Birthday Beers in Battambang

Am too pissed on Angkor beer to be coherent – celebrating H’s 32th with a beeeeeeeg meal and many bottles of beer and a great cake! surprise from the tour leader.

Had a v cool day hanging off the back of a bike, and driving through rural villages – doing the queen thing, waving and saying hello to the locals. sounds tacky? but was ace. and then we rode home on the railway, but not on a train, more of flat bed bamboo screens with a DIY lawn mower engine power alternative.

Lots of fun!

So, as you can tell, having a whale of a time on our Heart of Cambodia trip.

Intrepid Cambodia: It’s going great!!

I’ve have just eaten a huge khmer veg and tofu curry, and am fit to burst, or maybe that is due to the big bottle of Angkor beer I had with it…. I passed on the deep fried spiders thankyouverymuch! i’m not kidding!!!!

Each day is packed with new things, and having 10 new people to get to know and to get along with, not to mention the challenge of trying to communicate with the Cambodians we meet on the way, means that the days feel fuller than the itinerary suggests.

Blue blue skies here, temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s, and I got sun burned the day before yesterday to prove it (doh!), on top of a morning express boating along the Mighty Mekong from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham (map) which left me with a rosy red face 🙂 not quite so red now, thank heavens. En route from from Phnom Penh we visited some off the beaten track towns and temples, and as a consequence have done lots of smiling and waving and “helloing”, and riding pillion on motorbikes.

It’s a good trip – bit of an odd mix of people (10+leader), but not bad, and probably less oddball than any trip which takes people away for the Christmas holiday has any right to be. We’ll be spending Christmas Day in Sihanoukville, down by the coast and on the Gulf of Thailand.

We’re now in Siem Reap which is the town 6 km from Angkor Wat, where all the tourists base themselves for their X days in the temple sites. It’s a bit like going into Alton Towers, with tourist buses pulling up at the toll booth, disgorging passengers who get their photopass tickets and then climb on board again to be ferried to their site-du-choix.

We spent the morning on a bumpy bus ride from our overnight stop at Kampong Thom, and the afternoon at one of the Angkor Wat sites – lovely detailed carvings of everyday Khmer life in the 12 century… and great big faces carved onto the temple towers – in honour of the king who commissioned the temple. Next door is a vast frieze of elephants doing what elephants did in the 11 century – hunting, carrying, warring….

We’re here until Saturday morning, with tomorrow a full day’s Angkor Watting, Friday a half day, with the afternoon free to do what we want, which for H and I will involve a Seeing Hands massage (blind masseurs, Japanese massage) from 4-5pm.

And back in PP before the trip got underway, we bumped into Miss Universe at the Russian Market, as you do….

And I’ve taken lots of photos!!

Intrepid Cambodia: Holidays!

Been googling for our hotel in Bangkok (and was caught “sucking up all our bandwidth!” by Nick…) to get maps and an idea of location. All I could remember from Pip’s info was that it was near the Siam Square stop on the new Skyrail link, which didn’t exist last time H and I were there.

It turns out that the Asia Hotel, Bangkok is quite a swanky hotel! Plus I’ve found info on getting to/from the airport, and a cribsheet for Thai numbers….. num song sam etc etc etc.

korp khun ka!

Oooh – and googling on Phnom Penh, I’ve also found some stuff on Phnom Penh, including our intrepid hotel. And a lovely map of Phnom Penh (even if it is a gif).

Sunday 27 October 2002

An incredibly blustery day, and Helen Weber’s Birthday! Or, as I should be accustoming myself to call her, Helen Denton. Hosted by Hazel, with assistance from yours truly, we celebrated with a comfort food lunch with Helen and Charlie, Bruce & Roopa (and Bump), Penny, James & Henry.

Plenty to eat and drink, with Henry showing an early grasp of that essential toddler ploy “offer to walk around with the crisps, and you can help yourself en route”. But no photos – and I even took the Ixus round to H’s with me, together with 2 chairs, 1 large saucepan, icecream, bicarb, fizzy water, cutlery, baking dish, margerine etc etc etc

==Menu ==
Bangers (Asda Gourmet. Yes, I got Hazel to cross the A.S.D.A. threshold) and Mash, with Delia’s Red Wine Sauce for Sausages, and Baked Mushrooms and Garlic
Ruth’s Mum’s Sticky Toffee Pudding, with B&J DIY Vanilla Icecream
Selection of chocolate mints – not that anyone had much space left after seconds (and still some left to spare!)

(see what you missed Phil!)

A phone call from Laura resulted in her arrival as a surprise guest later on in the afternoon. Scuppered by the storms, which “justified” the closure of most of the Virgin lines (and as I discovered when I tried to nip to B&Q/Homebase in Wandsworth Town, all routes in and out of Waterloo), Laura opted to sit out Ian’s attendance at the Boss’s only show in the UK chez nous. So we all vegged and chatted and finished off the luncheon leftovers and assorted beverages, half watching Sunday night comfort telly. All very pleasant and snooze inducing.

10 years on – Michele manoeuvres us back to the Alma Mater

Spent a great weekend in Scotland – Edinburgh, St Andrews and Fife.

Got off to a dodgy start, with what turned out to be a 4 hour delay to our easyJet flight. Not a disaster, but only reaching the home of Scots family Robertson at gone midnight put paid to our plans for a civilised catch up over dinner.

EasyJet’s sop of a refund looks like being a damp squib, albeit one which magicked away a plane load of passengers’ anger at the delay and complete absence of information during that delay. It’s less airport taxes, and having looked at how their fares are structured, is bound to be for the one way flight. So much for H and my plans to use the refund to fund a flight to take advantage of H’s dad’s new flat in Antibes.

Vegged in Corstorphine with Helen, Mark and Emily, and Hel’s parents (Quite a houseful!) before driving though to St Andrews in the Fiat Stilo (fingers crossed that turns out to be the bargain it seemed when booking fri to sun for £39 all in.

I love the way the Forth Rail Bridge looks under blue skies in bright sunlight, which were the gorgeous conditions which celebrated our entry into the Kingdom of Fife.

St Andrews seemed bereft of Students, so we made up for their absence by taking over Ma Bells for the afternoon, window shopping (and playing “what usesd to be here”) around the town shops, reconvening after an afternoon nap for dinner at The Dolls House. That ended up to be a drunken affair, complete with serviette tricks and a spectacular spillage of main course sauce down my front. I like to entertain.

The diners were:

Michele & Jamie
Ruth & Peter
Liz & Will
Allan & Lynda
Catherine & Chris (engaged!)
Kirsty
Hazel
Me

Photos here!

Returned to Brownlees B&B (recommended) via whiskeys at the Russell hotel, and continued the indulgent theme, watching Angel from our beds.

Sunday was more sedate, but equally well fuelled food-wise. Walked the West Sands for an hour, back to cross the 18th Green and the ?swiliken burn bridge – no rounds on the Sunday you see….

Coffee and newspapers in the (new) Janetta’s cafe before meeting up with everyone for lunch and trashy papers at the Vic Cafe. Walked off the potatoes wedges down at the Harbour – the pier is still fenced off – and along the East Sands.

Prize for the Most Extreme Transformation of a St Andrews Watering Hole goes to the West Port. You’ll have to experience it for yourself to appreciate it. If you never experienced the 1/2 pint max rule under old Mrs X’s proprietorship, you won’t really be able to appreciate the extent of the transformation.

Drove around the fishing villages of the East Neuk, and the less attractive industrial towns which line the north banks of the Firth of Forth.

Our flight back to Gatwick was only 30 mins late taking off – result!

Shattered, but happy after a busy, lazy, indulgent weekend.

09 February 2014: Photos now appearing on Flickr in St Andrews, October 2002.