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Nige and Deb's Travel Page

Around Europe in 4 months... teaching in Czech 1 month... teaching in Thailand 1 month... teaching in Cambodia 6 months... We will try to describe this amazing experience.

Diary Entries

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Location: Vientiane and onwards, Laos

We flew into Vientiane, Laos, not expecting much but we really loved it. Beer Lao on tap is fantastic. Even Deb enjoyed it. Well she drank some. OK so she actually tasted some of mine.

We went to the big gold temple that is on the money, it was cool. Then to the Laotian Arch De Triumphe built with donated American cement. Gerat views. Photos to be added shortly.

On to Vang Vieng which is supposed to be this hippie drug hang out. We didnt mind it - the drugs have been cleaned up alot.

We spent some time in the Simpsons bar watching dvds of the Simpsons over and over. Caves and a nice river round out the experience.

On to Luang Prabang. We stayed there for 6 days. Yes we loved it. All except when we nearly died whilst White Water Kayaking. The rapids were grade 3 to 4 and they were actually 4. It was pretty bloody scary. Deb fell out and got all bruised up, also lost her sunnies!!

Then to top it off the minibus to take us the 1 hour trip back to town had disappeared. We waited in the cold while we were wet for three hours. Yes we had plenty to say at the office!!

Then flew back into Chiang Mai for some relaxation in Thailand.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Location: Marsfield., Australia

We are home.

Will update the site with photos of the last three weeks of travel through Laos and Thailand shortly but this is it!!!

Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures. I enjoyed writing about them!!!

Nige and Deb

Wednesday, 04 July 2007

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Been here before so we tried some different things.

Deb is now the best trained Thai cook on the planet. We ate her cooking and swear it is better than in Sydney!!!

Nige is an officially trained Mahout (Elephant trained/carer).
He can ride the elephants with the best of 'em.

Bit more relaxation then on to Krabi.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Nearing the end of our time at the orphanage... We decided to take our classes out for a day trip to Phnom Penh.

We went to the only real shopping centre in Phnom Penh, Soriya Market. Its 6 floors of shopping and eating and the like and its the first of its kind here in Phnom Penh.

Some of the kids had never been on escalators before so they had a ball!!

We took Debs class two weeks ago and my class last weekend.

They enjoyed the food court options, ice cream at a place not dissimilar to Mc Donalds and roller skating at a rink on the roof. Deb and I skated with them the first week but she wouldn't go again the second time, Nige did! There was a few falls second time around though as people got a little better and a little more daring!!

A good time was had by all. Photos will be posted shortly.

Only one week left in Phnom Penh. We leave Sunday the 24th to go to Laos for 10 days then on to Thailand for a week, then home.

Looking forward to seeing all the people in Australia in a month!!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Run in with the COPS!!

A few weeks ago we were pulled over on our motorbike by a little man wearing a uniform and waving a red light sabre type stick.

We realised that we had the headlight on during the day. Big mistake. I had heard rumors that you get fined for such indescretions but didn't really believe it until now.

He didn't speak any English and we were not going to put our begginer lever Khmer into practice just in case, so he sent us to his supervisor who made a stupid signal of a headlight flashing into his own eyes with his hand. Then blinking his eyes suggested it was bad to shine you headlight during the day as it might blind people.

I was tempted to bring up the fact that half of Phnom Penh's population don't use headlights at night but I bit my tongue.

He started at $5 but we got him down to $1. We gave him the money then he insisted on shaking my hand before letting us go.

One would have been enough...

Driving the wrong way down a non signposted one way street was the next run it. A cop jumps out from behind a parked Tuk Tuk and grabs on to our bike. The seventeen other drivers going the same direction as us quickly do U-turns and head back up the street.

The guy was hard and nasty and again started with $5. I pulled out my Australian drivers licence and he went down to $4. We stood our ground then pulled out $2 and he accepted.

This time I think we were doing the wrong thing. The fact that half the traffic on the street was going the same way as us though made it hard to swallow.

Two fines - only $3 - I guess its not too bad. (fines not bribes!!)


Friday, 25 May 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dad arrived with his mate fron Newcastle, Doug Sharpe, after their two week trip from North to South Vietnam.

We took them to our normal hang out spots, which they loved. We even took them to a local wedding. That was an experience. The kids at the orphanage grabbed on to their legs as is their tendency... But I think they enjoyed that trip.

Doug left to head home early and Dad headed up to spend three days at Siem Reap visiting temples and the like.

He returned to PP for a few more days with us and a few more great meals before flying out this morning.

Visitors are great. We are coming to visit Australia in about two months. It may be a long visit!!!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Location: Kep, Cambodia

Our friend Jenny, from Canberra came to visit for a week.

We spent some time in Phnom Penh checking out the sites then she flew off to visit Angkor for a few days before returning to PP.

We took her down to Kep for some fresh Cambodian foods...

For lunch the first day we sat at our cafe on the beach and watched, after we ordered crab, as the staff headed out into the ocean up to their knees to retrieve some live crabs that were sitting in pots just off the shore.

Needless to say that was the freshest seafood we have ever had.

Not to be outdone, the restaurant we went to on the second day was even more exciting.

We took a long boat out to Rabbit Island and ordered grilled chicken along with some prawns etc. When I ordered the chicken the waitress said something to her brother and his friends in Khmer which was received with some excitement.

Not knowing what to expect I returned to our table only to see three teenage boys chasing a chicken around for our dinner. After a few minutes and some strong fighting from the chicken, they had our lunch ready for preparation, again resulting in some of the freshest food ever!!!

We returned to PP and Jenny headed off home to the cold in Australia.

Dad comes to visit later this week. Stay tuned for more photos from Kep.

Sunday, 08 April 2007

Location: Chiang Rai, Thailand

We caught this luxury bus to Chiang Rai. Very nice and about $8. They served drinks and food too!!

Arrived and got a Tuk Tuk to a small guesthouse by a river. Nice and simple. It is owned and run by a Hill Tribe. They then insisted we come to spend a few days with them in their Hill version of the guesthouse. ...and so we did. The photos are cool.

We stayed up in the mountains in genuine Golden Triangle country.

Swimming in waterfalls and trekking through the mountains was an experience. Staying in their village was awesome. We had our own little bungalow which was cool too.

Got offered jobs staying their to teach English in their school, 100 students but no salary - only food and accom. We thought about it though.

Back to Chiang Rai and flew back to Bangkok.

We stayed in Bangkok over night just for flight connection. Stayed in Khao San Rd area. Shopping and eating out was great fun. Flight to Phnom Penh 7am the next morning.

Driving home from the airport was a huge wake up call. We had got used to the cleanliness of Thailand in one short week and to come back to Cambodia was a shock. Nice to be home though.

Tuesday, 03 April 2007

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hi all,
For our week off during the break at school we decided to head to Thailand. We got nice cheap flights with the help of our frequent flyer points so we are in Chiang Mai at the moment.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and hit the pool at the hotel straight away!! Later the Night Bazaar for dinner and shopping. Shopping in Thailand beats Cambodia. Deb has new shoes, pants, skirts and tops, I have new tshirts and my Australia Soccer shirt with my name and number on it!!!

We went Elephant trekking and rode for an hour on the back of an elephant through the Golden Triangle!! Than was worth the price of admission!! Then swimming in a waterfall - was pretty amazing. Finally a trip down river on a bamboo raft. I did all the hard work pushing with a long bamboo stick with the Tahi guy steered us down stream. I only fell off twice, once when a raft behind us rammed us and knocked me over, the other when the guy steering the raft behind us jumped on ours and nearly sunk us.

What was weird is that it is Thai new year in a week or so and the ritual is to throw water on people. We saw all these kids by the side of the road throwing buckets of water at our van. The funny part was when they hit people on motorbikes with the water!! All the Tahi people relaxing by the river as we rafted by, splashed us like there was no tomorrow!!!

Off to Chiang Rai tomorrow. Photos to come.

Saturday, 03 March 2007

Location: Back in PP, Cambodia

This week we had yet another batch of world travellers come to visit us in Phnom Penh.

Two of our friends from our TEFL course in Thailand had been through Tahiland then on to Laos before spending three days with us here. They left this morning heading to Saigon.

Rachel and Ariel loved having tour guides in PP, I only gave them wrong directions to meet us twice. But I have an excuse, I was relying on the Lying Planet.

They came to school with us on Friday and were an instant hit with the Khmer kids. They were also a hit with management at the school - even though they had not planned to stay in Cambodia they have jobs waiting for them alongside us!!!

We will be a bit lonely as we have to wait another two weeks before more guests are coming from Australia. Alicia will be here then, Jenny a few weeks after that and Dad a few weeks after that. Who said we would get homesick.

Hope all is great at home. Looking forward to the World Cup Cricket!!!


Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Location: Kampot and Kep, Cambodia

Hi all,
Just got a nasty email from Daniel complaining that we havent posted for a month. Life moves pretty fast - if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!

Anyways, went to Kampot for a long weekend a few weeks ago. It was cool. Sleepy little riverside town with no alot to do except relax. The trip down there was the interesting bit. A two hour taxi ride, $4 each. In the front there was FOUR people Two on the passenger side and two in the drivers seat!! It was a squeeze for them but the driver was surprisingly good.

Stayed in Kampot for two days, not much to see but we went to what they call a waterfall, which is more like some very mild rapids in a light stream! Have some photos which I will try to put on tomorrow.

Last weekend we went to Kep, a seaside town with even less to do but a really nice place. We stayed in The Verandah Guesthouse. Called the verandah because the whole comploex is on elevated wooden walkways like a giant verandha on the side of a hill. The highlight there was the bar that faces west so you can watch the sunset over the ocean with little tropical islands scattered about. Pretty amazing.

In Kep we ate some awesome Pepper Crabs. Best ever!! We also spent a day relaxing on a beach on a little local island called Rabbit Island. You rest on a little bed under a tree on the sand and wait for the people to bring you drinks and food. It was really quiet difficukt to adjust to!!! NOT!

Have some amazing photos of Kep and will TRY to get them on tomorrow.

Keep on trucking...

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Just writing this diary entry to tell you all to check out the photo of the instructions for toilet use from our work. Its classic.

Things are going well here. The kids at the orphanage are amazing. The people who run it are too.

Debs parents just spent a week in Cambodia and, get this, thought it was like a resort holiday in a really clean city with nice calm traffic.

They had just come from India!!!

We are heading to Kep for next weekend. I think its Royal Plowing Day. Mr Plow thats my name that name again is Mr Plow!!

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We are having an awesome time in Phnom Penh.

Nige's birthday yesterday was great!! Thanks to those who rang even after I a\emailed the wrong international code!!! Its +855.

We taught at the orphanage in the morning and took Debs parents, who have been here for 4 days visiting after time in India, and they loved it.

Went out for lunch, had great presents (Toblerone, new DVD movies and book!) and out for dinner.

Just having the most amazing experience... and if you are talking to Maurice Doughan ask him about how his planning is going because he is coming to visit us in Cambodia in 3 months!!!

Tuesday, 09 January 2007

Location: All over the roads..., Cambodia

Hi guys,
Just wanted to share my experiences on driving / riding overseas...

I have driven in Sydney for years - Parramatta Rd is pretty hectic in peak hour.
I have driven in New York City. I have driven in Slovenia and The Czech Republic.
I have riden a motorbike in Australia, Vietnam, Greece and Thailand but I have never seen the kind of road rules, or lack of adherance to them, as I am seeing every day here in Phnom Penh.

Think about all those times you were driving and you thought, I could pass him now, or I can nearly make it across the intersection... Well here it is standard that you just do it anyway.

Common things I deal with are people pulling out in front of you. They don't look, they just assume you will slow down and let them in.
Riding on the wrong side of the road. People are supposed to drive on the right hand side.
They turn left from the left side but don't look and then ride fast the wrong way up the street until there is a gap in the traffic and they can speed across the oncoming traffic on to the correct side.
People ride the wrong way down one way streets. ( On both sides of the road!!)

There are no stop signs (there are but noone pays them any attention!) and no give way signs. There are about 15 sets of traffic lights in Phnom Penh, a city of 1.5 million! Think about it, there are 15 sets of traffic lights within 1km in Sydney!!

But the killer is they don't actually stop at the traffic lights. If noone is coming the other way they just drive right through. Except sometimes there is someone coming and they drive through anyway.

They dont really wear helmets although Deb and I have had them since the first day!!

Last week we saw an accident between a motorbike and a push bike. The motor bike was turning left from the left (remember right hand side is correct) and it had a head on with a girl on a bike coming the wrong way up a one way street!!!

But if you have an accident you are supposed to get up and get away as quick as possible or they might try to rob you. Even if you get hurt you must leave the scene as quick as possible! Interesting approach.

I'll keep getting used to it, if I don't answer my phone its probably because I'm riding. It doesn't seem to stop other people talking and riding at the same time though.

Thursday, 04 January 2007

Location: City and the coast!, Cambodia

Christmas was awesome at the orphanage. They had this amazing meal and performance. There must have been 250 people which was everyone from the little village!

They put on a Christmas spectacular in their new building which is nearly half finished. About 50 kids dancing and singing like theres no tomorrow!!

We started working on Boxing day and all is going well at our school.

For New Years Eve we headed down to Sihanoukville on the southern coast (only coast) of Cambodia. Beautiful little town by the sea. White sandy beaches, comfy deck chairs all over the beach, basically plenty of relaxing. We did nothing for two days which we needed to do after working for a whole week!!

Had more friends from our TEFL course come to visit. We had dinner with Susan and Ken and Susans Mum and the FCC before they went off to a massage by blind people (which we had last week too!)

I have found a pub that shows the cricket! They also have good coffee and as the cricket starts here at 6am they go together well!

Debs parents coming to visit next week which we be cool. Someone to watch cricket with!

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Hi all, It's Christmas Eve, (Nige's Mums Birthday) and we went to a church service and saw a Khmer version of the Christmas story. It was very interesting!!

We have been in Cambodia for a week now. We start our new jobs on Boxing Day and we moved into our new apartmetn two days ago. We had a three person house warming and our lovely guest brought Aussie red wine!!! (Thanks Maggie!!)
All is going well.

It is difficult getting used to the lack of road rules but we will make it!! (...and I thought Thailand had flexible rules).

Off to an orphanage with a girl from Newcastle this afternoon. This place has about 86 amazing kids just 1/2 an hour by boat from the main river in Phnom Penh.

Having a great Christmas but missing everyone!!

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Location: Phuket Island, Thailand

Well it has been an amazing month here in Phuket town and we are so sad to leave. We have been studying hard completing our Teaching English as a foreign language course. This turned out to be a very challenging and full on course (so much for our month of enjoying the tropical island). We worked hard and past the test near the top of the class, and our many hours of observed teaching practice were hard going but worthwhile.

We managed to explore many beautiful beaches and even got to go scuba diving in the beautiful uninhabited similian islands north of Phuket. Check out our photos for the amazing beaches.

The food is definately worth a mention too!! After spending so much time in Europe we were glad to have a change and love the spicy Thai food.

Well we are off to Cambodia tomorrow and have some job interviews lined up this week so wish us luck.

Where ever you are in the world have a great Christmas and New year we are half way through our trip now!!
To those who have promise to come and see us we can't wait to have some guests!!

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