Goa & Hampi

Nick and I spent 4 days and 3 nights in Goa. Our guidebook described the beaches we visited; Palolem, Agonda and Patnem as hippie backpacker chill outs with cheap bungalows, drugs, and silent (headphone) dance parties. That is the definition of what Nick and I try to avoid, however everyone talks about Goa and we figured we should go.

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Agonda, Goa

We arrived in April and to our pleasant surprise it was dead. Visiting during off-season we enjoyed abandoned towns, quiet beaches and spending time doing absolutely nothing. We hadn’t realized it had been months since we just stopped and relaxed, and it was needed. We met up with our friends form Angola and spent our time eating mediocre tourist food, playing Uno, setting off fireworks, swimming in the ocean and just hanging out.

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After taking a sleeper bus to Hampi it reaffirmed our love for India’s rail transit. In the 2 months we’ve spent in India we will have spent 6 overnights on trains. The system is cheap (subsidized), efficient, and comfortable. We’ve met so many wonderful people on the trains and at the stations. Nick and I have a blast arriving to a city and figuring out the train, tuktuk, Uber, plane and bus systems.

Visiting India during the off-season has been wonderful, however the heat was hard. It’s been on average 105-110 degrees and we haven’t had ac in 3 weeks. We wake up in the middle of night sweating; try taking a cold shower, only to find that the water is turned off. It feels like my clothes are consistently damp, however the perks of the off-season outweigh the heat by a hundred fold.

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Hampi

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We spent time in Hampi exploring the ancient ruins dating from the 11th – 13th century. In the 16th century, this now World Heritage Site was once a thriving capital home to 500,000 individuals. My favorite artifact was a large granite Ganesh, while nick liked the elephant stables in the Zenana Enclosure. We saw many young females with shaved heads and learned that it’s common when traveling to Hampi to offer your hair to the temples. The town was quant, empty, meatless and alcohols free. Every morning locals painted the street in front of their home with cow feces and water to welcome guests. We were told that Hindus believe cows resemble their mothers as their provide nourishment to their fields, thus cow fertilizer is sacred.

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Stone Chariot

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Elephant Stables
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“Take my family’s photo.”

 

The ruins were thought provoking but what I thought made Hampi magical was its landscape. A sea of round granite boulders with beautiful cracks engulfed yellow planes with palm trees. It resembled a scene from Jurassic park. Nick and I spent 2 days bouldering, as it is world famous for its problems. However, since we seem to have lost most of our climbing strength and the blistering sun made it difficult, we didn’t spend too much time on the rocks. It is obvious why travelers (climbers specifically) could spend months in Hampi.

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Bouldering in Hampi
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Crashing on crash pads

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We met our friends from Angola again and it had been nice seeing familiar faces throughout India. We rented bicycles and were told to bike 3 km along the river to spend the afternoon swimming in waterfalls. Needless to say, the next few hours we wandered around banana plantations, got lost in the desert, cooled off in a lagoon (thankfully no crocodiles were spotted) and we reached the falls only to find rocks. It seemed like the bike rental shop and all of the locals along the way forgot to mention the water dries up during the spring. After flipping over the handlebars of my bike and scrapping up my hands we ended the evening with some Uno before taking a sleeper train to Bangaluru.

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Goan Eats:

The Cafe – set veg breakfast, amazing.

New world – expensive organic/veg restaurant, we enjoyed a delectable paneer steak

Little world – cheap tourist food

Feni (cashew liquor) – try the local cashew nuts, cachew fruit or alcohol made from the fruit

Hospet (Hosapete) Eats:

Udupi Sri Krishna Bhavan (across from the bus stand) – impeccable. The set dosa cost 45 R (70 cents) or try some idlis (spongy round fermented rice cake) and vada (fried dough) for breakfast.

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Breakfast Idly and Vada
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Breakfast Puri
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Half eaten set dosa with coriander coconut chutney

Hampi Eats:

Mango Tree – the special thali is huge (130 R)

Laughing Buddha – great hangout overlooking the river

Tonsai & Railay

What a strange place.

Let me begin by trying to paint a picture. Tonsai is a beach on a peninsula of southern Thailand and it’s more affluent neighbor is Railay. Tonsai can only be reached by boat as no roads have been developed. On one hand it is picture perfect. I wrote the majority of this blog laying on the beach under a shady tree. The waves were crashing, the sun was shining and climbers passed me by. The emerald clear water was salty and warm. Rock faces lined the beach and glowed as the sun set. Nick and I watched monkeys swinging from tree to tree, saw spiders the size of an adult hand and spotted a 4-foot long Monitor Lizard.

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low tide & a setting sun over Tonsai Beach

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One of the many rock faces that dominates Railay Beach

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Sure, you could pay hundreds of dollars to have as slightly more luxurious Thailand experience on Railay beach, however the rest of the budget travels stay in 250 bhat ($6.99) bungalows in Tonsai. The majority of the beach front in Tonsai is owned by some entity that instead of building, has walled off everything but the beach to the outside. This has resulted in a perfect beach with a rapidly expanding bohemian village into the jungle. Avoiding electric wiring, watching sewage pumped into the ocean and cement walls that blocks ocean views are common.

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Sunset on Railay Beach
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The cement wall that separates the beach from Tonsai “village”

Electricity was only available from 6 pm – 2 am, when the town’s diesel generator was operating. Most people stay here for multiple weeks to months and this becomes their reality. Climbers stay here to train and festival hippies come here to relax and slackline. Everyday the routes get more polished and people get sick. Climbers are warned to properly treat wounds as seawater and gray water is contaminated. Infections are common as well as “Tonsai Tummy” which is either an unknown bacteria or virus that gets almost every traveler sick. Unfortunately, Nick wasn’t lucky enough to avoid this phenomenon. There is no law enforcement in Tonsai. In Thailand, drug offenders can be sentenced to death, however in Tonsai, mushroom shakes are sold, marijuana is smoked and there seems to be no order. Frankly, it’s a strange place. Oh, and did I mention the hundreds of stray cats?

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A common virus or bacteria that gets most travelers sick

The majority of our time in Tonsai we spent climbing. Although Nick did most of the climbing as my ankle was still healing, he said the majority of the routes were hard, and polished. Monkey poop littered some walls, but once on top the views were phenomenal. It’s been difficult for Nick and I because climbers train everyday then come Asia for holiday and crush. Whereas, we aren’t able to train and find getting use to new areas, grading and maintaining our strength more difficult than expected. Nonetheless, Nick had a blast on a multi-pitch Humanality (6b+) pictured below.

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View from Humanality 6b+
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Nick working a 6c+ on Tonsai Beach
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Introducing Nick’s pony tail to the world!
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Climbing with our new friend, Ryan

Average days included waking up in our bungalow and sitting on our porch. We would wander our way to town and enjoy a pot of coffee and muesli bowl. Then we would either climb or on rest days head to Railay beach and swim. We enjoyed delicious Thai food, met new people and saw familiar faces. It seems the traveling climbing community is relatively small as we see faces from previous areas and countries. In the evening, Nick and I would enjoy a delicious Thai curry and relax at the Viking Bar (1 of 3 Rasta bars in town) where we played with wooden puzzles and watched slackliners. Although an odd scene, it was relaxing staying in one place and enjoying the beach before heading to Malaysia.

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Bungalow View – 650 bhat ($7)
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Put your hands in the air if you have hairy pits & just don’t care!

Favorite Local Eats:

Thai Food Restaurant – cheapest REAL coffee in town, 1 pot for 60 bhat

The Green Restaurant – best wifi and highest quality food in town (BBQ offered at night)

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Breakfast rice with milk and fresh fruit
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Breakfast muesli bowl

The Viking Bar – fun staff and funny scene, don’t forget to check out the burger cart outside in the evenings.

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Nick’s favorite chicken burger

Australian wraps & shakes (Riley) – try the banana passionfruit smoothie with NO sugar and the Thai chicken wrap

Hpa-An & the Golden Rock

From Myawlamyine, Nick and I took a 5 hour boat ride along the Thanlyin River to Hpa-An. We passed by fishing boats and thatched homes as village kids ran along the shore waving hello. Golden pagodas sprinkled the landscape and we stopped at U Nar Auk Monastery. This monastery was built in 1888 and the buddhas pictured below were each made from 1 whole piece of wood. As we continued up river toward  Hpa-An we were greeted with mountains.

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Behind the scenes at U Nar Auk Monastery

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One of our favorite activities in Hpa-An was visiting Linno Cave. As we walked to the cave we spent some time playing with local children and the toothbrushes we handed out were an absolute hit. We sat and waited for sunset in anticipation to see the bats. Linno cave is home to millions of bats from over 10 different species. These bats eat huge numbers of agricultural pests and provide guano that is harvested by local villagers (30 kg per week). Each evening the bats leave the cave to feed and we watched a steady stream of bats fly out of the cave for at least 15 minutes.

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Millions of bats leaving their cave at sunset

Nick and I’s favorite restaurant in Hpa-An was called San Ma Tau, where we each ordered a small curry and rice. With most traditional burmese dishes, tea, cabbage soup, fresh vegetables and sides come with every meal. These sides included: boiled fish paste, fried fish paste, pound fish paste, fried chopped fish paste, fried onion with shrimp, soya beans, fried chill + garlic + peanut, fried sesame with garlic, pickled tea leaves, and mango chutney.

Traditional Burmese Cuisine

On our second and last day in Hpa-An, Nick and I drove a motorbike 32 km (20 miles) to Bayin Nyi Pagoda where we sport climbed. Although the routes were relatively short and dirty it was a unique experience climbing to the sounds of morning prayer. Our approach included walking through buddha caves and past monk’s bathing springs.

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Nick climbing Monet’s Rising Sun
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Climbing at Bayin Nyi Pagoda

We left Hpa-An and spent the night in Kyaikto. We woke up early and caught a ride to Kinmun. Here we began the 11km (7 mile) hike to the golden rock. We hiked along an empty trail and were asked for many religious donations along the way. We passed by bamboo stalls that sold warm sodas, noodles and doubled as family’s homes. Every stall we passed reaked of human feces, which was a smell that would continue to follow us throughout Myanmar. As we continued up the trail we began to get a beautiful overlook of the valley. We assumed that because we only passed 4 foreigners and 30 locals on the trail that there would only be about 100 tourists at the top.

When we arrived, we were bombarded with thousands of local tourists that arrived by bus. Food vendors, souvenir stalls, napping pilgrims, picnicking tourists and monks all added to the chaos. Although the golden rock was extremely impressive we were more entertained by the scene around us. As many things in Myanmar, the pagoda was divided by gender. Men were aloud to place gold pieces of foil on the rock while woman prayed in a separate area. We have found that metal detectors, hot springs and various other activities are all separated by gender. Nick and I decided to take the bus down  to the bottom of the mountain rather than hike and was it an experience worthwhile! 10 buses of 45 people all left at the same time. We were packed into the back of a large truck and down we went. It felt like we were on a roller coaster, as we speed through bumps our stomachs dropped and as we rounded corners we were whiplashed into one another. We sped past every other bus heading down and were happy we made it in 1 piece.

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11 km hike to Golden Rock
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Golden Rock / Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Chiang Mai

Nick and I spent a week climbing and eating in Chiang Mai. It was relaxing spending a few days in one place and we were able to celebrate our own unconventional Christmas.

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At my previous job in Colorado, my company sponsored 2 strong climbers from Chiang Mai that I continued to stay in touch with. During our visit, we met up and it was a blast to some familiar faces and get some local insight. Although they had to work, we had fun climbing with their friends.

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Heading to Crazy Horse Buttress

We climbed 6 days at Crazy Horse Buttress, the rock 21 miles outside of the city. The rock was limestone (as all rock is in Southeast Asia) although extremely diverse. We climbed a dirty 4 pitch route up through a cave that rewarded us with a view and various other sharp overhanging routes. Of the 30 plus routes we climbed, our favorite routes were on heart wall which had sustained climbing up to 30 meters.

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Abort mission … bees!

Nick and I decided to take a rest day on the 26th and celebrated Christmas! We spent the morning at a Thai cooking class (Asian Scenic Thai Cooking School $28) and ended the evening with a Thai massage (Lila Thai Massage $7). At the cooking class, we visited the local market and picked up foreign ingredients that I’ve never seen before (eggplant the size of a pea, coriander leaves, kaffir lime and tamarind sauce). We picked herbs and vegetables from the garden and before we began to cook were treated with an appetizer. This dish was called Meang Kim or Thai welcome snack as it’s traditionally used to greet guests. A dish with diced shallot, sliced lime with the skin, roasted peanuts, toasted coconut meat, ginger, chilies, betel leaves and sweet syrup (palm sugar, ginger, water, salt and shallot) were placed in front of us. We were told to fold the leaves to form a cup and place all of the ingredients inside. We drizzled the sweet syrup on top and ate it in one bite. As we slowly chewed we could taste all of the flavors at once. It was spicy from the ginger and chilies, bitter from the lime and betel leave and sweet from the toasted coconut and syrup. It was fascinating as I’ve never felt all of those sensations in one bite.

After, we began to cook. We made pad thai, cachew and basil stir fry, spring rolls, green curry, red curry, panang curry, massaman curry, mango sticky rice, deep fried bananas, and bananas in coconut milk.

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Nick vs. Stacia (spring roll challenge) … not even a competition

I’ve only ever made Thai curry from store bought curry paste, so it was interesting to make it from scratch. Did you know red curry paste and green curry paste use all of the same ingredients (kaffir lime skin, shallot, garlic, turmeric, coriander seeds, ginsing, lemongrass and galangal), only different chili peppers? Green curry uses fresh small young green chilies making it more spicy and red curry uses dried large red chilies. Did you know the only difference from red curry and panang curry is that panang curry uses peanuts to take away some of the heat? And Khaw Soi (northern Thai curry served with egg noodles) is red curry with added chili oil and curry powder. Masaman curry (which has more Indian origin) is made from dried red chilies, peanuts, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom pods, kaffir lime skin, shallot, garlic, turmeric, coriander seeds, ginsing, lemongrass and galangal. We had a blast at the cooking class and though it was money well spent.

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Making red curry paste

There are so many markets in Chiang Mai, morning markets, night markets, Saturday markets, Sunday markets, night bizzares, etc. Nick and I explored as many as we could and ate our brains out. We also ate at Chun Kurn, a classy vegetarian buffet that I’d highly recommend and A Taste of Heaven. We had a blast in Chaing Mai and are heading Sukhathai then Myanmar before returning to Southern Thailand. Happy New Year!

Pad Thai Street Stall

Luang Prabang

Every backpacker has been to Luang Prabang, therefore I assumed it would be as disappointing as Vang Vieng. However, the ancient charm of the old quarter was well preserved and was similar, however almost more genuine than Hoi An, Vietnam.  The architecture was simple yet refined and the open-air schoolhouses were especially unique.

The UNESCO protected peninsula was packed with 33 beautiful Buddhist Temples built between 1500- 1700. The lavish gold lotuses and bodhisattvas painted atop jet-black walls were exquisite. Although Theravada Buddhist Temples seemed more lavish and almost gaudy in comparison to Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, I can appreciate the attention to detail and complex mosaics.

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The night market in Luang Prabang was a blast and a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts. It was targeted toward tourists, and a variety of textiles, teas, coffees and jewelry were sold. Although Nick and I don’t have any room to shop, between the night market and Tamarind (a café that sells handmade jams, teas and spices), Luang Prabang could easily dent a traveler’s budget. The food stalls at the night market was a great find as an entire block was lined with 15,000 kip ($1.85) fill your bowl vegetarian buffets.

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$1.85 Night Market Buffet

During our second day, Nick and I rented a motorobike and visited Pak Ou Caves (Buddha Cave) and Kuang Si Falls. First, we rented a motorbike to drive 25 km to the caves.

In Asia, everything has a cost. We rented a motorbike for 100,000 kip, filled it up with 20,000 kip worth of gasoline and were on our way. 25 km later we arrived at the local village and paid 3,000 kip to park. Then we walked through the village where we met our boatman and paid 26,000 kip to get taken across the river. When we arrived at the caves we paid 20,000 kip pp to enter. The caves are impressive and full of hundreds of Buddha sculptures and although beautiful, it is sometimes tiring always having to open your wallet.

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Buddha Cave

After visiting the caves, we drove 25 km back to Luang Prabang then 32 km in the opposite direction to Kuang Si falls. Before entering the falls, we passed fenced in areas of 20+ Sun Bears. These lethargic bears were rescued from poachers and more specifically from the bile industry. Bears are hooked up to IV’s and their bile is extracted and sold in Vietnam. Bear bile is considered a delicacy there, however the practice of extracting is illegal. Thus, it is extracted in neighboring countries where although illegal not heavily enforced. In China this practice is legal and regulated and there are currently 10,000+ bears being used for the bile industry.

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Rescued Sun Bears

As we continued to walk, we could begin to hear the rushing water. The clear turquoise water reminded me of Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon. Watching the multi tiered cascade falls flow over limestone rock was mesmerizing. It would have been easy to spend the entire day here as you can swim in the falls and hike to caves and natural springs.

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*Travel Tip: To avoid the 20,000 kip entrance fee, take a motorbike or vehicle on the trail up to the natural springs. Drink a Beer Lao then hike down the falls.

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The next day, Nick and I drove back to the village across from the Buddha Cave and on the way passed an elephant park where tourists spend time riding elephants through the jungle. This is an extremely popular attraction is SE Asia, however is an terrible industry for the elephants. Please, research and think twice before riding an elephant.

We took a boat across the river to some large rock features where routes were bolted by some American climbers in the late 90s. We arranged to be picked back up by our boatman 4 hours later. Nick and I had a blast climbing on some great rock and even some multi pitches overlooking the Mekong River. We had an audience of local village kids across the river and when we repelled down they were eagerly waiting for us on the beach. When we realized our boatman was not coming back for us we hesitantly asked the kids to boat us across the river. About 3/4 across the river, water began to rush into the boat. Quickly the boat sank and we found ourselves swimming after our shoes and gear. Our rope and quickdraws stayed dry but unfortunately this was the last of my iPhone. This trip has taught me to always expect the unexpected and remind yourself it’s all part of the journey.

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1 way ride to the rocks
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Climbs with a view
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Mekong River
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Pre-sink

Although you could spend many days in Luang Prabang it is quite expensive so Nick and I decided to move north to Laung Nam Tha. ps. Check out the video tab on our blog to view our video of Laos!

Green Climber’s Home

Before Nick and I left for our Asia trip we took a climbing road trip west. While in Yosemite, a Spanish couple that had been traveling for 5 months came up to us and started petting Koa. The woman (Ainara) showed us a cell phone photo of their dog who was a white golden retriever and looked just look Koa. Through Spanglish and a game of charades we were able to convey that we too would be traveling for a year and missing our dog. We spent the next few days climbing and teaching Ramon basic English commands like “off belay” while 4 pitches up. We eventually parted ways and thought maybe (although highly unlikely) we’d meet again in Asia. Now, 6 months later we were reunited and climbing in Laos!

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Entrance to Green Climber’s Home
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Climbing in the cave
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Our tent located behind the luxurious bungalows =)
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Reunited in Laos!

The Green Climbers Home is a remarkable climbing community with bungalows looking up at huge rock faces just outside of Thakhek, Laos. At night, the stars appear between jagged cliff edges. There are hundreds of dynamic limestone routes, friendly people and delicious food. Nick and I camped for a week while having an absolute blast with Ariana and Ramon. We climbed in caves, took some big falls, watched Reel Rock, celebrated Ainara’s birthday, pushed ourselves and rewarded ourselves with some good laughs and whiskey. Although we could have stayed here for months, it was time to continue exploring Laos.

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The reward at the end of a pitch
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Feliz Cumpleaños Ainara!

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Southern Cambodia

Before I start this blog post, huge thanks to Nick who has done the majority of the planning on this trip. Wherever we are, it seems as if he is preparing for tomorrow while I am writing about the day before. Traveling has had it’s ups and downs but I am elated to have this guy by my side.

Kampot

After crossing the corrupt border into Cambodia and overpaying for our visa, Nick and I headed to Kampot. This is a huge tourist town with an enormous expat community. Let me say, these expats are not giving older white males the best name. If it’s watching them flirt with teenage locals or cat calling and insulting tourists they could learn a thing or two about respect.

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If you are not looking for the party scene you won’t find much in Kampot, thus Nick and I decided to head out of town to rock climb, visit Secret Lake and hit the crab market.

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Crab Market, Kep

Nick and I were equipped with our climbing gear and excited to get back out on the rock. We headed to Climbodia, a sport climbing area set up by David, a friendly expat from Belgium. These routes range from 5.7 – 5.12 and scale some interesting cave features. Because we had our own gear we were able to climb independently, however we ended up spending some time around guided trips. These local guides were funny but had some questionable safety standards. Nick climbed a route named Snakeskin, which included 2 snake skins, 1 enormous hornet’s nest, 8 stings and a big fall!

 

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Climbodia
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Nick with snakeskins, hornets and big falls!

 

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Favorite restaurants:

Simple Things- a must visit for any vegetarian! The temph sandwich was the best sandwich I’ve had on my travels!

Epic Arts Cafe- this cozy cafe provides jobs to Cambodians who are deaf or have other disabilities. The food is fantastic and there are a variety of handmade crafts for sale.

Chi Phat

In order to protect the southern Cardamom Mountains from poaching and logging, the Wildlife Alliance has turned this river village into a community based eco- tourism project. Nick and I spent 2 nights in Chi Phat and enjoyed our time trekking in the jungle and exploring waterfalls. From Kampot, we took a local bus (squeezing 19 people into a mini van) then a beautiful 2 hour, long boat to the the village. We felt comfortable with spending our money here as we knew this non-profit was helping the local community and conserving the environment.

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Pomelo with Tida

It was our trekking guide, Mr. Kim’s, first day on the job and he was an interesting character to say the least. He ran around laughing hysterically repeating, “Lisa, same same” (he thought my name was Lisa and was certain I was part Cambodian). He led us into the jungle where we saw some sort of bearded dragons, hawks, ant hills and pitcher plants. We spent time picking leeches off one another and continued our hike.

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Jungle hiking in Chi Phat
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I spy a Bearded Dragon

In 1982, Mr. Kim fought against Khmer Rouge and had the bullet scars to prove it. He said on hot days when they were without water, they’d drink the water collected from small pitcher plants (then proceeded to pick a pitcher plant and drink the water and insects inside). As a young child he recalled seeing U.S. B-52’s dropping bombs on Cambodia and visiting an American doctor for vaccines and medication.

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Drinking pitcher plants

We ended the 17 mile trek with a dip in the Chay Khpos Waterfall where we saw the extensive burn scars on Mr. Kim’s back. He had many stories, but so do most middle aged Cambodians. Their country has been through it all and we learned more about their dark history in Phenom Penh.

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Chay Khpos Waterfall

Phenom Penh

Nick and I only had a short period of time in the capital, Phenom Penh, and spent the majority of our time at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Russian Market. We also wandered around the Royal Palace Plaza and riverfront which gave us an excellent view of Phenom Penh’s local nightlife.

*Warning to all of our young readers, the following information may be graphic and unsettling.

Tuol Sleng (also called S-21) was a high school that turned into the secret center of a network of nearly 200 prisons where people were tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge. Between 12,000 and 20,000 people were imprisoned here from 1975- 1979 with only 12 confirmed survivors. 343 killing sites and 19,440 mass graves were later discovered throughout Cambodia.

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Tool Sleng (S-21)
  • The Cambodians celebrated when the Khmer Rouge defeated the (U.S. backed) Cambodian Government as they thought this would be the end of U.S. bombs (more bombs were dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War than during all of WWII). Within 3 hours of the Khmer Rouge takeover, people we displaced from the city and forced to work in the country. Many people died from this trek alone. This was part of Khmer Rouge’s plan to start at year 0, and create a society of working farmers. They eliminated modern equipment and made people work like animals. People were kidnapped, imprisioned and tortured until they admitted to being a spy or working with the CIA.
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Torture at S-21
  • Many people were killed, however professionals and those more educated were some of the first. They killed all medical workers and trained their own staff (although the Khmer Rouge forbid education). They practiced medicine by dissecting and extracting blood from living humans leaving them to die.
  • Not only Cambodians were killed. A New Zealand traveler and his friend in their mid twenties dreamed of sailing around the world. When they arrived to the coast of Cambodia they were taken to S-21, imprisoned, tortured and killed. When interrogated, Kerry Hamill reported Kernel Sanders (KFC) as his boss and other famous Western celebrities as his accomplices.
  • Some of the forms of torture conducted at S-21 included: water boarding, blundering, electric sock, slashes and more specifically, hanging prisoners by their ankles and lowering their heads into vessels of human waste.
  • 1 out of 4 Cambodians died during these 3 years, 8 months and 20 days.

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I’ve learned about the holocaust which was heartbreaking and devastating, but what was different about the Khmer Rouge genocide is it took place more recently (only 37 years ago). There are black and white film photographs documenting almost every prisoner, mass grave site, soldier, and torture device. There is still genocide occurring in the Congo and there is rarely any mainstream news about it. When will we learn from our mistakes? With changing political environment, I hope, with a heavy heart, that we will learn from the past and treat humanity with respect and dignity, excluding war and terror.

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Wooden prison cells at S-21