homeward bound

wake up call at 3am.

taxi at 3:30.

4am shuttle to the airport, there by 5.

7am, 2 hour flight from KL to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

5 and a half hour layover.

1:30, 1 hour flight to Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.

9 and a half hour layover.

11:50pm, 5 hour flight to Seoul, Republic of Korea.

3 and a half hour layover.

10:30am, 13 and a half hour flight to Atlanta, Ga USA.

land by 11am Monday, June 7.

isn’t crossing time zones going east fun?

Last day in KL

I’ve probably mentioned it already, but Kuala Lumpur is such a cool city. The architecture is so diverse, I picked up a architectural tour book at a little store in the central market and the history of it all is so interesting.

I really can’t believe I leave tomorrow morning to head back to the states, it has all passed so fast. Yesterday we went to the Batu Caves. It was a 45 min bus ride north of the city. We had to climb 270+ stairs next to a giant gold Hindu statue to get into the cave. Once inside there were pigeons and monkeys flying and scampering amongst the huge cavern and Hindu temple structures. The stalactites dripped water from above. I felt so tiny in the cave. I wanted so badly to get a caving tour of dark cave, which is right next to the mouth of the Batu, but unfortunately it was closed. 2nd thing I was hoping to do and couldn’t, but life goes on.

After we got home from the cave we rode the train into KL central and then rode the monorail from one end of the city to the other. The sights were pretty cool, it was nice to see the city from a different vantage point. Once off at the other end we caught a taxi to Lake Titiwangsa. Unfortunately the paddle boats were closed, but we got a sample of the incredible view and we’re going back today after lunch to paddle about in the water. We then tried to find a taxi back to the monorail station, and had an epic frogger like adventure on the side of the KL interstate. The station was in our sight, but there were at least 15 lanes of traffic between us. We got lots of funny looks, honks, and hollars as we looked like the most lot tourists on the side of the road. Luckily a taxi stopped for us and was able to take us back to the monorail station. He was a really neat guy, told us all about where in Malaysia we should visit, gave us his card, and refused to dance for our video because we were in traffic. Oh well. The whole experience was quite an adventure. We finally caught the monorail to our side of town. It was packed out like the milledge bus at park hall at lunch time, but luckily we had some sweet seats.

We walked around the night market last night and ate here and there and made some sweet, super cheap purchases.

Today we walked all around China Town and saw some incredible buildings and Merdeka square. We’re going to go back to the lake to ride paddle bats and then explore Little India. After we pack (we have to leave in the morning for the airport at 3:30am) we’re going to go a resturant from the lonely planet guide book—which has been a life saver on this trip.

My next update might be from the states, my computer charger completely broke. It doesn’t seem real that I’ll be home in 3 days America time. But once I am home with better internet connection, I promise I will update pictures, I have so many.

Welcome to KL

Kuala Lumpur is one of the coolest cities I have ever visited and I’ve only been here for about 24 hours.

We got in yesterday and found our hotel– which is in the middle of Chinatown. The hustle and bustle is nuts. And I have never seen so many knock offs in my entire life. and all SO cheap.

The people here are so incredibly friendly. They have gone out of their way to make sure we get where we need to do. We’ve walked through China town a bit and today we went to the National Meuseum, the Lake Gardens, The KL Tower, and the Petronus Twin Towers. I got a button for my red vest, woot woot. We were going to go to Singapore tomorrow, but the night train was booked both ways. So instead we’re staying in KL. I think we’re going to go to the Batu caves tomorrow and try to go spelunking.

The train system is really cool here and really cheap. $1=3.14RM, so a train ticket is like $.30. The dollar definitely works in my favor here and things aren’t as marked up for tourists like they were in Siem Reap.

We’re about to head to the central market to look around and sample some of the local fare. If I could land anthony bourdain or andrew zimmern’s job, I think I would be the happiest person in the entire world.

I keep expecting to see my Cambodian friends around every corner. Its weird, I miss them. I also miss all the folks from my program. It is so weird that we’re all in different places. Cindy, Elizabeth and I are in KL. Colin is in Japan. Bri’s about to be in DC. And the rest of the gang is scattered about GA. Cambodge for life.

Oh, I almost forgot. My first meal in KL. McDonalds. delicious.

cambodia, i’ll miss you

My stay in Cambodia is coming to a close before my eyes. I leave in less than 12 hours. It has been an incredible journey. This place and these people are going to have a special place in my heart forever. I feel as though I am leaving friends behind, friends who ask “when are you coming back?” to which I can only shrug. It is hard to put into words what I think this country has come to mean to me– from its sights, sounds, and people, it is an equally unequally beautiful and tragic place that I now feel a small part of. I’m going to miss it.

We head out tomorrow morning bright and early for our flight to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore before I make it back to the states on June 7. I can only imagine what this small taste of the world and of travel is going to do to me.

travels

Everything has been a bit crazy. It’s hard to keep up with a personal blog (especially when you’re as long-winded as I am) along with reporting trips, papers, book reports, and serendipitous events. But none the less, after a week absent, I finally get a chance to sit down and write. My room mates are both gone and headed back to the states. There are only four of us left, feels weird.

We spent the weekend in Battambang and Phnom Penh. Both totally different cities and completely different from our home base of Siem Reap as well. Our first stop was Battambang. We rode the bamboo train, met some incredible Cambodians at our train stop, saw another temple (with over 300 stairs to the top), and visited the killing caves. The killing caves were a place used by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s to kill men, women, children, and babies. I don’t think I had seen an actual human skull before outside of a glass case in a museum, let alone one that had been taken from its body and dropped into a cave. I can’t explain what it felt like to stand in those caves. The city of Battambang was kind of weird. There weren’t a whole lot of people out and about. By the time we had finished dinner, the streets were empty.

After dinner and a good sleep, we drove about 5 hours to Phnom Penh. It is defiantly a bustling city. Parts of it are absolutely beautiful. We had a slam packed 24 hours. I ate a leg of a fried tarantula at lunch. Not bad. I would have eaten the whole thing, but I got sick. Not on behalf of the spider, I had already been feeling ill. But it passes with the end of the day. We saw the killing fields and S-21. Both were more places used by the Khmer Rouge to kill, torture, and interrogate. The s-21 complex was absolutely haunting. I couldn’t even go up past the first floor. I felt guilty for being able to come and go through the cells barely 2 ft by 2 ft. Heavy stuff. But worth learning about. It still amazes me that the Cambodian people are so warm and friendly with such a tragic recent past. (i had the same feeling at the mine museum I visited earlier in the week)

We had a late dinner and then went to a discotheque for a while. I was in need of sleep, so a group of us went home. The next morning we ate a very Cambodian breakfast and then my group went and saw the national museum. So interesting. This place has so much rich history, its crazy to me that the Khmer Rouge tried to erase it all. We wandered the museum for a while and then caught lunch on the way out of town.

It was a great weekend, but we all agreed we prefered Siem Reap to the places we visited, it was time to go back to our Cambodia home.