Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas . I hope this finds everyone in good health and enjoying your breaks from work and...
Since returning from Vietnam, back to Cambodia I have done little .. Time on the beach, going to the gym, hanging out with other travelers over cheep beer, and reading..
I have made a little progress in finding a tutor to try and teach me French, or at least a few more words than I now know. If possible I will extend my Cambodian visa and see if learning a new language at my age is even possible ?
Speaking on Skype with my friend Sebastien's wife in Cameroon last week, he said we did great. His wife cannot really speak English and my little French, yet we both communicated just fine. It gives me hope ! Online teaching seems to be the way its done, but my attention span is limited to about 3 minutes .. so maybe a tutor will help.
The BMW has a few new parts including a USED stator from a Honda :( .. With about 70,000 miles ) it seems to make more trips for repairs than I would like, but I remain happy its not in the back of a truck and moving under its own power.
Typical motorcycle shop in Cambodia .
Things are changing fast here, from development , Chinese investment, and imports.. The closer I look, the more I see the changes ..
It has crossed my mind , how near new cars, motorcycles, and ? get here . These Harleys all have California plates and sell for the same as they do in the USA. So when the time comes for a new ride I should have more than a few options to chose from .. I can say it will not be a Harley ..
One of my favorite finds was a store that has a good selection of coffee, including Panera Bread, Starbucks, and other quality brands all very good !!
The development is probably what blows me away the most . There is a small island called : Koh Pich or Diamond Island in English. Its in the capital city Phnom Penh .. 1.9 billion in investment in 2013 alone.. mostly Chinese. I cannot take photos to show what such investment looks like to the eyes, but it is massive. !!
Tower cranes are everywhere .. in the next few years things will look a lot different . One $700 million residential project 2 x 28 stories buildings and 3 taller 38 stories buildings with the 3 taller buildings connected at the TOP with a 200 meter long swimming pool !! all for a small price of $1,800 a square meter..
The Country is really interesting in its diversity . Buddhist , with a western culture , calm and still very much on the move..
Imagine thousands on small motorcycles all navigating streets originally built long before a middle class of Cambodians had money for motorcycles. Now kids as young as 8 are seen riding the crowded streets on motorbikes.. Crashes are common and just a part of daily life. Two bikes may crash into each other , they get up, check for injuries and damages, smile at each other and just ride on.
While waiting outside a shop one day my motorcycle was parked and a kid just smashed into the back of it. It sent him a wake up call, and my bike down on its side. He gets up, checks himself for injuries, and takes off. I met him later and asked for an apology. The BMW was fine.. It gives a whole new meaning to the tee shirts : My Friend You Must RELAX .
If getting a few French lessons is a problem, I will make plans to travel Laos in January . Chat soon , Garth

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Mekong Delta

Its been a great experience roaming the maze of rivers, waterways, islands, bridges ,  throughout the Mekong delta of Vietnam.. Boats get things done, as they move just about everything any transport truck will move.
I did leave the motorcycle in Cambodia, but can now say that travel on a motorcycle in Vietnam would have been easier than India !! Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon ) is a busy city where I was happy to relax on the back of motorcycles rather than navigate on my own.
Deck from my hotel room .

Women seem to be in charge in Vietnam .

Buying cabbage at the floating market .

Soup for breakfast !

 Making Rice noodles .
 Water Taxi .
Can Tho , Vietnam

The waterways of the delta were very interesting. Seeing how everyone lives with so much water around them I often though about Sudan :) . Such a contrast the delta and the desert . Sudan how so many people can survive without water, and in the delta surviving with water everywhere.. I love the extremes of Sudan .. not sure why , maybe because we need water to survive and in Sudan its only the few who can.
The visit to Vietnam is not complete. I have a multipole entry visa so as I travel north in Cambodia, and Laos I plan to visit again .. Vietnamese coffee is great :) !

Many early mornings,  5 am , you will see locals in the parks exercising , followed by sleepy afternoons. Things come alive late every afternoon as the midday heat passes.
Night markets are filled with locals shopping , while drinking Ice Coffee, and even more exercising in the parks ..