Beng Mealea and the Roluos Group

20 10 2012

Lauren and I visited some more awesome temples today. It took a while to get there, but it was well worth it. The first was Beng Mealea, a temple found in the jungle of Cambodia about 60km outside Siem Reap and completely overrun by trees and wildlife. It was super cool. Afterwards, we headed back into town and stopped by to see the Roluos Group of temples. Enjoy the photos, sorry for the lack of description; trying to plan out the next week.

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Angkor Wat, Bayon and More!

19 10 2012

Today was awesome. It started with some delicious pancakes and before we knew it, we were inside a tuk tuk and off to see some temples. Lauren and I visited Angkor Wat and some surrounding temples just outside of Siem Reap for the better part of seven hours.

Some were much cooler than others, and after all was said and done, my personal favorite was Ta Prohm, a temple purposefully left partially unrestored to give it a more jungle feel. There were giant trees, I think someone said fig trees, which grew on top of the ruins.

Tomorrow we will continue to explore some more temples on the outskirts of town, possibly over 60km away. I can’t wait. Here is just of taste of the pictures that I snapped on today’s journey!

 

 

 

 





Phenom Penh, Cambodia

18 10 2012

After staying up all night at the airport, I finally got some shuteye for an hour and a half on the plane to Cambodia. Upon landing, I grabbed a visa and reminded the guard that he shorted me $10 change before heading out the door to explore Phenom Penh.

I haggled a motor-taxi for $2 and off to the hostel I went. Once I arrived, I ate breakfast, dropped my bags off and headed off to the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum along with a fellow hostler, Michelle.

Monument at the Killing Fields

All of the holes are mass graves

Bodies still lie in the pond behind the fields

Killing Tree

Inside the monument

The early part of the day was pretty depressing to say the least. If you don’t know about the genocide which occurred in the 70s, you should brush up on your history whenever you feel you’ve got the gut.

Afterwards, Michelle needed to release the tension and anger from seeing the Killing Fields. Our tuktuk driver led us down a dirt road until turning off into a closed off compound. When the doors closed, the guns came out. You name it, we could fire it. Michelle fired a “lady gun” per the men at the shooting range, an M-16. It was insane, and after about all 10 seconds we were done and off to Security Prison 21, where Cambodians were tortured before being executed.

Security Prison 21

Tuk Tuk

 

Michelle and a M-16 — terrifying

Afterwards, we explored (and as in explored I mean wandered up and down alleys) the area because neither of us focused on the 5 second drive to the restaurant from the hostel. The rest of the evening we all hung out in the hostel and shared a few beers and stories from other travelers.

Full range of emotions, but solid first day in Cambodia. The following day Lauren and I got on a bus to Siem Reap. It was an easy 6 hour ride and we grabbed some grub near Pub Street before calling it a night. Tomorrow we visit Angkor Wat!

Leaving Phenom Penh

Some slight flooding…

Pit Stop

Nothing but beautiful scenery

Sunset in Cambodia

 

 

 

 





Singapore

16 10 2012

I spent the majority of today exploring Singapore. It’s huge, rich, easy to navigate and clean. Everyone speaks English, which is a welcome surprise, and the Western influence is strong. I’m sure that will disappear the second I step foot into Cambodia, but we’ll see.  For right now it was a nice comfort to have before embarking on an adventure that I’m sure will be packed full of confusion.

I started the day roaming around the botanical gardens and then made my way over to the Gardens by the Bay. Shortly after arriving, it began to rain. I snapped some quick pictures and made my way inside an expensive mall for shelter – The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Stroll through the Botanical Gardens

Pond in the Gardens

Marina Bay Sands

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore Flyer in the background

Downtown

Once the rain subsided, I strolled north into Kampong Glam, the cities Arab district. I explored the section for the better part of an hour, just walking up and down the neighboring streets until I stumbled into Bugis Junction, another notable shopping area.

Kampong Glam

Little India

I  got completely turned around inside of that maze of a shopping mall before discovering a side alley that dropped me off on the outskirts of Little India. Like Kampong Glam, I covered the area relatively quickly, got a few snacks and then started to make my way back to the hostel for a shower and to get ready for what could be a long night ahead spent in an airport; wish me luck!

Cambodia I’ll see you tomorrow!





Goodbye Taiwan

16 10 2012

I don’t think it has truly set in how much I love this country, and how much I’m going to miss it; the people, the endless adventure, the constant surprise that it has indeed become a second home.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the right choice, however that doesn’t make it easier telling the kids I’m leaving, realizing I’m not going to cycle those awesome, tiny farm roads any time soon, or saying goodbye, for now at least, to some amazing friends I have made in Taiwan.

I’m going to be traveling SE Asia (Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and hopefully Burma) for two months before heading back to the States for a while and then start the next chapter in my life – whatever that may be.

It’s been a week of goodbyes with Saturday being my last official day teaching. It was quite sad, but I know that staying would only be an attempt to remain comfortable. I will go back to Taiwan, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Goodbye everyone! It was an amazing experience and I’ll miss each and every one of you.

Below are some pictures of my classes and coworkers:





Betel Nut!!!

15 10 2012

Finally, after 18 months in Taiwan and the eve of my final day in the country, I tried betel nut. Together with the help of Ryan, Matt, Jesse and Paul we chewed away. It was an experience, and I’m glad it’s over. Here’s some pictures to live vicariously through my experience, so you’ll never have to try it on your own. Included are the visit to Tiffany’s and pre/post chew in the dorms. Now off to bed and tomorrow to Singapore.

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Going Away Party

14 10 2012

Thursday night Paul, Katie and Stephanie had a concert and put together a going away party for me. It was great to see everyone one last time and I had a ton of fun. Here are some photos from the evening. Thanks again everyone for coming out! I’ll miss you all!

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