the Whitsundays part of this journey. It is now here in Patong beach that i sit with Ricky getting ready to leave for our next place.
I wish to explain the events in Patong Beach but its unexplicable. All you need know its been fantastic and in Ricky and his brother i have two exceptional friends. Davide his brother went back to Milano yesterday and now il drago and il maestro will continue to Bangkok via a few places on the way! More photos will also appear here soon...

...oh and my mp3 player broke so i cant listen to my music while sat in places in like this, could be worse i suppose! ;)


permalink written by  50watts on January 16, 2006 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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The Anglo-Italian Bangkok Job!

Bangkok, Thailand

It has been 2 weeks in Thailand already and soon the trip will take its next direction, actually in about 2 hours when i catch the bus north to Chang Mai. I know that it will be the hardest move so far but hope in a polish friend who is there! We met briefly at our guesthouse on the famous Khao San Road, Bangkok.

Well it took me and ricky a few days to come to terms with the events in Southern Thailand. We managed to stumble upon perfect rehabilition though when we touched down in Phang-Nga. Here we met Mr. Keen and he in his ever so Thai friendly way talked us into his tour of the region. So after sorting every detail of our stay down to the laundry and at a more than a reasonable price we settled immediately into the true local thai routine and lifestyle. And we needed it!

In the morning we were being whisked off to the beautiful waters and limestone formations that make the area a highlight of the trip. Just me and ricky in a longboat with our captain cruising through mangroves and into open water like you can see in the picture. Our tour included several stops to go canoeing, cave exploring and eating lunch. It was great to be so isolated from the tourism of the country. The skipper dropped us on a quiet beach for lunch and then without a word he disappeared with boat. So me and ricky played baseball with a piece of tree and a large selection of coconuts. Then it was time to chill out.

Completing the day we were taken to a small muslim stilt village popular during the day for some tourism but true to its real character at night. Well this night we were one of only five guests i believe, with our meals all sorted by Mr. Keen (and friends) we enjoyed a relaxing evening and with no drinking permitted in the village it was refreshing too. We fed the Thai sharks held by the fishermen and strolled the streets of this tiny but surreal village. Imaging a rock surrounded by water and a community that built some houses on stilts next to it... oh and its paradise setting! There was one school, one mosque and a lot of fishing. The families would be sat in their rooms fixing or making nets, the children sporting various european football club t-shirts and always fond to practice their English. We joined the school children for a quick game of football on their one communal exercise area. Every day the local people go there to exercise and yes its stil built on stilts above the water! Its the kind of place where if you drop things you will lose it.

In the morning we continued our tour back on the mainland, we went to a buddhist cave surrounded by monkeys (how many can you spot!) and then a waterfall which was made interesting by the sight of a very large snake crossing our path. Ricky decided that the reest of the trek should involve heavy stamping of the feet and singing, to let the snakes know we were coming of course! Finally we were picked up by Mr. Keen Junior and taken to catch our Bangkok bound bus.

Touchdown in Bangkok was smooth and the art of negotiation eally took on its true form. It seems the anglo-italian link up is quite good though. We have enjoyed some remarkable tales, explanations and depictions for pretty much everything that has a cost to it! Yesterday on the way to the weekend markets we agreed to get the tuk-tuk guy a commision gas ticket if we went to a suit shop for 10 mins 'and looked' 'no buy, look'!!! We know the scams and we play them too, the result a ver y cheap ride to the markets and a happy tuk-tuk driver with gas in the tank! Ten mins to do this is worth it but when they get persistent it can get testing, of course there is a method to deal with this too.

So Bangkok, its a smoggy city with way too much traffic. It must also be the capital city of the T-Shirt, buying them and wearing them seems to be an attraction in itself and yes i did by a few. Its got some true character but slightly too much seems to be achieved through alterior means and that can be annoying at times. I am going to do the major sightseeing here when im back, this part of the journey was about something else!

So on the backpacker mecca that is Khao San Road with its strange going on and dingy guesthouses i spent my last fw days with il drago, Ricky. We have enjoyed meeting some more folk from Ireland, France, Thailand, England and just for Ricky, Switzerland! The nights have been exceptionally late, the culture severely limited and the feeling; well we would not have done it if it wasn't worth it! We have spent some time just walking through the city though, its not that wise if you want to stay healthy but as anywhere it does show you a lot about the place. We also discovered from I-river HQ Bangkok that indeed my treasured music player and holder of some Japan photos is DEAD AND BURIED IN A CORROSIVE LAYER OF SALT! Of course i wasn't too happy about it but so be!

Right well thats been quite enough from me and ricky in Bangkok to all wherever you may be? Its now with true sadness that i leave a fanastic friend and resume a different path. I was given a special T-Shirt as a gift but this one was from Milano and it was a product of Ricky's own making! Ricky is the true Italian backpacker, complete with suitcase (a photo will be posted soon judt for mama!)

Thanks mate, good on'ya mate!

I have enjoyed travelling with you and as we said its the beginning not the end of something new!

So now i better go find him, there is an hour left to get one last beverage and make it a good one!

permalink written by  50watts on January 22, 2006 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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The Kettle And The Machette

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ok well tonight i am heading back to Bangkok and probably the best idea really as Northern Thailand seems to have a problem with me.

I did make it trekking for a three days in the mountains and it was beautiful. As you can see by the pictures i was involved in a fair amount of activities and met a number of characters along the way. Sadly these pictures on this site are all i will have left as the stupid computer decided to corrupt the folder and now i am left with no photos to keep. I am not happy at the moment but never mind i will get over it!

I pondered staying for longer but two old housemates will be in Bangkok in the next couple of days and so too will a couple of guys from Chile whom you may remember from the Fraser Island adventures. Anyway on the next post you will find out what happened.

So back to the trekking. Well it was hard work and in places if you slipped you probably wouldn't have survived without a few broken bones thats for sure. We did stop to take a dip in a waterfall though which was nice and helped cool us down a bit. The landscape as you can imagine was very special.

Each night we stayed in small tribasl villages with our guide, who you can see in one of the pics taking a break! The villages were great but a little questioning upon finishing our stay. Having rested and reheated by the fire with the other trekkers we awoke in the morning to understand that all was not so impoverished for these people. The squeeky wooden frame of a half garage door swept back as we took breakfast, only for a man to reveal his huge Isuzu trooper of a vehicle. In case your wondering there is a well established history of Opium trading in these parts and although not all are involved there is no way a few tourists each day could fund such a vehicle. Apart from this there was no real signs of commercial living, a very tiny stall selling a few bits and pieces but no tv's etc which was the best part, we really were out of the way!

In the morning me and Andy another English guy went for a wonder and we stumbled on these two. Thanks mum for making mew laugh so much....

"were they being supervised"

"are they wooden toys or real?"

these guys were waving these distinctively real 'toys' around and around and were very interested in two western guys coming they're way. So the boys played with they're machettes and the girls... well...

It was an interesting stay.

Here is Moon our guide who did a good job of keeping us going, cooking us meals and storing them in leaves until we could eat them, teaching us about certain plants and letting us generally have a good time! He made sure we had what we needed thats for sure.

We took an elephant ride and this is proof for Brett that yes the funks do eat carrots!!!!! The little track we did was quite enough. To be perched above a vertical fall on a very heavy animal that doesn't seem to particulary care is another experience i can tell you! Anyway here is something creative...

Finally a bit of light water rafting and we were done. It was fun few days but since then i have either been violently ill or frustrated with computers. I have however decided that northern Thailand will not be explored further and that similar if not better places will be my conquest later in the trip, so keep watching this space!

Happy Chinese New Year to all today and hope all are well!

permalink written by  50watts on January 27, 2006 from Chiang Mai, Thailand
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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Khmer Raider and Those Little Eyes!

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

So people i'm in the capital city of Cambodia, having visited the world famous temples of Angkor Wat for several days already in the north near the border with Thailand. And since we last spoke, i also met a number of people in Bangkok. So where to start? (...in this crazy place!)

Bangkok started to hold on to me and it is quite worrying how easy it is to stay that just another night, maybe thats why so many expats live there in the state they do. Anyways returning from Chang Mai i met Daz and Chris my old flatmates from uni. After the guys left a few days later i met Andres and Alberto from Chile (Fraser Island and Christmas in Oz together) on their arrival in Thailand. Welcome Lenaic and Marie, we stayed together in Chang Mai. And finally my old boss from Nice, Pierre! And Big John from uni also made an appearance by chance! That's Bangkok!

A few memorable nights were had with all and i can only really give a quick summary as at some point you will want to know about Cambodia i'm sure! So...

Daz and Chris, thanks for all the onward info and the stories, im starting to appreciate. Also enjoying the book Chris. Won't drink soda out of a bottle again either!

Pierre, i think of the opportunities like we said and maybe some time spent in Asia working will happen, i would like it. I will be speaking to you again soon i'm sure!

Lenaic, thanks for a fantastic night at the petrol station. It will not be forgotten just like the others!!! Hope you enjoy at least one of those cd's too?

Andres and Alberto, guys that Tuk-Tuk ride was a truely Bangkok experience and seeing the elephant i know made your night! Remember the name of the bar we never found was Bali Bar and its on Ratchunda (near soi 3 but on main road not soi 3). Thats all i know! Good to see you both again and hope to see you in Viet Nam.

A thanks also goes to Mia and Kun who were sublime at sorting everything at my guesthouse in Bangkok. "See its not all same, same!!!"

Well entry wasn't a problem as its reported the border crossing from Thailand can be difficult to say the least but it went pretty well. As soon as you arrive across the border though, you can see the gulf between the two nations. All apart from the huge casinos that occupy the land between the checkpoints of both countries. Another difference is the roads and a close encounter was about to happen. Our taxi decided to go fast along a road that is world famous for its poor condition, pot holes, down bridges and time to finish. At first it was just one of those crazy things you begin to expect out here but then he started racing another taxi. It ended with us explaining to the now policeman/taxi driver of our car why it was a good idea to go slower. The other taxi ended abruptly in the side of a lorry! And if you had seen the number of bikes, cows, chickens, dogs, mopeds, carts and any other vehicle you can imagine there too...

Siem Reap was a strange place. Parallel to the amazing temples and huge area of land they occupy is a population divided heavily between rich and poor. There is much you can read about Cambodia and i suggest you do.

So marvelllous ruins of hundreds of temples amongst some so fantastic they consume you with thought and intrigue. The people work and play by the side of the road and their smiles never fade as you will be able to see from the photo of the family on the moped. My moto guide was Bin and for two days he took me to the places i needed to go to understand a little more about this culture and of course to get some pictures. On the pictures part of the blog are many, so please check them out.

The only thing really to add is the ability of the young children to ask you your nationality. They proceed to tell you the capital and numbers and everything in the hope you buy something from them. As you can imagine this cry for so little is overwhelming when it follows you everywhere but i must admit to taking a fondness of a few of the characters. These two had stealth and were spying my camera from behind as i showed my guide some pictures at lunch. Without knowing i took a picture of them and then i was offered their worldy goods! If you turn their attention to learning and not money then they soon change tact and they learn exceptionally well. So next time teach them to juggle or paper make and if you want buy a postcard!

So i am the capital, just about to go have a wonder on my own at night actually... ok maybe not. But deb i did manage to make it to Same Same But Different and am enjoying the chilled pad by the lake and all it brings. Kim and Sam say hello to you!

More about Cambodia to come...

permalink written by  50watts on February 11, 2006 from Phnom Penh, Cambodia
from the travel blog: Ending 2005 and Starting 2006
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I'm half-maltese, half-english, living in France, having met my girlfriend while on my first Blogabond adventure [way back].

I am trying to pass the rest of my life continuing to travel and to make things happen as someone once said.

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