Rooftop accomodation

Haha. As it turns out, my $2 room is a rooftop room. With a nice view over Hanoi. I love it. And by rooftop I literally mean rooftop. I have to climb some small stairs to the fourth floor, then I have to go up one more small steel stair leading to something that I suppose used to be the roof but is now surrounded by something working as walls. From there I climb one more ladder and then walk over some kind of planks of wood to get to my room. Just beside my room is the family room where they sleep, eat and have their family altar where they are burning incense. The reason I have a view over the city is partly that one of the walls is a "window" and partly because the other wall have small holes in it. Lucky me I got blankets to sleep in, might get cold otherwise.

Hanoi tour

After writing the blog yesterday I went for a dinner with Anthony, the Korean guy I shared a room with, and an "almost-40-year-old" Japanese friend of his. We went to Little Hanoi which was supposed to be a great restaurant - which it very much turned out to be as well. The food was really good and the price was not that bad either. I also ran into the Australians that I met earlier the same day, so I decided I would try to join them for the water puppet show after their dinner.

While waiting for them to finish the three of us went to the local beer corner and drank fresh beer for 2000 dong per glass (i.e. 1 SEK) which was really good (and to a nice price as well). We also started talking to a Vietnamese guy sitting next to us. He was just about to begin his PhD in environmental engineering (about air pollution) in Japan - so he saw a great chance in learning some Japanese from the Japanese girl. We talked quite a lot and it turned out that apart from working at the university he also worked as a guide in Hanoi every once in a while, so I asked him if he could show me around town today. Said and done, we decided on a price (which was nice for me 'cause I didn't have to go via a travel agency and nice for him 'cause he probably got a bit more than he would from the agency as well) and decided he would pick me up at 8 AM in my hotel.

After a few beers on the corner I joined the aussies to the water puppet show and their tour guide managed to get me tickets even though it was full which was very nice. The water puppet show was actually really funny and interesting - but I'm happy that I did drink a couple of beers before, otherwise I might have got bored like some of the Australians.. After the water puppet show we went to the Funky Monkey bar and danced the night away. I had a great time with the six (or so) Australians, dancing and laughing and being silly mostly. After haggling a good price and getting lost a couple of times I managed to get home with a motobike around 2 am. A bit too late, but I'll sleep some hours in the afternoon instead.

The guided tour of Hanoi today was really great! My guide speaks excellent English (since he has done his masters for two years in the Phillipines in English) and knew a lot about all the things we visited in Hanoi. During the day I've seen a museum (which was really good - probably the best I've been to so far), a couple of Pagodas, the Temple of Literature (which is the first university in Vietnam, built in the 11th century) and some other sights. He also showed me the Hanoi institute of technology, the university where he works and have studied which was really interesting. All in all a very nice day.

Now I'll just kick back in my new hotel (where I pay $2 for a single room which I haven't seen yet - I hope it's ok!) and later go to dinner with the Australian girls (Sophie and Lucy) that will be back in Hanoi by then. Hopefully a early evening before going to Halong Bay tomorrow. In Halong Bay I will stay for one or two nights probably, so don't expect any blogs from me meanwhile.


A day of walking in Hanoi

Wow. Just came back to the guesthouse after a full day of walking around in Hanoi. Mostly the Old Quarters. Hanoi is crowded, it is intensive, it is dirty, it is colorful and I absolutely love it. After leaving the guesthouse in the morning I did a couple of hours of walking around in the Old Quarters where every street is a market. The streets are filled with dirt, food stalls, vendors and lots of motobikes. Since I didn't know where I started or in which direction it wasn't much of a point worrying about getting lost - to get lost you kind of need to know where you are when you start. The Old Quarters are lovely though. It is a labyrinth of small streets changing direction and name every block, and filled with small shops, cafes, food stalls and so on. There were lots to see and I was so busy taking in all the views that I forgot to take any photos. Might do the same tour tomorrow and try to capture some of the feeling with the markets in the morning. Or I might go for a three-day tour in Halong Bay, sounds really neat actually!

After finding my way down to the lake I had an hour of visiting the temple in the lake and then walking around the lake. I found the St Joseph cathedral which (just as the guidebook said) looked as if though someone had taken it straight from France and put it in the middle of Hanoi. After visiting the church I sat down for an early lunch / late second breakfast in an alley. I'm not sure what I ate, but it was really good. There was deep-fried boiled eggs (strange but nice), some tofu and some sort of meat that I couldn't recognize (might have been dog - what do I know?). Just when I finished my meal and was enjoying my ca phe sau da (iced coffee with milk - but without the ice since the lady thought it was too cold outside for iced coffee) a group of Australians that I recognized from Hue walked by. I ended up following them on their walking tour through Hanoi which got me back to the church again and then to a restaurant which was very nice. I ate some nice spring rolls and had a proper ca phe sau da, which cost me approximately 3 times as much as my whole meal and ca phe in the alley. We decided to meet again tonight, so I'll join them for dinner, after dinner or some other time during the evening. They were going for a water puppet show which sounds like a nice idea. The other idea is to join the Korean guy that I'm staying with for the moment for some cheap local made beers (it's fresh beer - made the same day and costs 8000 dong which is 4 SEK per glass).

Now I'll try to upload some photos to PicasaWeb, so hopefully you can find a couple of new pictures there in a while.


Just arrived in Hanoi after 12 hours on the night bus. The bus ride wasn't the best bus ride so far, but I got to sleep a couple of hours at least so now I'm ready for a day of exploring (and getting lost) in Hanoi. The blog is working from here anyway, so today or tomorrow I'll probably write more and upload some pictures as well!

Now I'm off to see Hanoi. I'm staying in the Old Quarters which seems to be a labyrinth of small streets and markets and other cool stuff. Check in soon for an update from the capital.


Blog problems?

I've been having some troubles reaching my blog from Vietnam since I left Nha Trang. I'm not sure why, but I wouldn't be surprised if the government is blocking blogger or something... You wouldn't want Western propaganda to be spread to much now would you? :)
Anyway, I just realised that I still can publish things on the blog by sending an e-mail to a secret address (not that secret really, but secret enough... :), so here we go.
At the moment I'm in Hue, "small" town of Vietnam (only 2 million people or so?). Yesterday I spent the day on a tour, seeing all the tombs and the citadel of Hue. It was a nice day and it was very interesting to see all these stuff. It feels a bit hard to write about what I've been doing since the last time though, it feels as if it was ages since I wrote something.
Let's see... I spent a couple of nights in Nha Trang which was a really great time! I was staying with a girl from Singapore, Azny, and we had good fun together. I went for a diving trip on one of the days - that was awesome. Saw lots of stuff like barracudas, crabs, wonderful corals and the visibility was really good as well. My buoyancy was perfect, which makes it feels as though you are floating in mid=water. I love that feeling - the feeling of being weightless. When you take a deep breath you go up, and when you exhale you go down. You kick a little and you float forwards through the water effortless. I love diving, I'm just wondering when the next time will be. During the nights I was partying at the different bars of Nha Trang - that was good fun. You always meet lots of wonderful people. The first days I spent with a German girl, Tina, which I had a really great time with and then I met two Australian girls which I ended up traveling with for a couple of days.
So.. After the dive I went straight on to the bus ride to Hoi An together with the Australian girls (Lucy and Sophie). It was a night bus, which means something like ten hours of almost-sleeping and waking up, going off the bus to eat, sleeping a bit more, having unconfortable seats and trying to find a way to position your legs so they fit under the seat in front of you. I think the buses are to small even for Asian people, even much more so for me... But anyway, you get along and try to sleep and you save one night of hotel costs which makes it quite alright. Some people go for Valium on the night buses but so far I've been fine without it.. Hoi An turned out to be a very nice town. It is a small town at the riverside and it's absolutely filled with tailors. There isn't very much to do and see in Hoi An, so you end up at the tailors tailoring stuff for a couple of hundred dollars... Break the budget! I got four suits and two shirts tailored and later sent home by boat for $250 dollars - the same price that I would have paid for one suit of the shelf in Sweden. In Hoi An we also saw some of the old houses, went to a couple of museum and the like. Nothing extraordinary, but it was very interesting and a nice way to spend the day waiting for your suits. :)
After a couple of nights in Hoi An (I'm losing track of time wuite fast, I'm not really sure of which date or weekday it is - it doesn't really matter when you're traveling I've found out) we continued on to Danang where we spent one night. I really liked Danang. I had a day by myself (although I still were staying with the Australian girls) when I rented a moto-driver ($5 for a full-day) and went to the Marble Mountains, the Cham museum in town, had a great lunch with him and then saw the China Beach and other sights around town. Danang was an interesting place, full of contrasts. The Marble Mountains were really nice with views over the city, some dense jungle-like parts, huge caves filled with marble carvings, some temples and pagodas and more. I had almost two hours of just walking around in caves, exploring the site, looking for great views, visiting temples (one of them seemed to be in active use) and being amazed by the lack of tourists (of course there were tourists, but not very many - saw like five or six couples/families and a group of Japanese youths...). The town is interesting as well - mostly because this was a place used by both the Viatnamese and the US army. Just outside of the town you had the US airfield which was interesting to see - still being used sometimes I think, but kind of falling apart and there were cows strolling around amongst the barracks and everything... The China Beach is a huge stretch of beaches which supposedly was used by the US army for relaxing. Extremely white sand, nice waves and just a few resorts spread out on the immense beach.
After Danang we continued on to Hue where we had one day of just strolling around in the town, trying to avoid the rain and the cold (we didn't really succeed - it was f***ing freezing!) and then one day of seeing tombs and citadels. The Australian girls left in the evening for Hanoi so I spent the evening by myself (not really by myself - once again I ran into the Canadian couple Rob and Steph so we ended up in the DMZ bar drinking, eating and playing pool). Today I've been relaxing, seeing the churches in the town (had a catholic motodriver which insisted on showing me all the cathedrals in the town for free - good deal for me) and then just hanging out for a while. Should head back to the hotel for some food before I take the night bus to Hanoi though.
My plans for the moment are to go to Hanoi. That's it. After Hanoi I'm not sure where I'll go or even how long I'll spend in Hanoi. I've been talking to Asa at my work, so I'll probably have a much longer trip than I intended from the beginning. I haven't decided about the details yet, but it seems I'll spend one or two months more traveling in Asia which is absolutely wonderful - I'm really grateful for getting this opportunity - it's really a once-in-a-lifetime offer!
Anway. I'll write more about everything when I get to Hanoi - I might take some hours to upload photos, organize them more, reflect about my travels so far, write more about the food and the people and other stuff that I haven't mentioned that much so far... Continue to write comments and long e-mails about my blog or what's happening back in Sweden (or in the countries you're visiting at the moment for those who I've met during my traveling!). Cheers!


Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang

At the moment I'm at the beach town of Nha Trang which seems to be a lovely place to hang out for a while. We arrived to Nha Trang at six in the morning after a ten hours bus drive from HCMC and found out that it was raining. A lot. The rain continued during the whole day, so I had a day of relaxing, exploring the town (in the rain, yes), reading, catching up on some e-mailing, eating lots of food and checking out all the cafes and bars in town. That was great - I needed a chill out day like that - but now I'm ready for some serious beach life! :) In the evening we visited Guava (a nice bar) and played pool for a couple of hours and after this we went to the Sailors Club - supposedly _the_ place to be in Nha Trang during nighttime.

Tomorrow I'll probably go for two dives - scuba diving is so awesome! I'm not sure the visibility is too great this time of year really - but it's still supposed to be really beautiful here so I want to try it out.

Ho Chi Minh City then. I haven't said much about what I did in HCMC and truth be said - I didn't really do much at all. We mostly walked around town and tried to get a feeling for it. We saw some sights, but mostly markets and the everyday life of one of the most interesting cities I've ever seen and visited. Ho Chi Minh City is intense, it's fast and furious, it's constantly moving and everybody is always on the move to go somewhere in some business. After being in HCMC rush hour, going to New York and Manhattan would feel like a trek in the countryside. I've never seen that many motobikes at the same time - thousands of them in each crossing - each one finding their own way through the no-mans-land that makes out the streets of Saigon. Whenever you want to cross the street you just close your eyes (not literally - although I doubt it would make a difference) and then walk in a slow and steady pace through the current of thousands of motobikes passing on each side of you. Traffic lights, crossings for pedestrants, driving on the right side, adhering to rules like one-way or no-left-turn seems to be concepts that are unheard of - or they see them mostly as guidelines meant for breaking.

I don't know what to think about Ho Chi Minh City. It's huge. Some parts are poor and dirty, some parts are shining with skyscrapers reaching for the stars. The markets in the morning is bustling with Vietnamese people buying their food for the day, the town is a mix of light, color and movement in the night. In a small alley we found some butchers working in the middle of the night - with a huge heap of pigs heads lying on the street and they sat around smoking and chopping them up in neat meat packages. I might have had one of those for breakfast the morning after when we went for a small food stall nearby and pointed on some things that looked delicious. The best food you always find in the food stalls - just look out for the ones that are regularly used by the locals and sit down. Point at the things you want and use your limited Vietnamese skills to say how much you want and how much you want to pay (I know how to count now at least - that makes it a lot easier haggling with people not speaking English). I guess you can only love the city and just hope that you sometime in the future have the possibility to return here for a more thourough experience of the city.


Vietnam, Mekong delta and Ho Chi Minh City

The reason that I haven't written in a while now is that I've been travelling around on the Mekong delta for a couple of days now. From Phnom Penh I took a boat trip to the Vietnam side of the border, to the town Chau Doc where my plan was to figure out what to do and probably get to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) as quickly as possible. As usual my plans changed during the course and I ended up taking a three-day tour from Chau Doc on the Mekong delta together with a Swiss girl named Bettina. We've had a great time traveling on the Mekong delta, seeing how the people live on and close by the huge river, how they make a living out of fishing, sarong making, coconut candy and much more. We also stayed at a "homestay", i.e. stayed with a local family for one night. That was a pleasant evening, we were four people sleeping in their living room (although they had some bungalows as well for other tourists, so it didn't feel THAT genuine really). But it has been three really interesting days and lots of nice views over the river and the rice fields.

Some of the things that I've seen and experienced during these days are:
Slowly floating down the Mekong river in a wooden boat on our way to the Vietnamese border - see my PicasaWeb for pictures.
The stilted houses and the floating houses surrounding the river and the canals in Vietnam - always ready for flooding.
Fishing boats and fishing with electricity.
The huge rice fields in the sunset with a view over the Cambodian border.
Sun rising over the emerald-green rice fields, with the morning mist still lingering among the trees.
The bus ride from Chau Doc (roughly 160.000 inhabitants) to Can Tho (roughly 2 million) takes a couple of hours and the small road (still being the main road of southern Vietnam) is always filled with motorbikes, bikes and trucks and never once is the rows of houses and shops replaced by some "real countryside". I wonder if there is still some countryside in Vietnam - a small country with 100 million inhabitants.

I managaed to upload almost all of my photos here in Saigon, so now there's much more to see then before! Enjoy! picasaweb.google.com/anders.ivarsson/Asien is the address.


Tuol Sleng Prison and Choeung Ek Killing Fields

Today I had the most intense experience in my whole life I think. We started the day with the S-21 prison (Tuol Sleng Prison) where the Khmer Rouge captivated, tortured and later executed thousands of people. Of all the people in S-21, only 5 families survived. The prison used to be a school and is now a museum to the horrible genocide of the Khmer Rouge. I have never in my life went to a museum that evoked so strong emotions - I had to go out several time to just take a deep breath, dry my eyes and try to understand how anything like this could ever happen. After an extremely quiet taxi-ride to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek we went around on the fields that used to be the execution site for many of the Khmer Rouge prisons. They have found 129 mass graves on this site and emptied 80-something of these. This means that you still see bones and pieces of cloth in the ground, slowly unearthing as the time passes. You could still see the colors of the cloth, and although they are kind of bleached by 30 years in the earth and now by the sun, you can still see patches of blood and dust on the cloth as well. You also got to see unsettling views like the killing tree that was used to kill the babies of the ones that had been in prison or the mass grave where they found more than 100 bodies without heads. All this to the backdrop of a large white stupa in the middle of the field - filled with 8000 skulls from the victims of the Khmer Rouge.

While walking about in these grounds, both the S-21 and the Killing Fields, you see the life of the Khmer (i.e. the Cambodians) pass by in their everyday doings. In the fields you could hear children playing at a nearby school and see some Khmer trying to feed a cow on the fields just beside the mass graves. That was a very eerie and unsettling experience and I will need some time to just settle down and think about this I think.

I got some great photos during the day, from the S-21 and the killing fields as well. They are really horrible but at the same time interesting. I have a picture of a beautiful little girl playing just outside the fence from the Killing Fields - seemingly ignorant of what was behind those fences and hidden in the ground.

Laura's blog

After hanging out with a Canadian couple for some days now and meeting only native English-speakers I find myself thinking and dreaming in English as well. So I'm switching to English for the blog as well - I'm sure that won't be a problem for anyone and it makes it a lot easier for me really! :)

I got an e-mail from one of the Finnish girls today, so I checked her blog. You might want to read it to get another side of the same story (regarding Ko Lipe and the dive course). There is also some great photos of the island, the Finnish girls and also some pictures of me that I really like (especially me playing with that Thai-kid in the restaurant - that was awesome!). Check her blog about Thailand at http://laurah.vuodatus.net/blog/376757 .

Tonight I had the cheapest accomodation so far. I should pay $3 for my double room - so that's a good price. However the two Australian girls that I met in Siam Reap arrived to our guesthouse yesterday and it was full. So I let them take my double room and I took a single bed in this Irish guy's room. Then they paid me $5 for the double room and they wouldn't accept the change - which means that I just earned $2 for staying here or that I'm paying $1 for two nights if you will.

Now it's time for the Killing Fields, the S-21 prison/school/museum and then some other sights in the city. I reckon it will quite a rough day - the history of Cambodia is indeed horrible and today this reality might just hit me in the guts! I will write more about it when I find the time.


Phnom Pehn och mer runtresande i Kambodja

Nu har jag tagit mig till Phnom Pehn - Kambodjas huvudstad. Tyvarr har jag inte sa mycket tid pa mig att skriva, sa hinner inte beratta om allt roligt som hant sen sist direkt. Kortversion av det ar att jag sett mer av templena i Angkor Wat (helt sjukt otroligt - bilder kommer), traffat ett kanadensiskt par (30-ich), festat i Siam Reap, gatt hem pa natten genom Siam Reap och traffat tva Security Guards som jag snackade med i en timme och larde mig massa Khmer, akt en hilarious bus ride fran Siam Reap till Phnom Pehn (sex timmar, kambodjansk film och karaoke pa hogsta volym samt en chauffor som tutar var tredje sekund at saker pa vagen), borjat dricka ol igen (inga problem alls - Angkor Draft eller Anchor Draft ar bada tva underbara), borjat tanka och dromma pa engelska (kanske lyser igenom i mitt skrivande - kanns lite skumt med svenskan nu) och sen atit en underbar middag pa riverside Phnom Pehn. Mums!

Jag ska skriva mer nar jag far tid och se till att hitta en bra dator dar jag kan ladda upp bilder ocksa.


Angkor Wat

Nu har jag spenderat en forsta dag pa att aka runt och se lite olika tempel i Angkor Wat-omradet. Wow! Angkor Wat var faktiskt det sista templet vi sag idag, sa jag ska nog tillbaka dit imorgon ocksa for att hinna uppleva det ordentligt. Det ar verkligen fascinerande att se alla tempel dock. De flesta ar byggda for ca 1000 ar sedan, och de vi sett idag har blivit restaurerade en del for att det ska ga att besoka dem. Angkor Wat har dock aldrig riktigt overgivits, sa det var annu finare an resten. Det ar otroligt hur det kan ha funnits en san stor civilisation har for mer an tusen ar sedan. Khmer-riket var tydligen gigantiskt och strackte sig fran sodra Vietnam till en bra bit in i Kina, och fran Vietnam i oster till Bengaliska viken, dvs. bort till Indien nastan? Ofattbart stort imperium och det kulturella centret lag har i Angkor. Staden hade tydligen 1,3 miljoner invanare, och det pa en tid nar London hade 60000 invanare bara! Det enda som finns kvar av staden ar alla tempel, eftersom folket bodde i byggnader av tra. De tempel som finns kvar ar dock verkligen underverk! Det finns en del enormt stora som stracker sig mer an 60 meter upp i luften, som ar fyllda med statyer, reliefer, gangar, fonsteroch som ar underbart vackra. En del andra ar betydligt mindre, men minst lika fina. Vissa har byggts for hinduiska gudar som Vishnu och Shiva, medan andra ar byggda for buddhismen. Alla ar otroligt vackra och har massor av symbolik i arkitekturen, valet av antal torn, tinnar, form pa huvudbyggnaden med mera. Stenen som alla tempel ar byggda av ar fran ett berg 75 km bort och fraktades med elefant hela strackan. Forsta vilket enormt arbete att bygga alla tempel, frakta all sten, hugga ut alla figurer och sa vidare! Det ar narmare 500 tempel i omradet fick jag hora, och vissa ar i storleksordningen med Nilens pyramider! Helt ofattbart!

For att ta oss runt idag har vi akt med en tuk-tuk, dar vi betalade $10 for att han skulle skjutsa oss runt hela dagen. Imorgon hyr jag nog en mopedforare for att ta mig runt lite pa egen hand, men i langsammare tempo. Ska forsoka se Angkor Wat lite nogrannare, samtidigt som jag tar mig tid att sitta och lasa, skriva och fundera. Tankte kopa en bok om omradet, de saljer de for $1 dar ute vid templen.

Nu ska jag bege mig inat staden for att ta ut lite mer pengar, ata middag och sen kanske besoka baren Angkor What? (roligt namn) som spelade grymt bra alternativ rock, hade trevligt folk, billig dricka och ett biljardbord. Allt som jag behover alltsa! Igar blev klockan tva innan jag tog mig hem, sa har sovit lite nu pa eftermiddagen for att orka med kvallen.

Kambodja upphor inte att forvana mig. Fattigdomen blir mer uppenbar nar man ser hur desperata forsaljare, barn och tiggare kan bli. Samtidigt stalls det i kontrast till storslagenheten hos Angkor Wat och all historik. Den traditionella khmermaten jag atit hittills har varit underbar god ocksa! Till sist en liten fundering over landet. Ganska lugnt trafikklimat maste jag saga. Bilar verkar dock ha hoger- eller vansterratt lite vilket som och aldrig nagon nummerskylt. Vilken sida man kor pa ar lite valfritt, det bytte namligen till hogertrafik for nagra ar sedan for att passa de japanska turisterna (var den forklaringen jag fick), men en del kor fortfarande vanstertrafik. Mycket intressant. Gatunummer ska man ju inte direkt forsoka navigera efter heller, samma nummer forekommer ofta flera ganger pa samma gata och inte alls i ordning. Till exempel 11B, 9, 22, 46, 9, 23 har jag foljt pa en gata har. Skumt!



Nu har jag tagit mig till Kambodja efter lite stok med diverse saker. Sista dagen i Kuala Lumpur var givande, jag agnade dagen at att utforska staden pa egen hand. Forst foljde jag Josefine till flygbussen, vilket gjorde att jag fick se staden lite fran ovan fran deras MonoRail. Efter det akte jag runt lite med lokaltrafiken for att se staden, folket, Twin Towers, Chinatown med mera. Pa vag tillbaka till mitt dormroom sa traffade jag en belgisk tjej, Babs eller Barbara, som sag lite vilsen ut och som skulle till nastan samma stalle som jag, sa vi slog folje. Slutade med att vi hade en trevlig kvall med nagra cider pa den lokala irlandska baren, en mumsigt god glass mitt i affarskvarteren och sedan tranade vi poj tillsammans (sana dar bollar i snoren som man snurrar runt for den oinsatte) pa en mork bakgata brevid hennes hotell. Eftersom hon skulle till Bali idag sa slog vi folje till flygplatsen ocksa, vilket dock innebar en hemskt tidig morgon (alarm 05:30) for oss bada. Men efter lite sovande pa planet sa har jag tagit mig igenom den har dagen ocksa.

Kambodja sen alltsa. Flyget satter ner en i Siam Reap (vilket betyder Siamese Defeated, jattebra namn pa en stad som ligger nara gransen till Thailand eller Siam som det heter) och det forsta man tanker pa ar hur otroligt platt det ar. Inte en kulle sa langt ogat nar (fran planet - en bra bit bort alltsa) utan helt och hallet platt. Siem Reap ar en liten stad, som dock verkar lida lite av att Angkor Wat ligger precis brevid. I utkanten av staden byggs stora hotell, resorter och annat upp och det satter tydligen stora belastningar pa stromforsorjning och vattenforsorjning for staden. Mycket annat som ar lite konstigt har ocksa. Att komma in i landet till exempel kraver att man har ett visum. Detta kan man kopa pa flygplatsen nar man landat, dock ar priserna lite oklara. I US-dollar som verkar vara standardalutan har sa kostar det $20, men man kan ocksa betala 20 euro eller 100 malaysiska dollar (vilket ar betydligt mer an $20). Fragade man efter priset i lokala rien sa var det valdigt flytande svar pa ca 100000 rien ungefar, men det verkade vara en helt frammande tanke.

Pa flygplatsen motte jag en tysk kille och en italienare (som kunde tyska dock, mycket forvirrande), sa akte till stallet som de skulle bo pa. Italienaren hade redan bokat rum, medan den tyska killen tog ett rum som var ganska dyrt. Vi delar det dock forsta natten, sa nu blir det lite lyx. Rummet ar storre an alla bungalows jag har bott i hittills och har bade AC, riktigt varmvatten, toalett med toapapper och spolning, stooora sangar och frukost ingar. Ett riktigt vasterlandskt hotell alltsa och aven med den standarden valdigt fint. For detta betalar vi gemensamt $35, varav jag betalar $10. Dock flyttar jag till Popular Guesthouse imorgon, dar jag betalar $3 for ett enkelrum med delad dusch. Precis min prisklass faktiskt, men forst ska jag passa pa att duscha med gratistval, raka mig i varmvatten och lyxa med annat.

Kambodja verkar bli en land som kommer fastna valdigt mycket. Det ar mycket fattigdom och en hel del tiggare, ungar som forsoker salja saker, handikappade som ber om donationer med mera. Det ar ocksa valdigt tydligt att gamla personer ar extremt ovanliga, det ar mest barn, ungdomar och folk upp till drygt min alder. Detta ar val foljderna av det hemska Khmer Rouge-styret dar stora delar av befolkningen dodades eller svalt ihjal. Hittills har jag inte sett nagot av de avsparrningar som signalerar trygga omraden (resten ar ganska kraftigt minerat fortfarande sen krigen, sa man far passa sig sa man haller sig inom markerade omraden), men det ar nog vanligare nar man kommer utanfor Siem Reap.

Nu ar det tre dagars tempelutforskande for mig som galler. Vi ska se Angkor Wat och nagra av de andra templena i omradet. Finns tydligen narmare 500 all in all, sa det kan man ju pyssla med ett tag. Imorgon har vi en tuk-tukforare som aker runt med oss hela dagen och visar oss templen for $10, det ska bli intressant. Sen far jag se om jag kanske hyr en cykel och utforskar lite pa egen hand ocksa, det kan vara ett fint satt att se stallet pa.

Nu ska vi val ut och ata lite, dricka lite gott och kanske festa (det ar ju trots allt lordag - val?), men det blir nog ratt tidig dag med tanke pa att man ska ga runt i solen och se tempel hela dagen imorgon.

Kul att hora fran er dar hemma, fortsatt garna kommentera och skriva vad ni sjalva har for er!


Kuala Lumpur och bilder

Nu har jag antligen kommit at att ladda upp alla bilder har i KL. Gick riktigt snabbt dessutom. Bilderna hittar ni pa http://picasaweb.google.com/anders.ivarsson/Asien.

Malaysia i allmanhet och Kuala Lumpur i synnerhet ar verkligen fyllt av kontraster. Hela landet verkar praglas av dessa kontraster. Alltifran kontrasterna mellan den fattiga lokalbefolkningen man ser uppe i bergen, till de gigantiska resorterna pa Langkawi till det fartfyllda och internationella Kuala Lumpur. Befolkningen ar delad i tre delar som verkar ungefar lika stora. Dels ar det malaysierna sjalva, dels ar det indier och dels ar det kineser. De haller vissa separata vanor och har egna omraden (Chinatown, Little India, etc. - alla stader verkar ha varsitt av dessa). Dock sa smalter de samman till en helhet som ar nagot forvirrande som besokare. Man mots av en blandning av sprak (kinesiska, indiska, engelska, malaysisk engelska) och en hel hop av kulturer (hinduer, muslimer, buddister, kristna) i en stamning som ar valdigt oppen och icke fordomsfull. Nar man gar runt i staden som vasterlanning sticker man ut rejalt - bade i langd, hudfarg och kladsel - men trots detta mots man inte av annat an enstaka leenden eller forsiktiga forfragningar fran taxichaufforer. Runt omkring en ser man indier i sina harliga morgonrockar/kaftaner, malaysiska ungdomar i vasterlandska klader med piercingar, fargglada sarronger, de mer strikta slojorna, kinesiska affarsman i kostym, en och annan vasterlandsk backpacker och en massa annat folk. Maten ar samma sak, man vandrar runt i en blandning av McDonalds och KFC restauranger som tar upp stora utrymmen i de enorma skyskraporna, samtidigt som sma kinesiska stand med mat slas upp pa marknaden utanfor, de indiska restaurangernas roti, tikka masala och naan trangs med malaysiska ratter baserade pa nasi goreng eller mee goreng, fruktstanden i form av mopeder med pabyggnader kors runt pa gatorna och ropar ut frukter och gronsaker man aldrig sett forut och mitt i smeten hittar man en irlandsk pub, en vietnamesisk och en libanesisk restaurang. Malaysia verkar inte riktigt ha en egen identitet (endast 50 ar som nation), men samtidigt ar det en harlig blandning av kulturer, folk, matratter och mitt i allt hittar man sig sjalv pa vag till Reggae Bar som redan stangt tillsammans med den svensk man reser med, tva galna britter som jobbar som dykinstruktorer i Phuket och tva malaysier som kanner folket pa Reggae Bar och later oss festa med dem efter stangning.

Imorgon blir det flyg till Kambodja tidigt pa morgonen - fragan ar om jag tar en tidig kvall eller skippar somnen i natt.


Cameron Highlands

Nu har vi tagit oss upp till Cameron Highlands. Har ar det helt underbart vackert, aven om vi mest sett utsikter langs vagen och vart hotell idag. Bussturen var nagot av en pars, jag har nog aldrig akt en sa skumpig buss faktiskt. Forsta bussen var riktigt illa, och klarade dessutom inte av uppforsbackar (typ lite lutning pa motorvagen) - dar kunde den inte kora snabbare an 30km/h typ. Efter drygt halva resan fick vi byta buss langs med motorvagen nagonstans och efter det sa blev det marginellt battre. Efter nastan sex timmars bussresa kom vi fram till Taran Rata (om det nu heter sa, glommer ju bort det hela tiden). Det finns ganska mycket resorter har, kanns lite som Osterrike faktiskt. Dock sa har de aldrig sno har, sa jag antar att folk ar har for vandringen - nagot annat finns inte riktigt att gora har. Det ar betydligt kallare har ocksa, nagonstans kring 15-20 grader skulle jag tro, sa jag har fatt anvandning for tjocktrojan, jeansen och mina nyinkopta DC-shoes (berattade jag om dem? 160 kr for ett par som kostat 1000 kr i Sverige atminstone) nu. Resten av dagen spenderade vi med att utforska byn, ata indisk mat pa lov fran banantrad (mums, massor med mat, olika saser och roror, brod, naan och allt kostade 14 kr var), duscha i det kalla vattnetn (tog fel dusch och orkade inte byta nar jag val borjat duscha i kallvatten och sen sett tva filmer pa storbildstvn har pa varat guesthouse. Vi bor pa Father's Guesthouse, det kanns tryggt att bo hos varldens storsta indier (tva meter lang och valtranad typ) som dessutom har hockeyfrilla. Kanns som att komma till bergen i Slovaiken faktiskt, bortsett fran maten och att man sticker ut valdigt mycket som vasterlanning.

Faktum ar att vi inte sett manga vasterlanningar alls i Malaysia. Langkawi hade sjalvklart massa vasterlanningar pa alla sina resorter, men pa Penang sag vi nog bara en handfull totalt och de verkade vara relativt bofasta och prata spraket atminstone. Pa bussen var vi under ganska lange det enda vasterlandska folket. Har uppe ar det lite mer folk som ar uppe for att traska i bergen, men det ar fortfarande stor majoritet lokalbefolkning i kontrast till hela Thailand och Langkawi.

Malaysia har vi kommit fram till ar Asiens Norge. Det ar rent och prydligt har, allt ar lite mer uppstyrt och lite snallare an resten av Asien och de har Kalle Anka-engelska precis som norrmannen. Man forstar typ alla skyltar om ma bara ar lite open-minded. Eller vad sags om Bas Ekspres (Express Bus), Bas Sekolah (School Bus), Feri (Ferry), Farmasi (Pharmacy), Nasonal Transfer (National Transfer), Komputer, Polis, Butik och sa vidare. Mycket underhallande.

I ovrigt har vi det lugnt och slappt. At just en hamburgare och tittade pa filmen Insider Man (tror jag den hette), sa nu ska vi val sova snart. Imorgon ska vi pa en halvdagstur i djungeln och se lite av omgivningarna, sen en snabb lunch och sedan buss till Kuala Lumpur. Lordagmorgon flyger jag till Kambodja ar tanken. Tankte ladda upp fler bilder idag, men det verkar inte ga att gora fran de har datorerna, far gora det senare istallet. Har massa bilder fran dykningen, Langkawi, vara boenden och resor och annat som jag vill visa. Blir nog en del bilder tagna imorgon ocksa, ar valdigt fint har uppe. Borde ga snabbt att ladda upp dem fran KL dock, hoppas jag atminstone.



Medan jag laddar upp bilder fran resandet tankte jag kolla lite pa kartor var jag varit, sa da kan jag ju visa er ocksa tankte jag. Har kommer en liten lanklista till de stallen jag varit pa hittills - de flesta har ratt kassa satellitbilder dock.

Railay Beach
Long Beach - Koh Lanta
Koh Lipe

Langkawi - Cenang Beach (var bungalow ar det tredje graa huset uppifran)
Langkawi - Reggae Bar (det lilla bruna huset ute i skogen i mitten typ, har spenderade vi nyar)
Georgetown - Pulau Penang (det har var lite svarare, men jag tror att ni har vart hotell precis i mitten. Tog dock ett tag att mappa hur man gatt under dagen mot satellitbilderna.)

Allmant funderande

Nu tar vi en liten mer ordentlig internetpaus sa har pa tisdagskvallen. Vi ar fortfarande kvar i Georgetown pa Penang, men imorgon aker vi harifran. Efter nagra timmars slappande pa rummet, dar vi bland annat laste guidebockerna for att komma fram till vad vi ville gora, har vi nu bestamt oss for hur planen ser ut de narmaste dagarna. Fram tills i sista sekund verkade det som att jag skulle fortsatta sjalv ner till Kuala Lumpur, medan Josefine akte tillbaka till Thailand for att njuta av stranderna. Den nya planen ar dock att vi reser tillsammans nagra dagar till, vilket passar mig bra da det verkar svart att traffa backpackers just har och vi har det trevligt tillsammans dessutom. Imorgon aker vi alltsa till Cameron Highland, till en stad/by som heter Tharin Rata (det kan vara nagot helt annat ocksa, jag har sjukt svart att komma ihag det har namnet). Det ar lite mer bergstrakter och det ska finnas nagra fina tempel, djungel och teplantager dar uppe. Jag hoppas pa lite farskt te i soluppgangen bland dimmiga dalar, men man kanske inte ska hoppas for mycket? Naja, vi far se vad som hander. Vi aker atminstone med en tidig buss harifran, bussen gar 8:00, sa far val aka fran hotellet redan vid halv sju for att hinna till busstationen med mera. Framme strax efter lunch, sa sen ska vi uppleva hoglanderna. Dagen efter fortsatter vi ner till Kuala Lumpur och sen ar planen att jag sjalv flyger till Siem Reap i Kambodja. Men som jag sett forut kan planer komma att andras - kanske ska jag ner till Singapore istallet?

Just nu forsoker jag ladda upp bilder, men det verkar ga ruskigt langsamt. Vi far se om det blir nagra overhuvudtaget. Kanske borde forminska dem innan jag laddar upp dem, men det har de nog inga program for. Naja, vi far se, annars far ni noja er med mina vackra ord och se bilderna sen.

Idag har varit en ratt underlig dag. Jag far inget riktigt grepp om Malaysia faktiskt. Vissa saker ar ruskigt billiga, exempelvis boende och mat. Idag har vi bytt hotell till ett som kostar 20RM per natt, alltsa 20 kr per person. Totalt har vi lagt 30RM pa mat under hela dagen, vilket slutar pa en total dagsbudget pa 50 kr per person. Helt okej. Imorgon kostar 5 timmars bussresa 20RM, men vi kommer ocksa fa betala 20RM for att ta taxin till busstationen. Det finns manga cykeltaxis har, men de verkar helt ointresserade av att fa kunder. De ligger mest och sloar och vill man aka med dem tar de riktiga ockerpriser, 5RM for en liten resa, men ar ocksa helt ointresserade av att pruta ner priserna. Underligt pa det hela taget. Vi har idag ocksa varit uppe i Kompar Tower som ar en del av Kompar Komplex. Det ar ett 60-vaningshus, sa vi var uppe i restaurangen/turistfallan pa toppen och forsokte fotograferna utsikten samt njuta av vara "gratisdrinkar" som vi skulle fa dar uppe. Gratisdrinkarna visade sig vara en subventionerad (men anda valdigt dyr) kopp kaffe som smakade choklad eftersom det var sa mycket socker i den. Men men, var nog ratt vantat att man skulle bli lurad dar. Hur som helst sa har vi nu sett staden fran ovan och jag har ocksa insett hur nara det ar till fastlandet.

Jag har raknat lite pa resan hittills. Det verkar som att jag ekonomiskt ligger ratt nara vad jag raknat med, dvs. ganska dyrt. Den enda anledningen till detta ar dykkursen, som star for ganska precis halva utgifterna totalt hittills. I ovrigt sa har jag gjort av med ungefar 70 kr/dag pa resande (speed boat ar dyrt - kommer bli billigare senare), 60 kr/dag pa boende (thailand ar dyrt - dock sa har jag delat boende hela tiden sa beror pa om jag delar boende i fortsattningen) och ungefar 110 kr/dag pa ovrigt (mat, solglasogon, drinkar och annat smatt och gott). Helt okej alltsa, jag kommer nog ha en del pengar kvar att shoppa upp i slutet av resan helt enkelt - speciellt som bade Kambodja och Vietnam ar billigare an Thailand.

Infor nyar sa gjorde jag och Josefine listor for att sammanfatta aret. Himla skojigt satt att gora det pa ocksa - rekommenderas for er som inte gjort det annu. De saker vi bedomde var bland annat basta/samta resa, basta/samsta upplevelse, party, restaurang, frisyr, tjej/kille, kompis, musik, karriarsval, ny bekantskap, film, inkop, present, etc... Det var valdigt givande att blicka tillbaka over aret pa det har viset, man fick chans att tanka till och minnas vad som hant. Basta resan var nog Thailand i april, eftersom jag inte hunnit avsluta och fa grepp om den har annu. Varsta resan var nog Tallinn, sa bakis har jag aldrig varit tidigare. Basta party blir nastan julafton pa Koh Lanta (mycket pa grund av folket), alternativt de grymma poolpartyn vi hade i somras och under nolle-p. Samta party blir nog festen hos Gisela med oinbjudna draggtjejer fran Motala som kissar i kattladan. Och sa vidare. Testa ni sjalva och lagg garna upp resultaten pa bloggar eller maila dem, det ar kul att se hur folk har upplevt sitt ar!

Nu har jag fatt upp nagra bilder redan och ska forsoka lagga upp annu fler. Adressen ar samma som alltid, picasaweb.google.com/anders.ivarsson/asien/.

Far se nar nasta gang jag skriver blir, troligtvis nagra dagar kvar. Under tiden far ni garna maila om vad ni sjalva har for er, vad som hander i Sverige och om nyheter om stortade plan i Indonesien, jordbavningar i Taiwan eller bomber i Bangkok har oroat er!


Nu har vi spenderat dagen med att strosa runt i Georgetown. Det ar en fascinerande blandning av Little India, Chinatown och lite Malaysiska har och dar. Det kanns som en storstad med massor av affarer, trangsel och trafik samt stora kopcentrum, men i utstrackning sa kan man se hela stan per fot pa en timme eller tva. Kanner redan att jag hittar hyfsat bra idag. Vi har spenderat storsta delen av dagen i Kompar Komplex, ett stort shoppingcentrum. Josefine har kopt glasogon och linser, jag har kopt ett par skor. Kom pa att jag behovde nagot varmare i nora Vietnam och Kina an mina flip-flops och har kostade ett par akta DC-shoes bara 80RM, dvs. 160 kr. Inte ens 15% av priset pa samma par skor i Sverige. Kandes trevligt maste jag saga. Forsaljaren blev ratt chockad nar jag sa att jag troligtvis fatt betala 600RM for samma par skor i Sverige.

Ska inte skriva sa langt nu, sitter egentligen pa internetcafe for att fora over pengar och boka flygbiljett. Verkar som att jag pa torsdagmorgon flyger fran Kuala Lumpur till Siem Reap i Kambodja. Eventuellt tar jag en dag till i Malaysia och ser Cameron Highlands, har inte bestamt mig for hur jag gor. Josefine ska iallafall tillbaka upp i Thailand verkar det som, sa imorgon borjar jag resa sjalv.

Ska forsoka komma at internet mer idag (for att boka biljett om inte annat - har inte passet nu sa kan inte boka biljetten), sa da laddar jag nog upp bilder ocksa.



Ojoj, nu var det ju flera dagar sen jag skrev. Det hander sa mycket att jag vet inte riktigt vet var jag ska borja. For tillfallet ar jag pa en o som heter Pulau Penang utanfor Malaysia. Vi kom hit idag och bor i en stad som heter Georgetown i Little India. Jag skriver val mer om staden senare nar jag hunnit uppleva den, hittills ar det lite oklart vad det ar for stalle vi kommit till.

Senast jag skrev sa sa jag att Pooh Restaurant hade allt och det visade sig vara mer sant an jag visste. Det visade sig namligen att de hade en hel uppsjo med bakterier eller annan skit som gjorde att bade jag, Josefine och Laura (de tre som atit dar) blev magsjuka ganska precis sex timmar efter middagen. Det var inte sa farligt, men magen ar val fortfarande lite upprord. Blir inte direkt battre av att vi bara atit indisk mat sen dess. Men magen far val lov att vanja sig. Som sagt sa var val inte magen i sig ett problem, men nar man bor tre pers i en bungalow dar toaletten bara ar avskild av en liten halvhog bambuvagg, man inte har nagot toalettpapper och dar "toalettslangen" eller duschen inte har vatten (handfat ar bara att dromma om), sa blir det lite krangligare. Men det gick fint anda, man ska inte klaga. Duschen pa morgonkanten lostes genom att osa massa vatten fran en hink over sig - det funkar precis lika bra.

Mattias valde iaf att aka upp mot Krabi for att sen ta sig upp genom Thailand. Jag och Josefine valde att aka till Malaysia och on Langkawi for att fira nyar, nagot som visade sig vara en fin ide. Det som slog en mest nar man kom till Malaysia och Langkawi ar de stora kontrasterna mot Thailand. Har var standarden pa vagar, boende och allt annat betydligt hogre. Natten till idag hade vi alltsa AC, varmvatten och TV pa rummet - till det hutlosa priset 80 RM (ca 160 kr). Det lag ratt nara stranden Cebang (cha-bang) och framforallt nara till Reggae Bar dar vi firade in nyar. Vi var dock nara att missa tolvslaget eftersom vi glomt att vi bytt tidszon, men det ordnade sig.

Jaja, nu ska vi bege oss vidare i Chinatown och titta pa staden. Snart sovdags ocksa. Imorgon ar det helgdag och festival har verkar det som, det ska bli skoj. Ska forsoka ladda upp massa bilder imorgon ocksa! Tyvarr inga undervattensbilder Marten, far ta det nasta gang jag ar ute och dyker. Jag ar atminstone en certifierad dykare nu, det kanns bra!

Kram och gott nytt ar pa er alla!