Jamie and Sophie's Adventure

Jamie Longmore and Sophie Jones travel the world

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Angkor What?

We are now in Cambodia, it wasn't easy getting here. We left Bangkok on Wednesday and went to the border where we were being followed by touts that would expect money for "helping us", rest assured they didn't get a penny. After getting across the border, we decided it was too late to goto Siem Reap and so stayed by the border in Poipet. Poipet is the most horrible place I've ever been to, you can't see anything because the roads are so dusty and every person there is trying to rip you off.
The next day we were hoping to find a pick-up truck, which we had read there would be plenty of, however there were none. Some guy said we could join his tour and he would take us for $10 which sounded good, after a while though it became obvious that he was a scam artist and didn't like it when I explained how I knew everything he said was a lie. We got a taxi in the end with a German guy and his Dad, they paid $10 more than us each in the taxi which was nice of them.
On the journey we had to go through flooded areas, water was leaking into the car at some points and we had to be towed through one particularly large puddle by a tractor.
We eventually arrived in Siem Reap after 4-5 hours and headed to The European Guesthouse which was pretty nice and cheap. Siem Reap is a decent place with several good bars and restaurants, we took full advantage of the seemingly permanent happy hours and enjoyed a lot of cocktails. There are lots of beggars, many of whom are amputees because they went for a walk and found a landmine. You can't walk 10 feet without being asked if you want a tuk-tuk, to buy a book, come to someones restaurant or put some money in a beggars hat. The young kids all speak very good English somehow and are very cheeky, they will follow you for ages hoping you'll give them money, I found that walking round and round the same car eventually gets rid of them.
We had a look around a silk making school and where they make shadow puppets which were mildly interesting, then the next day we did a tour of the ruined temples, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom (where some of Tombraider was filmed), Bantey Srei and Angkor Wat, all of which were very impressive. Got some good photos but the connection here in Cambodia is too slow to upload them now.
We came to Phnom Penh this morning, our alarms waking us at 6am, falling asleep again and luckily Sophie woke up at 6:45 as our bus was coming at 7. After a 5 hour journey we got a tuk-tuk to our hotel, "Okay Guesthouse" which, surprise surprise is OK. On the street people are electrocuting birds from trees to stun them and put them in cages, then selling them to small children who tie string around their legs and laugh as they try unsuccessfully to fly away. There's also an insane amount of fried insects for sale.
Tomorrow we are going to the Genocide museum and the Killing Fields, happy happy stuff.
We are here for about 4 nights and then going to a national park in Campot.
I've also somehow caught a cold despite it being ridiculously hot all the time.
Much love xx

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back in Bangkok

In my last post I forgot to mention how cool the Full Moon Party was, there were 1000's of people on the beach getting drunk (some having more than alcohol, I got offered some dodgy looking pills at least twice). There were people dancing with fire, very impressive, but best of all were the buckets containing lots of alcohol and a bit of mixer, 2-3 quid each. I must have had a good time because Sophie ended up helping me get to bed.
In Kanchanaburi, the Death Railway had some nice views and the Bridge over the River Kwai was a bridge over a river. We then went to Erawan National Park which has 7 magnificent waterfalls, a monkey and the nicest popcorn I've had in years. We stayed the night there in a bamboo hut which we shared with numerous creepy crawlies.
We then headed for the former capital, Ayutthaya, which took a while because the bus had to go through these towns that were ridiculously flooded, imagine the whole of Malvern Link underwater up to your waist, people were going to the shops in their little row boats. The guy on the bus literally dragged us off when we were in the middle of nowhere, we had to get a ride on the back of some guys motorbikes which was exciting and terrifying at the same time.
We took a tour around all the temples and ancient buildings which was very interesting and then the next day headed back to Bangkok. We have been to the weekend market which has about 8000 stalls. On Sunday we went to "Jim Thompson's House" which used to belong to the guy that brought Thai silk to the rest of the world and then went missing in the Malaysian jungle or something. Today we went on a tour of the Grand Palace, lots of colourful spectacular buildings and a famous "Emerald Buddha" which is actually Jade.
Some gypsy looking women and a man thrust a load of corn into our hands and insisted we feed it to the pigeons for good luck, which we did, they then insisted we give them lots of money, which we didnt. Sophie offered them 2baht which didn't go down very well and they were chasing us down the street until I shouted at them. There are so many Thai's that are out to rip you off, we got a taxi to watch Thai Boxing at a stadium and the driver told us we had to go to a TAT Office (some tourist information thing) first to buy the tickets. This was a complete lie and the TAT office was nowhere near where we wanted to go, infact we could have walked to the stadium in about 15 minutes had we known where it was. We didn't watch it in the end as they wanted 15 quid for the cheapest seats, while Thai's were paying about 2 pounds.
Managed to watch the Villa game the other day at 11pm, not a very impressive performance, still unbeaten though.
Cambodia is our next stop, we should be going there soon, not sure if I'll be able to get on the internet there or not as it's one of the poorest countries in the world.
Congratulations to Becky and Ted by the way, I assume you are married now, if one of you had a change of heart, just ignore this. Someone let me know how the wedding went.
I've got more photos to put up but will probably wait a bit longer, maybe in Vietnam if I can, maybe I'll put them on tomorrow if I am bored.
Leave us a comment or a post on the message board, let us know what you're all up to and what we're missing.
Apologies to BGCC, can't get a flight back to make the AGM.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kanchanaburi

We are currently in Kanchanaburi, which is where the "Bridge over the River Kwai" can be found, we are going to take a look at this tomorrow before going on something known as "The Death Railway", sounds cool huh?
Since my last blog, we have become fully qualified scuba divers, completing an SSI Open Water course, enabling us to dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres, we are hoping to do our advanced qualification which will enable us to dive to 30 metres, we will have to see how things turn out though. The diving was absolutely amazing, we saw all sorts of wonderful, colourful fish, most of which I can't remember or don't know the names of. Big thanks to Big Blue Diving and our instructor, Steff.
We left the lovely island of Koh Tao yesterday, after a 2 hour boat journey we then had a 7 hour coach trip, though unfortunately we broke down (memories of school trips with Jones' Coaches came flooding back), so we arrived in Bangkok an hour late and therefore missed our bus to Kanchanaburi so we came here this morning, though that was hard work aswell, the taxi driver took us to the wrong bus station, then we got a public bus to the right one but had no idea when to get off, we got there in the end though and found a cheap room with Sugar Cane Guesthouse.
The hotel room we stayed in last night in Bangkok was home to a big cockroach, very nice.
Just noticed that England are getting a hammering in the cricket, no surprise at all really. As for the football, well I'm very glad I didn't stay up to watch the last match, he has to call up Gareth Barry soon.
Lots of love

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Koh Tao

We are on the island of Koh Tao which is really cool, we have been relaxing and sunbathing. The internet is very expensive on this island so just a short update. On Saturday we are hopefully going to The Full Moon Party which is like a big rave on an island called Koh Phangan, with upto 10,000 people. We are doing a PADI diving course on Monday which takes 4-5 days and then means we can go diving anywhere in the world.
Hope everyone's well back home. I'll update again when it's a bit cheaper. Happy birthday to Shaun for yesterday.