Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 5: Phnom Penh City tour and its morbid recent history


Woke up pretty late today at 8AM, the same time that the girls and I agreed to leave and explore the city yesterday. The “Filipino time” (a stereotypical reference to being late) in me went down hoping that maybe they’re still asleep, and I can have my chill break and refreshing shower. But lo and behold, the Europeans are on time! So I just put on my contact lenses, brushed my teeth, and left with the same clothes that I have.


We first went to the nearest palace just a couple of blocks away just to check out what’s happening. Worshiping Buddhists, mini pagodas, after 10 minutes we’ve seen everything. From there we took a “tuktuk” (a popular local transport wherein a motorcycle pulls a set of modern carriage good for 4 passengers) as an arrangement for a whole day tour, meaning they’ll wait for us. Offers went as high as 45USD, but we were able to haggle with the kindest driver for a price of 15USD, or 5 dollars each.  First destination: the killing fields.


About 45 minutes away from the city, the Killing Fields, I must say is the SINGLE BEST TOURIST DESTINATION HIGHLIGHT OF MY WHOLE TRIP. Though I’ve done some reading prior to going here, I still find it hard to grasp how such humanity crimes could have happened only during the 1970’s. I believe people then should know better already.  So for my fellowmen who are saying that Marcos’ martial law during the same time was bad, well they haven’t heard about Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 4: Crossing the border to Phnom Penh



The tour organizers picked us up at around 6AM to bring us to the floating hotel to have breakfast.  It was chaos. In a small but open dining area along the river, it was jam packed with tourists and bags, they didn’t have enough tables to seat all of us nor enough people to timely serve us food.  But by the time I got my breakfast, I only had a minute to eat it since we were about to go.


Our first destination - the fishing farm. It consists of wooden planks above the river, with square whole in the middle used to feed the fish. One has to get used to the smell there, primarily due to the feeds use. But what’s interesting to see is how the fishes go wild when you drop feed pellets!

Active fishes
Lazy dog

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 3: Mekong River Cruise to the South of South Vietnam


Woke up early and in a hurry in order not to miss my 45USD 2-Days-1-Night tour which includes a cruise to the Mekong river, visit to the water & local villages, a crocodile farm, and an overnight in a town that almost border Cambodia, as we cross the border by boat the next day.

I was originally sitting on my own, but as they filled our tour bus, I was seated with Manon, a lone traveler from the Netherlands. She said she's taking a break from practicing Psychology for a couple of years, and that I was very fortunate, as normally, conversations with her would cost some serious money!

So there we were, exchanging travel stories, my fast pace and her savoring each moment. We arrived at the port of My Tho after over an hour, where our tour of the fishing village started.

Hats for sale!
The fishing village, after you’ve seen it already, ceases to be interesting. I don’t know, it must be because I’m from the Philippines so, though nothing exact, a market-type setting is nothing new.

Fishing Village boats
We stopped afterwards in a pastry store wherein they are making these candies that tasted good but sticks in my teeth like hell. Also it’s my first time to eat “popped rice” which is cooked like popped corn, and ginger crystals, which I found addicting.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 2: Cai Dai Temple, Cu Chi Tunnel, and my adoptive Filipino Family


I left Huy's house a little before 7AM so i can make it in an 8USD Cai Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnel that I booked the day before.

with Huy
After some confusing transfers and some spiteful stares from a bus full, I made it as the last person in my tour. The delay made me understand better how tour packages in Saigon are simply centralized, hence it's best to go simply with the cheapest price quote. They had to toss me from one group to another, a reality that I explained to my 9 co-Filipino tourists that were so relieved they didn't whine about me being "late", when they realized them and my stealth self came from the same home land.

Tour starting at 9AM, with our guide "Slim Jim", a former South Vietnam soldier


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 1: Saigon City tour, Vietnam


Woke up at around pass 7AM. My host Huy was already preparing for his day duty on the hospital so I had to hurry a bit a scooter ride, a sumptuous sticky rice breakfast, a prepaid SIM card purchase and a bus all the way to the city's 1st District.

Huy's a very attentive host. He's a bit worried about what will I do on my own, so I said not to worry and just write for me his home address, so if anything happens, I'll just cab my way back home.


So by 9AM, there I was, wandering alone in the city. no printed maps, no idea where to go to.



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