Well its been a long time again since I posted a blog but that is because I was having so much fun and then had to rush to the Cambodia boarder because my visa was about to expire. I have done a lot of fun stuff and decided that I actually like bangkok so this post will be a long one because I would like to tell as many details as I can.
After my last blog Alyssa, Shawn (Hawaii friends) and I went to have some street food at the place I like and then went to the Blues Bar for some drinks and Moo met us there about an hour later. The bar was really small and cool with very good blues music. It was almost amazing such a place exists because only like 20 people or so could even fit inside. At the bar I ran into Mark, the older guy from Australia I met in Koh Chang. It is crazy how small the world can be sometimes. I had a really good time and made plans to meet Alyssa, Shawn and Moo the next day at the JJ market (or Chatuchak Market) and then go to the floating market the next day. That made it so I had to run for the boarder when it was all done but it was well worth it.
The group of us at the Blues Bar
The next day after I had some breakfast I started walking towards the subway through China town (I took the skytrain one day so I wanted to try the subway). I called Alyssa on the way and found out that we weren't going to meet at the market until later in the day so I decided to stop at Wat Pho on the way (thats the Wat with the big reclining Buddha. On the walk I was practically walking next to a Swedish girl so I introduced myself and we went to the Wat together.
The Wat was cool. Similar architecture as the grand palace and associated Wat and the Buddha was impressive. We walked around the Wat looking at all the building and Buddha's and talking. She was in her last year of high school and came to Thailand for a final project working with an orphanage, she wanted to teach them to swim or something. After the Wat she decided to walk with me through China town as I walked to the subway because she wanted to do some shopping. On the walk some dark clouds were approaching so she turned back around half way and I just made it into the subway before the rains came.
The reclining Buddha
When I got out of the subway it was still dumping so I waited inside the terminal until the rain calmed down. When the rains died down I began walking through the market and when they stopped I called Alyssa and said they should come on over and meet me (they were waiting for the rain to stop). The market was crazy! The biggest market I have ever seen with all kinds of crazy stuff like a full section of pets and an art section that was like a museum. I met Alyssa and Shawn and they said Moo was just behind them (she was coming straight from work).
At JJ market
We walked around the market for a while and then went to visit with Moo's friend that is an artist and has a display in the art section. It was cool to hang out there because when I walked through by myself I saw all the Thai people hanging out and thought to myself "boy they look like they are having fun, wouldn't that be fun to hang out with these guys", then later I was. After a few beers we went to eat at a good place Moo knows and her friend came and another guy from the market. By the time we left the market it was closed so we had to scale the fence to get out. The food was excellent at the place Moo took us to. It was cool because we just sat down and Moo ordered for us and she knows what is good.
After dinner we dropped the two guys from the art gallery at a place to catch a taxi and all went to Moo's place to sleep so we could get up in the morning for the floating market. In the morning we had some traditional Vietnamese breakfast and then got on the road to go to the floating market. The market was great and it was nice because you could tell Moo loved it and was not just taking us there because we were tourists. The market was on some isles along a river with shops and there were venders in boats along the river. It was quite crowded with very little farang (which you know makes me happy) and it took a while to go anywhere.
The floating market
After walking around a bit we got on a boat to go up the river and visit some temples that are some of Moo's favorite temples. I always get strange feeling and chills when going to the temples and seeing the people praying. Its like I can feel the spirituality in the air. Also Moo could tell us about the temple and what people were doing so it made the whole temple experience that much richer. A couple of the Monks at the temples blessed me with water and gave me bracelets, one of which I still have on. The monks seemed to give me special attention and Moo said it was because I looked like a holy man in the woods, and because I look like Jesus (how many times have I heard that).
A really cool old temple that Moo brought us to
After getting back to the floating market we got some food and while eating the power went out. It actually made the market a bit cooler because candles started popping up everywhere and there was some acoustic music across the water. We went over towards the music and while watching and listening the power came back on (I got that on video). We sat down for some drinks and then headed back to Bangkok.
Sunset over the floating market
Hanging out having some drinks at the floating market
They dropped me off at the subway for me to get back to the Kao San area and we all said goodbye because I was leaving the next day. Almost right away I realized I lost my phone and started to freak out. The only place it could be was in Moo's truck or at the market, so I rushed back to my guest house as fast as possible and got onto the internet. I knew they were going to go to the internet place after they dropped me off so I hoped I could catch them. Luckally I did catch Moo while she was on the internet and she did have my phone in the truck, so I just packed my bag checked out of the guest house and took a taxi to Moo's place. I was reunited with my phone and we all stayed up really late talking. It was really nice talking to Moo because she told me a lot about Thai culture that I didn't know and I could tell her about farang culture so it was a mutual exchange.
The next day we just had breakfast, went to a photo place for Alyssa, dropped me off at the bus terminal, and said our goodbyes again. The bus ride went fine (I slept most of the way) and I got a place easily. The place I was at organized trips to the boarder so I had to be up at 5 am the next day, which is today. Of coarse again I couldn't decide if I wanted to go straight to Sihanoukville or stay at the boarder town of Koh Kong and just decided last minute to go to Koh Kong and see what it was like.
This morning I woke up early before the sun was up and started the journey to the boarder (no where near where the fighting is, I did look into it). We all got to the boarder before the gates were open. It was quite a spectacle with Khemurs waiting to get into Thailand to work and a row or motorbike taxis lined up to drive then to work. The people got on the bikes almost as fast as the bikes could come and were zipping off before the people had hardly got onto the seat. The boarder went fine because I already had a visa and I negotiated hard to not get ripped off getting into Koh Kong.
Koh Kong is a really nice town. In the morning I talked to a Khemur guy who works with an NGO on green farming and stuff, we talked for about an hour. Then I walked to the market to get a bowl of noodle soup. Everyone talked about how the Cambodians try to rip you off but here they seem very honest. I just ordered stuff and worried about the price later like I would in Thailand. After breakfast I walked around the town and ended up meeting an old retired British guy and we went for some coffee. He was an interesting guy who has lived in the area for over 10 years (Thailand and Cambodia) and was very blunt about the fact that he is a sex tourist. I try not to judge so we hung out for a while and talked about our different perspectives on life. I even went back to see where he was staying because it is on the water, a bit nicer, and cheaper than where I am staying. After lunch with him I headed back to my guest house for a nap, had some dinner, and now I am here.
All in all Cambodia is very nice so far. Tomorrow I have a ticket to go to Sihanoukville. I would probably spend a few days here but I know Sarah, Dharma, and Gabe will be going to Sihanoukville tomorrow and it would be nice to meet them. Dharma and Gabe are headed back to Thailand for the Thai new years so if I don't go to meet them tomorrow I might miss them and I would like to catch up on what we have been doing while traveling apart. Well thats all for now, I think it is very long but I got all the details in. I could probably write more about my feelings and perspectives on some stuff but then it would be way too long.