Monday, March 27

But what are you doing NOW?

The SE Asia posts are getting to me... We've been back for over two months but we've only documented half our trip! We still have to write about Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat, Koh Chang, and Bangkok. I want to start posting about the present, but I think it might get too confusing.

Enough whining. We could have worse problems, right?

Since we're so far back-logged in our posting, we'll rely on our friends John and Kamie to tell you about our latest trip to Whistler.

That's us hiking in the first picture, and that might be us in front of the Guest Satisfacton Center as well...

- Jessi

Tuesday, March 21

Sihanoukville, Cambodia - Gitcher motor runnin'!

On our last day in Sihanoukville, we decided to rent a motoscooter and check out the nearby National Park and some of the surrounding beaches. It's possible to do a tour that includes all these activities, and our last couple tours had actually been pretty good - but we were still ready for some independence.

So we rented a scooter and took off (don't worry Dad - unlike almost everyone else, we always wore helmets! I prefer to enjoy my vacation without brain damage, thank you very much.)

We had a SWEET moto scooter and Tom got to wear the most X-TREME helmet. It was SICK!

On the way to the park we passed some water buffalo.

We thought the buffalo were super cool, but they weren't nearly as interested in us.

We soon found the entrance to the park.

The park ranger was very uptight.

Once inside the park we stumbled across yet another gorgeous beach.

We veered off the paved road and followed a dirt road along the water, through a grove of palm trees.

We were very happy to be doing some exploring on our own! With a moto as a means of transport, the world was truly our oyster!

As we were driving along I noticed movement in one of the trees. Turns out it was a guy climbing one of the trees - with no rope, no harness, no tools. Nothing but his bare hands. Scary and amazing! He seemed perfectly comfortable (as with all photos, click to enlarge).

We cruised past an oceanfront fishing village.

More shots of the fishing village.

Eventually we came to a bridge. Although we were feeling very independent and X-TREME , we decided that crossing this bridge on a scooter was a little too X-TREME for us.

So we got off, stretched our legs, and then headed back into town.

But you know what they say - it's not a real adventure until something goes wrong! Ten minutes from our guesthouse, we got a flat tire. Luckily it was fairly easy to find a roadside shop, and this guy took care of us right away.

- Jessi

Monday, March 20

Sihanoukville - Christmas in Cambodia

Although Cambodia is a Buddhist country, most of the backpackers traveling through the country are not, and so Christmas Eve is actually a pretty big deal in Sihanoukville. By "big deal," I mean that all the beach-front bars have special Christmas Eve dinners, and people in Santa hats shoot off fireworks over the ocean. Hardly typical, but definitely fun.

We met Nashib and Maria at an all-you-can-eat buffet which was absolutely packed. No surprise there - you've got a beach full of backpackers trying to live on $20/day, and for $5 they can eat til they're stuffed? Let's just say all-you-can-eat buffets are a rarity, and that's because no restaurant would be able to stay in business if they offered them nightly.

We watched another gorgeous sunset, and then feasted on a Christmas Eve dinner of Khmer curries and rice, with Angkor beer to wash it all down.

Christmas in Cambodia - not bad!

Tom, myself, Maria, and Nashib

During dinner a fire-twirler put on a show right at the water's edge. Very cool.

After dinner we decided to head over to the Snake House restaurant, which was exactly what it sounds like. A restaurant and bar filled with snakes and other reptiles. We'd been told it was not to be missed.

It was very difficult to take pictures of the creatures because they were all in glass cages, but believe us when we tell you that there were some crazy critters there. Huge boa constrictors, cobras, and even a croccodile.

In the center of every table was a snake enclosed in a glass cage.

By far our most exotic Christmas yet!

- Jessi

Saturday, March 18

Sihanoukville, Cambodia - Islands

Our first night in Sihanoukville we met a really cool Canadian couple named Nashib and Maria. We had a few drinks with them, and decided to join them the next day for a tour of the islands lying off the coast.

We took this boat to reach the islands.

Once there, we spent the morning doing a whole lotta nothing.

Happy campers

For lunch, our guide cooked us up some FRESH barracuda he had just caught that morning.

We ate lunch with our group around a little palapa on the beach. It was one of the best meals I had on the entire trip!

In the afternoon Tom, Nashib, Maria and I wandered off down a trail that led through the center of the island, to another beach.

And then we wandered around on that beach too.

Like I said, busy days. Busy busy days.

There was even a little palapa bar on the beach, so we had a couple beers before heading back to the mainland.

We heart Cambodia!

- Jessi

Friday, March 17

Sihanoukville, Cambodia - Doing Nothing

I know. I know. We've been so bad about blogging! The problem is, we've still got so many Southeast Asia pics and stories to tell that it's downright overwhelming. And really, as much as we want to share it all with you, we want to get back to blogging in the present! But we can't, until we finish all the vacation pics. But there are so many pics left to post...

You can see the vicious cycle. I have to admit, I'm kinda shocked. I'm a big fan of making lists and getting stuff done. Typically, the more I have to do, the harder I work. I never really understood how people could be overwhelmed into inaction - it just didn't make sense to me. But that is what has happened.

And I'm procrastinating even as I write this post! Let's get down to business:

After crossing the border into Cambodia, we spent one night in Phnom Penh and then headed straight for Sihanoukville. Sihanoukville is a beach town in southern Cambodia, aptly pronounced "Scenicville."

Woohoo! A new map, finally!

As you know, rain had been chasing us down the coast of Vietnam and it was a real treat to find warm weather and sunshine waiting for us in Sihanoukville.

We wandered around for awhile, searching for cheap but nice rooms. Turns out there's no such thing in Sihanoukville - at least, not around Christmas! We wanted to actually enjoy our beach time, so we ended up going with something a little higher end ($30/night):

After we'd dropped our bags at our hotel, we walked 5 ft down a path to the beach, where we did.... nothing. All day. It was great.

The cool thing about Sihanoukville is that it's not totally built up. Although there are plenty of backpackers and tourist activities, there aren't a bunch of high-rise condos. It's still possible to eat dinner right on the beach (like, with your feet in the sand), which is exactly what we did.

Blue skies, gorgeous sunsets, friendly people... this is what we'd been looking for!