Faster-Than-Walking 歩くよりは早く世界一周!?

Faster-Than-Walking

Taking the slow road round the world, on the cheap, on a postie-bike... 2-up.

"ファースター ザン ウォーキング""歩くより早い"
2008年4月30日オーストラリア・フリーマントルを110ccのちっちゃいバイク1台で出発。
期限なしお金尽きるまで世界一周目指すのーぷらんスローな旅。

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Contradictory High Tailing, Plain Sailing... What?
It was going to be a lovely day for a ride.
The crisp morning air tricked me into thinking it was fresh.
Three deep breaths reminded me that we were in fact in Phnom Penh and not the Cinque Terre!
Cough!

The streets look pretty good at that time of the day nonetheless.



Of course we got lost, sidetracked and otherwise distracted, as is normal, and found ourselves battling peak hour traffic when we expected empty streets.We'd hoped for smiling joggers but got sullen mobs.
On the outer skirts of the city the crowds increased and the traffic eased. Then we saw this line-up...



We hadn't seen the UN since East Timor.
What they were doing on this fine day we cannot say, but I didn't want to stop and ask questions, we were racing to the border, or as close to it as possible...

Racing is indeed what it felt like for some reason that day. There was something in the air that made the pot-holes seem deeper, the swerving more erratic and the carefree local seemingly more edgy!

On our journey south we experienced everything Cambodia had to offer. We felt close to the people but often distant, landscapes switched dramatically and the roads were at once terrible and smooth. Feelings of wonder and horror were never far away from eachother.

I should have stopped to help that kid...
I wish I hadn't pulled up next to that guy...

Route 4 turned into Route 48. The the coastal headwind turned into a strong tailwind, the bike finally rejoiced in the change of conditions. Did you know Cambodia has a beach?
I didn't.

Koh Khong felt right but turned out wrong.
Too early to look for a bed, too late to battle border officialdom. We were so close, why not try to push it further? Agreed

The bike said go but the hilly frontier said no. Serious clutch slippage turns the nicest ride into a harrowing experience for us, the oil boils and I have cold sweats.

The soldier fingering his AK told us "Today anniversary of Pol Pot death". Does that explain it?

Cambodian Customs office...



We hadn't seen the ocean for months. The Customs official had never seen an Australian registered motorcycle before... He didn't stamp us out, we sneaked (snuck?) off while we was asleep (aslup?) in his hammock.


Cambodia why do you confuse me so?
Maybe when I'm older and wiser I'll be ready for you.



Total Time Taken = 17 Days
Total Kms Ridden = 1,059 kms
Total Litres Purchased = 32 Litres
Total Riel Spent per Person = KHR 1,436,500
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Phnom Penh, S-21 and The Genocide Museum
After spending a few days in PP we had come to the surprising conclusion that Cambodia was indeed expensive... We had hoped that Siem Reap was an isolated island of high prices in a sea of what is one of Asia's poorest countries but the beds and meals available to a non Khmer were over priced throughout the country.
Phnom Penh has little to see and do, tourist-wise, which is the main reason we were happy to stay for a while. But after a few day's looking around, the biggest tourist draw card slowly revealed itself.

Flesh!

A place to eat and sleep will set you back quite a bit here but finding someone to share these things with is not only easy, its super cheap apparently.
Testament, the streets positively hum with both the young tricksters and the middle aged white males looking for those tricks...

After a while we decided to take in the most obvious sights PP has to offer, but first I thought I'd treat the bike to an oil change and a wash down.



The local Honda Dealer charged me US$5 for the oil and a buck for labour!!!



Traffic in the capital is not that bad really, but the surfaces are a little unpredictable at times. I got hit and wounded by a pool ball sized rock flung up from a passing 4WD(I think) and the bike suffered a few too not to mention the ever present dust.



We decided to take in the sobering S-21 compound first.
This quiet corner of the city still houses visible remains of Cambodia's recent dark past.
Tuol Svay Prey High School educated children in its grounds right up to August 1975 when the 5building complex was re-purposed by the Khmer Rouge army and turned into a prison and interrogation center.
Renamed Security Prison 21 (S-21), it's initial purpose was to extract information from the captured enemy before finally sending them off to the "Killing Fields" when there was no further use for them. The enemy of course was anyone suspected of being a threat to the regimes "stability".



As the years wore on and Pol Pot became more paranoid about being overthrown, members even within his own ranks were admitted to the facility and tortured. Whole families passed through these walls on their way to their ultimate "processing" outside of town.
Almost 20 000 people, over 4 years were imprisoned at the compound. Only 12 survivors were found by the invading Vietnamese army in 1979.



After a few days recovery we felt strong enough to head out of town to experience the Choeung Ek Genocide Museum, more commonly known as "The Killing Fields".

We got very lost trying to get out there due to a closed bridge. We were forced to ride through tiny back streets and slums to get round it, we rode past some places up to 5 times trying to find our way, the locals would laugh loudly everytime we went by in the end!!!

Choeung Ek is the place suspected dissidents were disposed of.
The signs are everywhere...



You can walk around the grounds and see remnants scattered here and there, a place that must have been the source of much chaos and noise in the past now is quite peaceful and quiet.



A Buddhist Stupa housing thousands of exhumed skulls has been built on the grounds to serve as a reminder.
Strangely we were not that moved by our visit to Choeung Ek,it was not nearly as heavy a place as I thought it would be...

Perhaps we have become hardened somewhat.
Perhaps seeing smiling present day Cambodians working hard and getting on with their lives is remedy enough. Solace that stories like these are able to be laid down peacefully for the history books and that we can all use it as something to remember rather than something to be sad about...

That sounds better to me, and I'm glad the bridge was out of action!
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ザッツ・カンボーディア!!!
こんにちは!
いまだなおバンコクにてのんびりしております私です。

今日はカンボジア・庶民の台所・トンレサップ湖ボートトリップのお話。

トンレサップ湖は雨期と乾期でその大きさが大きく異なり、雨期は乾期の3倍もの大きさになります。そのため、元陸地であったところが水につかり、大量 にプランクトンが発生し、それを主食にしている淡水魚も大量 に発生します。乾期には、水のひいたあとに堆積した土が養分を大量 に含んでいるため、農地として利用されています。トンレサップ湖は、カンボジアの人々の食生活を支えている重要な湖といえます。(カンボジア政府観光局サイトより)

そうこのトンレサップ湖はカンボジアの人々にとってなくてはならない場所なのです。
今も多くの人々生活がしていてその多くはバトナムからの移民なんだそう。
水上マーケットに水上小学校。
大人も小さな子供も交通手段はボート。
そのどれもが小さな古い木製のボート。




そのむかし星の数ほどいたワニも今ではほぼ捕らえられお金に変えられてしまったそう。
クロコダイルファームにて数頭飼育されていて見れますが。



ここで問題です!
むかーしむかし、湖を渡ろうとする人間はもちろんのこと鶏や牛などの動物もワニに食べられてしまったそうです。
豚をのぞいては・・・。そう、何故か豚だけが無事渡りきる事ができたのです。
さて、それは何故でしょう??? 
あたまをやわらかーくしてお考えくださいまし。。。
答えは次回・・・

曇り空で天気はそんなに良くなかったけど
約2時間のボートトリップなかなかゆっくりできました。



最後、船のにぃーちゃんの申し出とおりチップを
少々お渡しして無事終了したのでした。

ひとつ言えるのはチケットはシエムリアップ内の代理店で購入がベター。

私たちの調べによると代理店でのトンレサップツアーの代金は$17(送迎、ボートチケット込み)。
$10がボートチケット、$7が車代。歩き方にもボートチケット代は$10とあった。
で、私たちはその情報を元にさらに安く行ける方法を探していると
タクシードライバーが$15でいいよと言ってくれたのだ。
5人だから割れば一人$3!!ってことはチケットは現地で買うとして一人$13!!
これだ〜!!

・・・

と思ったのも束の間
チケット売り場で言われた金額なんと

ひとり$20!!!!!

タクのうんちゃんスタッフと何か現地語で話してるしぃ!!!
後で思えばあたりまえの事だけど
タクシードライバーってどこでも顔が通じててあたり一帯を牛耳ってるって言っても過言ではないよね。
そんでマージンをもらうのは普通のはなし。

あり得ん〜!!$20って倍やん!
そっから猛抗議のはじまりはじまり。
さすがに$20払ってまでいくのもなぁ〜
あーだこーだ交渉?というか納得できない事を伝えることかれこれ30分
向こうはかなり強気でここは政府運営だから値段の変更は一切なし!!って
そのくせバッヂもなければ証明書もない掘っ建て小屋の前で言われてもな〜
じゃ〜もう帰ろっか。って言って車に乗ろうとしたとき

ハイっ、来ました!

さっきまで偉そうにここは政府運営の売り場だからって強気だったおっさんが
車に寄ってきて

「わかった、$10でいいよ。」  だってさぁ〜!!

出来るんやん!政府運営の売り場でも値切れるんやん!!
てっか絶対政府関係ねーでしょ。
まっ、あったとしても儲けたドル札はあんたのポケットに入るんでしょーけど。

そしてそのおっさんすかさずタクシードライバーの元へ駆け寄り
罵声をあびせて去っていきましたとさ。

$10でいけるなら思ってた通りで結果オーライ
タクシーのうんちゃんには悪いけどこんな観光客もいるんよ。

その後ボートに向かう車の中での私たちの会話を聞いて
うんちゃんが言った言葉は・・・

「ザッツ・カンボーディア!!!」

だって。
その前のガイドといいこのうんちゃんといい
ほんまタフやわぁ〜。

まぁこういうが旅の醍醐味って言うんかな
日本じゃこんなことって起こり得ないでしょ・・・。

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Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
Time to leave again, Phnom Penh calling this time.

Before leaving, we always ask locals how long it takes to get to the destination and what kind of conditions we can expect along the route.
Working in hours as opposed to kilometers has proved more accurate to a degree. Actually accurate isn't the word I should use at all in this instance, rather it prompts a minimal response at the least. Asking anyone how many kilometers away a place is draws a complete blank most of the time.

The first person said it takes about 4hours to the capital PP from Siem Reap and that the road was good all the way.
The second person said 12hours with 4hours of good road...
Third person didn't know but estimated it to be around 7hours.
The forth guy, a taxi driver said it wasn't possible to do on a bike, the road was too dangerous... He then of course offered to take us in his car!

What exactly qualifies as a good or bad road is still an unknown to us really. We have experienced both terrible good roads and excellent bad ones.
One mans goat track is another mans highway I always say.
I perhaps should stop asking about the conditions all together, it tends to build false hope and sap the spirit of adventure.

Normally we don't rely on the info too heavily but, at 11pm, the night before our departure we heard that the Thai Embassy in PP was closing for an extended period. This meant that if we didn't put in our 60day visa application by 12noon the following day, we would be forced to stay in in the capital for over 2weeks.

After 4 hours of sleep its to packing the bike in the dark, mosquito infested courtyard of our hotel. 4:30am as I drowsily check the oil, the baked plastic dipstick rolls off the seat and shatters into numerous pieces... they are still there hiding somewhere, Mama's Guesthouse if you want to continue my search...
My inadequately flat flashlight was unable to help me locate them.

We headed east out of town in complete darkness. It was a few hours before it was light enough for me to tape up the front headlight again. Headlights during daylight hours are illegal in Cambodia. No headlights at night is perfectly acceptable apparently!

Of course the road was not as bad as expected, I would go as far to say it was good, whatever that means.
Of course it wasn't as treacherous as warned either, it was very beautiful in parts actually. Unfortunately we "safely" packed the camera away because of these warnings and didn't get a chance to capture the moments.
And you guessed it, we were making good time, 50kms to go when that all too familiar, wobbly, feeling came over me... A flat tyre.



Only this time it was the front... A first on this bike. Luckily a mechanic was right there (they are everywhere really) so I took the opportunity to buy a complete new shoe. Australian Postal service tyres are pretty rare around these parts I imagine so I donated this crusty example to a smiling local...



$15 and 30minutes later we were back on the road with a new front boot.
Smooth sailing all the way to PP, the Thai Embassy to Cambodia was soon found, a quick glance at the time...
12:30.
Missed it by a nose!

We have lunch and spend the afternoon looking for a suitable place to stay for a few weeks. A decision is made and just as we are turning the last corner that familiar feeling comes over me again... This time the rear tyre...
$1 and 7minutes is all it took to patch the tube... The guy on the corner didn't even remove the wheel.

Welcome to Phnom Penh.
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Noble Sub-Atomic Lowdown
In these times of trouble the smart option is look to the past to find answers.
"Times of trouble ?" you may ask.
Depending where you reside and what your job is/was would have your reply to this, ranging from non-existent to seriously dire. No-one is immune from these things and it's for this reason even a cursory glance at history has the ability to save.
"Save what ?" you may ponder. My house from repossession? My money? My job?

Our recent "Financial Crisis" pales in comparison to what some people have had to go through. Some people are using lessons learned in the past to help out with the troubles facing them today.


Red Money

In April 1975 Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge instated the year zero and introduced a new currency to be used for the elite only. The rest of the populations possessions and savings were quickly repossessed or incinerated, where they were going there was no need for such things...
You think its a struggle?

Anyone found with an education, speaking a foreign language or wearing a pair of reading glasses was disposed of quickly. The new red economy imagined everyone happily tilling healthy green fields, wearing spotless black uniforms and tirelessly working under a clear blue sky.

Looking back now its easy to see Pol Pots dream manifest was flawed, it's clear the reality was very different for the peoples of Cambodia.
I don't think history was Mr Pot's forte.

Aki-Ra, an ex Khmer Rouge Soldier, has a small museum on the outskirts of Angkor Wat displaying some of these realities. Through his military training he is attempting to rid Cambodia of the atrocities that are still occuring even now. Every day, throughout the country people, usually children are maimed or killed by this enemy within.
The Landmine...



As a soldier Aki-Ra's main job was to lay mines for the red army, from a young age his skill afforded him some fame. Now he has become world renowned for his efforts to de-mine his nation. He works tirelessly unearthing explosives, trying to undo history.
He estimates that there is over 6million of these things still hiding. Not only are there Khmer mines planted to keep foreigners out but also large numbers of Viet mines planted to keep the Khmer Rouge returning after being chased out in 1985.
American, Russian, Chinese, French bombs, laid at different times, are all presently underground too...
Will they ever learn?



The museum is basic but displays 100's of ordinances alongside information offering a brief glimpse of what life may have been like at that time. Aki-Ra and his wife (also a mine expert) support many children disabled by blasts, the museum itself is a school as well a home for these kids.



A crisis that should never have happened.
Aki-Ra with his Land Mine Museum and Relief Center is ensuring it doesn't happen again.
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Tonle Sap Lake, Floating Village
Theres a lot more to Siem Reap than just Angkor Wat you know... At least thats what any Taxi Driver will try and sell you.
We were sitting by the road enjoying a mango juice when Sothy introduced himself, it started out the normal way. Him asking us the basic questions of where we are from, how long we are staying, what we have done and finally the all important:

“Where are you going”

We have developed some pretty creative responses to this question but decided to be straight with Sothy, he seemed to be a decent, honest and friendly fellow.
We listened to his recommendations, paying particular attention to prices, times and distances as these factors form the golden means to our cheap budget ends.

He told us about the Tonle Sap Floating Village and after listening to him for a while we decided to check it out. A quick confirmation of his #1. taxi fee, the #2. boat charges, #3. trip times and we happily asked Sothy to pick us up the following morning.

Unfortunately these 3 agreed factors dramatically changed upon his late arrival to pick us up that morning. Sothy let us down with the information he gave, but this is always the risk you take when someone else is at the wheel. To cut a very long story short you should aim to pay no more than US$10pp for the 2hour boat ride. Flat $15 for the Taxi there and back is the going rate.

If you can make it right to the shores of Tonle Sap Lake then its possible to choose which boat to jump on and bargain the price with its owner. We were tricked into buying our tickets at a “Government Office” up the road and far from the water, Sothy wouldn't take us to the water until we bought our tickets at the authorized shack. Arriving and already paid up we had no choice but to climb aboard the rickety run-about awaiting for us at the waters edge.

Before we had even left the dock (plank of wood) we got tangled up with a nearby house's anchor.



After 30minutes of wading and waiting our wry 14year old captain declared the vessel now fit to sail and suggested we take our seats (wooden kitchen chairs).



On our way.
He deftly weaves our boat through mangroves and other unidentified floating obstacles, I'm impressed with his skill.
To make this Cambodian trip even more fascinating I learn the boat is in fact Japanese, a Nissan...



At least thats what the insignia on the steering wheel tells me, the captain himself is rather uncommunicative. The wheel is connected to the rudder, some 5meters away, by a series of interconnecting pieces of wire and string. Responsive!
Upon closer inspection, gear changes are done at idle via a welded sprocket and long length of bicycle chain, it disappears under the deck, I don't know what happens to it after that. While looking between the cracks in the floor however I did see the bilge at an alarmingly high level but refrained from telling Aki. Smart as always she was enjoying the scenery.
The bit of fishing line near the captains right foot is the throttle/accelerator, I was mesmerized by his skill in feathering and controlling the boats path by adjusting the lines tension with his foot, I almost forgot where I was.

Ah, thats right, Tonle Sap.
The scenery? Well its a lake after all.
We did see a few crocodiles.
The floating village was legit and reasonably un-contrived, refreshing since taking into account the amount of tourism in the area. Most of the villagers go about their daily lives paying no mind to the boat loads of tourists like us circling curiously around them. Thankfully our boat was rather stealthily dirty and too unmaneuverable to disturb anyone.
Everything the people need is there. Floating resturants for the big ones, floating karaoke bars for the drunk ones, floating basketball courts for the fit ones, even floating schools for the little ones...
Morning recess!



A worthwhile visit but I think I'll stay away from "friendly" Taxi driver's advice in the future.
Another stressful exercise that could have been avoided if we had just ridden the bike.
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ガイドに気を付けろ!つづき。。。
前回のお話の続きの始まりはじまり〜
まだお読みでない方はこちらからどうぞ ガイドに気を付けろ!

普通のガイドさんのイメージってさ
聞きたい事質問したら確実な答えって返ってくるよね?
その考えが普通かどうかは別として
少なくとも私はそう思ってた!!! この時までは・・・

バイヨンも大方見終って最後の壁画のレリーフを見ながら
このレリーフについてもっと知りたかったからどんな物語になってるのか?と聞いてみた
するとガイドさん

「分かりません。」

なぬぅ〜っ!!!
分かりませんってやる気ないいやん!
もっとさボキャブラリーってもんがあってもいいんやないん?

なんかここまで回ってくる間でそれはなんとなく気づいてたけど
そんなはっきりと言い切られてしまうと
どおしたらいいんですか?????
この後はあのアンコールワットがまだあるのにぃ〜


と、ガイドさんおもむろに私に質問してきた。

ガイド:「AKIさんは英語は大丈夫ですか?」 

わたし:「え、’えぇ、多少であれば。。。でもナンデデスカ?」

ガイド:「私の友達は英語のガイドをしています。
     午後のアンコールワット遺跡のガイドは変更します。
     友達はアンコールワット得意です。」

わたし:「えっ!?(内心ちょっと嬉しかったりする)でも私は日本語のガイドが必要
     だったから英語のガイドより5ドル高く払って日本語ガイドをお願いしたんです。」

ガイド:「はい、はい、はい。でも普段日本人の人はそんなに質問してきません。
     いつもは私のガイドで十分なんです。
     もし、もっと聞きたいのでれば英語ガイドの方がいいですよ。
     英語の人はいつもいっぱい質問してきますから。」

なんじゃそれ〜!軽くってゆうか思いっきり日本人の事バカにしてる発言やん!!

わたし:「友達のガイドはアンコールワットが得意とおっしゃいましたけど、
     あたな(名前で読んでたけど忘れた)は得意じゃないんですか?」

ガイド:「私は得意じゃないです。」

かなり嫌〜なムードなんですけどぉ〜
おまけにガイドさんこの時からこっちの話を聞いてくれようともしないし
どうしょうもないし・・・
もおとりあえずガイド変わるなら変ってくれた方が有り難いや。
と思いつつトゥクトゥクに戻り、お昼休憩をとりに行くと告げられ
とりあえずむかう。

この時点でお昼ご飯なんていらんから早くガイド変るんなら早く変ってくれ
と思って聞いてみた。

わたし:「英語のガイドさんに変わるんですよね?」

ガイド:「いいえ。変わりませんよ。(ちょっとスマイル)」

はぁ〜!!!???
ちょっとマジでこの小娘意味が分からんのやけど!!
さっきガイド変わるって言ったやん!

日本語ガイドなんてお願いするんじゃなかった。。。
ガイドにはアタリ・ハズレがあるって聞いてたけど完璧バズレを引いてしまった。

とにかく完全にやる気のないガイドにはこの先お願いするわけにはいかん!
と思った私たち、ガイド手配をした旅行代理店に出向きガイドを変えてもらうことに。

あーだこーだもめてる間にも時間は刻一刻と過ぎているわけであり
貴重な時間がどんどん減っていっている。
ガイドさんはというと事務所に連絡するといって長々と電話してるし、
トゥクトゥクの運転手はもちろん私たちのいう場所には連れていってくれそうもない。



こんな感じで暑い中かれこれ30分くらい
私とNATは外で立ちっぱ、ガイドと運転手はトゥクトゥクに乗って。
これもおかしな話だね。

「今はお昼ご飯の時間だから代理店行っても誰もいませんよ。」

ってガイドさん言うけど、とにかく向かってください!と
ようやく街にいったん戻れる事に。

着いたら1人のスタッフがおりました。
人いるやん!!!
そして一部始終の出来事を告げぜひともガイドを変えてくださいとお願いした。

探してくれたけど残念ながら空いてるガイドがいないとのこと。
それならば払ったガイド料金だけでも払い戻してくれとお願いするも
そこはカンボジア、そう融通の効く文化でもなく無理。

そしてそのスタッフさんがガイドに直接払い戻しをするように進めるも
このガイド「私はやることをやったから、返しません。」とのこと。
そしてさらにそのスタッフさんツーリストポリスに行くことを進めるも
このガイド「この後も私がちゃんとガイドしますから。」と拒否。

いやぁ・・・根性座ったお嬢さんですわ。
おまけにスタッフさんの通訳によると「お腹がすいてしんどいんじゃい!!」
ってのが言い分だそうです。
はぁ・・・もう何も言い返せないくらい疲れました。。。

なんだかこのガイドにすっかり振り回されてしまったよう。

結局私たちの残された選択は
一、このガイドとアンコールワットに渋々行く。
一、すべてを放棄して即解散する。
のどちらかになってしまった。

ということで渋々このガイドと続けることになってしまった。
もったいない時間を過ごしてしまった。。。

その後のアンコールワットでの出来事はご想像通りです。。
最後、私の手には「地球の歩き方」という最終兵器が握られていました。。。
もしあの本が無かったら。。。チーン。

このとてつもなく壮大なアンコール遺跡
せっかくの壮大なアンコール遺跡
せっかくガイドをお願いしたばっかりに。。。チーン。
再びリベンジを誓ったのでした。
おかげでもっともっと興味が湧きました。




夜は気を取り直してみんなでアプサラダンスディナーショーに
でかけましたとさ。
それはそれは豪華なバッフェでワイン飲んで
美味しいお料理でたらふくお腹を満たさせて頂きました。




単純な私らたらふくご飯食べた後はすっかり機嫌も治ったし
みんなと色々しゃべっておもしろ話にもなったしね。
なんだかんだでこれも一つの良い思い出になったな。
最後にはハッピーメリークリスマス!だな☆

ひとつ言えるのは将来日本語でのガイドを使う事はないな。
バズレを引くのはもうこりごり。
ガイドを使わず自分たちのペースでゆっくり見て回るのが
自分達にとっての一番の方法だということに改めて気づかされました。

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ガイドに気をつけろ!!
今日は随分と昔の様に感じるカンボジアでの
アンコール遺跡観光の時の出来事でも書きましょうかね。

クリスマスデイの25日
ついにカンボジアでのメインイベント

「アンコールワット参拝」

やっぱりここはちゃんと全てを知り尽くしたガイドさんに頼りたい!!
と、シェリムアップの旅行代理店でガイドさんを予約した。
しかも日本語のガイド。
英語のガイドさんの声はいつでもどこからでも聞こえてくるだろうから
ここは私の意見を通して日本語で行くことに。
同時にトゥクトゥクの1日チャーター($15)もお願いする。
日本語ガイドは$30で英語ガイドより$5高かった。

そして翌日朝8時
宿に迎えに来てくれたガイドさんは20前後の若い女の子。
プノンペン出身で日本語のガイドになりたくて1年間学校で
日本語を勉強したのだそう。

ってか日本語ウマっ!!

ちょっとホッ。。。人生初のトゥクトゥクに興奮しながら
やっぱこうやってゆったり誰かの運転で移動もいいよね〜
なんて言いながら和気藹藹と最初の目的地「タ・プローム」に向かったのでした。



「タ・プローム」といえばアンジェリーナ・ジョリー主演の映画トゥームレーダー。
ガイドさんから「ここでアンジェリーナ・ジョリーが撮影をしました。
この木の前が一番良い写真が撮れるので、じゃ、2人で並んでください。
わたしが写真撮りますから。」「あっ、はい。じゃここのボタン押すだけです」
とかお願いしつつガイドさんの進行でほいさっほいさっとどんどん進んでくのね〜



と、お次は「バイヨン」ここは仏の顔が東西南北に向かっている所。
ここでも恒例の良い写真スポットが。



と・・・このあたりから
ん?ちょっとまてよ・・・
なんかしっくりこんよね??
なんかこうもっと、んー、なんてゆうか
なんかもっと情報が欲しいんだけど・・・

写真スポットとか、何年に誰によって作られたとか
教えてくれるの嬉しいんだけど
じゃあ、その王がどういう人物でとかその当時の時代背景とか
もうちょっとこう・・・ね。

なんか想像してたガイド像と全く違うんですけど・・・
まわりにはやっぱり英語ガイドやフランス語ガイドが多い
自然と目と耳がそっちに向きはじめる私たち。。。

うーん。。。確実に違う情報量
まだ1箇所目やのにこのままではイカン!
昼からはあの巨大なアンコールワットやのにぃ〜。
こうなったら質問攻撃するしかない!!!
気になることは聞きまくる!

そっから事あるごとに質問。
「このレリーフはどんな物語になってるの?」
と聞いてみた。

が・・・

なんと彼女は知らなかった。。。
そして彼女が言った言葉は

「そこは普通は皆さん見ないです。だから私分かりません。」

ですって。。。チーン。。
この先どうなるやら。はぁーっ。

次回につづく・・・
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酒は百薬の長!?
クリスマスイヴ
昼間はペラギ達と別行動することになった。
シェムリアップでの滞在期間が4日間の彼女たちのスケジュールは少々タイトで
朝から晩まで動きまくりコース。

私たちはバイクでのんびり市内散策。
まずは地雷博物館に行くことに
ガイドブックによるとシェムリアップ市内にあるのでそれほど遠くない
ハズ・・・
だったのに探せど探せど見つからず
人に尋ねるもなんだかしっくりこない返答。
だってガイドブックにのってるのはシェムリアップ市内で
人が教えてくれるのは市内から30kmも離れた場所
なんかおっかしいな〜と思ってたらナント
地雷博物館はお引越ししてたみたいデシタ。

最初っから観光案内所に行けばよかったんよね
探した時間たぶん1時間以上・・・
結局この日はあきらめて違う日に行くことにしました。
なんせ体力の持たない2人なんで。。。

でもチケットなしでアンコール遺跡群に入れてたから
バイクでアンコールワット付近をぶらぶら
お堀でターザンごっこしてる子供や大人がいた。
子供って身軽よね。。まるでおサルさん。




お昼は宿の近くで見つけた穴場といっても過言ではない
ローカル食堂で「バーンソーウ」という麺をがっつく。



お米でできた麺にピーナッツや野菜そして揚げ春巻がドンっとのってる
ベトナム風のスープなし冷や麺2500リエル(55円)。
これがまたかなりおいしくてはまった。
たとえ観光地でもこうやって安くておいしい食べ物屋さんが一軒
あるだけで居心地が良くなるんよね。

夕方は夕日を見るためにアンコールワットへ戻り
今度はチケットを買ってチェックポイントを通過。
夕方4時半以降の購入のチケットは翌日の日付になる

結局あいにくの曇りで夕日は拝めず




夜はみんなでクリスマスイヴディナー



私たち2人は約半年ぶりのアルコール!!!
ビール飲んでもざるのNATの顔もグラス2杯のワインで顔がピンクに!
半年飲まないとこんなにも体に変化が起きるってことを実感。
たまのアルコール体にいいかもね。。。
そういえば朝あった微熱が治まったような・・・。

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Angkor Wat


It needs no introduction really does it?
The worlds biggest religious building is more than just one construction though. The main complex is compromised of many buildings within it's greater outer wall. Literally 100's of other (equally interesting) temples are scattered around the town of Siem Reap so don't think you can knock it all on the head without investing some time and tourist dollar.

It would also do you well to read up a little on ancient Khmer and Angkor history, looking back at our experience it was clear we were totally unprepared, we sort of knew this which is why we decided to get a tour guide. Ive never paid for one before so I guess my expectations were high.



It was an early start and it took us a while to warm up. It wasn't until we were half way through Ta Prohm Temple that we twigged something was a little awry with the guide. She was nice and all, she even spoke good Japanese but she just didn't seem to know much about the place. Answers to our questions were uncomfortably minimal and what she could tell us was usually different to what I overheard from other guides.
We did learn that Ta Prohm was visited by Angelina Jolie while filming Tomb Raider, a precious nugget of cultural importance apparently.



Then it was on to the spectacular Bayon Temple. We were unable to determine who and why this place was built but the on site information boards stated that its in danger of falling down. A conservation team is hard at work reversing millennia of abuse though so there is no real need to rush here just yet. Perhaps you have seen images of this temple or maybe you have been there yourself, if you're really lucky maybe your guide told you stuff about this place.
If so please tell us!!!
Its famous for the hundreds of faces that adorn its walls.
Thats all I can tell you.



It was time for lunch so we took the opportunity to let our guide know we would like more information about the majestic things we were seeing before us, especially since the main event, Angkor Wat was coming up.
Here she told us that we should change guide over to her friend!!! "He knows a lot more about the temples."
That was a shock to say the least but after an hour of towing and frowing we decided to stick with her.

Things didn't change at Angkor and she wasn't interested in helping us, we were forced to follow around other guides and consult Aki's guide book for the answers to our many questions. Every now and again our "guide" would join us but was unable or unwilling to supply us with what we wanted. Angkor Wat is enormous and we became quite tired of inconspicuously following around all the other guides...



There really wasn't anything we could do. It was 5pm, we only had a $20 1day pass. Our $30 Tour Guide was no longer talking to us and our $15/day TukTuk driver was AWOL. It was heavily over cast too so we couldn't even get the all popular sunset picture to make the day somehow a success.
Time to just give up and swallow defeat.

Shattered...



The worlds 8th wonder is truly something to witness, a must. If we were to do it again we would arm ourselves with a couple of hours of pre-study, a $40 3day pass and a reliable TukTuk driver. Or (seriously) join a large group tour... Really! They had all the good guides.

Not a pleasant experience but it deserves another try from us.
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