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The end: no more dictators, no more horses, no more sinking boats

Koh Rong Samloem to Phnom Penh to New Zealand

Just hit the sunny (well, grey, cloudy, rainy) shores of New Zealand. 5 airports in less than 24 hours. We’d been on a deserted island (not NZ) for the last four days and as I predicted it was dead boring. To pass the time I was forced to do things I don’t like. For example, walking. We also went snorkeling. At least, Rick went snorkeling and I bobbed around in the water instead because I can’t see without my glasses. I had worn my teva’s and Rick had bare feet. However, there were spiky sea urchins on the seabed which were quite dangerous. Finally my enormous man feet were to come in use as I was able to lend Rick my shoes. Validation tastes sweet.

I am looking forward to New Zealand where I will do nothing dangerous or stressful beyond making cupcakes. It’ll be great to speak to people that know English. We’ve spoken, briefly, to four Westerners in five weeks. Bernie from the bike shop (Belgian), Sheila from Rick’s dirt bike ride (Australian), Liz from the hotel in Phonsaly (American), and Axle, the hotel owner here on this island in Cambodia (Belgian). Axle had some classic lines, such as when we asked how he ended up in Cambodia he replied “Because if I’d gone to Thailand I’d have a d##k like a cauliflower”. Enough said.

In order from country enjoyed most to country enjoyed least:

Cambodia

Liked: Wonderful service; lots of restaurants; mostly English speaking in urban areas; low cost; impressive hotels; USD currency system; easy border crossing; people seem really kind and friendly, even at airports
Disliked: Traffic

Laos

Liked: Honest; more people spoke English in urban areas compared to China; beautiful mountains; very, very low cost
Disliked: Very difficult to understand where we were in rural areas; modes of transport very painful; lack of working ATM machines

China

Liked: it was a passage out of Mongolia; great food in Beijing (Peking duck best ever!); low cost; great transit systems once you figure out how to use them; Changsha
Disliked: Always having to be on guard about being ripped off; confusing to get around because of lack of English; pollution

Mongolia

Liked: Nothing
Disliked: Food; scenery; main guide; horses; lack of toilets; lack of toilets; lack of toilets; boring; freezing at night; lack of English; not driving our own vehicle; food; food; food; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else; everything else
Even saying ‘thank you’ in Mongolia is considered a social faux pas – says it all really.

High points

– leaving Mongolia
– massage in Burasari hotel, Luang Prabang, Laos
– massage in White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
– dirt bike ride in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Rick)
– completing quest – four dictators, two horses, and a sinking boat
– booking ticket home to NZ

Low points

– realizing, after being served the fourth dish of fatty, grisly mutton in Mongolia, that I wasn’t going to eat for a week
– open sores on bottom caused by Mongolia horse ride
– reaching final ger camp in Mongolia and finding no toilets, not even long drop
– waking up in Mongolia to find poos floating in our ger
– painful Phongsaly to Luang Prabang journey in Laos
– did I mention Mongolia?

Most useful items taken

– maps.me app
– iPad
– codeine

Least useful items taken

– sarong
– flashlight

Things from home missed most

– salad
– English

Things lost

– Rick’s cap
– my dirty undies

Things gained

– typical tourist assortment of wrist bands
– deep knowledge that this is something I never want to do again. If anyone hears me talk about another dumb adventure, remind me I said this.

That’s it! Off to find Timtams and Toffee Pops. Thanks for following our travels!

 

Ghenghis Khan birthplace

ghenghis

Mao birthplace

mao

Polpot birthplacepolpote

 

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