July 14, 2006
Please don't open any packages that are sent home. Andrea's friend Diane was only with us for a week, and she offered to take some stuff home for us, so I sent a lot of the gifts that I've bought for you guys home with her, but I want to be around when you open them. Plus my journal's in there, and I don't really want my secrets going around the Bateman / Carver circuit. I really hope it's not too late already. I'm losing track of what day it is. I was good about writing in my journal, but I'm a few days behind so it's throwing me off. I hate my journal these days, it mocks me. This computer's super slow, so I don't know if I'll be able to respond to your e-mails, but thank you so much for writing me. Rose and Jeff: Congratulations! James and Jackie: I'm so glad it fits Ezra, I was worried. Jay: Thanks for the e-mail buddy, can't wait to hug you in the airport too. Where the heck is mom? Why hasn't she written yet, and homeboy Zach, where are you? Oh, maybe you guys are at Granite Flats this week, I forget when that was scheduled.
We left Thailand behind, it was a little bit of a relief, it was kind of scary there, fun, but scary. We rode a bus for at least twelve hours into Cambodia. It was the bumpiest ride ever. (James: You know that bus video that we love so much where the kid in the back goes flying and hits the ceiling? That was us.) It was like riding up Judd's dirt hill on the oldest bus you can find at the dump going 40 mph ... for six hours. Our first bus was heaven comparatively, even counting the cockroach that was climbing up the seat in front of me that met his fate at the hand of my green, worn-out, Old Navy flip flop. We switched buses once we made it through the border. The border, Poipet, was an armpit of a city. We stuck close and ate dirt as it swirled all around us. We had some lame girls in our group that threw fits at lunch because they didn't want to fill out the paperwork to get their visas, they wanted to do it at the border. It was crazy annoying, and I was embarassed for them. One girl took the form the guy offered her, ripped it in half, crumpled it up, took a bite out of it, and shoved it into her backpack, with a smirky, "Thank you." Okay, she didn't take a bite out of it, but the rest was true. She said things like, "I've never been pushed around in my life, I'm not about to start now." Okay, idiot, why didn't you take care of this prior to ten minutes before the border? I'm so glad we had taken care of our visas prior to the bus trip.
I have third degree burns, so does Andrea. Our sunburn turned to blisters. Awesome huh? I was trying to be super quiet on the morning we left Thailand, and I managed to pop a blister on my back on the doorknob. Oh mama. I bit my lip and closed my eyes and cried inside. Worst pain of my life. Andrea and Becca gauzed me up on the bus ride, it was nasty, and today I bought some iodine patches, can't wait. Glad I have some iodine experience under my belt.
We've buddied it up with some scooter boys here in Cambodia, and they've been taking us around to see the town. We bought passes to enter the park to walk around Angkor Wat and other amazing temples. They are unbelievable, I don't know how to describe them. Apparently Tombraider was filmed here, didn't see that one, but it's like on Jungle Book when Balou goes to save Mowgli from King ... Louis? Temples in ruins, moats, super steep steps, broken statues, men that are part of "Victims of Mines" playing various instruments together. At first I was scared to look, I didn't want to give them money, but I was curious to see missing limbs. One guy had a full-on hole in his knee. There are signs everywhere warning us to stay on the path because there are still mines around. The first time we passed a "Victims of Mines" sign there wasn't anybody on the blanket. I asked Becca where they were, and I literally looked up in the trees, she laughed at me, I don't know what I was thinking, why would they be in the trees?
I think that the temples have been my favorite part of this entire trip. The Allens are nervous when we get to the steps inside the temples, there aren't any safety railings or anything, and Andrea laughed that I monkeyed it on up first thing. It's amazing to stand at the top and look down at the green green surroundings. It is super scary going back down the steps, they're steep, but also super short in width so you have to go down sideways. We went back this morning to see the sunrise, and I climbed up the stairs, but the girls stayed down this time. It's probably a good thing because this was the scariest set yet.
The children bombard you trying to sell books and bracelets and water. It breaks my heart, and I don't want to be mean to them, but one little boy followed us for literally a half an hour repeating, "Three for a dollar. You buy? Where you from? Okay? Three for a dollar..." in a super whiny voice too. It's draining. Becca eventually told him to go away, "Okay, you buy, I go away." So we started asking him questions, and it made me hate him less. His name was Mum, and he knows a lot of capitals. A girl this morning was trying to get me to buy postcards, she was adorable, and I hate that she has to do this job every day. She asked if when I came back if I would buy from her, and I told her maybe (we're not going back), and as I hopped on the scooter she ran up and said, "Lady! Free!" and gave me two bracelets. I smiled and said thank you, and we revved up and left. It was rad, and I really hope we don't see her again because I'll feel obligated to buy something. Maybe I'll just buy some water from her.
Yesterday as we were headed back to our hotel it started raining, then pouring, so scooter boys pulled us off to the side of the road. My boy's scooter slipped in the mud, so I bailed. He laughed at me and clapped when I expertly landed on two feet. We ran and hid under a hut, waiting for the rain to let up / tried to decide what to do. We told our boys that we weren't afraid, let's just head back, we had to do laundry anyway. The rain hit us so hard that I throught for sure I was going to get a fat lip.
This morning we had a 30 km ride to the Pink Rose Temple (Banteay Srei), the countryside was amazing. I'm forever thankful that I don't have to work in the rice fields. I started to get sleepy, we had left at 5 A.M. to catch the sunrise, but Andrea actually fell asleep. She said that she was out, then her boy hit the brakes a little hard, not hard if you were awake, but they were about to go on a bridge, and she slammed her face into the back of his head. She said she hit him so hard her eyes started to water.
I think we're headed to Ho Chi Minh in the morning, I for sure know that we have a seven hour bus ride ahead of us. Can't wait. We were told it wasn't as bumpy as our last ride. We met some ladies today that laughed at us and said, "Just think of the memories you're making ... " (Dra: Just like Mica. Oi vey.) It's true though, cheesy, but they're right. They remind me of Grandma and Luanne, just out creating their own adventures.
Uh oh, over time.