We successfully crossed the border and made it into Cambodia. We are halfway through our trip and have already checked off two countries. I really like Siem Reap. We met up with Stephanie, one of my friends from Korea, and have enjoyed the past few days. Yesterday morning, we woke up early and went to Angkor Wat for the sunrise. It was really pretty and we got to see a few different temples. Angkor Wat is one of the “Eighth Wonders of the World”.
I also ran into another friend from Korea, Soo Hyun, and we got dinner with her last night. She is travelling with a middle school Korean student and Stephanie and I felt like we were back in Korea. Emily and I had a great dinner tonight at a Mexican restaurant and a guy from Tennessee ended up sitting down and talking for a while. Emily pointed out how strange it is to have a long conversation with someone and know you will probably never see the again. I feel like I have been having a lot of those lately, but it is really cool listening to other people’s stories.
On the walk home tonight, we passed a group of students learning English. We stopped and I ended up teaching them for 30 minutes all about America and Emily made friends with a little girl named Ceena. The students were very welcoming and their English was good. They loved hearing about American students and we talked about food, tv shows, sports, and what they want to be when they grow up. I really enjoyed it.
I had the most entertaining afternoon… I watched a Thai volleyball tournament. Railay Island is vey small (no cars small) and there was a volleyball tournament today, the Railay Games 2012. The hotels/resorts each have a team and it was hardcore. I sat and watched the women’s purple team win then started watching the men…except the teams were composed of half men/ half lady boys. It was like watching a high school volleyball game with the same skill, but more flailing hands. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before and many travelers were stopping to watch.
These “men” were decked out in stuffed bras, faces of makeup, eyeliner, lipstick, long hair, and headbands. The most amazing thing was how the team interacted. Clearly they all knew they wanted to be women, but the mix of athletic “men” and competitive “ladyboys” interacting was surprisingly normal.
We also went rock climbing. I really love that sport. There is a little risk involved and a lot of adrenaline. I found myself jumping a lot and trusting the person belying me.
We have been in Thailand for the past few weeks and have not slowed down at all. We started in Bangkok, went up north to Chiang Mai, and are now south in the islands. There have been a lot of tuk tuk rides, sleeping trains, pad Thai, card games(especially one we learned from our Israeli friends), coconut smoothies, new friends, and some big animals (tigers and elephants) along the way. We now have a few weeks to relax around the islands and I intend to do a lot of relaxing.
I have successfully completed a week of surf camp in Bali! We started on soft boards that were “easy” to learn on and over the week, graduated to real surfboards. Other than the constant paddling over breaking waves, the surfing (standing, balancing, and riding the wave) is fairly easy. I managed to only run over one person and also found myself washed ashore one day. We have spent the rest of the week relaxing at the Chillhouse. There have been many people coming and going and you can’t beat laying at the pool all afternoon. I have read through a few books and worked on my tan. Tomorrow, we go to Bangkok!
We climbed Rimjani Mountain!!! It is apparently the thing to do in Lombok and well worth it. It took us around 8 hours to climb the mountain, most of which was rock climbing up hill and many rests were needed. We signed up last minute and were very ill prepared compared to the rest of the people (small kavus, leggings, borrowed jackets, tennis shoes, no clue we were climbing to a volcano); however, we did great and our backs hurt the least. When we reached the rim of the volcano (above the clouds), it was gorgeous and it was so nice to breath fresh air. Due to the surfing camp Emily and I are signed up for and are going to try to master the art of surfing, we could not complete the trek down the crater and to the summit with the rest of our group, but we had a great time on our 1 night 2 day trek.
www.emilyvalz.blogspot.com That is Emily’s blog if you are interested. Today has been another relaxing day on the beach consisting of laying out, swimming, and eating. The beach here is really pretty and there are lounge chairs and restaurants lined up. The ocean is clear and there are many rocks/coral along the bottom. We went to the market for dinner and I love the local food. They pile rice, vegetables, and meat on your plate and it is a good deal!
My blog is going to be expanding more on Emily’s. I think we all know she is the true blogger and I will just spend all my time reading books and relaxing. Blogging is not my idea of relaxing, but I will continue to add small stories. In yoga the other day, we were by far the most experienced. Thanks to mom coming home all the time and making us practice downward dog, cobra, and warrior poses, all of the other students were constantly looking at us when the instructor gave a new pose. Thanks mom. I also got the chance to teach little Putu how to do a Tim Tam Slam this morning. By the end she was dipping the Tim tam into the tea and really enjoyed making a mess. Contrary to Emily’s beliefs on the place we are staying. I think it is nice enough. There are two double beds plenty of light and room and I have yet to see an ant. And the door locks. We are at the beach and Emily is planning on going scuba diving today. I am going to sit and read and never leave the beach…
We just finished our first class at the Yoga Barn. If you come to Bali, you have to do Yoga. I would say at least 70 percent of people come here to explore Yoga. As I was sitting there trying to master the transition between warrior pose and downward dog, I started to think about my life and its purpose/what I want to get out of it/ how I can impact others and do God’s will… Cheesy, I know. Very eat, pray, love. But, I am excited to see how traveling is allowing me to change and grow. I know I came out of Korea with many different ideas and thoughts on the world, most of them changed due to the people I met and the conversations/experiences we shared. I also know you do not find yourself and change in one day, or even three months. My whole life I will be learning more about who I am and growing into the person I am supposed to become. I wish there was an easier way to keep track of your changes. Tomorrow, Emily and I signed up to do an hour individual class of acrobatic yoga.
We landed in Bali last night and the beginning of the trip has been amazing. I met a girl in Thailand, Christine, and she recommended a home stay. I emailed the man and with no idea where he lived or what it was, Emily and I signed up. Nyoman picked us up from the airport with a sign that said my name. On the way there, we worked out the fact that we were going to Ubud, which was really great because that was on our list. His whole family lives here in the house, about 20 of the nicest people. We stayed up and had tea and cake last night on the porch and have been exploring today. I have never been so happy to be away from neon lights and in the “middle” of nature. The roosters woke Emily up this morning. There is a French guy, Dominique, staying here as well and he showed us around today. The food is amazing and the markets/people/cafe’s remind me a lot of Thailand. I like to think of myself as a relaxed traveller. I enjoy meeting the people, eating the food, and enjoying what the place has to offer. Emily might disagree with you after our “Power-walk” this afternoon. We were being run over by scooters, squawked at by chickens, and chased by a few dogs. I am so glad we started our trip here and I’m sure I will have plenty of time to relax and drink some lemon ice teas over the next few days. A fun fact… My name is Putu (oldest child). All of the oldest children are named Putu.
Well my experience in Korea is coming to an end. I have had an amazing time here and have met people that have impacted my life in many ways. The summer was very busy and I have checked off everything that was on my Korea bucket list. These past few weeks, I have been hanging out with my friends, working, and getting ready for Emily and our next adventure. Today, I am mailing boxes home on the slow boat, sending my phone back, and tying up the lose ends. I am very excited for what our trip has in store for us and I know we will learn many things and take a lot of pictures. I just came from the bank, and the man who has been helping me the whole year said, “good luck and I hope we will meet before we die”. I think that sums up how I feel about the people I have met here and know I will see many of them in the future ( hopefully the near future).
here are some random pictures from the past few days…
Emily and I are leaving on a jet plane sunday morning and flying to Bali. We have some things planned and are leaving the rest up to fate.
Emily also has an IPad so I will be updating more… Right now we are at the jimjilbang I have a cute picture but the blog isn’t working.
She also got to teach one of my classes today.