Friday, July 15, 2011

...The End... for now....

Ladies and Gents, I know it may seem that I’m less in touch now that I’m home compared to the flow of updates when I was in Southeast Asia, but life is busy once you return to it. Plenty of things need to be straightened out if you’ve left stateside for 4 months. Plus the entire state is vying for my attention, like, duh dude, right?! MAN it’s good to be back in Californ-ah-yea. Alright alright, my ego feels fine, so back to it….

Cambodia may feel like forever ago already but some things can’t be forgotten. My last post about Angkor Wat was a really special time in my trip, it was a beautiful and rightfully praised attraction. After that attraction, I headed by the bus towards southern Cambodia (By the way, almost all foreign countries I’ve visited have had more efficient long distance bus systems than the US). I headed to a small town on the Tonle Sap Lake in Central Cambodia. I came here to visit a floating village. I headed to this town even though there are larger more popular sets of floating villages closer to the increasingly popular Angkor Wat area, but that’s is precisely why I came here instead. Take the typical Cambodian village and you are guaranteed to find a gas station, mobile phone shops, schools, dogs, fruit stands, chickens, restaurants, the curious smell that is everywhere, shanty houses and oh yea, Cambodians. Take that and make it float, and you’ve got the village I was in. Everything was Cambodian about this village except that they had installed it on the Tonle Sap lake and, similar to Venetian style, had motorboat transportation style and canals (and fairly polluted water). It was a cool sight to see and motorboat through all the canals on this massive lake.

From the waterworld of Tonle Sap, I headed to the Southern coast of Kampot. This would be my second to last stop before heading to Bangkok to fly out, and I was just looking to relax here. I had visited this town before with a Couchsurfer from Phonm Penh when I first arrived to Cambodia, and I enjoyed it enough to know I wanted to revisit it. Kampot is known for its pepper, ‘Kampot Pepper.’ When the French occupied the area, it was said that no distinguished French restaurant in Paris was without Kampot Pepper on the table. I didn’t think pepper could be different, but it can be, this stuff is DELISH! Another fun part of Kampot is that is lies on a river/estuary so you can bike and dine up and down the river. One of the nights I swung over to a cool backpackers’ hangout on the river and a whole bunch of us did a night swim. To our delight, there was bioluminescence!! YAY! Swimming with bioluminescence is one of the coolest things, quite a phenomenon to me. Swimming around at night and glowing.

My last stop in Cambodia was Phonm Penh, the capital. I headed there because one; all roads in Cambodia pass through Phonm Penh, second; I was revisiting my friends there that I made through Couchsurfing. Any big city is manageable when you have people you know in toe, and friends to party with. We all hung out in Phonm Penh and enjoyed the afternoon rain and thunder storms that cooled the temperature to a delicious 85 degrees F. I began my mental summation of my trip there, wrapping things up and realizing I leave in a few days. So what did I do you ask?

- Noodle Soup daily

- Iced coffee daily

- Avoided the rain, then said ‘screw it’ and danced in the rain

- Read the ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Trilogy

- Got massage(s!)

- Confirmed my flight

Interesting, is it not? I think so, I realized I don’t do much to prepare to go home, I just float through it and have faith that everything will go as it is meant to go. Maybe this is why I have culture shock when I go home because I don’t prepare myself for it. I didn’t do that much to treat myself or deprive myself or anything, I just enjoyed what I knew I would enjoy the last few days in Southeast Asia.

Once I got to Bangkok and gathered myself, it seemed to be time to leave already. Now I was dreading the flight because I heard (and later confirmed) that the jet lag flying from Asia to USA is worse than the reverse. I took China Airlines, and got through customs and security with no problems. Once in the airport, I didn't have enough Baht left to eat but I was starvin'! So unfortunately I got on my plane hungry. My first flight from BKK to Taipei was 2 1/2 hrs., and to my great surprise I was fed a full meal and drinks on this 2 1/2 hr flight! I had a slight layover in Taipei. Next I had the 12 hour flight cross the Pacific. This was an overnight flight for me, but I was going back in time. And for my second lovely surprise I got fed two more full meals and tons of drinks and free alcohol. Plus the emergency exit, window seat. I was happy as a clam, even if I had to entertain myself for 12 hours. Now what really got me was the time difference, I left Bangkok at 5pm on June 16th and arrived in San Diego local time 8 pm on June 16th. So three hours had passed on the local clocks but I'd been in transit for 16 hours. It took me about 1 1/2 weeks to adjust to CA schedule. So luckily, or to your dismay, my extensive flight home wasn't that eventful. Maybe next time it will be like "Lost"- but I don't really hope so.

I’ve now returned stateside and started to adjust to life here, which sure can be busy! I’m sorry the ending may seem uneventful, but I do wish for only for one thing…

… ‘And She Lived Happily Ever After’