17 Jan 2011

.Out. In the Paradise. Koh Phi Phi.

The trip started innocently enough. Me, Kathi and Peter decided to take the same bus No 79 to Sai Tai, or better known as the southern bus terminal to catch a bus to Krabi. Since terminal is pretty far away and you have to go through the city during the rush hour, we started early. I was walking along the street to the bus stop, watching the traffic jam and cars moving slower than me. I got to the bus station and waited for the bus. I got on one, send a message to Kathi and was happy I am already, even if slowly, moving towards the destination. My happiness vanished right away, when the ticket guy didn’t take my money, said something in Thai, shook his head when I tried to tell him my destination and told me to get out of the bus, just on the corner. It came to my mind that the bus is probably going back to the park, or something like that. So I called Kathi and told her not to hurry, I’m not in the bus anymore and there is a huge traffic jam just next to the central world and it will take me ages to get to her. I have been waiting for another bus for almost half an hour, when I saw one, on the very last row on the road. I took my way through the traffic jam and got in. This time destination explanation worked and I informed both of them, that I am in the bus and even if not moving, due to the traffic jam, I will get there. Sometime.

The traffic was awful. We were almost not moving at all. To go 100 meters it took us maybe 15 minutes. The bus driver kept on jumping out of the bus, buying something at the street and getting back and still being able to move with the rest of the traffic. We finally reached Kathi’s bus stop, so I knocked on the window. It worked, she saw me and now it was two of us in the bus, heading towards the right destination. Promising so far.

The traffic was still awful and getting to Khao San Road to find Peter took us maybe a half an hour more. Then the fun began. I was constantly checking people in my window and I saw Peter sitting there, but the bus didn’t stop. I tried to explain for the driver and ticket guy that I have a friend on the road and that they need to stop so I could get him. Somehow it worked, they stopped, I left all of my stuff in the bus and ran for Peter. He called me at the same time, maybe sensing something, so I tried to tell him to go towards the bus. Didn’t work out. I had to get to him and take him to bus. We must have looked foolishly, running, him with the huge luggage. But Thai people are so sweethearts, learned it once again. The bus was waiting for us and greeted me back in the bus with the smile. It worked. So now we were all in the bus, bus the traffic jam was still awful that we started wondering, if we can catch a bus to Krabi, since the last one leaves at 8 p.m.

We got to the station a little after seven, got tickets, got some snacks for the trip and went for the bus. The bus was VIP first class and oh my, that was the best bus ever. Seats were comfortable and plenty space for feet. We got pink blankets [Steffany was cheered up immediately], some bund, some water, some snacks. And some stupid horror kind of movie, of course. We talked a little in the bus, while riding. At some point the bus stopped and we got some orange juice and yoghurt as a night snack I guess, got back on the bus, tried to sleep a little and got to Krabi in the early morning.

After a little of consideration we decided not to waste time in Krabi and go straight for Koh Phi Phi, which is now officially known as `my paradise`. Yes, unfortunately, this title no longer belongs to Crete. Which now is `not paradise but pretty damn close to it`. We got a boat+pick-up tickets, waited a little and got on the boat. 1.5 hours of the boat ride and we get off in Koh Phi Phi, which greets us with crowd of tourists and enormous heat.

Some guy took us to the place where we could get a room. We took room for 3 people with fan for 1100 Baht. As for the Koh Phi Phi, it’s pretty cheap. We were going to the guesthouse and here I realized that they have no motor vehicles in there. Well, on the last day I saw one scooter, but that was a police guy, so it makes different. So no cars, no pick-ups, no scooters, just bicycles and long tail boats. We got into the place, but we couldn’t check in, so we just dropped our bags and went for the breakfast. We managed to find a Muslim place with no alcohol [not that I need alcohol for breakfast, but it’s just weird, or is it just me?], but with gorgeous banana pancakes, we ate and went back to check in. the room, after it was cleaned, looked much better. We took our showers took our time and went to the beach.

The beach was extremely hot, water as well, full of tourists. It is kind of destroyed by people, but still looks amazing, with all of those rocks and that amazing colour of the water. We stayed there for a little, I went for a walk, to take some pictures, walked back, talked them to go for the view point and so we left. It was a bit hard walk up the stairs and stones with flip-flops, but the view was worth it. So we stayed there for a while, catching our breaths, taking pictures and just enjoying the time.

We went back to the room after a while, changed our clothes and went for dinner. We found a very nice place and sat down. Just after we ordered our food, the rain started pouring. It was like a tropical storm and I loved it. Once again, something that goes down from the sky makes me feel like washing some of my original sin. So we ate, then ran in the rain to some almost Irish pub for some beers and went back to our place. Night in the bus with almost no sleep kicked in me very hard and I was almost sleeping while sitting in the porch, so I left them and went to sleep.
The next day we started with some very slow breakfast [how come is it that you get food in street kitchen in maybe two minutes max, and in some restaurant it takes around half an hour?] and rushed for the snorkeling trip around the islands in the area. We walked all the way to the pier, waited there a bit and finally got to the boat, than moved to another boat and waited some more. While moving to another boat, me, of course, with my clumsiness, I managed to hit one guy in his head. I started apologizing and he said `it’s ok, I’m used to get punched`, so I replied `oh, good, because I’m used to punch people` and got a smile as a response. While waiting, I was just making some pictures and observing two guys in hour boat. The language they spoke I could not completely get, but some of the words sounded Greek. If that wasn’t enough, one of them was a smaller version of one of my Greek friends and another one looked like Greek as well. This another one actually had an amazing face – it looked like a very nice piece of art. Seeing them there reminded me of my times in Greece. All of the fun I had there, all of the tragic moments, that I finally can remember with the smile and all of the people. I missed being called a bastard once again.
We made a first stop in a place, what they call `The Shark point` and did our first snorkeling. I remember I tried it couple of times in Lithuania when I was a kid, but it’s been ages. And so there, it was a definite `do one thing that scares you every day` for that day. I got a panic attack. Well, not a terrible one, but still, it was a bit frightening. But I manage to cope with it, do some snorkeling, see some fish, but no sharks though. We snorkeled for a while, got back to boat and moved for the Bamboo island. That island could easily get the name of the paradise, because it’s amazing. The sand is white, the colour of the sea is unbelievable and some palm trees around just fits into the scenery.

I always used to think that they are using a lot of photoshopping for the pictures in travel agency, but when you see the same colour here and now, you realize that it actually can look like that. In the island we had lunch, stayed a bit, shot some pictures and went back to the boat. This time we went to the Mosquito island, which is mainly just a big rock and we did our second snorkeling in there. This time I had no more of the panic attack, so I managed to enjoy it even more. I saw some corals, much more fishes, those black sea hedgehogs or whatever those things are called and got back to the boat. We moved along the Koh Phi Phi island and got into the Monkey beach. It wasn’t any special beach, only that sand was more as a powder and the water was not transparent at all and then there are monkeys in the beach, so you can feed them, get bitten or make pictures of them.
After that it was time to go to Koh Phi Phi Lay or whatever it’s called, better known as the island of the movie `The Beach`. We started with seeing some Viking cave, where, to our surprise, was some sort of street kitchen restaurant. Then we moved to some sort of lagoon, where the scenery was amazing. That baby blue colour water and big rocks around there. Amazing place to just sit in a boat and look around. After that we came to one more snorkeling spot, watch some underwater life again and finally got into the beach from `The Beach`.

If there were no tourists and endless boats in there, it would be a real paradise beach. Even with people, it was still kind of amazing. We had an hour there, so after a bit it started to be a bit boring, so we decided to make a sand castle. The sand was really bad for that, so we only managed to make a pile of sand there. We still had plenty of time, so we decided to dig tunnel under it. It went for a while, but we managed and went just went on with making pictures and laughing hardly. And then back to the boat.

On our way back we were going to see the sunset, which wasn’t very special and I had no possibility to jump over the sun. Well, maybe another time. Maybe later.

But on our way back we started talking with those two `Greek guys` and a Swedish girl. I learned soon that Greeks guys are actually from Israel and I was so confused, because for starters I was sure they were Greeks and also, they looked nothing like other two guys from Israel I met couple of days ago. We talked about traveling, cameras, making pictures and other stuff. They were very nice people. One of those Israeli guys told me he did not like Laos at all and I was seriously shocked by that. Later he said he was in Vang Vieng and Don Det only, so I said `Ok, no judgment` and his friend responded `she’s sarcastic, I like it`. We joked about pictures, talked about extreme jumping off the cliffs [one of them did it from 20 meters height and if you ask me – that’s insanely extreme]. I would have loved to hang out with them for some more later, but once they got off the boat, I lost their sight. Oh well.

We got back home, got a little rest and went for some dinner. We went to The Pirates House, if I recall correctly and had some tasty curry [at least me]. After we were just going along the street and I saw Carolin standing in one of the bars. So I went to say hello to her and surprise her with me being in the island. So Kathi went for a massage, Peter went home to work on something and I stayed with Carolin and her new friends for a beer. There were two Australian and three American guys, later on Argentinian and Brazilian girls joined as well. It was pretty funny, especially when one of the Americans proved their sometimes big lack of geography knowledge, since he have never heard about Lithuania. Another guy knew about it, but mainly only because of the basketball and some Lithuanians playing in NBA. Another one hit Carolin’s bottle of beer, so it would run out as a fountain, but it did not work out for him and I was just in time and in the right place to do the same for him. Unfortunately this is how I made two enemies and they both tried to get revenge on me. They managed at one point and spilled at least half of my beer, but at least after that it was over. Kathi joined us after her massage, after a while Peter showed up as well and we all went to the beach, to some sort of beach party. We danced there a little and then we somehow separated, so I decided to go home, hoping that someone with a key is already there. I got back and found locked doors. So I called Kathi and learned that she has no key, but is going home as well. I started calling Peter, but no luck. So we were sitting there, in front of our doors, desperately trying to pick up the lock, which wasn’t really successful and constantly calling Peter. And just at the moment when we thought we will have to go back to look for him he answered and soon enough got back. The day was over.

The next morning we woke up and went for the beach. We sat there and in the beginning I was planning on going for a walk anywhere there around, but after some consideration, decided to take a day off and just do nothing for a change. Mainly just enjoy the paradise. We stayed there, swimming from time to time, up until some dark clouds came on the sky and we decided it’s time to go back home before it started raining like crazy. It didn’t rain, but we again, had some rest, changed clothes, went for some dinner and then we were figuring what to do next and where to go next. So we ended up with them taking the buckets and me taking a beer and just sitting in the beach, watching the fire shows and listening to the music. Kathi at some point went home, after a while Peter did the same, but I did not feel like going home, so I stayed.

I walked around a little bit, hoping somehow to meet someone I met during my trips, since SEA is such a small place and you always run into the same people, but there was no one, so I ended up back in the beach, sitting by myself and going through the mess in my head. I was sitting like that not for too long when two guys asked if they could join me. Two Swedish, very nice and very young guys they were, apologizing constantly that their English is not that good. But they were sweet and we talked a bit, but soon enough they decided to join their friends on the dancing floor and I decided to go back home.

The next morning, as usual, I couldn’t sleep. So I left the room, went outside and settled once again for going through my mess in my head. I have been writing some e-mails and some stories before it was almost time to Peter’s boat. I went inside, saw him still asleep, so I woke him up, but he said that his boat was later and slept again. After a while he woke up, packed his bags, we hugged goodbye and he left for Koh Samui. Me and Kathi, we packed our bags, went for breakfast, went for a little shopping [yes, finally Steffany was happy, even if for only a little bit] and went for a beach, since we still had some time before our boat.

We came to the pier a little too early, so we went into one of the bars, took the last Chang in the paradise, got onto the boat and sadly had to say goodbye to the place that will now be known as the place that competed with Crete and became my official paradise.

The boat was changed into the pick-up, the pick-up was changed in to the Khao San Roadish bus and we went to our 12 hours ride to the Bangkok. It was supposed to be a long and tiring trip. It was horrible in the beginning, after battery of my computer went dead, since I had no book to read and couldn’t sleep, since it’s a bus. But after a while, with all of the lack of sleep for the last couple of weeks and having completely nothing to do, I managed to fall asleep. It was going on and off, my sleep, I mean, and then finally, 5.45 a.m. we got back to Bangkok. It’s amazing, how both of us, Kathi and me were so happy to be back in Bangkok. After such a horrible trip [she also had troubled sleep this time] it was great to stand on the Bangkokian ground. Since we are already almost locals in the city, we rejected all offers for the cabs and tuk-tuks, went to the bus stop, caught the bus and minutes later, I already enjoyed being in my own room.

The tripping was over. Time to catch up being with Bangkok for the last time. Well, for me at least. Damn, I’m going to miss this part of the world, big times.

Off Topic
I’m going mad or I’m going crazy. Or maybe both at the same time. And I don’t know what is happening. I’m trying to write it off as an anxiety attack due to the changes, but I cannot even recognize myself. I’m not used to see myself like that. And it makes me scared.

Once again, I’m making a promise here, out loud, to myself – it’s over. I don’t look back, I don’t give up, I don’t question. I’ve made my choice and I will stick to it. At least this way I’m going to be honest. With myself. Well, and with Steffany as well.

8 Jan 2011

.In and Out. Lost and Found.

Life, while back, was more as a roller-coaster ride than an ordinary easy going Thai style life in Bangkok. And my `being late` did not help at all. Not that I regret that decision.

It all started with coming back after midnight, where I only got a little [a bit too little after the tripping] sleep and headed to school, first thing in the morning. My teacher greeted me with `so, you missed the first lecture`, which was followed by my `oh, I’m sorry, I got stuck in Laos`. But so we continued.

Even if I felt a big need to catch up on my sleep, when I got a message from Carolin that Swedish guys are in town and they want to meet, I just could not say no. Let the party begin. We first met with Kathi, went for a dinner and wait for the girls to come. After the girls showed up, we went to the Irish pub for a beer. I have to admit, it gave me some sentiments for The Dubliner. Although they do have a little less people in there and much more staff. And still, waiters and waitresses were much slower than I used to be. And much more cheerful for that matter. The boys were late, so we decided that it’s time to go to Gazebo. I was skeptical about, but Carolin was sure that if a group of five girls are coming before midnight, they get a bottle of vodka for free. We entered around 11.52 p.m. and what do you know – they did give a bottle of vodka for us. So we stayed there, listened to some live music [nothing fancy, covers mostly, but I liked it], talking about what’s happening in our lives and then finally the boys showed up. We had a bit of a party there happening, but my sleep was kicking it so badly that I had no other choice, but to leave the happy place and leave for the happier one, better known as my bed.

The next day I tried to reach Philipp [a.k.a. His German] and ask him if he needs anything with his broken shoulder, but reply came a little to late to meet him, so I was trying my best to catch up with endless e-mails [it’s seriously, just like feeding the monster, the more you answer, the more you get] and everything else and we decided to meet the day after. Although on the same day Greta came to town and after a long and exhausting day with a tour around the Bangkok, we decided to meet for a quick beer. She was tired, I was tired, but it was nice to see familiar face and a bit strange to speak Lithuanian after such a long time. And here I got my second Christmas present, which was even pink and it smelled just like the perfect Christmas.

We met with Philipp the next day in Sukhumvit and decided to go for a meal. Street kitchen, since it’s cheaper, of course. Turns out, not necessarily very cheap. His crab cost him 450 Baht and it was not cheap at all. Bad luck, I guess. So we were wondering here and there, to Cheap Charlies, to some sports bar killing time before Carolin comes to town and we hit `Narz` which was supposed to be a great party place. We met Swedish guys before, had some fun and finally headed for the party place. It was a disaster, if you ask me. For starters, while looking for a place wee took the wrong turn and found ourselves in the `red lights district`. We moved around for too long, but finally we got to the place. Dance music, techno house something whatever and I just wanted to get out of there. I figured it’s not polite to exit right away, so I figured I will wait politely till closing [I was hoping it closes at 2 a.m.]. Turns out, it wasn’t closing till 4, so I left as soon as I realized those news.
I spent most of the other days around New Years being with myself. I needed this time. Everything was turning around, things were changing, memories were coming back, confusing it all and making me wanna … something. I knew I am already running out of time, way behind my schedule with, well, everything and I knew I need to make my decisions fast or I will end up with nothing on my hands and nothing in my upcoming future. It was foggy mess in my head and I saw no clear signs which direction to go. I was starting to feel miserable.

And there were the New Years. I’m not big with New Years and you all know that. So we ended up meeting for dinner with Kathi and Philipp, then went to the central world for the concert. It was a complete mess – floating river of people around and almost impossible to get your way through. And, no drinks inside [not even water], so we went outside, found an open 7/11, met two Americans and celebrate the change of the here there, in the middle of nowhere next to the concert. We stayed there a little longer and decided it’s time to go `somewhere`. Somewhere ended up being Khao San Road [very original]. We met the same American guys again and ended up dancind in the street next to the Irish bar. Finally I was glad to get back home to bed. I don’t like messy New Years. This one was not bad at all, but pretty messy still.
Other days, once again, was chaotic. Well, in my head chaotic, anyway. I’ve been switching from one plan to another, trying to figure out the best possible solution and it seemed that I am incapable of finding the right answer to that. As one of the Zodiac George’s said: `Fate always gives you 2 choices. The one you should take and the one you do.` I just want to believe it‘s not my case. Although Fate never had an eye on me, when you think about it.

My plans have been changing at least thirteen times a day and made my head spin at least twice as much. I made my call. I made up my mind. And before I could change it, I booked the tickets, so there is nothing to be done in case I changed my mind. Again.

And here I was. Still drunk with constantly changing mind, facing the tickets, facing the plan I just made. Coming back to my old life. Still no idea if that was a right decision or a mistake. Cause when you think about it, I‘m loosing a lot. But maybe, maybe hopefully I will gain much more.

New plans are coming into my head and give me headache. And I never have headaches.
So I felt a need to run away from Bangkok. At least for a bit. Just to be with myself, on my own. Unfortunately, my thoughts in my head were louder than a 3rd class train, which I took to get to Ayutthaya.

It all started very well. I just came to the train station, asked for a ticket and got it for 20 Baht [just so you know, for the comparison, if you take a conditioned bus inside the Bangkok for slightly longer trip, you will pay 24 Baht] and after a nice 1.3 hours ride in a train with Salander and her stories, I got off in the place, which is an old Thailand capital. Ruins city. Well, people who know me, knows that walking around all of that ancient stuff is my thing, so I kept on enjoying it all the time. And I got in there on a lucky day – all of those places were free of charge. I still don‘t know how that happened, maybe it‘s Saturday or maybe it‘s just `Happy day for Ona`. So I kept on wondering around the city with no exact destination, no map, no anything. Just walking. Just being with myself. Just trying to calm my head down.

I liked it. It was a very nice, calm city with some nice places to see and pretty empty, not too touristy streets. I found a place for my lunch with an amazing service and noodle soup that only cost me 25Baht. I got lucky enough after it, since my train came right after I bought the ticket. Although my luck wasn‘t willing to stick with me in the train, I had to stand. It wasn‘t too bad, although I got tired and it wasn‘t too comfortable to read my book while standing. So I just sat down on some stairs. As if it wasn‘t enough that locals were staring at me awfully, when I just sat don‘t they just couldn‘t believe their eyes. Like I could give a damn.
Back to Bangkok.

Off Topic
I still keep on wondering if I made the right decision. I mean, I know, in the long run, it‘s the right thing to do, but somehow it feels wrong. Although, I already took another option once and it turned out to be a disaster. Still keep on wondering which one of us was right. And.. What if. But on the other hand, there would have been a big `what if` from the other side. I‘m lost.
Would you just tell me I made a right decision and I will get all of those doubts out of my system?

3 Jan 2011

.Back in Pakse. The End.

We ended up going to the stadium, where we saw the second part of the football game [or soccer, as Sascha would say]. Some local game, where we were probably the only farangs in there. It was fun, at leat for my traveling buddy, a little bit boring for me. But at least we saw a goal, even if it was a bad one. We went to the city after, but could not find anything worth seeing, so we ended up in a bar for a beer, where you could have ordered a lot of fired things, or roasted coat and similar things. We went a little further, hoping to find some club that was in his lonely planet book, and couldn’t find it. Instead, we found a fancy Christmas party, for fancy Laotian people. So we crashed it, got some vine and beer and some food for free, crashed somebody’s table, but people were pleased to have some foreigners with them. It was a nice evening with a nice person, but we had to finish it, since I had an early start. This is already the second end and I couldn’t possibly extend it anymore. No matter how much I would have loved to stay some longer.

My traveling buddy was extremely nice and woke up together with me, went for breakfast with me [and I couldn’t get my pancakes that I wanted since the day before :(], waited till my pick-up [a motorbike] came and hugged me goodbye. And so I left. Crying with my dry eyes and smiling with my heart, since, just as promised, me and Steffany had the best trip ever, so far. My pick-up was a mess. He took my important bag, with my camera and my passport and my money to put in front of the bike and then he stopped. I got off the bike, and he started running with the bike and I started running after. I was somehow sure he is not going to run away with my passport, but I just did not want to loose him of sight. We probably looked like two psychos, he running with a bike and I’m running with my backpack on my back after him. We ran to the gas station, he got some gas and we went to the station. I got my ticket and waited for my bus. The `VIP` bus wasn’t really the VIP, but it was ok and it took me to the border. The border thing presented no surprises for me, I got out of Laos with no problems and got back to Thailand with no problems as well.

Being in Thailand presented this strange, weird but pleasant feeling like coming home. It felt kind of right to go on the wrong side of the road, seeing all the prices in Baht and all of the rest of Thai details. I got to one city and had to get still to Bangkok. Someone just asked me where I was going, I said Bangkok and they put me on a bus that leaves in 30 minutes and should be in Bangkok at around 23. So there I was, in a simple local bus with only locals in it for 11 hours – plenty time to read a book, listen some songs, think over and over my fabulous trip with fabulous people.

I got back to my dormitory after midnight and, of course, the security guy did not have my key. Luckily he woke someone from the office up [how handy is it that he was actually sleeping in the same building], who gave me the key and let me go to the room to my own old bed and I could have catch up on some rest.

So this was it. Amazing 5 weeks. Visited 3 countries. Met countless of amazing people. Made around 1500 pictures. Experienced it all. Faced some dragons – did some things that scare me. Got burned and been scarred for life. Steffany already unpacked all her high-heels, but we are both still catching ourselves thinking and talking about the trip. Even if it wasn’t 100% perfect, it was at least 99% perfect. And only because 100% perfection would make it boring.

We’re back.

.The Other Loop. Sascha, Sascha, Steffany and Me.

The next morning, better known as canceled Christmas day, I let my roommate to sleep a bit longer [since he is driving with such a pain in the ass like me as an extra weight] and then we went to check out. The kid [I want to say kid, because he kind of looked like a kid, but could be 18 years old as well] who checked us out was staring at me. But seriously, staring so much that even I felt uncomfortable. And you all know, I don’t care much about that kind of stuff. It wasn’t really easy to check out, since we did not really checked in in the first place and then the guy spoke no English and instead of trying to communicate, was just trying to see my stomach through my eyes. We ended up just paying the amount we agreed on the night before and left the place.

That was when I realized that I am stupid enough – I do have Yo’s phone number and we could try calling him so maybe he knows something about His German. We made a call. Turns out, he did know. There was a crash, just before we crashed and this one was worse. Philipp [a.k.a. His German] fell off the bike, broke his collar bone and was picked up right after the crash and was already planning his trip to Bangkok, to the city in SEA that has some decent hospitals. We immediately felt bad for not caring for him, but on the other hand, there was nothing we could have done. Well, we could have turn around and went back for him sooner but even then we wouldn’t have known if we would have been there with him before he got picked up.

We continued our loop, which at the end turned out being `Sascha, Sascha and Ona on a Loop` [Yes, I named this bike Sascha as well] instead of `the other loop of the three of us`. I promised a good road and I kept my promise. We were also supposed to get to this awesomely fabulous waterfall which we visited and it was nice, but not extremely nice. And we ended up coming back to Pakse, getting the room in the same hotel and went for Christmas lunch. Our lunch ended up with some ice-cream and wondering what to do later.

.The Other Loop. Part 1.

The next day was to be known as `the other loop of the three of us`. In the morning we said goodbye to Yo and hit the road. It was an easy ride in the very beginning, good road, easily noticeable waterfalls and pretty nice as well. We even stopped at some coffee plantation, since His German was very much into seeing one and moved along.

It was all going pretty well, until we hit the shitty road, better known as the road with the sign `no entry`. But my map was claiming that was our road and we saw some locals taking it, so we did that too. Soon after we realized that we lost His German out of our sight and we were thinking about turning around. But we didn’t make it. Just before we decided to turn around, some hole appeared on the road out of nowhere and we crashed. It was kind of an easy crash, apparently not the first one for my driver, since he managed to slow down before we landed and even let me land on him. So we ended up being: him – pulled shoulder and dirty dirty white T-shirt and me – burned wound on my leg from exhaust pipe. And if in the beginning I thought it’s not a big deal that wound, now it still looks awful and I just cannot wait for it to disappear. But that will take time, though. So he left me on the road with the bags and some local kids, staring at me as I was a white bear and went back to look for His German. I have been waiting for a while, when he got back and told me he did not see him. We got confused. But since he had no phone we couldn’t call him and asked if he just decided to ditch us or if something bad happened? But we figured we couldn’t stay in the middle of the shitty road for too long, we have to get to the village by night and not so much time we had left. So we went and just hoped he ditched us.
We had a pretty long way on that shitty road. I promised him a beer if he promises not to crash anymore. I knew it wasn’t a bet and I knew I wanted to give him that beer. I just figured it’s a good motivational present for him at least to try not to kill the both of us on that bike. We also visited some more waterfalls and finally, we hit the good road and came to Sekong – the place where we were supposed to spend the night. We got a room and tried to get some internet, so ask The German, where the hell is he, but there was no, as always. So we ended up going to eat in some place that is in good light and hoped we will see him passing through. So we had our Christmas Eve dinner in the middle of nowhere in Laos, got some beers in another place and went to sleep. It was a long and colorful day.

.Pakse and Wat Phou.

We arrived to the suggested guesthouse by every traveling book to find out that they have no rooms. Although my German decided to leave our gang and take the minibus first thing in the morning. So he booked the tickets and the breakfast. We, on the other hand, had to find a place to stayed, no one was interested in sleeping in the street. So me and Sascha went for the rooms hunting and wee got pretty lucky – we found one room with a promise, that we will get another one as well. So we headed back to the guys, waited for My German’s bus, said our goodbyes and went for our place. We placed all of our bags in one room we got and went for breakfast. Noodle soup was great. While being there and here in the early morning, we decided to go to visit Wat Phou, some sort of Laotian Angkor Wat and after careful considerations decided that renting two bikes for the four of us would be like the best way and the cheapest one to go.

So we did. We took the bikes, waited for Yo to go to the police station for his visa extension and hit the road. It was fairly easy to find the place, even with me having a map we once took the wrong turn. But I managed to get my boys on the right road and we got to the place. Well, for starters we took a `ferry`, which I was sure will sink as soon as we start moving, went to the other side of the river and went to the temple. It was a nice ruined ancient stuff [as Alex would say] and we had a nice walk around, chit-chat on some big stones under the shadows and headed back.

We got back, separated to the rooms since after the bus ride overnight and half a day of bike riding my boys were pretty tired and decided to meet later. Sascha fell asleep [oh I won’t sleep he said before – yeah right] and I was reading a book when we got a knock on the door from the boys. I’ve decided to let my roommate to sleep longer, so we only talked once again that Yo is not going to do the second loop for the next day and that we are going to meet around 8-9 in the morning. Or maybe later that night, if we decide to go out before it’s too late. I let him sleep long enough [I would guess so], but after a while I realized that I have to wake him up, or he will have a half-slept night only and the next day was supposed to be on a bike with an extra weight on it [a.k.a. me on a back of the bike]. So we went out, asked the guys to join but they decided to stay in for the night and we went for some Indian food and some beers. It was a nice easy evening with some nice conversations, that we ended in the room with some more conversations and finally sleep.

.Changes of the plans. Sticking on a tripping.

We got back to Thakek too late for me to try to cross the border back to Thailand, so we went for the victory `we all survived` dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant. We sat there, eating, the guys were planning their further trip down to Pakse and 4000 islands and all I could think about was – it’s over. My perfect Loop trip with my perfect Boys is now over and I am going to miss all that. We got back to our place, because guys needed to book tickets for the overnight bus to Pakse and I needed to book a bed for the night. It was there and then when Sascha started `so you are going to leave the gang and go to Thailand? You should go to Pakse with us.` It was enough for me to check my e-mail, ask a friend to send me my schedule and decide that `one skipped lecture is not going to make a difference` and just like that I changed my plans and decided to stay with the boys. The end of my trip suddenly became almost the end.

And so we stayed at a place, waiting for a time to leave. Everyone was occupied with doing something – checking the e-mails, letting know people they care about, that they are still alive after three days of motorbiking. Yo, the poor guy, lost the `game` and went to get tickets for us. It wasn’t easy as we were expecting. For starters, VIP bus was full already, so we had to settle for the local one, and in order to get tickets to that one, he had to wait in the bus station for a while. We got lucky, he got the tickets for a midnight bus [almost like taking a midnight train going anywhere from the song], the local one, and got back. We took the tuk-tuk to the bus station earlier, just in case. Turns out, it was a good thing to do, since our bus left 23.30. It moved maybe 10 meters and then stopped. Started making strange noises and finally started moving slower than I would walk. I have been sitting with Sascha next to His German, who was doing stupid things, telling crazy things that it reminded me my trip in the bus in Turkey with Justas and Regutis and I was kind of afraid that they are going to kick us out of the bus. I started complaining that we will never get to Pakse on time [it was supposed to be 6-7 hours ride] if we go this `fast`, so Sascha wanted to make a bet. If the bus arrives at Pakse 6.15 or earlier, I will owe him a beer. Jeez, I thought and they think I am naïve, there is no even a slightest chance it’s going to make it on time. So we made a bet. We did it, laughed hard from His German, breaking his chair, tried to sleep and as if I wasn’t just lucky enough, arrived to Pakse 6.04. What are the chances that a bus will come on time in the country, where buses NEVER, but seriously, NEVER comes on time. I lost a bet, again.

.The Loop with The Boys. Part 3.

The next day started a bit later than the sunrise. But we all gathered pretty early for the breakfast. Well, almost all of us, since my German was not with us. He is seriously not the typical German. Finally we were all there, had breakfast, jumped on the bikes and moved to the cave. It was a very nice cave. Well, basically you get into the cave, take a boat and start moving. Boats are only for 2 or 3 people, so guys decided that My German and me are going to take the double boat. Ok, I figured. We took our boat and first experience we had – a crash to the wall in the cave. Not serious, we did not break the boat, but it was a fun experience, since it was just the very beginning, so I couldn’t even imagine, what will happen next. It was a dark cave, and big one and we spend somewhat around 2 hours in total in there. After we got off the cave, the guys decided that it would be fun to go for a swim and chill in front of it. So we did that. The guys went jumping into the water, I settled for taking pictures. Then they played some baseball and even let me try a bit of it as well. It was once again – fun and games. Perfection.

We hit the road once again. Now it was just an easy road straight mostly, so I lost my guys off my sight very fast. And I kept on going and going and I could not see them anywhere. Bastards, I thought, they ditched me. After everything we’ve been through, after such a nice time together in the Loop, they decided I am not interesting anymore to go with them. Ok, I figured, I can do it on my own, I don’t need them. Just on those thought I saw Sascha passing over me, soon enough Germans doing the same thing. How did I managed to get in front of them?? Turned out, they stopped for some gas and I missed them. Anyways, we headed forward, stopped at some small shop, where women were staring at me, because I am probably the highest female they have ever seen and kept on smiling and waving.

.The Loop with The Boys. Part 2.

The next day I started fairly early. I woke up my roommate [not on purpose though] and went out. I was 30 minutes too early, but I enjoyed my view around. There was one grown up fisherman, one kid, who was extremely lucky with catching fish. And a complete silence, surrounded by amazing view. Some sort of lake, trees, little boats.. I enjoyed every single moment in there, in silence with myself. After those 30 minutes the sun came out, 5 minutes later Yo joined me to. We stayed there long enough to declare that it’s already the morning and not the dawn and went back. For the others the morning was as usual – breakfast, checking-out and getting on the bikes. We moved along through serpentine, foggy, hilly rounds. It was slow [well, slow for me, not for my boys], but it was unbelievable. The view around was making me even go slower than I was going. It was really something that only can be seen, but can’t be explained.

The boys were very nice and kept on doing stops to wait for me. I did feel bad about making them slower, but on the other hand, it was nice knowing that they are not leaving me behind, like Sascha was claiming he will do if someone does something stupid. Maybe going slowly just wasn’t stupid enough. We went through those amazing hills up and down when finally we reached the small village where we sat down for lunch. Me and my German at that point decided that if the road to the Kong Lor cave is good, we will do the whole thing in two days, just like all the rest. Turns out – it was good. So after the lunch we followed the road and the nice scenery still. It took us 42 km to get to the cave, but we decided not to enter it, since it was already afternoon and to go where the next day. So we turned, found a guesthouse and stayed close to the cave, so we could see it, first thing in the morning. We only got 4 rooms and there, once again, was a debate, who will have to share the room. But this time it was a little easier, since, once again, I did not care, His German wanted the cheapest option, so we settled for sharing the room the two of us.
But we still had plenty time to kill that evening. I took Mikado and playing cards out of my bad, once again, got comments how do I managed to put everything in one bag, then got some comments like `what the hell is that?` They referred to my `sexy` cards and after a little while they decided they cannot handle playing with those. So here we were, some playing Mikado, I was taught how to play poker. We sat, chatted, laughed, had some beers. It was fun, being with those guys and it also started to kick in that my time with them for me is limited.

After a while the boys started leaving for rooms. We ended up staying a bit longer with Sascha, sharing a nice conversation, combined with my waiting for a nice picture of the full moon. That never happened actually. Well, the moon picture, not the conversation. He was even nice enough offering me his room, so he would share a room with His German, but so, after a bit, we separated – he went to his own room and I went silently to our room with His German. It was a success, I did not even woke him up.

.The Loop with The Boys. Part 1.

This loop by all means was the most exciting part of my trip. For starters, once again, I did one thing that scares me – rented a bike. And I couldn’t stop smiling while being on it – it was awesome. We started with good and easy road and the first stop was a cave, where several kids took us there, forced to climb up and down, jump and yell at the same time. It was a nice cave and a nice experience. The kids weren’t speaking almost any English, but they were posing for pictures, were staring at us and one of them kept constantly touching my arm.

The next destination after the cave was supposed to be some sort of nice place for chilling and swimming. Well, we did find that place but it was almost out of question the swimming part, since there was as much water as only maybe cover the knees anyways. But at least the scenery was nice. I just wonder how it would look like if you come during the wet season, because it seems like anything that is connected with water, is not spectacular on a dry season, a.k.a. the one we were in.

We moved along to find some more caves. One we could say was a little bit pathetic, I would call it – just a hole in the mountain, so we moved along. Another cave we managed to enter. But then again, in the beginning you have to pay 2000 kip for the road, then 10 000 kip more for the cave itself. Well, what the hell, in total it’s just 1.5$, we can do it. So we entered the touristic cave, with some artificial lights that destroyed the whole picture, but there were also some nice stairs and so all in all it was not bad. Somehow it reminded me of a frozen castle and that cartoon from my childhood, you know the one with Gerda and her brother and the bad evil queen? We got off the cave and found some of our team eating. So, we joined. My stomach was feeling like a stone still, so I only ate some sprite. There was nothing much to do and so while others were eating me and one of the Germans were playing that game with heavy balls. I don’t know the name, but I call it a `retired people game`. Guys were making fun of that a lot, but I won! I guess I’m retired then, ah?
The rest of the day was mostly just riding bikes, taking pictures and watching the amazing views. I was smiling all the way, because I still couldn’t believe that I am on a bike and that I actually managed to do it successfully. I was also very excited about the dream team, that we managed to form. There was me, there was Sascha [how he ended up having no Russian roots, but Japanese and Italian instead and still having a Russian name, I still don’t know]. Then there was `my German`, the guy who came to Thakek for the loop just as I did and then were `his guys` [referring as `Sascha’s guys`], who split soon enough and just became `his German` and Yo. Definitely we were all very different and under normal circumstances, I would never guess we would be even friends. But there and then – we just happened to be in one place at one time and we made the best of it. I had so much fun and so much laughs with those guys, that I miss them immediately, when I think about my trip, Laos, Loop, peanuts and many million other details.

Anyways, the road at some point became worse. Exciting of course, but I did not want to piss my luck off, so I let the guys go in front of me [it’s only one possible road, I figured, no way I will get lost] and took it with my speed. Yo was usually with me, since he had an accident a little while ago and did not want to risk his life. Sascha and Germans, on the other hand, were going way too fast for us. That led to crash of His German. Nothing serious, he just used front break and fall off the bike. He did not even hurt himself, just the break handle. Sascha, on the other hand, got a flat tire at some point and I tried to catch him to tell him that, but even with one flat tire, he was faster than me. He did realized that soon enough and so we ended up going slowly and looking for the mechanic shop. We found it just as we went down the hilly road. They had a female mechanic and the guys were so impressed by her, that she felt even uncomfortable when they started taking her picture and all.
When bikes were fixed successfully, we decided to go for beer, as to celebrate. In the middle of nowhere, we found a shop next to some, I would guess preparation for the evening party place. While being there made me a little bored, I took my soap bubbles. Local kids around were almost as much surprised as my guys. They started commenting on my bubbles, and I let kids play with them. It was fun. I was missing some childish stupid things like turning in the rain, and this one was just on time.

We hit the road right after, so we did not catch night on the road and went to the guesthouse of Mr. Phosi, recommended by Mr. Ku, who rented us bikes. My boys are somewhat individualists and always prefer single rooms, so we faced a bit of a dilemma when we learned that we can only get three rooms where only one of them has a descend bed and the rest only some matrasses. Since I didn’t even care where and how to sleep as long as I get to lay down horizontally, I let the guys to decide. So My German and His German took one room, Yo got the room for himself and Sascha had to share room with me. That cost me a beer, I just did not know that yet.

Anyways, we went out for a meal after and soon enough realized that there is absolutely nothing in that `village`. No lights even, so soon enough we got back to Mr. Phosi guesthouse and ordered some food and some beers. We met a Dutch guy there as well who was also doing the loop. So we ate, talked, laughed, it was fun. After it became a bit boring me and my German decided that it was time and place to discover the night sky with stars. Else kind of joined us, but it was unfortunate deal. We had a full moon and it was so bright, that you could hardly see any stars. It’s amazing, you come to the middle of nowhere, where are no city lights and still you get no stars. It was so bright that you could have seen shadows coming from trees or people. Seriously, I have never experienced such a bright night before. Not in SEA anyways.
After some time we headed back to the guesthouse, got invited to join Mr. Phosi and his friends at the table for another meal/beer thing. It was fun, although they were drinking beer real fast. Sascha was complimenting the sticky rice non-stop, while His German was non-stop talking about the awesome peanuts [it makes me smile every time anyone says peanuts], while me and my German somehow managed to get `married`. I’m not sure even how that happened, since I was just talking, or, better said, tried to talk to one of the locals, when I heard and saw him showing to me `yes, married. 7 years. We have a seven year itch now`. I just caught myself wondering – how did I manage to get the second husband in my life already. Anyways, since a long way was waiting for us the day after with bikes, we have decided to go to sleep and `my wife forces me to go to sleep` was my German’s rescue card from the table. I got back to the room fast enough and still find my roommate not sleeping. And before we went to sleep, we were talking about roosters [crazy topic, I know] and he claimed that they will start crowing at 4. No way, I thought and said it out loud. So we made a bet. I was sure it’s going to be my beer. Not until middle of the night when I woke up, saw him sitting up straight and hearing roosters. I checked my watch: 3:43 a.m. `Yeah, ok` came from me and the thought `damn, I lost a bet. Again` came to my head. Well, happens right.

.Getting myself on a Loop.

I went out right after to try to get myself on a loop first thing in the morning. I met Mr. Ku, who was very nice explaining the loop, encouraging me that it is easy to ride a bike. So I settled for the tomorrow and joined the guys for some dinner and beers. We have been sitting and talking there long enough for the rest of the guys to change their mind and also do the loop, so we settled for `let’s do this` and went to sleep.

It was the worst night in my trip, no doubts. For starters – my stomach did not work and kept me awake. The room smelled like vomit and made me wanna puke as well. Some bacon smell came into the room early in the morning. It killed the vomit smell, but it made me wanna puke even more.

So after half-sleepless night I packed my bags, went downstairs, informed the Japanese part of our team that their German is coming soon, took some tea [food would have definitely sent me to the toilet] and went for my first lesson on a bike. It wasn’t horrible, although I did it pretty crappy for the first time, but it looked promising. At least I hoped. The four of us for the bikes and got ready and the guy who was supposed to be on a loop for four days just like me wasn’t there. The guys kept on asking where `My German` was, but I even had no idea where his room was, so I had no impact on rushing My German what so ever.

Finally my German showed up and we hit the road. I sat down on a red motorbike, already named Sascha [the name I picked up for my bike maybe 4 years ago] and went to the gasoline station. Here I learnt that my Sascha is not the only Sascha around – the half-japanese guy is also known by the same name.

.Getting myself on a Loop.

I went out right after to try to get myself on a loop first thing in the morning. I met Mr. Ku, who was very nice explaining the loop, encouraging me that it is easy to ride a bike. So I settled for the tomorrow and joined the guys for some dinner and beers. We have been sitting and talking there long enough for the rest of the guys to change their mind and also do the loop, so we settled for `let’s do this` and went to sleep.

It was the worst night in my trip, no doubts. For starters – my stomach did not work and kept me awake. The room smelled like vomit and made me wanna puke as well. Some bacon smell came into the room early in the morning. It killed the vomit smell, but it made me wanna puke even more.

So after half-sleepless night I packed my bags, went downstairs, informed the Japanese part of our team that their German is coming soon, took some tea [food would have definitely sent me to the toilet] and went for my first lesson on a bike. It wasn’t horrible, although I did it pretty crappy for the first time, but it looked promising. At least I hoped. The four of us for the bikes and got ready and the guy who was supposed to be on a loop for four days just like me wasn’t there. The guys kept on asking where `My German` was, but I even had no idea where his room was, so I had no impact on rushing My German what so ever.

Finally my German showed up and we hit the road. I sat down on a red motorbike, already named Sascha [the name I picked up for my bike maybe 4 years ago] and went to the gasoline station. Here I learnt that my Sascha is not the only Sascha around – the half-japanese guy is also known by the same name.

.Approaching the dragon to face. Thakek.

The following day started promising. I was just waiting for my pick-up, which, to all of our surprise, was late. Some German guy started talking to me asking if I’m also going to Thakek and I replied positively, secretly hoping that he is also doing the Loop, so I would not be alone in it. After a little while the pick up arrived and the guest house collected our tickets. That would have been all fine if I wasn’t the only exception at the end, who did not get her ticket back. After trying to explain, that I DID give my ticket for several times and I REALLY did not get it back [ I wanted to slap someone at that time, seriously]. They talked with a pick-up driver, he said `ok` and we started moving. That was the time I started panicking, since if I enter the bus with no ticket they can easily kick me out of it and I would have no proof about the ticket, because they collected it in the very beginning.

We were four of us in the pick-up. Two Germans and a Japanese guy and I was honestly relieved that at least one of them were thinking about doing the loop. I won’t be left alone, I thought. I did not know at that point how perfectly I will be not left alone.

Our bus, this time the really surprisingly VIP arrived after a little while and I got in with no troubles. It was literally a pink bus and Steffany could hardly hold herself together. I though I have been saved when we started moving, but my good feeling vanished soon, when another non-English speaking bus-boy came to check for the tickets. He was shaking his head all the time I tried to explain why the hell I don’t have a ticket and I am still in a bus. But at some point he said something like `three?` and walked away giving me a silence as an answer to `what do you mean three`. At least I stayed in the bus and was going to Thakek.

The bus ride was nice and comfortable and very pink. We arrived to Thakek in one piece where the four of us plus one new guy took a tuk-tuk and went to Thakek Travel Lodge, since this is the place to do the Loop.

Checking in was unbelievable. I figured I don’t care where to stay, so I just took the dormitory bed, register myself, paid for it and got `no` reply when asked for the key. Apparently, there is no key to the room. Oh well, so I went to find the room, but I had no luck. So I went back, tried to explain that I am looking for the room but it seemed impossible for them to understand me. At the very end Philipp [a.k.a. His German] took me to the room. I finally got a bed for me.

.VangVieng and no Tubing.

The next thing that morning was to leave. I was still not sure why, but I booked the ticket to VangVieng since I did not want to go `tubing` and getting drunk in the middle of the day, but something was pushing me for it. I did not know the reason then, but there was a big reason, and I know it now.

Anyways the ride to the place was amazing. It was like a bus ride through the fairy tale. Hills and mountains, covered with fog and clouds made it mysterious at maximum. It was great.

We arrived pretty late to the party city and then a girl I’ve been with got some bad news from back home, so we ended up having this stupid and useless night. We did not even went for the tubing the next day. I’m telling you, we were probably the only two people in the whole place, who went to VangVieng and got out of there without tubing experience.

I tried to go to Thakek right away but it just didn’t work out for me. I had to stay a night in Vientiane again. I took a crappy but cheapest room in the city all to myself and went for some dinner to the city.

.Visiting the must see destination. Luang Prabang.

I went to wait for my pick up at 18.30 as recommended. At about 19.03 I went to the reception and asked if my pick up is going to show up, because it’s already late and maybe I should start getting worries. I got automatic `yes` reply, which actually made me worried for a moment. It showed up, eventually at around 19.50, but not without troubles. A pick-up driver forced one person to get off the bus, because, I quote` the bus to LPQ is full`. Luckily I wasn’t the person who had to leave the bus and I managed to get a seat in it. An Italian couple, however, wasn’t this lucky. Since the bus was full they just put some plastic chairs and forced them to sit on them for the whole night. I felt awful, having a descent seat while they were struggling on those plastic ones.

We arrived in LPQ later than promised but still early in the morning, so I checked myself in LP Backpackers hostel and dedicated the day for the city. I visited countless temples, saw millions of monks, went through a bamboo bridge, visited some small village and enjoyed the city very much. My trial to get a wished tour didn’t work out, so I settled for the second best option at the very end and decided to go to sleep. On my way to bed two of my roommates went for a beer and I was tempted so much, that I couldn’t not join them. It was a great day by all means.

The next day we took a boat to the caves of 4000 Buddha. It was a disappointment alright, since the cave was nothing special, so I wasn’t expecting much from the waterfall as well.

But that one was actually a good one, I dared myself to go on a swing above the waterfall and jumping into it. I even have lousy pictures, but still a proof of doing one thing that scared me that day. We also went up to the top of the waterfall and even though it wasn’t as spectacular as we were hoping for, it still was good.
In the evening I met my new found friend from Laos for a little English lesson and then went to find my other new found friends which wasn’t a success, but I found my roommates, so it was a good night after all.

The next morning we decided to go to see monks, which meant waking up before the sunrise. But we did and it was worth it. It was a special day, but we did not know about it before and there were much more monks than usual and I finally for my close pictures of them.

.Getting to Laos in one piece.

The day finished fairly early, since I had to catch my bus that goes to Laos. The pick up, no surprise, was late again, but it arrived finally and we got out seats/beds in a sleeping bus. It was an interesting trip. We stopped after an hour of a ride, where all of us were forced to leave the bus while the staff threw some black packages into the bus and stuffed all of it under the seats. What are the chances it was legal stuff? Anyways we arrived to the border around 3 a.m. and slept in the bus till the opening of the border. We paid 1$ for the stamping our passport and leaving Vietnam, then 30$ more for Laos visa and finally 1$ more for stamping that visa. But with almost no problems we moved along to Vientiane. Well, almost, because my Spanish friend got a hand-written letter that they are not going to take him to Luang Prabang as promised. Suddenly I became very happy that I decided to go just to Vientiane.

We arrived to Vientiane in the afternoon, got a pick-up-tuk-tuk, that ripped us off [but that’s standard fare, so.] and went to look for a place to stay with Scottish girl, who’s accent reminded me of Big G immediately. To our surprise all of the places there full and it was a bit of a challenge to get a room. But we managed and went for a beer afterwards. One beer turned into a lot and before I knew it it was around midnight and I decided to go to sleep.

I checked out the next day and went for a walk around the city. Turns out – people were right, there’s nothing much to do in Vientiane. Although I liked it. I visited some parks, temples, victory monuments which, without even my book reminded me of the Triumph arc in Paris. It was a nice easy day, ending with a going for a night bus to Luang Prabang.

.Good morning Vietnam. Hanoi and Halong Bay.

We visited it all: Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, B-52, Prison [Hanoi Hilton], War museum, Lenin in the square, Old square, lake, had some amazing noodle soup and headed back. The night was nothing special, although some stupid people sat next to me while I was reading, close enough for me to realize how actually stupid they were. `Oh, I didn’t know that Belgium is a country`, `What is the smallest country in the world?` `Amm.. I think it’s Lichtenstein`, `oh yes, yes, it’s Lichtenstein`. I mean, come on…
The next day was a Ha Long Bay Trip Day 1. We started in a pick-up bus, which turned out to be a real bus. Small with narrow seats which made our asses hurt and we went – full 3.5 hours with it to the Ha Long. Oh well, as always you just sit there and try to convince myself that it could be worse. And it could, of course, honestly.
After we got off the `ass-aching` bus we had to wait for something and got into the boat small nice boat, no complains about that. Minutes after we started moving, lunch was served. Nothing special really: some fish, some tofu, some vegetables. Well, for the price we paid we probably couldn’t have expected anything more. We were floating on a water for a little bit and come to some cave. Recently discovered by some fishermen and I was hoping for some really rural cave. I don’t know how they modified not recently discovered, but this one was filled with different lights and millions of tourists. It was nice, I give you that, but way too much touristic.

After the cave there was nothing much more. Just going through endless islands-rocks nicely floating and reading a book. Me and Steffany – we enjoyed it. Evening was almost planned to be boring and short but somehow 4 Swedish youngsters, norvegian girl, Spanish guy and me ended up at one table playing some entertaining drinking games. Remind me and I will show you how it’s being played. After some people went to sleep we stayed some more for good old `I have never ever` that brought me back to the summer of 2006, still wondering `bet or no bet`.

The sleep was amazing. Even though the beds were narrow, the blankets were perfect that I cuddled myself into it and fall asleep immediately. Morning came quick and we went kayaking with no breakfast. It was nice, we went around couple of small islands and went back to the boat for breakfast. The rest time of the day was just floating on the water, dropping people off at some point, and getting back to the Ha Long. We took the same `ass-aching` bus again back to HaNoi. Our perfect noodle soup place was closed already so we settled for second-best and went for some beers.
The next day we took a round around the old square in the city and endless markets looking for mp3 player for me and some cable for Carolin.

.Visiting Hue and the Rain.

The next morning we took a bus to Hue, managed to loose each other at the end, but I found this German girl and we went for the housing. On our way a guy talked us into taking his place instead and so we did. We decided that we will have an easy day that day – we just walked around the city and ate some tasty food. At the end, we went to this bar with amazingly nice staff that even spoke some Lithuanian, met a guy there, moved to another place, met some more people, moved some more, played some lousy pool, had some fun and some food and headed home.

It was a fun night, followed by not so much fun day. We took a tour and we got some extra: non-stop rain. The places we visited – pagodas and tombs were nice, but the rain froze us into the two violet ice-cubes. Especially one pagoda was amazing, where we came just in time to watch monks praying and it was really something for me.
In the evening we took a night bus to Hanoi and had a freezing night in it. It was cold, really cold. In the morning we 6 were left to `wait for the pick-up` that never showed up. Nice, really. We ended up taking a cab to the Hanoi Backpackers Hostel for 0.5$ each [well, ok, it’s not much, but it’s the principal, how do you abandon people like that].

.Heading to Hoi An.

We got off at Nga Trang for an hour or so, so we just got some fast food+fast beer, met the same Finnish guy I kept on bumping into since Kampot and once again for on the overnight bus to Hoi An. The ride was good and I slept most of the time. In the morning we [me and Kalle] took a room, went for some breakfast and for a walk. I really liked the city, I have to say. Even is very touristic, still not too much and very cozy. We took bikes and went for the ride in the afternoon, went to some islands, to the empty and cold beach and around the city. In the evening we went for dinner, for a dessert and ended up playing some pool.

We got back home and I checked up on our per – a pretty big spider in the bathroom. Since we both weren’t very much spider friendly, we decided to get rid of it. It wasn’t as easy, since the thing was really big and fast, but with the help of the staff we did not have a pet anymore.

.Coming to the Hills. Dalat.

The next day I took a but to Dalat. In the late afternoon I arrived to the place after a bad bad bus ride. The bus itself was really ok, it’s just that someone decided to bring some dorian with them [a fruit that smells awful] and I have spent my whole trip wondering – will I puke or not? So I arrived and the city welcomed me with clouds and rain. I went for a walk around, managed to get lost, saw the night streets of the city and finally, after I become completely frozen, I went `home`.
I had big plans for the other day, but it was a disaster from the very beginning. It started innocently enough – I just wanted to take a shower. After I closed the door I realized that I locked up myself with no idea how to get out. 30 minutes of trying everything I could think of and I was almost ready to give up and then I made it - was so proud of myself, hard even to explain. So after my morning got completely messed up, I was late for my previous plans and after I couldn’t find a bike to rent for a descend price, I decided to quit. I walked around the city, went to the flowers garden, got rain, took some food that made me sick, hurt my foot, froze again and ended up crawling into the bed with thick blanket and watched some movies. I figured sometimes you need days like that as well.

The next day included a lot of waiting and wondering around. In the beginning I had to wait for my pick up that dropped me exactly at `who the hell knows where` and kept us waiting some more. Then we took a sleeping bus [in the middle of the day] that never stopped [people in the bus wanted to pee like race horses]. It was a bit of an experience that road. After couple of day with raining in the area, we saw some temporary made small waterfalls, falling apart roads, at some points went through the streets just like an amphibian car. It was nice.

.Wondering around Ho Chi Minh City. Part 2.

Anyways, despite it all, I managed to wake up after my long sleep on time and catch my tour. It was a long rife to some temple. I was sure it’s going to be just another temple, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was nothing like the temples I’ve seen before. It looked a little bit like a ginger-house for dolls and it had 5 different religions in it. We came on time to see the prayers of a big group of believers and that was an experience as well. Very highly recommended.

After the temple we went for some lunch and Cu Chi Tunnels. Apparently some locals created kind of a new world in there under the ground. Very interesting to see and even try to crawl in on of them. Recommended.

All of the trip we were spending with one Swiss girl that I met in my hostel and in the evening we went for a meal together. It was nice, we talked and we ate some very delicious food. After we got back to the hostel, talked to one American guy and my girl went to sleep, while I went for my last walk in the Ho Chi Minh City. I ended up visiting my place’s owner, where he put me next to some travelers for a beer. We had a nice conversation with a Finnish guy and after a while I had to call it a night. I was exhausted.

.Wondering around Ho Chi Minh City. Part 1.

I started my new day early, so I wanted to see the whole city, or at least most of it in one day. It’s a nice city, by the way. Pretty a lot of parks and green areas are making it pretty attractive. I started with the museum of was and it did hit my mood a lot. When you think what people had to go through with almost no reason, is unbelievable.

I moved to independence hall/palace after, went to the Paris square, visited Notre Dame cathedral, walked around the city center, walked to the museum of history and back. At the end I’ve decided to visit a close pagoda and it was a challenge alright. I tried to find the streets from my book map and it just didn’t work out. Maybe city has changed so much, I don’t know. But at the end I found it and the guy was kind enough to let me in. Although that pagoda was nice, the trip itself was more exciting for locals than for me – they, once again, looked at me as I was an alien.

Off topic: if you think that traffic in Bangkok is bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. You should come to Saigon, at least. It’s unbelievable. It’s like a floating river of scooters on the streets. Crossing the street sometimes, seriously look like a mission impossible. I had guards and policemen guiding me while crossing the street [nice people]. At some point, after waiting for maybe 10 minutes to cross, I even without wish or thinking about it said `fuck off` to a guy from a car, who was trying to show me the `thumbs up`.

Rules do not exist in the country. Maybe only one – the bigger you are, the more rights you have to do whatever you want. I thought as long as I keep to the pedestrian paths, I’ll be safe. That was not a correct idea. Scooters are riding on those too. The lesson I learnt while crossing though: you go, no matter what. You walk slowly, but with a constant speed. And even if no one stops, you manage not to get killed and cross the street. Although, I may add: never try in on your first day – it is risky.

My evening plan was to have a couple beers with one Finnish guy I met in Kampot. Do I need to mention that never happened? So we met: him, me, some German guy. We went to the same place I discovered a day before and the owner was so happy to see me that I came back and brought some friends with me that he hugged me. It was a nice welcome. So we sat there, waited for two more Finnish girls to join. They came and brought a British guy. We had an easy nice time there and then all of the rest decided that it should be fun to try this hot club `Apocalypse now` or something. But it wasn’t that easy to get there. We first went for some meals, when we took a taxi, which took us closer to the club, but not to the club itself. My book was a savor and helped us find the place, although the guys decided to go to another place first, so we could get cheaper drinks before we get in. so here we were, hopping from bar to bar, finally entering that club, which none of us liked, actually. One drink there and we all decided it’s time to go back to the Backpackers district. Why did we leave on the first place, I have no idea. So I was very close to leave, since I had an early start and trip the next day, and I am not even sure why I stayed and why only one `come on, let’s go` worked. So we went to some go-go bar, danced a little and went back to one of the bars, for an easy simple beer. Finnish guy went home, German guy left us too, so I kind of stayed with one of the Finnish girls, talking. It was a very nice conversation and I did not want to leave, but when they started closing the bar, I knew it was the time. So I left, went back to my hostel for my whole 3 hours of sleep. How did I end up here again?

.Through the Mekong Delta. Middle.

Since the next morning we were supposed to start at 6 a.m. the couple went to sleep and I went for some reading back in my room. Next morning I woke up on time, once again, packed my stuff and took some breakfast and moved along. Our guide took us to the floating village, then another one gave us some time to walk around and then we took a bit, slow, comfortable boat to another city, that name I just cannot recall. From there we took `a bus from hell` to Chan Tho [that might be the name of the place, not sure, though]. It was an extreme trip, where driver was overpassing everyone and everything, beeping with the horn all the time, taking impossible turns and so on. I am pretty sure that you have to experience the Vietnamese traffic in order to understand how it really is. For comparison – comparing Vietnamese, Turks are very organized in the roads and are following the rules perfectly.

The bus took us to the hotel, next to the market , better known as the paradise for mechanics and I was just like a white bear, escaped from the zoo, once again. Well, again, anyways. I left my stuff in my room and went for a walk without a direction, or without a map for that matter. and then it was the time I realized something. Some strange pain went through my veins, following the blood cells. And it was there and then that I realized – we are never not alone, even when we are with people. And I don’t know if I ever get over this, but I’ll survive. Because I have a safety net.
Off topic: how does it feel, when a complete strange is fulfilling your promise? Your promise, given to me? I do not care actually, anymore. It only made me smile. I’m getting what I wanted but you will never get my trust back. And let’s call out deal off, shall we? Although that may be not necessary. If you failed to keep that promise, why should I believe you would keep this one?

I have walked around the city on my own when, since I couldn’t find a map or anything useful for directions, walking to the hotel seemed as the best option. And here, just at the entrance, I met this French/Cambodian couple and we went for a walk together. Our walking end up being their shopping. They bought strange baked-whatever bananas, some corn, more fruits that I had no idea how they were called or tasted like. They shared it all with me and since it was kind of impolite to refuse the offer, I took it all. After the walk we decided that it is time to go for a dinner and of course, they had to choose the expensive place. But oh well, for once, you can do a more fancy stuff than street kitchen, right?

So we sat there, enjoyed our meals, beers and conversation and finally separated to our rooms. I fell asleep surprisingly fast and deep that when I got a roommate it was hard to keep a conversation with my brains still sleeping.
Through Mekong Delta. The End
We met more decently the next morning and took the same tour to the floating market. It was impressing, I have to say. Especially when they took us to this small boat that I was sure with my luck is going to sink. It didn’t, though. But it was quite an experience still. the boat and the floating market.

They dropped us off a little early, so we went for a walk in the city. There is nothing in there, seriously. Even no people during the day. We went to some sort of amusement park. Dead amusement park, I may add. Then we went for lunch and for the first time in my trip I got something that might be called a Vietnamese kebab. It was awesome and it was cheap.

We took the bus to the Ho Chi Minh City, better for some probably known as Saigon. I managed to find my place with no problem. Well, ok, I got lost in my street, but then some guy escorted me to the place I was looking for. I got a dorm room with breakfast, with laundry service, that actually ruined half of my clothes and free internet in a good spot and only for 7$ per night. I dropped my things, took a shower and went for the walk. Backpackers district looks just like a Khao San Road in Bangkok. So, I sat for a dinner and later for a beer and some Shantaram. I finished it that night and now it seems that something is missing. I’ll get over it though.

.Through the Mekong Delta. Beginning.

I woke up in the morning early enough, packed my stuff, went downstairs, checked out, ordered some breakfast and waited for my bus. The first difference this time – the bus was actually on time. We were only five people in a bus and I started wondering that this can’t be good. Some more people entered after another stop, but the bus was far from even half-full. It took us a little while to get to the pier where we had to wait for some more for a speed boat. We got to the boat and moved toward Vietnam. Leaving Cambodia was easy, the guy didn’t even care about my visa and let me through without taking a look at my stuff, I could have transferred drugs, guns, whatever to Vietnam [but don’t count on that – I heard stories, they usually check everyone very carefully]. Some more minutes in a boat and we finally entered Vietnam. Not sure how easy or hard that was, since our guide collected our passports and all we had to do is to wait for the process to end. While waiting some women came, a.k.a. portable exchange booth and offered us to exchange some money. I got 2 000 000 Dong for 100$. Funny how I exit Cambodia almost poor, came to Vietnam and poof – I’m a millionaire. We followed the same Mekong river till the Chan Doc through some floating villages.
It’s amazing how river is a road to those people. Their houses are on water, they use boats as transportation, most of them, if not all, are fishermen [and fisherwomen] and it’s all happening just there, in front of your eyes. It is definitely something you have to see once you get to South-East-Asia.

When we got off the boat and checked in the floating hotel, I went for a walk. The town itself has nothing much to see really, so I went through the market, getting attention from everyone there with almost no exceptions. Vietnam welcomed me to the country with some rain, so I have been walking through the rain back `home` and I was honestly surprised, how people vanished from the streets so fast.

After the rain stopped I went out to the city once again – just to see if I can be lucky enough to find some place with some good local food. Turns out – I was lucky. I stopped by some place that looked just like a street kitchen I used to see all around this part of the world and asked for the noodle soup. They brought it for me in several seconds making me wonder once again – how they manage to make something so fast and so tasty. I was eating it with pleasure, watching the woman, who served me, laughing with such a sincere eyes, that made my face smiling too. After the food she asked me if I wanted a beer and I just couldn’t say no. In total, for the delicious soup and a beer I paid 2$. Cool a?

I was going back, planning to do a stop at my hotel’s bar for a beer and little reading or writing when this Australian couple offered me to join them. So I did and we had a nice conversation. They even gave me some Australian coins, which will very well fit in my coin collection.

.Leaving Cambodia.

The next morning once again – as usual: breakfast and some waiting around, reading a book, getting my pick-up, getting to the bus that goes back to Phnom Penh. The bus, as usual again, was late, so I just grabbed the tuk-tuk to get to my guesthouse, booked a tour for the next day to get to Cambodia through the Mekong Delta, moved in, had some dinner in some street kitchen and called it an easy night.

Off topic: I had it. I had it all. And suddenly I lost it. Me and Steffany have never felt so lonely before. No one is to blame. And still that burning feeling on my heart goes deeper than the scar.
Off topic 2: He reminded me of you. Once again I was forced to raise a question: what if? I guess we’ll never know, now will we?
Off topic 3: why? But seriously, why? I keep on wondering and still not asking. Are you just so screwed or do you consider me to be so screwed? But I’m not the same person anymore. Hard to believe what I’m about to say but I’m stronger. Were you really that optimistic about me being so stupid? Wow, maybe you don’t know me at all after all.

.Around Kampot. Bokor NP.

The other day started the usual: breakfast and waiting. My pick up was late for about 20 minutes and when we got to the rangers’ camp there was some more waiting. We gathered all people and moved to this Bokor National Park trip: while flyer said `4-RW` it turned out to be truck and all of us spaced at the back of it, while guides sat on the front [not in the front but on the front]. We stopped after a bit to do trekking, where a ranger, with a rifle and flip-flops was leading the way. He even went much faster than all the rest, in trekking shoes or sneakers. On the way, which sometimes was steep, sometimes easy, I met several nice people and held some nice conversations. We have been walking for almost two hours and my legs, still aching from the caves experience the day before, were aching even more.

After the trekking we got back to the truck and went to see the old palace. It was old alright. Some abandoned building that would definitely scare the hell out of me if I come there at night. It was fun though to enter when it has a clear sign in front of it `Dangerous. No entry` but our guide was optimistic `you can go in, this sign is just a sign`. We checked the palace, went for a walk, through a nice scenery, visited old, abandoned church and finally got to the waterfall.

Waterfall was real fun, it looked much better than expected and putting feet into the water just felt completely refreshing. The only bad thing that happened there – I lost the cover of my lens. Sad, of course, but happens, right?

After the waterfall we followed the same way: truck, trekking with the same ranger with a rifle and flip-flops and back to the same rangers’ camp. We got back to Kampot at exactly `the beer time` and took a boat ride for the sunset. The driver of the boat was unbelievable, such an honest face and incredible smile that only rare exceptions have and the speed was amazing – he managed to get out of the boat and go to the other side of it unnoticed. It was a great way to finish the day, relaxing, watching the sun go down and enjoying it.

We decided to meet for dinner at some point later with the people I met on this trip. We gathered together, I decided to eat crab and that was one difficult experience. I mean, there is not so much meat, but so much work in it.. But the taste was great and so, all in all, even if I did not get myself completely full, it was a nice experience. Of course, while eating it, I managed to get myself totally oily, I broke a chopstick while trying to open that crab, and still managed to enjoy it. We ended up going to the bar for beers and boys for some pool. At the end, we met the owner of the bar, talked a little and separated different ways. It was time for the night to end.

When I got back, I realized that the gates were locked. While me and one guy from the inside tried to open it and didn’t manage to do so, at the end, since I did not want to wake owners up, I just jumped over the fence. It must have been a cute view, a girl in a skirt going over the fence. Good thing, no one was there to take pictures of the scene.

.Going to Kampot.

I had to leave Nadia asleep with the sad smile. It’s amazing how great she was and how much fun I had with her. And for such a short time only. Sad it was to leave, but that’s traveling to you. Nicest people you meet are usually heading the opposite direction.

My bus left almost on time with no troubles at all. Although I thought I was going to the place that people told me is not touristic at all, I got this bunch of people coming on to me with offers with rooms. I got lost even though from the very first moment I knew I’m going to follow this adorable kid anyway. His innocent face and sweet eyes bribed me completely. We took his bike and went to this `last guest house` which is maybe nothing special, but so adorable and people [staff I mean] are so smiley and great that I just loved staying there and can only recommend the place to anyone who’s coming there. I got a fan double room for only 5$ together with helping and smiling people.

I’ve decided not to waste my time and go for these caves with temple in it. I went for the bike and tried to convince one guy to take me there, but language barrier did not let us do that. Then another guy pulled over and even though his English knowledge had a limit of maybe 20 words, he told me `I know the place` and I believed. Turned out – he did not know the place. But I guess it’s a good way of getting customers. He stopped by some tourist office where I got `my friend is a good man, but he does not speak English. So where do you want to go?` I explained my wish, he translated it and we went for the road. On the way 3 kids joined us with their bicycles and followed me to the cave.

That was something. On a normal basis you would just go in, see the cave and leave. Those kids dragged me into adventure. Adventure of climbing into the cave, swinging on the ropes. Final outcome – I slipped a lot of time, fully bumped down two times, hit my head to the stones several times, almost fell into the muddy piece of water with my camera once and aching legs from it. But it was great – climbing, sliding, listening to the stories, everything. They even took me to this narrow cave where I literally had to slide like a snake and almost got stuck. But I enjoyed. One cave they took me, could be easily named as thousands of bats cave. And it was – so many in one place, it was almost unbelievable.

Of course they ripped me off after the tour I didn’t even ask for, but it was worth it. And my `good man` was patiently waiting for me with a bike, took me safely back to the city and was very grateful when I have him a little more than what we agreed from the very beginning. I was totally dirty after my experience in that cave, so I put my long-sleeved thing on for the first time in a long time and followed the way back to my place, or better yet – straight to the shower.

I got back, got an offer to join the tour to the National Park the next day, accepted it, decided to stay one more day in this quiet and nice small town, went to east, found an amazing chicken/lemon soup and called it a night. Lack of sleep was already starting to kick in.

.Phnom Penh a.k.a. The strange depressing day.

We started with some good breakfast and a split up. I went to the royal palace and Nadia went to the national museum. Royal palace, by the way, is nothing `super awesome` bus nice. Museum is really good according to my new friend, so maybe you should check it out, if you once get here. We met again, so we could share a tuk-tuk to the killing fields. We chose this a bit annoying but complete sweetheart driver from our guesthouse and moved to the spot. The ride itself was very nice, we saw a different side of the city. Killing fields, however were far from nice. Much more depressing, actually. Watching those bones and skulls, massive graves, trees, that were functioning as a loud speaker or as a wall when torturing children was really hard to understand. Or to realize that all that mess happened just 30 years ago. Most of the time in there we were simply speechless.

And there were two monks walking in those fields as well. I was honestly shocked when I saw one of them looking and me and saying `hi, how are you?` for a second I thought he’s referring so someone else, but it turned out to be to me. One more surprise about the monks in this country – not all of them are so shy that they fear women as they were some evil.

After the killing fields we decided to take the edge off the depressing mood and entertain ourselves with some shooting experience. Oh, I’m not even sure if you can understand how good it felt for me to hold a gun in my hands, a real gun after more than a year of a break. I took AK47 and M16 for the trial. In the beginning I was shooting at the coconut [and I blew it!] and went on shooting to the regular target. Even Nadi was thrilled by all of the shooting thing, although she did not take a gun into her hands, so what to tell about me?

After the entertainment we went to the museum of genocide [as if killing fields were not enough] or the S-21 prison. In the middle of the city, if you can believe it and, if it wasn’t enough, in the ex school. And if I thought that killing fields were depressing, this one went through the roof. Torture rooms and pictures of the last 14 victims, tortured in them. Pictures of prisoners, torturing devices and paintings of torturing scenes hit me. When you think about it – people just died, with no specific or particular reasons. 3 billion all over the country in 4 years basically just because they were in the wrong place at a wrong timing, I guess.

So after this strange day full of cruel history and depression we decided to walk with almost no direction. Well, after a while we realized that the good direction would be `eating` since no lunch made both of us a little hungry. So without much of thinking we ended up in the same place we ate the last time with an amazing noodle soup and it still was the best.

After the dinner, the fun began. We went to sit along the river, took a beer, watched people walk. For some reason some homeless guy with his adorable little girl loved Nadia very much, that they have been wondering around for so long, tried to talk to her, kissed her arm. In a mean time there was an angel around. Some guy who appeared out of nowhere and disappeared the very same way. After those homeless mad us feel a lot uncomfortable we left hoping to find an angel. Well, angel was nowhere around but we sat back in front of the king, where less people starts coming to you.

That night we ended up in a bar next door with a beer, some nice people and `desperation` by Stephen King. Creepy movie, I have to add. And once again my plan not to have a short sleep during my trip failed completely. I woke up after only 4 hours of sleep and rushed for my bus to Kampot.

.Getting to Phnom Penh.

After the `long` night of sleep I woke up, since I had to catch a bus. Boy, that was an adventure. I was supposed to be picked up between 7:30 and 8:00 and my van came at exactly 8:10. Everybody kept on telling me it’s ok, so I tried my best to believe them. Besides, I wasn’t the only person in that van. So we arrived to the bus station, better known as `complete mess` and tried to find our bus. We were ordered to sit and so we did. I was a little [ok, not a little, but a lot] excited when I saw that I will have to share a seat with a monk. Unfortunately my excitement vanished completely, once some local was `kind enough` to switch places with the monk. And here I thought I have a perfect opportunity to finally talk to the monk.

We have been waiting for the start of the trip for more than an hour when they started taking some people out of the bus and bringing new ones. And after a little while they ordered everyone to stand up from their seats and change the bus. This is something I have never experienced before. As we were changing bus, I got to watch how just these small but apparently very strong locals were taking scooters off and on the bus and a monk, who was smoking. I was a little surprised, because I had a feeling they are supposed to be living healthy life, which does not include smoking habits. Turns out they are just people after all, with the right to poison themselves with whatever they want.

When entered the second bus I realized that my seat was taken. Ok, so I took someone else’s seat. Still not sure hoe these things are working, but nobody kicked me out. Soon enough the trip started after waiting for longer than 1.5 hours. So face it people – if you book a bus ticket for 8a.m., you are lucky if you leave the bus station at 10 a.m. at least it’s better later than never.

The ride was almost as usual. With several stops for toilets, lunch and so on. The good part of all that – I met an American girl. Well, she is a total mix of different nationalities, and she is a very nice girl and got along immediately. It started innocently enough, just with one or two conversations, while waiting for the bus. Word here, word there and we ended up getting off the bus together, sharing a tuk-tuk to the offered guesthouse and at the very end – sharing a room.

We had to come much earlier to the Phnom Penh, but we ended up there pretty late, so for the first night we decided just to go for a walk, along the river. So we were walking and talking and nodding and it all went so great as if we knew each other for a long time already. When realized that we are hungry, we found an amazing street kitchen with amazing noodle soup [well, honestly, we are still not sure if the soup was so good or we were so hungry]. Two of that fantastic soup and two beers in total cost 3$ for us, which made it even more amazing.

On the way back we found a guy, who appeared out of nowhere, offering us a beer. So we took two beers and sat in front of the King’s picture on the royal palace and made ourselves a picnic. We weren’t the only ones. There were mostly families picnicking around as well. Although it was strange to see them with the blankets on a path and not on the grass. Cambodian way, I suppose.

Since it was already a long day, we had a short night, followed by making plans for tomorrow and finally sleep. It was a good, just a little cold sleep and we both woke up early, so we can make the plan to work the other day.

.Siem Reap Angkor Wat. Day 2.

The next day we started by going to the waterfall. Think twice before you go there. Especially for the dry season time. For me, as a person who have seen the Niagara Falls, and wasn’t about to die for the view, this one looked a little pathetic. Maybe on the wet season it is much more exciting, but now it was small and almost nothing special. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, at least because it included 1.5 km of walk towards it and backwards through the forest and stones, which I enjoyed very much.
Then we moved to Bantey Srey temple – which, according to my sources, what `not to miss` thing. It was impressing, I agree. Once again, I’m just loving walking around that ancient stuff, through short doors and climb into the windows. This one was a little different from the others, had some specific statues in it and was made out of the pink sandstones [Steffany was so excited about the pink part], so I did like it too.

All the other temples I visited that day were nice too [well, it’s simply the part of the `grand tour` - every driver will take you there, so there is no need for me really to remember every single name of it]. They were all nice, although after a while they started looking alike. There was one with some elephant, another one in the middle of the pond [I couldn’t call that thing a lake] and I did kind of enjoyed them all.

We got back home early enough for me to meet my roommate [finally]. An Irish guy, I’m guessing. We just met, exchanged some polite phrases, knowledge of the place to see and moved to the different corners.

I started spending my evening in the same spot, I found on the first night, for my last dinner, since the next day was supposed to be on the road to another city. After that I joined my new found friends from the border for the Festival and then we all, and some more people joined us, we went to some sort of a bar. We shared a tower of beer and some nice conversations. There was this new guy to me, Korean, living in NYC, an interesting photographer, with a lot of silly stories to tell and to laugh. We also had this very interesting waiter. The way he looked and acted was much more feminine than mine and he was unbelievably nice. Even though he spoke no English, he was incredible and assisted perfectly. Watching him I felt like I was a terrible, but really, terrible waitress back in the days.

Way after midnight me and an Irish boy decided it was time to go home, so we started moving to the direction. Or so we thought. We took the wrong turn [but I wasn’t leading the way. In fact I kept on wondering if we are REALLY on the right way]. We ended up doing a little round-circle tour around old city in the middle of the night.