Shirl: Thoughts & Shots
Rowan: Paroxysms

Four Views of Angkor Wat

Perhaps pictures of the Angkor Wat temple we saw while in Siem Reap, Cambodia, will slake your optical thirst.


Phnom Penh Philm Phun

Outside of "The Flicks" on the top floor (click image for larger)So we have a fun story of touristic awesomeness to tell you. No, we didn't go to see another temple or take another river cruise. In fact, there isn't a lot to see in Phnom Penh that isn't the stuff we've already seen many times before. What this place has that we haven't had since leaving Los Angeles is an independent movie theatre.

The lobby is cozy and has everything you could want to view an indy filmYou know how you're always thinking, Maybe something interesting will drop into my lap and that'll be what I'll do for the next few years or the rest of my life? That's what happened to a guy from Holland name Ramon. He was traveling around Asia, much like we are, came to this fine city, and discovered this independent movie theatre that had owners who had to move onto other things. Bingo, the perfect set-up for a movie lover.
Smiling Ramon (left) tends to the bar and sells ticketsEven though we're only here for five nights (and the first night was taken up with arrival), we've been tuk-tukking ourselves over to The Flicks Community Movie Theatre to watch first-run movies and other items selected for our entertainment for the past three nights.
Piri-Piri has the run of the place except in the theatre. (Click image for large view.)Shirl holds Twinkle (Click to view larger image.)This place is perfect because it has its own little lobby that serves food to eat during movies, a relaxed atmosphere, and cats! Piri-Piri is the head feline while the little newcomer, Twinkle, is a new rescue from the harsh streets of Cambodia.

Seats or Lying Down: Take Your Pick of Viewing PleasureBefore Ramon took over the place, the previous owners were just showing bootlegged DVDs but he secured distribution deals to legally show first-run movies in this living-room styled theatre. We typically sit in the middle, second row back, fully reclined. What fun. We've seen David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud's relationship; a documentary where people from all over the world submitted clips from their part of the world in July of 2010 titled Life in a Day; a Dutch film called The Happy Housewife that is a major psychological thriller; finally, just last night (our final soirée) we saw Happy about what makes for a happy life, then A Map for Saturday about long-term traveling documenting backpackers by a young guy from Rhode Island. This was the true hit of our time because it was like a movie about us designed for us. Everyone in the audience could relate to many aspects of long-term travel and the familiar places in Asia, Europe, and South America.

Top: Our tuk-tuk driver on the left in front of IV Digital Printing; Bottom: Rowan reviews the output.
As Rowan was putting together some pictures for this very blog, he got to thinking about making them into a poster to give to Ramon. (Not really thinking about the fact that it's Saturday afternoon, we have to be over to the theater by 7 PM and we need to print a full sized poster in-between finishing the layout and actually getting there on time.) But with some calling around we found a printer open across town, hailed a tuk-tuk, and off we went, thumb-drive in one hand, Google Maps on the iPad showing where the printers was located, in the other hand.
The poster we gave composed of the above images.Yet everything went flawlessly. We found Imagist's Digital Printing waiting for us from our phone call with Bara, the English speaker of the company (we'd tried several others so Rowan was going to call it quits if this place, the last one, said they couldn't do it in time). Sun-Sun, our driver throughout, found it with our careful guidance from the GPS of the iPad.
He likes it, he really, really likes it. (Click for larger image.)So we presented the poster to Ramon with all the pictures shown here and he was thrilled. It turned out today was International Happiness Day, hence the screening of Happy, so we felt like we'd really passed along some high-quality cinematic karma. Did we see much else? Nah, but we saw and did what we wanted to do and that's the most important thing to us (especially after viewing the piece on long-term travel).


In Transit from Saigon to Phnom Penh

Here are some pix of the bus journey we took from Saigon to Phnom Penh, a six hour jaunt that didn't require us to sleep!


          Click on the page numbers or click on the left/right arrows to view the pictures.


Missed Saigon

We nearly left without saying what the hell happened in Ho Chi Minh City, the name given as the result of reunification in 1976. A couple observations: This city is so much quieter than Hanoi, where the chronic beeping of horns really got old. The pace isn't any slower but the city hums along better somehow. Next up: Chips, as in potato chips or crisps. Why are western chips so boring? This evening I snacked on grilled lobster mornay chips. Where are these when I go home?

The little street our hotel is on does not allow cars and that makes it super nice for the dogs that live here. One of them (Shirl has reported on this already) is Bizarre, a chihuahua mix of something. Here she is giving Shirl a good lick. There's kind of a little village feel to this street with its pets and children mixing and interacting among the tourists and vendors.

Click for larger image.But the dogs adapt and have places to go and things to do, like this guy being taken somewhere important. Are cats are few and far between. You see them but they're hidden.

Finally, what's a sidewalk if not a place to play Chinese Chess or Xiangqi, which looks like Mah Jong with round pieces. This is the backgammon of Vietnam because you see it everywhere. There's a lot to see here and we only touched the surface.


Hanoi to Danang via Sleeper Bus

Click on image for a larger view.With the arrival of Tet, the Chinese New Year wildly popular here in Vietnam, came a cold snap that had people wearing coats, ear muffs, and us freezing most of the time. Hanoi at first was crowded and noisy but just in the last few days the sidewalks are no longer cluttered with people and their transport. Turns out this is very close to the US Thanksgiving Day (weekend) where everyone feels they must visit family. In order to clear out the city of Hanoi they had to take all the available transportation, leaving us with the Sleeper bus. In the pictue to the left you can see how large this sleep mobile is, with four seats across and many rows back. It tooks us 15 hours to get to Danang, where we are now.

The Billabong Pub on Australia Day (click on image for larger view)After we recovered from that insanity we headed out for dinner, which turned out to be an Australian Pub called the Billabong on Australia Day (akin to the US July 4th weekend). Here on the right are a roomful of Ozzies, their flag high and pround. The couple holding the large flag are Sarah and Jon, also traveling around the world and you can see where they've been here on their travel blog.

The Mango Hotel in DanangOur hotel here has a view of the ocean and is much quieter than Hanoi. People are starting to discover Danang so there are many more backpacking types of travellers here than we've been used to.

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