Sunday, September 18, 2005

pnom pehn

we arrived by boat at cambodia's capital, pnom pehn and made our way to a hostel. it turned out to be a really fun place. we managed to go to the killing fields and the tuol sleng genocide museum (aka S-21), a light day to be sure. the killing fields were eerily peaceful. there nice green lawns, and pools of water where the mass graves are, the decomposed flesh causing the earth to cave and collecting water to create nice ponds. the only problem is that bones and clothing are still surfacing and there are baskets placed around so that if you see a bone you can help collect them. as much as i tried to understand the whole khmer rouge genocide thing i still couldn't figure out a lot. what i got was basically, a minority group named by the french as the khmer rouge decided that they would turn cambodia into an almost anarchich state where there would be no education, no real wealth and a society that basically reverts back to peasants and farmers and stuff. i don't really understand it myself. but they did massacre basically everyone in the country that was opposed to them. sholars, diplomats, women, children, the sick and anyone else they saw fit, was tortured and killed. the total number eludes me but it is rediculous how many people were killed. and this was only in the 70's. not so long ago. S-21 was a highschool converted into a prison and then converted into a museum. many of the torture instruments, cells and prisoner profiles were left behind to create a very authentic and haunting experience. just walking around the cells and seing the pictures of people's scared faces, it was really creepy. anyway, after all this, chris and i went back to the hostel where the family that runs it decided to get everyone blasted on local whiskey. all the residents and the family had a great time dancing, playing pool and singing. we decided to put off vietnam one more day because of our hangover and my legs were hurting pretty bad. here are the pics

young children playing in cambodia's killing fields Posted by Picasa

a dead cambodian at the torture prison. a school was made into one of the worst genocidal camps by the khmer rouge. Posted by Picasa

view of the sunset from our hostel in pnom pehn Posted by Picasa

ankhor wat

after probably the longest, bumpiest and most uncomfortable bus ride of my life (13 hours at 20 km/h in a beat up old bus driving in a rainstorm on a dirt road with the world's worst potholes) chris and i arrived at siem reap, the norther capital in the ankhor region of cambodia. it is here that the khmer people built one of the world's most spectacular series of temples, carving rocks that were carried by elephants from far away lands into haunting, visaged towers that glare down at you from every direction. of these temples, ankhor wat is the most famous and the best preserved. climbing the steep stone stairs to gaze out at the jungle and the beautiful landscape, i was immediately lifted into a state of awe and almost a form of spirituality. pretty cool. anyway, we only spent one day here because we had to move on to pnom pehn. we went out that night and met up with some friends we met then woke up early the next morning. we had to catch a river boat to take the mekong delta to the capital. it left at 6am so we were rushing pretty hard to get there in the morning. at about 5:30am, with the rain falling pretty hard and our tuk tuk (motorcycle with carriage) doing about 50km/h, a dog ran in front of our vehicle and the motorcyle hit it while our carriage's back right wheel ran over the dogs now dead body. the cart flipped on it's left side, which i happened to be on and i was caught inside the cart being dragged along the asphalt. chris, who was sleeping, had no idea what was going on. i on the other hand, witnessed the whole thing: the sight of the dog running into the street, the sick feeling of impending disaster, the cart popping up onto its side, the driver, who's mortorcycle was being turned on it's side by the attached cart, being dragged beneath the bike and then beneath an overturned steel carriage, skidding for 10 meteters and then dark. i stood up and saw that my legs and ankles were bleeding but didn't feel any broken bones. chris it seemed was fine. all i could say to him though is 'is he alive', referring to the driver. he was but hardly. he was pulling himself to the side of the road his back twisted and broken, an arm disjointed, the skin on his face peeled off, his shirt ripped to reveal a rib protruding. he was coughing blood as well. immediately, villagers came out of their shacks to help us. one man began to pour dirty brake fluid on my wounds (for what purpose i will never know other than maybe to cause me more excruciating pain). our concern was for the driver though and we put him on the back of a motorcycle to go to the hospital but....i only gave him about a 20% chance. if he survived the internal bleeding, i doubt he will have full use of his legs. it was probably the most terrifying thing that ever happened to me. i promised chris i wouldn't let his mom know so don't tell her ok. anyway, i decided not to go to a hospital and instead jumped on another tuk tuk and made the boat just in time. i cleaned up and disinfected my wounds when we got to pnom pehn and they are finally healing. maybe i will have a scar. here are pics from ankhor

another temple in the area of ankhor. this is the setting for the tomb raider movie. Posted by Picasa

this is ankhor wat outside siem reap in cambodia. absolutely awesome Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

my leg after a little cleaning on the boat after the accident Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

'come tomorrow i'll be on my way back home'

so this is it. i'm sorry i haven't been able to update this, or more importantly email anyone the last week or so. i went to cambodia and vietnam and had a great time. i luckily survided a pretty messy tuk tuk accident and am still kind of healing from that. the last couple days back in bangkok i have been just trying to relax. but i'm at the end. i am coming home tomorrow and will begin a new life, find a new job and move into new house. i will have a new number so i will pass it along. everything else i hope will be the same but we'll have to see i guess. anyway, sorry no pics and no real story. i will update this last entry when i get home along with a recap of everything. i miss you all and am looking forward to familiar faces and languages. oh and coffee. so that's that. i guess i will see many of you all soon. for those of you i am leaving behind...i'm confident this is not the last time we meet. it has been fun travelling with you but gulliver goes home to tell his story. j

Thursday, September 01, 2005

koh panghan

i figured if it was going to be forty degrees then i would rather deal with it by a crystal blue ocean and sandy beaches than on the sweltering streets of bangkok. so i got up and left for koh samui. on the overnight bus though, i was fated to meet a group of guys and girls that advised me to go to a smaller, less touristy island, koh panghan. we stayed up that night on the bus, drinking beers and sharing stories about our travels. we got a flat tire and ended up making a 8 hour bus ride into a 12 hour one but eventually the two pakistanis (ateeq and ammar), an irishman (kieran) and myself made it to the ferry before i passed out in the sun. on the island, we expierienced a few gorgeous sunrises, a great party, the craziest rainstorm ever, probably the best group massage i will ever enjoy, snorkelling, the worst excuse for a waterfall a brochure can have, fire throwing, buckets of vodka and redbull (echhhh), great food, a twisted ankle (not mine but ateeq's because of the crappy waterfall), the biggest snake i have ever seen, a really cool bar that now hangs our picture, two fun and wacky german girls, miriam and maren and a wolf that was only a dog. so as you can probably imagine, the last few days were actually very busy and void of sleep and that is why i never met up with my friends on samui and am now in bangkok feeling like crap. it was a good time though. check out these pics.

thai guy juggling a fire stick Posted by Picasa

the sunrise on koh panghan Posted by Picasa

we saw the craziest giant snake (boa or python - i don't know but it just ate a chicken) when we were driving back from some town we were at. biggest damn snake i ever saw. Posted by Picasa