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After getting my first passport in 2006 and traveling to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania my life changed. I began the process of getting rid of all my possessions and traveling the world. Traveling to over 110 countries and all 7 continents, hostels have been my home. This "new life" has taught me what is important and it was NOT accumulating money or possessions. Traveling is the best education. I hope my blog will encourage others to travel. My World Tattoo was a way for me to express my PASSION FOR TRAVEL.

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Wednesday October 15, 2008

After 5 hrs on the worst road that I have ever been on I finally arrived in Siem Reap. It is the hub for everything that is Angkor Wat which is called the 8th Wonder of the World by some. I hope to stay here for a few days and recharge, finally, and make plans to visit Angkor Wat. There are 1 day, 3 day and week long admission tickets. The area is immense with so many different temples to see but I think that after a few of the biggest ones including Angkor Wat I will have seen enough. Seeing Angkor Wat is up there almost as much as seeing the Great Wall.

The first picture is of a "spirit house" which is usually located in front of many businesses and houses and come in many shapes, sizes and colors. They are supposed to be a home for friendly spirits who will bestow blessings on them and remain outside the house in comfort. Many times food, water and flowers are left on the houses for the spirits.

CAMBODIA, Angkor Wat

Saturday October 18, 2008

The temples of Angkor Wat are numerous and many people spend an entire week exploring them. I decided to concentrate on the Big 3 which are Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon.

I took a tuk-tuk which I hired the previous day and set out at 5 am. It was only a 15 minute ride and it was still dark when we arrive at Angkor Wat with about 75 other tourists waiting for the sun to come up. Only it was overcast and a light mist was falling. I have been anticipating this moment my entire trip as it is billed by some as the 8th Wonder of the World. I guess that is because it did not make the New 7 Wonders of the World list last year.

Angkor Wat is the largest religious building in the world and it is truly a sight to see but somehow it did not have that "WOW" factor. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was because it is 5 am. or maybe I had just imagined how it would be for so long. I have seen postcards of Angkor Wat as the sun is coming up behind it and that is what I wanted. Unfortunately this is the moonsoon (2 hrs of hard rain every day and some rain the rest) season. I really hope that it is not because I have seen so much in the last 3 years I expect too much. On the other hand, everything can't be Machu Picchu at sunrise or your first time to see Mount Everest up close and personal. But it was really nice. lol

CAMBODIA, Angkor Wat (Bayon)

Supposed to be famous for the Bayon facs in the stone pillars. Not crazy about it but took some pictures anyway.

CAMBODIA, Angkor Wat (Ta Prohm)

My favorite temple. It is slowly being engulfed by the jungle and was used as a location in Tomb Raider.


Wednesday October 22, 2008

After a brief couple of days in Bangkok to get new visa pages in my passport, I finally arrived in Phuket which is the No. 1 tourism area in Thailand. On my way to the 5 am bus this morning I encountered what I think was a big rottweiler which somehow got out of the fence which enclosed it. Dogs have been a problem more than once on this trip and within a second my backpack was off my back and being used as a medieval hammer from Conan the Barbarian. I slowly crossed the sidewalk and the transformer above the dog exploded and sparks went everywhere. Somehow I felt a little relieved that the dog had made me change my direction, but not too much. The dog went his way and I went mine. 7 hrs later I am in Phuket hoping for a little peace and quiet.

The picture is of the "flophouse" hotel where Leonardo Di Caprio stays in the movie "The Beach". I looked at the rooms there and decided to stay at a more update hostel.


Thursday October 23, 2008

Today was my second splurge when I spent $60 on a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands which are known as incredibly beautiful and location to Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Beach". The trip is normally $90 for the speed boat to the islands and food and drink but I was able to secure a large discount with a little persuasion. lol I quickly boarded the large speed boat which holds 40 passengers and secured a seat in the front so I could see the islands as we approached. Great idea, as long as it doesn't rain. It rained for about 1.5 hrs on the way to the islands and on the first beach. But the eight of us in front just laughed after a while because you can only get so wet.

The first island was Phi Phi Lae Island which was the location for "The Beach". I am not sure how well the pictures will turn out because it was raining pretty hard when we were there. The island is a National Park and has no tourist accomodations or businesses, just beach. We were there only 35 minutes and I would have liked to have stayed longer and visited the hidden cove which was also in the movie. The next beach we visited was Monkey Island and there were monkeys everywhere on the beach. Probably 40-50 monkeys being feed fruit by the tourists. One monkey, with gnashing teeth, chased a tourist into the ocean. The guide said monkeys will occassionally bite when provoked. We witnessed several serious monkey brawls. lol  We next went to a beach for some fantastic snorkeling with great visibility and a large variety of fish.

We next went to Phi Phi Don which has about 700 inhabitants and very little inexpensive accomodations. We had a large buffet lunch which was part of the tour and then spent an hour on the beach. One more island stop to lay on the beach again for an hour and back home.

Will make some financial sacrifices over the next week to justify the expense but it was a very good day.