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Idag har vi vaert gjester hos den norske ambassade - kjempehyggelig.

Videre rute er klar - vi drar i morgen til Chiang Mai

Tanta til Elisabeth (ikke tanta til Beate) har ei venninne som heter Eva - gift med Erik Glasrud som er forstekonsul?? ved ambassaden i Bangkok. Vi var ikke snauere enn at vi mailet dem for noen dager siden og ba om aa faa hilse paa dem. Det ble en kjempehyggelig dag i en riktig gronn oase i Bangkok hvor ambassadoren og Erik og Eva bor. Ikke verst aa vaere paa en norsk utenriksstasjon naar man kan bo slik i en by med 12 mill mnsk.
Videre reiserute er ogsaa bestemt - og vi er oppstemt med tanke paa fortsettelsen...

Videre reiserute bestemt

I dag har vi bestilt visa for Vietnam og Laos. Vi faar visaaene forst paa fredag og maa derfor holde oss innenlands til da. benytter sjansen til aa dra til Chiang Mai - der er det visstnok -2 grader naa, saa endelig faar vi valuta for aa ha baert gensere og olabusker i 8 uker.... Der planlegger vi en todagers fjelltur, but time will show. Drar med nattbuss (11 timer) mandag kl 1800.

Om ca en uke er vi tilbake i Bangkok - da gaar turen til Cambodsja og Siem Reap og Ankor Wat - en ruinby av templer paa storrelse med Oslo. Cambnodsja er bomet tilbake til steinalderen og enhver persjon som hadde utdanning, briller, var kunstner etc ble utryddet av pol Pot for ikke mange aar siden. Det blir likevel spennende aa se hva dette landet kan by paa for uten veier som er bortimot uframkommelige. 

Les (for spesielt interesserte) hva vaar svenske venninne Alex og hennes amerikanske ektefelle har skrevet om sine opplevelser de siste dagene - vi har tilbragt kvelden og en flaske Thaiwhisky sammen med dem og utvekslet erfaringer. De var utrolig koselige folk som vi gjerne treffer igjen... og kanskje i Laos.


Som nevnt i innledningen har vi altsaa hatt en kjempedag med Erik og Eva Glasrud paa den norske ambassaden - feil der de bodde i en gronn oase nmed eget svommebasseng, gartner, housemaid etc.... rett over gata bodde en av de thailandske prinsessene (de er mange - da man helt ned til kiusine er prinsesse)  Forovrig staar kongehuset vanvittig sterkt i Thailand - bildene deres er over alt...  I gaar var vi i Grand Palace som bare var GRANDE... i tillegg til at vi tok baattur pa kanalene - besokte Patpong (red light district nr 1) etc...  Dagene gaar fort og avsluttes alltid paa Savsdee House - lit utenfor backpackergata hvor vi spiser, drikker, utveksler erfraringer og naa sitter paa internettkafe.

Vi gleder oss til fortsettelsen og saerlig Laos - hvor vi sansynligvis tilbringer jula...

Saa mailen fra Alex og Jon


Hi there,

While sitting on the bus from Cambodia to Bangkok I
started thinking about those unforgettable things I
never told you about Cambodia. Here are a few:

1. To get around you hire mopeds with drivers.
Sometimes you would see 4 people on a moped. 90% of
the time we travelled via "moto" it was an
adventure....You would say for example take us to
"Lucky Moto", and we would show it on the map, they
would say yes yes and then proceed to drive us to the
OTHER side of town, maybe to Lucky Burger. We NEVER
got to the right place on the first try...You better
have a map and follow along or you will never know
where they are taking you.

2. Most people travel by mopeds, but there are a few
cars. You will see these unbelievable sights of cars
that have 4 people in the back seat, 4 people in the
front, 2 people in the trunk, and people sitting out
the window on each side.!

3. We took a taxi from Siem Reap to the Thai border, a
3.5 hr drive for $20. It's actually a pickup truck,
which was good because of the 50 cm deap pot holes and
mud along the way! At one place we saw two huge trucks
stuck in the mud leaning heavily onto one side. After
2 hrs on the road, another pickup truck pulls up at 50
miles/hr (90km/hr) and a guy jumps from their car into
ours and force us to stop. A big argument back and
forth takes place between the two drivers, then they
turn to us and tell us we have to change cars. This
was not part of the deal and we are worried at this
point that we are either going to get mugged or
stranded. All of a sudden they take our bags over to
the other pickup truck and so we decide to follow our
luggage. I guess you can say we got kidnapped, and our
previous taxi driver got screwed. But we got safely to
the boarder and paid the same price...

4. Every time you buy something and there is not a
price tag on it, you have to bargain. You should start
at 30-50% and end up at about 60-70%. Those that are
good end up at 50%. In the beginning it was stressful
and you felt bad, now it is kind of fun.

5. To stay in a hotel cost $10-15 with king size bed,
bathroom, tv, fridge, and AC. To eat in a restaurant
for two, with drinks and lots of food was usually

6. Jon and I would eat food from street vendors a lot,
it was really the best food. We'd take quite a few
risks actually (Although we have learned NOT to drink
beverages with ice that is not "shaped". Shaped ice
would be filtered, crushed pieces were not.). The last
night in Siem Reap, before going to Bangkok, we ate
our most expensive meal at the Grand Hotel with
Cambodian dance entertainment. It cost us $64 total.
The irony is that the most expensive meal, at the
Grand, is the one time that Jon gets VIOLENTLY ill.

7. We ate at "Friends" in Phnom Penh, a great
restaurant that takes in street kids and teach them to
cook and run a restaurant. You see many homeless kids
in the street.
8. Cambodia is ONLY an agricultural society. Khmer
Rouge killed off ALL artists, lawyers, engineers,
intelligent people, people with glasses, musicians,
dancers, doctors, etc. They killed over 2 million
people, left millions of landmines still in the ground
- and left are 4.5 million poor poor farmers. So there
are no engineers or construction workers to fix the
buildings or build roads, it's mostly non-profits from
other countries that help out. Most roads are gravel
or mud. Only a few roads have asfalt, and then maybe
they were paved in the 60's and not fixed since then.

9. It is so interesting to watch how they set up
"process". They are still in the assembly line mode.
For example at the passport/visa control: 1 person
opens up the passport to the right page, the next
person checks the name against the visa, the next
person makes a note in a book, the next person makes a
papercopy of it, the next person glues in the picture,
the next person stamps the passport and the next
person hands it to you. I tell yo there were about 12
people processing our passports. It was complete chaos
with a 100 people trying to get through the passport
control without and form of a queue. Welcome to
Cambodia! :-)

10. People are soooo poor in Cambodia, living in
shacks, making on average $1.20/day. It should not be
such a suprise/shock to us that while staying in Siem
Reap with Melissa, a man climbed up to our window on
the second floor and reach in through the bars and
stole stuff! We both woke up by the bugs biting us,
and Jon looks up and sees this hand coming in through
the window grabbing his minidisc player and bag -
about 2 ft (1/2 m) above his head! Jon jumps up and
screams and the guy jumps off the building. Luckily we
"only" lost some microphones, we didn't loose the
minidisc player or our money and passport that were
right next to the microphones....!

11. Sometimes the sewage would get plugged up and
flood the street. It was black mud and smelled like
you can't even imagine. And here would be these men to
fix it by putting sandbags around to stop it from
spreading. Then one of them would descend into the
black guke all the way to their necks....what a
job...wonder what they make per day, maybe 5 bucks if
they are lucky...

So after all that we finally arrived in Bangkok, which
was a complete culture shock. We left the 1800's and
arrived in the 21st century. Bangkok is the NY of
Asia. What an amazing city, and then to see white
people everywhere! Everything is cheap here too and
the fashion is fantastic. So so far this has been
quite a shopping trip for us here. We planned to come
back to Bangkok later to do the cultural stuff and the
buddhas. Tomorrow we are off to Bali, and I am going
to learn to surf!



" Hi again,

The boat trip from Phnom Penh up to Siem Reap in
Cambodia was fantastic! It was a long skinny boat,
about 12 feet wide(3.5m) 20 yards/m long. They say it
is not safe to sit inside the boat, because they have
a tendency to sink now and then and you couldn't get
out. So all tourists have learned to sit on the flat
roof on top. Jon and I sat in the way front so we had
a good view. The boatride takes 5 hrs and travels up
the Ton le Sap river. Halfway the river is flooded
into the largest lake in the world supposedly.

The first two hours up the river (wide as Mississippi)
had incredible views of the city with houses/shacks on
stilts, long narrow fishing boats with people in
colorful clothes fishing, the temples among the
palmtrees, and the mountains in the distance. Two
hours later the river flooded into the largest
freshwater fishery in the world. It was so large that
you could not see land for two hrs! Good thing it is
kind of shallow so there were no waves.

When we arrived in Siem Reap you enter a delta of
houseboats and at the shore you are greated by 100
taxi drivers and moped drivers with signs for their
guesthouses trying to get your business. Some hold
signs with names of people. It was quite crazy and you
want to hold on to your bags as hard as you
can...Little kids beg for money and pull your hands.
Ex military men with no legs sit on the ground beggin
for money. We are looking for blond Melissa, that is
suppoed so hold a sign that says "Jon & Alex". We
finally found her and were VERY relieved! It was soooo
nice to have someone to stay with that you can trust,
that can show you around, that can help you avoid the
scams and negotiate appropriately, that speaks the
language and can navigate!

We have had a GREAT time with Melissa, learning about
the work and experiences she has had working in Asia
for 8 years. She works for ZOA writing project
development reports for how to help refugees and
returnees come back to Cambodia. Nowadays she mostly
manages and writes proposals, before she did field
work where you go out and train teachers and
counselors how to help these people, as well as
oversee projects.

Siem Reap is a nice town, and less overwhelming than
big Phnom Penh. We feel safe and comfortable moving
around here, and I think they are more used to
tourists. This town is a big tourist spot because of
the Angkor Wat temples nearby. We have spent two days
there and they are so impressive! Melissa's boyfriend
Vichet is a taxi driver, so he drove us around to the
different temples. To rent a taxi for a day, with
unlimited mileage, was $20.

We visited probably about 15 templs, and my guess is
that there are about 20-22 temple ruins over there in
a space as big as inner Boston or inner Stockholm. We
spent time walking around them, climbing them, and
also just sitting taking in the breathtaking scenery
of the jungle and the temple tops. I bet you can see
them on the web under Cambodia or under Angkor Wat.
These temples were built in 1100-1200's by different
Kings. They are built out of carved sandstones with
intricate pictures of people, their kinds, and their
daily lives there. They are dedicated to hindu gods
and buddha. In just one temple area, they estimate
that about 1 million people lived there in 1200's -
the largest city in the world at that time. Just an
amazing civilization, and it is so hard to understand
how these amazing empires can just disappear. Angkor
Wat was our favorite one, and then a couple of the
smaller ones (where they filmed Tombraider).

There were wild monkeys in the trees that we had lots
of fun with. They are so cute and have so many
gestures, postures, and behaviors like people. At one
point Jon didn't see a mother with her baby and he
almost stepped on her. She got really mad at him,
hissed at him and was swaying her fist. And then she
chased him back into the car! We also saw another
monkey giving himself a blowjob...!

Even though it is the cool season here, it is about
20-23 celcius, or in the 80's fahrenheit. So one day
Melissa took us out to a big reservoir where you could
rent hammocks by the water and eat picknick. We went
swimming and floating on big intertubes - a very nice

Today we are taking a day off to sleep, do email, go
to the bank, do laundry, etc. And tonight we are going
to see Cambodian dance. The "Khmer food" is fantastic.
Lots of sour tastes and spicy taste. One soup that is
common mixes tomatoes, pineapples, basil, mint,
scallions, chili, lime, chicken or fish, many other
kinds of green leaves, noodles, tamarind, etc. Yum! Or
Chanangaaa as they say here.

Here is my limited Khmer language knowledge:
Lee Hai (bye)
Chop Rim Lee (formal goodbye followed by your palms
touching each other and bowing)
Sagsubai (hi)
Chop Rim Suah (Formal hello)
Okun (thank you)
Kjnum mien caffe mil ongko, okun ( I would like a cup
of coffe with milk please)
che (banana)
tuk (water)

Tomorrow we take a taxi and bus to Bangkok. This will
take about 8 hrs and cost about $40 for two people.
This way we save some money and will see the landscape
more, flying would cost $140 per person.

Our plan is to spend 2-3 days in Bangkok to see the
city, have some clothes made at a tailor, and buy
planetickets. Our hope is to find good tickets for
Bali and go there for two weeks, and then come back
and spend two weeks in Thailand. Then we have to
decide whether we want to go to Nepal or New Zealand
in Dec-Jan. Everybody suggest we should go to Nepal,
because everything it is soo beautiful and unique. you
Nature in New Zealand can be seen in the US - similar
I guess Colorado, Oregon, California, and the south
etc. But at the same time you hear wonderful things
about New Zealand hotsprings, surfing, mountains,
fjords, jungle, farmland, archipelago, etc. We'll see.

Don't worry about us in Bali. We have heard from
several people that were either there recently or have
friends who went there, and they all say that it is
totally fine to go there. And will make sure to avoid
switching planes on Jakarta however. If you go through
Singapore you can go direct to Bali.

Next update will come from Bali (we hope)!


Alex and Jon