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Caroline & Andy's 80 wigs around the world

Welcome to Caroline and Andy's Travel Page. We'll try to update it regularly, so please feel free to leave a comment for us. Especially if its advice!!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Location: Phu Quoc, Vietnam

What a day we've had! Got up early this morning so we could go for a bike ride before it got too hot.

Set off for the north-west of the island - got lost several times on the way out of the village (no road names) - finally found our way but the roads were so bad we got nowhere fast.

We ended up covering half the distance we'd intended to, and it took us twice as long. The road is really bumpy, and as our bike has almost no suspension left, we felt every bump! Our poor bums!

We crossed some pretty hairy bridges too - slats of wood, none of which seemed to be joined to anything!! By 11.30am we found a cafe and stopped for a well deserved cold drink - and decided it was time to head back to our resort before it got too hot - but then disaster struck around midday (sods law - midday heat!!!) - and we got a puncture.

We knew it had happened as the back of the bike started skidding around in the gravel - thank god we weren't on a corner. By this point we were 3km's from the nearest village - and weren't really sure what to do. The bike couldn't cope with 2 of us on it, so I offered to sit by road while Andy went for help - or to start walking the 3km's while he went ahead on the bike. We decided that neither of these were a good idea, so just started pushing the bike together towards the village. Shortly after a lovely couple, saw us, turned round and helped us out. They took me on their bike, and went slow so Andy could keep us - and directed us to where we could get the puncture fixed. Lovely lovely people. Neither of us had a clue what they were saying though. (Note to self - must learn to say "thank you" in Vietnamese)

Got the puncture repaired within 30 minutes and it cost less than $3. How cheap is that. The inner tube had been punctured and repaired before by the looks of it!

So its an evening of relaxation for us now - well deserved I think. We're also nearly out of English reading material as everyone here is German - so we may go to another resort and swap our books for theirs!!

Monday, 05 March 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Hello all

Its another scorcher here today in Phnom Penh. We were up early-ish and headed out to a market. After getting past all the (hundreds) of tuk-tuk and moto-taxi drivers, which is an ordeal in itself, we set off on our walk. Only took us 15 minutes I think till we found the market. It was a huge circular building in the middle of the road, so we nipped in to get out of the sun.

Most of the market turned out to be food stalls inside, lots of different types and cuts of meat, just hanging from hooks in the heat (covered in flies). Mmmm nice. There was also lots of stinky dried fish - mmm also nice!

Didn't hang around too long - set off in the direction of the river for some breakfast, found a busy little place, sat down - no menu. Girl said noodles - we said okay, I got beef and Andy got pork - and it was very very good!! Very impressed! Now we're escaping the midday heat in an internet place. (Ps - we have discovered a restaurant whose claim to fame is that they do not serve Cat, Dog or Rat - and have to admit that on several occasions we've not been convinced by the meat we've had)

Can't decide what to do for the rest of the day, we're considering going to the killing fields, or just chillin............Will let you know what we did next time.................

Sunday, 04 March 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Nice slow start today, and then decided to go to S-21, a Khmer Rough detention centre from the Pol-pot Regime. It was an old school which had been turned into a detention centre from 1975 - 1978. Each room had a rusty metal bed in it, and a gruesome photograph on the wall. Above each door was a picture of a person laughing with a cross across their mouth - I can't believe anyone would dare to laugh here.

There were also survivors stories/family stories (although less than a dozen people that went to S-21 survived over the 3 years), and also the point of view of the guards forced to interrogate the prisoners.

They also have skulls on display from the mass graves discovered around the centre, some with bullet holes, but mostly cracked skulls, as they were trying to save their bullets. I don't think Andy and I even spoke for the 2 hours we were there - it was very chilling.

From the S-21 museum we walked to the Russian Market, lots of fake Gap and Nike products, but it was really really hot, so didn't hang around long.

In the evening we headed to the Sisoway Quay, by the river, and had Happy Herb Pizza for dinner, not sure we felt the effects - but there you go. How much Happy Herb can you have on a pizza that costs $3 anyway??

Saturday, 03 March 2007

Location: Siam Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sad to be leaving today, we've really enjoyed Siam Reap. We had breakfast at the guest house before our bus arrived. We wanted to have rice but they didn't have any on the menu for breakfast, so we had a greasy baguette with cheese spread - yuck!!. Rice is definitely the way to go for breakfast, without a doubt.

Our bus was late, and when it arrived the bus driver shouted at us to hurry up!! How rude. Bus journey was fairly uneventful, and no break downs which was great. Arrived in Phnom Penh around 4pm and it was a real shock to the system. Tuk-tuk drivers and moto-taxi drivers crowd the bus door as you are getting off and try to get your business, and the roads are soooo busy. You just have to walk out and the motorbikes and cycles go around you. We'll get better at this with practice I'm sure.

We stayed in a guest house near the bus stop, got settled in, and even treated ourselves to a TV in the room. Bit naughty budget wise, but there you go.

Headed out later that evening around 9pm (took 5 minutes to get past touts) and the streets were almost deserted compared to earlier, but we found some food stalls a couple of streets away, and shared a rice dish (no idea what kind of meat it was) , which cost 75c - how cheaps that. Great stuff!

Friday, 02 March 2007

Location: Temple Time!, Cambodia

8 more temples planned for today, with a later start though!

1 - First off was Bayon, within Angkor Thom which was built in the late 12th Century, and is a mass of face-towers to create a stone mountain of ascending peaks. Bayon has gone through lots of changes and additions, so it feels a bit crowded once inside with its different levels - it felt like Labyrinth to me! Great film.

2 - Terrace of Elephants - does exactly what it says on the tin. A Terrace full of elephant carvings, and their trunks are like the pillars to hold it up!

3 - Terrace of the Leper King - this terrace is named after the 15th century sculpture that was discovered on top.

4 - Baphuon - This was built in 1060, and has 5 tiers altogether although is mostly overgrown. The French undertook the task of taking it apart carefully and numbered all the stones so that they could put it back together again. However during the Pol-pot regime all the plans they had made were destroyed and lost, so its a slow process putting it back together. Kind of like a giant jigsaw. We didn't bother going in.

5 - Pre Khan - By this point, all the temples seem like 1, so forgive me if I don't remember everything. Pre Khan was built around 1191 as is similar to Ta Prohm although much bigger. We arrived at the same time as 60 Japanese coach tourists. Bad timing, but still a great temple. It even had a 2 level building with round columns instead of square which is very unusual!

6 - Pre Neak Pean - Neak Pean is an unusual small monument, a cruciform arrangement of ponds with a sanctuary tower in the middle. At its centre is the main pond, with 4 smaller ponds joined to it at a lower level. The water flows from the centre pond into the lower ponds through the mouths of a lion, an ox, a horse and an elephant. Would have been great if there had been any water in the ponds!

7 - Ta Som - This temple is from the late 12th century, and very similar toTa Prohm as it has lots of face towers. Its also overgrown, with lots of tree roots strangling the building - very Tomb Raider!

8 - Pre Rup - This was one of the oldest temples we visited, and also the last. It was also one of the most amazing. The architecture was very different due to the fact that they'd used lots of smaller bricks for this temple. It was also similar in shape to Angkor Wat with its 5 towers. We climbed all the way to the top in the heat - phew!

Thursday, 01 March 2007

Location: Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The alarm woke us at 4.30am, we were to be at Angkor Wat by sunrise, 5.30am. Our tuk-tuk chauffeur was sleeping in the hut in front of the guest house, a swift kick from one of his fellow drivers and he was ready for action. The Cambodian roads are dangerous at the best of times, but when the driver is half asleep and using one hand to smoke his breakfast cigarette, it is even more un-nerving. Luckily we were too tired to care.
The first destination was the most famous, Angkor Wat. We arrived in darkness, walked across the moat and through the gatehouse. There were a surprising number of people, even at this time of day. We found a place to rest, inside of the perimeter wall, where we could see the famous five peaks of the temple come into sight as the sun gently lit up this ancient world. We watched the temple for a while, then moved to one of the ‘libraries’ in front of the main temple, where we watched the sky and temple change colour for a little longer.
We made our way up to the temple to the first set of steps, we would come to learn that the architects like very steep and tall staircases which simulate climbing a symbolic mountain. Steep, well-worn, 1000year old steps and blazing heat will be the theme of the next two days ! The outer circuit of the temples walls reveal some amazing ‘bas relief’s’, these are stories carved into the long stone walls. Each one has important religious context, but the meaning is often blurred as these buildings were used and adapted by many generations of people, following different kings and religions. God-king sons will often attempt to erase some evidence of their fathers reign to strengthen their own image. ‘Vandalism’ dating back as far as the 16th century can be seen at some sites, removal of certain images, or corruption of stories to suit new beliefs.
I could write pages and pages about the many amazing sights of Angkor Wat and the surround temples, but I think the pictures will describe it better. I also believe that, although it sounds cliché, word really can’t do it justice. In many instances the camera struggled to capture the sheer size and presence of the buildings, carvings, statues and grounds. I will write an itinerary of our tour and attempt to label the photos accordingly, and will list any highlights that I can remember from that particular Temple.

Angkor Wat.
The most famous of the temples, we spent four hours here. We enjoyed the upper levels of the temple more than the lower. The early morning start made the climbing more enjoyable, and the stonework has a very different feel in the early morning light. We couldn’t believe how much we’d seen by 8.30am ! The view from the opposite side of the lake, with the peaks reflected in the water was beautiful. Grabbed a bit of breakfast here too. Greeting used to rice for brekky, it beats the Cambodian attempts at a ‘genuine western breakfast’ ! As the morning progressed the temple became busier, unfortunately you can find yourself having to rush ahead or hang back to stay detached from big tour groups. It was generally possible to find a part of the temple that few or no other people were in at that time. We came back to Angkor Wat for the sunset, but were not allowed to climb to the highest level due to the danger from the climb down in the dark after sunset. We saw sunset over the lake in front of the ‘library’ instead.

Through the south gate of Angkor Thom.
The bridge leading to the gate is made from statues of gods in a tug of war, with a sea serpent as the rope.
Through the Victory Gate. Passed five (real, not stone) galloping elephants, complete with headdresses and riders. I never knew they could move so fast.

Thomannon

Ta Kao
This temple has no adornments or carvings as it was never finished. It is a complete structure, but lacks the refinement of the finished temples, which have every surface covered in carvings, statues and reliefs. It is still very interesting though, as the engineering and craftsmanship involved in the basic building blocks of the structure are more evident.
Ta Prohm This temple has been left in much the same way as the first western explorers found it. There is some sympathetic restoration, to prevent any more collapse and a little of the vegetation has been cut back. This was the one I was looking forward to and it did not disappoint. It was entirely possible to climb over the rubble and through into semi-collapsed rooms and courtyards, leaving the mass tourism behind (if only for a couple of minutes). There were some excellent photo ops, and plenty of Indiana Jones moments !

Banteay Kdei
A temple similar in style to Ta Prohm, but larger and less ruined.

Sras Srang
A man made lake that was filled some 900 years ago.

Cambodia is a very flat country and its heart is dominated by a lake which swells to three times its normal size once every year. This resource has helped to sustain the country through its many generations. The people of Angkor used this water to create lakes, fountains and waterways. These were built to symbolise the universe itself, the primordial ocean surrounding the five mountainous peaks referred to in Khmer mythology, placing the shrines of the gods at the summit of these peaks (the towers that are obvious in all of the temples). These massive hydro-engineering projects are less imposing, but equally impressive as the temples themselves.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Location: Siam Reap, Cambodia

Last night was the best night's sleep ever! We're up and out by 9.30am, and we got what was like a horse drawn carriage, attached to the back of a motorbike into the centre of town. We're very surprised by Siam Reap, I think there is a fair bit of money here from all the tourists that visit Angkor Wat. Lots and lots of bars and restaurants. There's a bar called the butterfly bar that we're going to pop to on the way home, where you are surrounded by butterflies. - Cool huh. There is also a company called Ecstatic Pizza, where you can get a hash pizza, but don't think we'll try this as we're going to be getting up at 5.30am tomorrow morning to start visiting temples for sunrise.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Location: Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Arrived at the guest house late this evening, about 10pm, after having left Bangkok at around 8am. We knew the bus journey was going to take a while, as its a bit of a scam, but it was cheap - so ho hum. 6gbp for the whole trip.

Basically they make the journey take longer than it should, so that by the time you arrive and they drop you at their guest house, you're so tired and dirty that you don't want to search around. Pretty clever idea if you ask me!! If only you could do that in Edinburgh!

We had a nice air conditioned bus from Bangkok to the border, then we walked through the border (signs showed pictures for pedestrians and carts - rather than pedestrians and car). They dropped us off at a restaurant for lunch while our passports were processed (again spending money at their chosen restaurant) - then after the border we were all loaded onto a smaller bus, with no air con, so we had to keep the windows open. They put us on the bus, then chucked our bags in, which filled up the aisle of the bus (so you had to crawl over them). The roads from this point on were shocking, but again we were expecting this, so no nasty surprises. The lonely planet refers to this drive as the Boulevard of Broken Backsides, and alledgedly a large international airline pays a political party an undisclosed sum each year to ensure the road is not improved, so that people choose to fly to Phnom Penh and get a bus from there. We also broke down twice on the drive, adding an extra 30 minutes to the journey. While we stopped, some people used the opportunity to go to the bathroom (the field), although you're advised not to stray far from the road edge incase of landmines - I just held it!

Anyways, we arrived late covered in red dust, Andy actually looked like he had ginger hair! We took the room at the guest house we were dropped off. (Is a scam a scam if you know its happening?). We got an air-con room for slightly cheaper than normal, but we are a little distance outside of the centre of Siam Reap, but we get free travel by motorbike to and from the centre from the guest house, and everyone is really friendly.

Yesterdays journey took 14 hours all in all, and although it was pretty shitty, it was an experience which I'm glad we did. We got to see more of the countryside as well - most of the houses are wooden and on stilts with palm leaf roof's. And dogs everywhere!!

Watched a video on Angkor Wat, had a couple of beers and then it was off to bed for us.


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Recent Messages

From gary mac
hey guys,
so you're over in 'Nam now - brilliant. me & Kama also got a puncture many miles from nearest garage or village. I ended up putting the scooter in the back of a pick-up truck & SITTING on it to keep it steady while he zoomed off on the bumpy road...scary! I like your mimi adventure video...a bit David Lynch. where are you heading to after where you are now? Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip guys....G & K xx
Response: Hey Gary

congratulations to you and Kama on the engagement! we re on way home now - but missed our flight, so stuck at bangkok on standby. Hopefully c u soon!
From Dad McIntosh
Read all your news up to 5 March. Wonderful to read
must be so exciting seeing visiting eating(Not cat dog or rat) Uhhh. Sat10 off to Bolton
backSun11. WedThurFri Ker & I off to N of Scot and Hebrides, not as warm and exciting as you both enjoying.
Much L - M & D - K & R
From Dad (McIntosh)
Have just read all your past messages and info thanks to Kerr's help. Sounds fantastic and I am so pleaased that you are both making the most of beautiful places, scenes etc. Store as much sun as you can before returning home, sometimes 1 degree on way to work. Miss talking to you.
Much love to say the least of it from M & D K & R
From Rachel
Ruth - you know way too much...it can't be healthy!!

Hello Caroline and Andy!! xxx
Response: Hey Rachel - hope you're good - can't wait to catch up when I get back. In Sydney airport just now waiting on flight to Singapore - I love free internet in the airport
From Roofer
She was that blonde teacher lady from the high school.... What else? Erm she was mates with Dee and snogged evil Darcy I think. She might also have had a husband called Brendan who beat her up if I remember rightly....! Roofer x p.s. Isn't it odd that Sky in Neighbours is Jason Donovan's half-sister in real life?
Response: I didn't know that - that is weird!
From Roofer
Totally ruined the Susan K covered in tats urban myth for me. Rubbish. I met Toadie, Tad and Tess at my Neighbours tour thang, very odd innit? Rx
Response: Who's Tess????
From Mum Mac
Glad to hear you have been getting out and about enjoying yourselves ( if a little too much on occasion!)

I just wonder what clothes you wore when you 'got dressed up' for your night out at the Chinese restaurant, considering all your clothes fit in a rucksack??
Response: You must be fishing for compliments :-) I wore the red top you sent me for Christmas!!
From Na
Happy New Year Caroline and Andy!!! Glad to read your updated journals in the new year!
Can't believe it is so hot in AU right now. Here we are still experiencing a cold and windy winter. Are you still familar with it?

Have fun and enjoy your time off!!! xx
From alan & thelma
Christmas eve here and I guess soon be Christmas morning with you both. Quite a difference eh?

Hope you have fun today and don't get too much sand with your turkey.

Mum and Dad and Kerr coming for lunch tomorrow along with Na, but I suppose you know this already.

Have lots of fun and thinking about you both.
love and Christmas wishes

Thelma and Alan

xXx
From Anita n Alun
Happy Hot Christmas, you guys! Lots of love, the all-new Mr and Mrs Joseph xx
Response: You too 'Mr & Mrs' Joseph!!
From Adam (formerly of Li
Hey C, Just been in to see the girls at FC for a chat and got talking to Carmel about her leaving and how you were getting on. Great to see you are both having a fab time.

Ad. x
From Lisa Jaffrey
hey Stranger, how goes it? Sounds like your having a ball - im so jealous!! Ive only just found your web page - anita mailed me the address - so got lots of catching up on what youve been up to!! Im staying at home for a bit, got a new man and we're totally loved up, which is strange but really really good, We've only been together for 7 weeks!! hes a squaddie tho so keeping my guard up.

Cant wait for anitas wedding. Couldnt make it to the hen nite - couldnt get time of work but def going to the wedding - such a shame you wont be there! Anyway chick, stay in touch and keep on having a ball. Big hugs lisa xxxx
From James Rumbellow
Hi Caroline how are you good i hope, had a look at your pictures you have on planet ranger you lucky girl wish i was there, but only if i could bring Lynne and my baby girl Alix. bet you got a shock when you heard that eh. every one was shocked but no one more than Teresa you could knock her down with a push. My girl is great she is weighing 12 pounds now and sleeps all night, and i have asked Lynne to marry me and dhe has said yes so you better be back soon as we are going to get very drunk, and you are invited to the wedding. any way less on me and more on you how you doing any thing interesting happened hope you are being a good girl. are you coming back to work when you get back its not the same with out you i miss our laughs and having to call you if i have locked myself out.
well better go take care dear and look after yourself and your man speak to you soon
Fi james at fountain court see ya xxx
Response: Hey James - congratulations on your 2 bits of good news. I like the name Alix - I'm going for that name too if I have a girl. Will be back in May 2007 but not sure of work plans yet!! - give my love to Lynn.
From gary mac
hey dudes! how ya goin' in Sydney? Just checkin out yer photos - the one of Bronye was making me go "aahhh...". I used to go running along that bit of coast. Good to see a shot of the expectant couple too! cheers. nice pad - did you BUILD the patio?? Have fun anyways - hi to all - G x
From Na
Caroline, I am so relieved to know that you are off the Atkins Diet..You spot on - G&T. haha...
From Mister Mark
Hey cats, what fun all that working two jobs to fund your gambling (though it sounds more fruitful than your boardgaming) and starving yourselves of, let's face it, a perfectly valid section of a balanced human diet. Thought half the earth's circumference was enough to free you of my nagging ways? Think again... Really, I'm glad to hear you're having nuff fun and frolics.
Fudgey's getting over her first trip to the vet in our care. Just that annual feminine problem - my plant and Al's rucksack bore the brunt. All better and happy again.
Now away and eat, it's the land of plenty for Pete's sake. You can diet in Blighty where the food's a bit lame.
Got a great joke about Steve Irwin, but now's probly not the time.
My love to the Ozzies, be well yourselves, Mb x.
From Roofer
HEYLO! And a very belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Miss McIntosh! Hope you had a wicked day whatever you got up to. I am defo up for some Pictionary madness when you get home, but I warn you, I am very very good.... (cause I cheat lots). Anyways, will write soon I promise, I know I have been uber-rubbish with the communication side of things. Had a nice day at Tyningham on Friday, beautiful day and the Rowan tree is looking grand. Lots of love guys, Roofer x
From Mum B
Hi Been bad at looking at the blog recently what with David being unwell. Caroline, Why are you on th Atkins diet?? Has no one told you its not good for you!! You would be better off on the GI diet, plenty of the right food but food that is slow release so you dont feel hungry in between meals and you can have the odd drink and you can have the odd drink!! sounds like your Forster trip was good. lv Mum B
From Na
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Caroline, hope you are having a fab day.
(not sure if you have received my card on time?!)
Have fun.
Love Na x
From Aunti Thel and Uncle
Happy Birthday wishes in advance !!! Hope you have a really nice day -- throw off the Atkins for the day and ENJOY !!
Off to the chilly North tomorrow so can't send birthday wishes on the correct day.
From Rachel
Loving the stories, Caroline give Sal a big hug from me and more photos please. xxxxxxxx
From Dad
An Atkins diet patient, hope it does what you want, you'll have to stick at it for some time to see whether any good for you. Trying to picture you on a hammock in a back garden reading. Much love D
From Roofer
Hey you guys!!! Will drop ya an e-mail very very soon but just wanted to say Brick is AWESOME!!! Glad you enjoyed it Mr Broom, I loved it too but thought it was so so close to being an amazing movie and missed the mark a little. Anyways, give Sal a big birthday hug and kiss from me, like this... MWOAH!!! Roofer x
From Dad
Read your 10 August detail.
Any word yet on meeting Sonya. Enjoy you day off on Sunday 13, sounds as though you deserve it. Much L
Response: Hey Dad - hooked up with Sonia on Saturday 12th.
From Na
Caroline, a big hug to you! Well done for the interviews!!! Not easy I know that...

Got to tell you sth exciting. I have just started my self defense course.
it is such a great feeling to hit on the air bag, especially after a shitty day, haha...Maybe you should start one in Sydney. heehee...
Take care. :-)