A night out in Phnom Penh!

Today was probably the best day spent in Phnom Penh so far. I woke up a little later than usual (by later I mean 8am instead of 6:30am) and caught up on some much needed sleep. I spent the morning at home with my grandma and my aunt just chatting and exchanging stories of life in Cambodia compared to that in Australia.

After my little 5 year old niece (my cousin’s daughter) returned from her daily morning English school, my friend and I decided to help her with what she had been studying which was the alphabet, and made cute little flash cards for her. It was as enjoyable for us as it was for her (perhaps even a little more) as I had not picked up a colouring pencil in years. It felt good to draw pictures and colour them in! It was fun teaching her English, teaching was something I had never done before and I was extremely surprised at the half decent job I did which I was really happy with. The satisfaction and enjoyment I got out of seeing the little girl understand what I was teaching her and copying how I pronounced words was something that is just truly priceless. Could teaching be a thing for me in the future?

Not long after, my cousin got off work early and came and picked us up and took us to the market to finish of some last minute gift shopping. I really like the markets here they are such a big contrast to how it is back home, nothing has a set value on it you simply have to ask and put your bargaining skills to the test to find a good deal. We came across some ladies who were selling a variety of fried insects including tarantulas and grasshoppers. My friend had been dying to try these local specialties and so she did which she thoroughly enjoyed while I cringed and tried to suppress my desire to throw up as I filmed her first reaction to tasting the creepy crawlies.

Later that night we took my grandma and went out to eat at a Korean suki soup restaurant which wasn’t my favourite thing, but it was nice trying something new. My cousin drives a ute and we decided to sit in the back of the ute just for the experience since it’s illegal back home. It was pretty cool getting an outside view of Phnom Penh’s nightlife. After dinner, we dropped my grandma back home and headed for a night out clubbing in Phnom Penh. I’d never gone clubbing with my cousins before (who are a lot older than I am) but I wanted to experience club life in Cambodia. We went to this place called Riverside which had the most beautiful interior design from the intricate selection of curtain patterns to the nice sofas and lounges. The dance floor was pretty impressive too and the elevated DJ booth was even better. My cousins ordered a jug of daiquiri and margarita which we all had plenty of rounds. Everybody in the club were mostly locals, however there were several westerners too which increased as the night progressed. The music wasn’t something I fancied as it was all mainly electro and house. I was reluctant to dance at first because I wasn’t familiar with this certain type of music and because I felt uncomfortable and awkward with my cousins there, but as the night went on, we all got tipsy and got on the dance floor and showed off our moves. Nobody cared who danced like what it was all up a really fun night as we headed for the exit a few hours later. In the car ride home I showed them some good RNB and hip hop tunes as we drove along the deserted streets with the stereo blaring through the darkness. They stopped to have a bite, their equivalent of our “Maccas run” which consisted of white porridge, egg and some meat. I didn’t eat because I wasn’t hungry so I watched, still half tipsy, as everyone chowed down their food. Not long after we headed home and I could not be happier to finally get in bed and have a good sleep before the early morning ahead travelling to 3 provinces in 4 days, Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville. Really looking forward to finally getting to bring my bikini out and soak up some sun!

Phnom Penh bound!

We arrived in Phnom Penh a couple of days ago after farewelling the beautiful city of siem reap, and hopped on a 6 hour bus ride which felt like forever. When we finally arrived, my cousin was there to pick us up it was so good seeing him again he used to look after me like a sister back when I was little and used to live here. He drove us to my grandmas house where I’m currently staying and it was great seeing everyone again, including my aunts and other cousins. My grandma reminds me so much of the grandma in Mulan she’s so damn cute lol we just decided to spend the rest of the day at home with family since the day was nearly over anyways.

The next day my cousin took us out to dinner to this place called Khmer Thai restaurant where you had an option to choose between seats or floor mats, we chose floor mats just to try something different. Sitting on the floor on these cushions was the most comfortable thing I wish more restaurants had that option available. After dinner, we headed to this place called Eclipse Skybar, where we sat on the roof of the tower at level 22 and I had a tequila sunrise. The view from the top was beautiful but still I couldn’t help but think of how divided this nation is, while one part is sipping cocktails on a rooftop bar, the other part is digging through rubbish and begging on the streets for money.

My cousin’s wife took us shopping the next day where we bought a couple of souvenirs for friends and family back home, I really got to put my bargaining skills to work, which I wasn’t very good at. After we tired ourselves of shopping, we were craving pizza so we had cheese crust filled Hawaiian which was so delicious, I’m not sure whether it was because of the pizza itself or the fact that we had been craving it so much. Later that night my cousin took us to his place where we played with his cute little kids, one 3 and one almost 2. We had delicious local papaya salad and I also tried swan meat for the first time. The taste was a little like lamb, but the texture is chewy like Turkey. It didn’t taste bad but just the thought of eating a swan was strange. I’m looking forward to trying insects and other creepy crawlies that they sell here just for the experience so watch out for the next blog post!

Exploring ancient temples!

After having a solid night sleep we woke up the next day at 7.30 and got ourselves ready before heading out to explore the town. Our Tuk Tuk driver drove us to this lovely place where we had our breakfast. The traffic here is crazy, there are no rules it’s basically the big guys who barge through first because of the size of their vehicle (irony that’s how it goes too in government here) whereas the little guys have no option as to move aside for them to come through.

Soon after, we headed towards surrounding temples of Angkor which all hold cultural and historical significance and stories dating back to centuries ago. The first temple we visited was called “Banteay Srei” which was a temple made solely for women. This temple had the most beautiful and detailed carvings on the walls and was not fully completed as the story goes that the king died before they could finish construction. After spending some time there we headed to view some other temples and I was so shocked to find out how many temples there were which surround Angkor. They all have their own uniqueness and served a purpose. I still cannot get my head around how civilization at that time were able to carry copious amounts of stone which must have weighed tons, and pile and carve them into such amazing temples where each piece had it’s own unique place. How did they manage back in those days without any technology, sophisticated tools or machinery? The architectures must have been so intelligent to plan and delegate such a task. Story goes that each stone was harvested from the top of the mountains and carried on an elephants back, each piece was then hauled down the river surrounding the Angkor temple where they were then assembled. It is truly amazing running your fingers over the carvings on the wall which all tell a story, and the inscriptions on most corners of the temple.

Exploring ancient temples was tiring as you had to climb over, step around, and climb down with each step throughout the whole visit but it was definitely worth it. The local children were extremely cute and persistent as they tried to sell us bracelets and postcards. It definitely wasn’t all great after seeing some women and children digging through rubbish to find anything to sustain them and seeing all these children out of school because they had to help their parents make some money was upsetting. There was this one lady who was sitting on the side step with her little son in her arms who had a severe tumour in his face and begging for money it was so hard to turn a blind eye to that.

Later that night we headed out to Pub Street again to have our dinner and walked past this one pub that looked incredible and had great music, at first we were reluctant and hesitant to enter because we were feeling insecure that everyone inside was a lot older and we looked extremely young that it was embarrassing, so we started walking away but after a couple of meters we stopped and remembered our promise to give things a try and not let our insecurities hold us back. We turned back around and went inside the pub and ordered our first beers, we were so proud of ourselves that we could drink it and found a lovely spot outside where we met a nice Filipino couple and had a good chat with them. After we headed back home I thought of how proud I was of myself for the fact that I was able to put insecurities aside and live life, and the fact that I actually downed beer for the first time!

More to come after our adventures tomorrow! x

The arrival!

We arrived to siem reap after a terrifying 24 hour transit which sucked the life out of me where I almost fainted, I was having dizzy spells and numbness due to lack of sleep and little to no appetite over the past day. My body was shutting down little by little, firstly my mouth went dry then my hands started to numb and I could see veins visible then after my legs started to numb and my head was spinning, not to mention the rapid rate at which my heart was beating, I swear I felt as if I was either going to have a heart attack or brain hemorrhage. I was so fidgety and rushing to get to the gate for our flight to siem reap so that I could finally try and sleep on the plane that it looked like I was on drugs or something just because of my erratic behaviour lmao. Not to mention the fact that lines were ridiculously long and waiting time was outrageous. Lucky for me, the flight was only 2 hours and not long after we arrived in siem reap and I was still feeling light headed that it was hard to take in the sights.

Once we landed and got through immigration and received our visas our organised Tuk-Tuk driver was waiting outside and picked us up and drove us to our gorgeous apartment villa. Being back in my beautiful country never ceases to amaze me each and every time. The culture shock was expected for my friend who could not believe we were finally in Cambodia.

We took a 3 hour nap to recharge our batteries before leaving to explore the majestic sites of the famous Angkor Wat temple. This was my third time visiting the place and it is truly a different experience each and every time, you find out something new about the place and discover a new connection. We took a photo on the back of a horse for $1 and I got into a little bit of an argument with the owner because he was trying to charge us $3 but I got out of that situation winning (they are so dodgy!). We took some incredible snaps on our cameras and headed back home shortly, still stunned by the beauty of Angkor, and Cambodia.

Later that night we headed out to the famous “Pub Street” amidst the hustle and bustle of the night market. The night life was absolutely remarkable! The locals were very lovely and the tourists were extremely good looking (damn where do guys like that exist?!). We ate at a nice little place called “Khmer Kitchen” and devoured our exquisite Green mango salad and seafood noodles. My friend could not stop saying how good the food was the waiters kept staring they probably thought we’ve never had food before LOL

The first day in Cambodia was pretty epic, I mean we visited one of the most beautiful and sacred sites in the world upon our arrival and had the best green mango salad we’ve ever tasted. What more could be better? This definitely made up for the disappointing day we had in Malaysia. Tomorrow we spend a whole day visiting surrounding temples and taking in the sights my beautiful homeland has to offer :)

"24 hours of struggle"

Okay so…. A story like this that I’m about to tell usually involves an in depth a rant, but seeing as I’ve only had about 8 hours of sleep in the past 3 days and insufficient meals, I really lack the energy to even make this post but let me sum up everything that happened today real quick.

So when we finally landed in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur (KL) airport, we were drained from the flight and from our restlessness on board the plane and were so much looking forward to checking into a hotel to getting some rest as there was a 24 hour wait until our next flight. We frantically searched and asked around for the nearest hotel and found out it was 20 minutes away, this was so confusing as my mum told me beforehand that the Kuala Lumpur airport had a transit hotel inside. After searching everywhere and asking around we realized we were in another terminal as the airline we flew with was not connected with the main KL airport which was about 30 minutes away.

Let me just say this…. Never have I heard of an airport with limited chairs and zero couches/sofas and zero transit lounges. We could not exit the airport to the hotel because we did not apply for a Malaysian visa so we really had no option but to sit it out and wait 24 hours in an airport without adequate seating and anything to keep us entertained and awake. The struggle was so real we were tired and starving and had to exchange money to Malaysian currency which I had no idea about but we managed to in the end (we probably got ripped off) and had a quick bite at a fast food place called “MarryBrowns” which was so underwhelming to say the least… I jumped on my phone and luckily there was wifi so I contacted my mum to tell her we landed and the dilemma we were having, just my luck my phone had about 20% battery left and the adapter I brought was not compatible with the power sockets they use in Malaysia. So in the midst of my mum trying to help us out my phone died and she was left wandering if we were safe and okay, poor woman! :(

There was actually not a thing we could do but to wait it out and sit on the floor for 24 hours, I was so tired we slept on our luggages on the floor, at that point I didn’t have a single care about how rachet I looked when fatigue was taking over. To add to the struggle, there was not a clock in sight at the airport and we finally found ONE after searching around everywhere this made absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever! And time was going slow as fuck! It was so painful to sit through.
My friend and I alternated turns taking naps on the ground while the other person looked after the luggage to make sure no one would steal it.

The toilets were revolting, the floor was all wet and I think a toilet was leaking (what more could go wrong?) but there was a moment where I saw cleaners and restaurant/cafe workers and thought how lucky I am to have the opportunity and resources to be able to travel whereas they work in an airport and would probably never even get the chance to see the world.

After we finally caught up on some 15 minute micro naps and devoured some nuggets and fries, we discussed all that had gone wrong today and found the invaluable lessons and experience out of this situation to be helpful for the future and reminded ourselves that travel does not always go accordingly to plan, it’s how you handle situations in the moment that matter most. We remained positive and optimistic throughout the 17 hours of waiting and now it is almost midnight, so just another 7 hour wait until we board our plane and leave this undesirable day behind and finally begin our adventure in Cambodia.

Despite today probably being the closest experience I’ve had to death (slight exaggeration), it was all part of the journey. Here’s hoping the rest of our trip goes well and that today we were put to the test to see if we could get through it, which I know we undoubtedly will! I met some really lovely people who were also traveling and had some good conversations with them. I can make this post now thanks to this lovely lady from Borneo who is also waiting for her flight which departs at the same time as ours. We learnt a lot about each others’ cultures and countries as well as ourselves and the vastly different lives that we live. Thanks to her charger, I was able to get in contact with my poor mum who was worried sick about us and it was so good to let her know we were okay and hear a sigh of relief from her on the other line.

Ok I said I wasn’t gonna write a lot but honestly, how could I not after all the events that unfolded today? This isn’t even the whole story I just tried to cut it down as much as I could. But here are some pictures of our struggle from today lmao. Keep in mind pictures were limited due to my phone dying.

Will blog when we get to Cambodia (finally!) xx

"The departure"

Finally, after months, weeks and days of countdowns and sleepless nights, the time had arrived. I was finally able to cross off my bucket list, “Travel overseas with a friend”. The feeling is crazy! I’m using tumblr as kind of like a travel journal, to share all my thoughts, adventures and experiences, as well as look back on them and remember my trips to each unique destination.

I was half asleep the whole day before my departure due to the fact that I did not get much sleep the previous night, partly due to the stress of packing but mostly because of the overwhelming excitement that lingered throughout that entire night. My flight was scheduled just after midnight and to my surprise the day had passed by so quickly I hoped that this wouldn’t be the case for when I was actually overseas. I received a package in the mail earlier on in the day and to my surprise it was a book I had won on a twitter competition run by G Adventures (which is an adventure travel company), coincidence or what? I saw this as a sign of something great and decided to bring it along on my trip. The book is written by the CEO and founder of the travel company and I decided it would be an interesting read from someone like minded as myself. As I frantically did my last minute checks to ensure I had everything, I got dressed and took one last look at myself in my mirror in my room. The feeling of being able to work hard towards a lifelong dream of the desire to travel and completely 100% fund myself  was a feeling of newly found responsibility, maturity and pride that I had not previously known before. I did not have much time to dwell on these thoughts as I headed out the house, but of course I couldn’t forget to give a big hug and kiss to my best friend and beloved four-legged companion, Oscar, who has been such a huge part of my life for the past 5 years. I will miss his squishy face! 

I picked up my friend at her house and it was such a bittersweet moment when I saw her say her goodbyes to her family, especially her dad who I could tell was very sad to see her leave. Not going to lie it really made me feel some type of way as I tried to hold back tears and be a tough bitch lol. We finally got to the airport and after what seemed like hours of queuing up to check in for our flights, we rushed to McDonald’s to have a last minute bite before boarding the plane. I received a couple of cute messages from some friends wishing us goodbye and couldn’t help but smile and be grateful to have such incredible people in my life. I said my goodbyes to my parents, I could see how proud they were and it was comforting knowing that they really love and care about me. It was a strange feeling, I had never left home alone before (for more than 3 days and the furthest was interstate) let alone travel across the ocean to another continent. I was a little apprehensive at first, but as moments passed, the excitement and realisation of what was about to happen tided me over and without long, I was in holiday mode. 

We finally boarded our plane and to our luck there was an empty seat next to us so of course we took advantage of that and made ourselves comfortable. Anyone who’s been in a plane (and I’m not talking business class) Would know the struggle of finding a comfortable position. Not gonna lie, it took us about 45 minutes of frantic shuffling around to find a comfortable position, laughing the whole time at our antics. I was finally able to get about what seemed like 2 hours sleep and here I am now writing this blog while my friend is asleep next to me and the man behind is snoring louder than Jennifer Hudson’s singing. I still can’t believe this trip is happening! I’ve been dreaming about it since high school. My love for travel and thirst for adventure is at an all time high and I’m glad to embark on this trip, I will bring a whole new perspective during this trip and engage in things I normally wouldn’t do. I will soak up as much culture as I can and find something new about myself throughout this trip.

Anyway, Once this plane lands I will be stuck in Malaysia for a day before our transit flight so I best save my battery. Will check in for part 2 when we land in Siem Reap, Cambodia! 
xx

"The departure"

Finally, after months, weeks and days of countdowns and sleepless nights, the time had arrived. I was finally able to cross off my bucket list, “Travel overseas with a friend”. The feeling is crazy! I’m using tumblr as kind of like a travel journal, to share all my thoughts, adventures and experiences, as well as look back on them and remember my trips to each unique destination.

I was half asleep the whole day before my departure due to the fact that I did not get much sleep the previous night, partly due to the stress of packing but mostly because of the overwhelming excitement that lingered throughout that entire night. My flight was scheduled just after midnight and to my surprise the day had passed by so quickly I hoped that this wouldn’t be the case for when I was actually overseas. I received a package in the mail earlier on in the day and to my surprise it was a book I had won on a twitter competition run by G Adventures (which is an adventure travel company), coincidence or what? I saw this as a sign of something great and decided to bring it along on my trip. The book is written by the CEO and founder of the travel company and I decided it would be an interesting read from someone like minded as myself. As I frantically did my last minute checks to ensure I had everything, I got dressed and took one last look at myself in my mirror in my room. The feeling of being able to work hard towards a lifelong dream of the desire to travel and completely 100% fund myself was a feeling of newly found responsibility, maturity and pride that I had not previously known before. I did not have much time to dwell on these thoughts as I headed out the house, but of course I couldn’t forget to give a big hug and kiss to my best friend and beloved four-legged companion, Oscar, who has been such a huge part of my life for the past 5 years. I will miss his squishy face!

I picked up my friend at her house and it was such a bittersweet moment when I saw her say her goodbyes to her family, especially her dad who I could tell was very sad to see her leave. Not going to lie it really made me feel some type of way as I tried to hold back tears and be a tough bitch lol. We finally got to the airport and after what seemed like hours of queuing up to check in for our flights, we rushed to McDonald’s to have a last minute bite before boarding the plane. I received a couple of cute messages from some friends wishing us goodbye and couldn’t help but smile and be grateful to have such incredible people in my life. I said my goodbyes to my parents, I could see how proud they were and it was comforting knowing that they really love and care about me. It was a strange feeling, I had never left home alone before (for more than 3 days and the furthest was interstate) let alone travel across the ocean to another continent. I was a little apprehensive at first, but as moments passed, the excitement and realisation of what was about to happen tided me over and without long, I was in holiday mode.

We finally boarded our plane and to our luck there was an empty seat next to us so of course we took advantage of that and made ourselves comfortable. Anyone who’s been in a plane (and I’m not talking business class) Would know the struggle of finding a comfortable position. Not gonna lie, it took us about 45 minutes of frantic shuffling around to find a comfortable position, laughing the whole time at our antics. I was finally able to get about what seemed like 2 hours sleep and here I am now writing this blog while my friend is asleep next to me and the man behind is snoring louder than Jennifer Hudson’s singing. I still can’t believe this trip is happening! I’ve been dreaming about it since high school. My love for travel and thirst for adventure is at an all time high and I’m glad to embark on this trip, I will bring a whole new perspective during this trip and engage in things I normally wouldn’t do. I will soak up as much culture as I can and find something new about myself throughout this trip.

Anyway, Once this plane lands I will be stuck in Malaysia for a day before our transit flight so I best save my battery. Will check in for part 2 when we land in Siem Reap, Cambodia!
xx

mannersmad

Wanderlust

mannersmad:

Wanderlust is the best way to describe how I feel right now.

Looking trough my travel guides, looking at travel pictures, lonely planets routes, … My bucket list gets longer every single day. 

I would so much like to be a billionaire and just wander the world, without having to think about money and how to come around on a day-to-day basis. I know, I’m a student right now and those are problems for the future, but still… Take away those worries and just be free.

This is my goal in life!