Friday, January 30, 2009

We Travel Well

Have tons to blog about. We've had a number of food and travel adventures and misadventures since Q4 last year. I've accumulated lots of photos but never got around to posting them. Will do that really soon! But before that...

Lifted this from Diane's blog:

1. What part of the world and country do you live in?

On weekdays, I sleep to the symphony of beeping cars and grinding cement trucks in Mandaluyong City. On weekends, I wake up to the concerto of chirping birds in Cavite. Both are in the Philippines.

2. What is the furthest from home that you have been, and where is it? to brush up on my geography. Asia mainly. I think Phuket, Thailand.

3. What travel destination have you enjoyed the most?

Wow, this is tough. Each destination has its own appeal. Locally, it would be Batanes. Outside of the Philippines, that would be Siem Reap, Cambodia.

4. What travel destination have you enjoyed the least?

Penang, Malaysia - only because I never had the chance to really explore the place.

5. Is there somewhere you’d like to visit but have not, and where is it?

I'd really like to go on an African Safari. Someday.

6. Do you prefer traveling to see historic places or to hit the beach and relax?

I'm generally a nature lover so I prefer the beach over historic places. However, beautiful historical sites like the Angkor region in Cambodia also appeal to me.

7. What popular vacation destination have you never considered because you think you’d not like it?

Hongkong is quite popular to Filipinos because of its proximity and accessibility. However, theme parks and shopping are not exactly my cup of tea so I've never ventured to Hongkong. But I might just try it one of these days.

8. Where do you travel to most recently?

Siem Reap, Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

9. Do you like day trip “mini-vacations”?

Not as much as week-long vacations. I enjoy taking my time to discover and experience the places I visit. A day trip just doesn't cut it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy New Year from Saigon!

Today is New Year's eve and Ho Chi Minh is decorated in colorful flowers, lights, balloons and lots of people line the streets. Ariel and I finished our tour for the day and are now resting for a few hours. We will walk towards Saigon River at around 10pm to join the Tet festivities until midnight. There will be fireworks by the river.

It's a great time to be here as the atmosphere is very festive. The downside is that all shops are closed so we were not able to buy any souvenirs.Some shops will be closed until the 28th!

Tomorrow, Ariel and I will just relax and walk around the area. Our hotel is just across Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office. I want to take photos at sunrise. However, it's probably an activity I will be doing on my own as Ariel doesn't want to wake up early after several days of waking up before sunrise in Siem Reap. Tomorrow will be the first morning he will be waking up late since we left Manila! I'm just a bit wary here. It feels a lot safer to go around in Siem Reap than here in HCM (we've been ripped off by cab drivers 2x already so we decided to just walk to whereever from this point on!). I'll see tomorrow. It's just across our hotel and very much visible from our hotel room.

While Ariel and I have been enjoying our vacation, I can't wait to get back home! I'm so looking forward to sleeping on my own bed on Tuesday!!! Plus I have a surprise waiting for Ariel when we get back. So excited!

Oh, I need to have my ankle checked back in Manila. It's still a bit sore.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hello from Siem Reap!

We've had the most amazing 2 days in Siem Reap so far. Ariel and I just go tback from exploring he country side in an All-Terrain Vehicle and it was awesome. We visited a local orphanage and caught the kids in class (they have English, Chinese and Japanese language classes) and then later at recess. We had a great time interacting with them despite the fact that they are not yet very good in English. I asked one kid "how old are you?" and he said "I'm fine thank you. And you?" Of course I said "Im fine, too!" It took us more than three hours to traverse thorugh almost 50kms of dirt road. Needless to say, every inch of my body, clothing, bag, is thick with red dust. Such a small price to pay for an awesome experience. Ariel had a wonderful time and I could see how much he relished driving the ATV. Will give more details when I blog about our trip.

I thank God that all things worked out. We had a few minor misadventures but everything fell into place.

I twisted my ankle yesterday when I stepped in gap on the floor and fell right in front of a statue of Buddha. One good thing about it is that no one else was around when it happened - just Ariel and our guide so di naman masyadong nakakahiya. I took Advil right after and managed to complete our tour with minor inconvenience (and still managed to climb the most challenging temples!). By evening, my ankle was swollen but a few minutes of painful massage might have helped as I woke up today without the swelling. My thigh muscles were aching though, from all the climbing (well, crawling up is more like it!) the previous day. Oh, and I just confirmed, I have a fear of heights. Well, maybe not exactly. It's just that I have no problem climbing up the temples no matter how steep and tall they are. I get tired, sure. But I still manage to go up. Now, going down is a different matter altogether. I'd stnd there on the edge and freeze!!! Ariel and our guide Sophal would take my hand and help me take the first step or two and then I'll make it on my own. I was just so terrified! So why still climb? I don't know. Maybe it's my pride, or my competitive nature. I just can't go back home and say that I didn't go up the temples. :D

More details when we get home! Just took a bit of internet time to check our itinerary when we get back to Ho Chi Minh on Saturday.

Ok, I badly need a long shower and some heavy scrubbing. Oh, and I can't wait for dinner. Khmer food is simple mouthwatering!