06 January 2013

Day 3 of 9: Vietnam En Route to Cambodia

We deviated from our normal routine of eating that baguette sandwich and drinking street coffee for breakfast and tried Truy Nguyen before we cross the border to Cambodia. Truy Nguyen is a local Vietnamese coffee brand and its popularity is much like how Starbucks is here in the Philippines. I haven't seen any branch of Starbucks in Ho Chi Minh, probably it had something to do with their not so good history with the Americans. Coffee is one of the major products of this country.

We then headed on for the War Remnants Museum which contains history about the Vietnam War. The museum was pretty depressing so I understood why Cza did not want to enter it again.There were lots of information about how the Americans and Vietnamese tortured and killed each other's forces. I got really sad upon getting out.

We hardly had any time to eat as we were in a hurry to get to our bus to Phnom Penh. Good thing that the bus that we took provided pastries and water so we didn't get hungry. In fairness, the bread was good.

Six hours of grueling butt torture later and we finally reach the capital of Cambodia. Welcome to Phnom Penh!

We stayed at Bright Lotus Guesthouse which is a stone's throw away from the Grand Palace and the restaurants along the river. We were terribly hungry after hours of not eating anything heavy. We tried Riverside Restaurant along the Tonle Sap River. We need not change currencies since everything can be bought using US dollars. Whenever I travel, I try to eat local food as much as possible. It's also a good way to experience the country's culture. I went for Fish Amok which is near in taste with Curry. In Cambodia, local food is called Khmer cuisine.

While waiting for our food, everyone got busy connecting to the internet. We were that desperate for free wifi. LOL.
Mga batang nagpunta ng Cambodia para mag-facebook. :))
After dinner we walked towards the Grand Palace which was brightly lit at night. We learned that the father of the current king just passed away and it was Cambodian tradition to mourn for three months if I'm not mistaken.
Three DSLRs and an iPhone. Ang poser ni Jet haha!
We ended the day since we were so tired and we still have lots of things to do the following day. Exploring Phnom Penh in daylight on the next post!

01 January 2013

Happy 2013!

I've always liked New Year. It symbolizes a new beginning and, somehow, a clean slate. And of course the fireworks above are just spectacular! Though, they were far less than last year's.

Just like Christmas, I again cooked our Media Noche Meal. I took a stab at creating something complicated. I braved the kitchen and created...


Paella Valenciana!

Apart from my main course I also created the following:
1. Squash Cream Soup
2. Rootbeer Ribs
3. Taco Salad
4. Chocolate Mousse Trifle

Behold my humble New Year spread!

The usual New Year tradition is that my friends and I gather at Ron's house for our annual New Year get together. I can't believe we've been doing this tradition since we were kids! We started at around 1 AM and finished at almost 8 AM. First sunrise of the year spent with my dearest friends...totally happy and wasted!
Mahirap kami ngayon. Walang imported. LOL.

I made a collage of my barkada's New Year celebrations through the years. Apart from seeing  how we celebrate it every year, this actually shows evolution of some sort. Well, especially for me. :P
So this year, my only resolution is to be vain. Haha. Kidding aside,  I won't set goals which is too far ahead into the future. I'll live and enjoy my life one day at a time and I shall not stress myself with the pressure of a better career or that search for love. I won't. I'm tired. So I'll just focus on other things that makes me happy. And yes, those are shopping, the beach and more travels for this year.

Happy 2013 everyone!

31 December 2012

Day 2 of 9: Vietnam (Mekong River Delta and Cza's Birthday)

Second day of our trip was allotted to explore the Mekong River. We weren't able to make the group trip so  we paid a little more and had a private tour instead. We paid 25 USD each, 15 USD more than what we would have paid for the group tour. It was okay since we were already there anyway and as somebody close to me said, travel with style and do not scrimp. It was also a good thing because we were able to meet our tour guide whose name we didn't really get so we just called him Ketut to simplify things.

Our first stop was the honey and tea place. The locals sort of have a bee farm where they get the honey from and they sell it to tourists. They also have dried fruit and some icky snake wine. *shivers*

Second stop was the coconut candy factory. Apparently coconut is big in Vietnam but I just found it funny because what they were making is much like the Philippine's very own...bukayo. Nothing really special save for the additional flavoring. We bought packs of it nonetheless.

So again we walked to our third stop to listen to traditional Vietnamese songs and sample their fruits. I just ate the mango and sampled the dragon fruit. I'm not really a fan of pineapples and longans. Frankly, nothing still beats the Philippine mango.

The more exciting part of this tour was having to ride a narrow boat and traverse through a very narrow canal. Applause to the men and women who navigate the small boats. There's too much traffic and this is definitely a skill.

We headed off to another island for lunch and upon arriving we had to ride a horse carriage. Cool!

We were starving and good thing our lunch was really delicious. Healthy Vietnamese food for the win!
Oh yes we were hungry. Sorry.
Since Jet had this picture in his mind of riding a bike, we just had to fulfill that wish of his. I haven't ridden a bike for quite sometime so it was a very nice experience. Good thing all of us knew how to ride one.

On our way back to Ho Chi Minh, were given coconut to drink during the short boat ride. I do not really like coconut but since I had nothing else to drink, then I was left with no choice. Survival skills in play.

Since it was Cza's birthday, we celebrated it in a fancy restaurant. We has RK and Julius buy a cake as surprise and Jet and I went with Cza. We asked from the reception at our hotel which restaurant would she recommend and she told us to go at Ngon restaurant. Apparently, there were quite a number of Ngon restaurants so we ended up being in two different places. Anyhow, RK and Julius found us after minutes of walking. Haha.

Day 2 done! We ended the day with more shopping at Ben Thanh Market as we prepare to go to Phnom Penh the following day. More adventures to follow!

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