Cambodia

03.12.2018 From Bangkok, we took the bus for Cambodia and our tickets were purchased the night before. We have decided to do the visa procedure ourselves instead of paying an additional fee. We were told to wait by 8h in front of the travel agency and someone would take us to the bus but it was almost 9h before someone showed up.

It should be easy in the border, so I thought. Using my Philippine passport, I was not to pay anything. But the officer asked for my date of entry which was of course posted in my CH passport. To make the long story short, I went back to pay for my visa using the CH passport. I apologized to the other passengers for waiting and they were all understanding.

We made few stops before reaching our destination and in one of those stops we were told to buy first before using the toilet. No, we didn’t need the sim card, yes, some water please. 😉

SIEM REAP

We arrived in Siem Reap early evening. At the station, tuk tuk drivers were waiting for the passengers to be taken to the center. We have negotiated for two tuk tuks to take us to our guesthouse. We stayed in Thngay Soben Guesthouse , a family run guesthouse, where the owner organized our rides and most of our tours.

WHERE TO GO

Art Box:

Good for children. Not for husbands. 🙂 We haven’t been to any 3d paintings and murals so it was a good occasion to visit this museum. We came early and luckily we were able to avoid the other tourists who came in buses. The tour took us less than an hour and at the end of the visit one can get free ice cream once a Trip advisor comment was done.

Sunset in Angkot Wat: After purchasing our pass for the next day tour, we went to Angkor Wat as people were exiting the temple.

Meet Up:

We have met some people in Siem Reap thru this Facebook group, some with children who were also traveling for a year and we were able to do things together on the duration of our stay in town.

Temple tour: With our hired tuk tuk, we left our guesthouse around 8h and started the tour from the last temple, we were hoping to avoid the influx of visitors. But that could not happen here. On to our 2nd temple, we have crossed path with fellow Asians who arrived in buses. However, it didn’t really matter. We entered the temple in awe and wonder while music floated on the air. For me, visiting the temples was about one’s communion with the sacred place, the nature and one’s inner peace.

We skipped some of the temples, thinking that we have seen those we wanted to visit.

Dine for a cause
On our second night, we had dinner with two french families at a french restaurant called Chili Pepper where students of Krousar Thmey performed.

Floating village tour We were picked up from our guesthouse then the driver continued picking up some more guests. Arriving in our destination, we were then driven to another area coz the first one did not have enough water. It was exciting at first, sailing by the houses painted with vibrant colors but as we reached the dry land, we were greeted by hawkers. And I wonder why do they sell pens and notebooks. Then as we moved along with our guide, showing us a small class underneath the houses, I understood then. But it felt uneasy walking in the area. I felt like an intruder. There was no interaction with the locals or any leader of the community.

We didn’t join the others in the mangrove visit. Instead, we stayed in the boat while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive and then watched the sunset.

BATTAMBANG

From Siem Reap, we have shared a ride with les Macax in their camper van. We stayed in Por Chey for 3 nights .

Phare Ponleu Selpak – The one not to miss here. There are performances every night and we were able to watch the “Village Market”.

We arrived early and had some drinks. There were some students who could create a caricature for anyone who were interested. My girls, of course had a tour of their souvenir shop.

Battambang bat cave A 45 min spectacle. The street was lined with tables and chair ready for the spectators. A girl pointed us an empty table when we arrived. She later told us that she was glad to be able to practice her english. We had some drinks while watching the bats went out of the cave and flew together.

Night marketï»ż

We had a quick stop here after watching the circus and tasted some balut with the local sauce.

FOOD TRIP

Aside from eating at the Battambang Town restaurant with the whole family, I went to Jaan Bai with my daughters,
one afternoon while husband was resting. It was really good though a bit expensive.

Bamboo train We we’re driven to the station by Rith who was a nice fellow and explained us a bit about the bamboo train.

That afternoon we experienced riding the norry. It was an hour to and fro ride where one cruise along a green scenery. When another norry came in our direction, we stopped and our driver would lift the whole thing at the side of the track with the help of the other norry driver. And of course at the end of the trip, there were souvenir shops. My husband purchased a krama. I guess, no knitting this winter for me.

PHNOM PENH

Independence Monument

We hired a taxi for our trip to Phnom Penh. The staff of our guest house has given me a post-it where he wrote the english and khmer translation of toilet, stop and restaurant. The driver, incidentally, has already filled his trunk with some merchandise to be taken to the city. Luckily, we were able to fit our luggage inside.


Booking.com fiasco– arriving in our guesthouse, we found out that though we received Booking.com‘s confirmation, it was not the case for the owner. So we didn’t have any room. They found us a room for the night and then we came back to stay one more night with them.

What to do:

Musée du Genocide de Tuol Sleng A visit not to miss.

We were both moved by this. I would sometimes go out and just cry. How about the girls? I would ask if they would like to go on or tell them the the images would be shocking and there were some rooms where we didn’t let them visit. When we finished the visit, both of them had a fervent hope that this would not occur anymore.

Food trip in images

Miss Universe 2018

To celebrate Ms. Catriona‘s winning, we went out to eat at this restaurant with wall covered with clients’ drawings. My daughter, Karen, did the one above.

We were at VS Sweet Home,
(our guesthouse, a bit far from the center but our host went his way to make our stay comfortable) when the telecast for Miss Universe was going on.

then it was time to go…

So long, Cambodia!

From Phnom Penh, we took a plane for Bangkok where we’d stay for a night then fly to Manila with my sister-in-law, Zem. Really excited to finally see our relatives.

Le Machu Picchuï»ż

par Erin


Maman, moi et ma sƓur sommes allĂ©es au Machu Picchu !
Nous avons pris le taxi Ă  3h du matin pour aller Ă  Ollantaytambo.


AprĂšs nous avons pris le train pour aller Ă  Aguas Calientes.
Quand nous sommes arrivées,  nous sommes allées vers une dame qui nous attendait. Elle nous a dit de venir au centre de la  Plaza de Machu Picchu Pueblo  à 8h 30 et on est parti prendre le bus à 10h 30.


AprĂšs nous avons fait la queue pour prendre le bus c’Ă©tait trĂšs, trĂšs long 😡.   
Ça a pris environ 30 minutes, en fait le Machu Picchu c’est des ruines incas.


 Quand nous sommes arrivĂ© Ă  peu prĂšs en haut du Machu Picchu, nous avons attendu Ă  l’entrĂ©e environ 30 minutes. AprĂšs nous avons cherchĂ© notre groupe.  Ca a pris environ 30 minutes 😕


 AprĂšs on est montĂ©, nous avons vu des lamas c’est trop cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comme c’Ă©tait trĂšs long on a loupĂ© une partie du truc.

Elections municipales au PĂ©rou

Les Ă©lections approchent, la tension monte. On entend des pĂ©tards exploser au petit matin. Il est temps pour nous de passer en Bolivie. Les Ă©lections municipales et rĂ©gionales auront lieu, dans tout le pays le 7 octobre. Comme une partie de l’électorat est analphabĂšte, on ne vote pas forcĂ©ment pour un parti ou une personne mais plutĂŽt pour un pictogramme.
Alors on vote pour le sombrero, la pelle , le coq, la petite maison dans la prairie, le ballon de foot, le poussin, l’épi de maĂŻs, l’inca, la goutte d’eau qui rigole, la flute de pan ou encore le sapin. Tous les candidats promettent plus ou moins les mĂȘmes choses : Une ville plus sĂ»re, plus de travail et moins de corruption. Cependant certain sont plus originaux, ils promettent des piscines pour tous ou encore des terrains de foot dans chaque quartier.

Yungar : Hitler contre Lenin

La ville de Yungar (centre du pays, dans les Andes) commence Ă  devenir cĂ©lĂšbre dans le monde entier. En effet l’ancien maire Hitler Alba Sanchez se reprĂ©sente Ă  la mairie. Cela n’a pas plu Ă  Lenin Vladimir RodrĂ­guez Valverde qui a voulu empĂȘcher Hitler de se prĂ©senter Ă  l’Ă©lection organisĂ©e le 7 octobre prochain. En vain. Hitler sera bien le candidat de Somos Peru aux Ă©lections municipales.
Pour en savoir plus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cxgl4v4_KU

Tout le monde participe

Tout les supports sont bon pour faire campagne : On repeint les murs des baraques avec des slogans politiques, on colle des affichettes un peu partout, mĂȘme les montagnes participent aux Ă©lections.

Le candidat venu du Nord

Parmi tous ces candidats, mon préféré est Jan Larsen. Petit viking aux bras noueux et aux yeux bleus, il se présente pour la mairie de Huanchaco.
Il a la particularitĂ© d’ĂȘtre le premier danois Ă  avoir Ă©tĂ© naturalisĂ© pĂ©ruvien. Il a toutes ses chances, les pĂ©ruviens ont Ă©lu des prĂ©sidents avec des noms  tout aussi exotiques comme Fujimori le japonais ou encore Kuczynski  le polak. Mais surtout Larsen a obtenu un soutien de poids :

😉

L’Équateur

L’Amazonie par Karen

En Amazonie on est allĂ© Ă  Cuyabeno au Jamu Lodge.  Pour y aller on a dĂ» prendre un bus de nuit privĂ© (23h-5h45) aprĂšs on a dĂ» attendre 3 longues heures dans un restaurant. Finalement le bus est arrivĂ© et on a du faire un voyage de 2 heures pour aller au point rassemblement pour prendre les bateaux, ce voyage a durĂ© 2 heures. Quand on est arrivĂ©e c’était 15h, on a pu se reposer.

20180828_143847

A 17h ce fut notre premiÚre activité, on a vu des dauphins roses et nous nous sommes baigné dans La Laguna Grande au coucher du soleil. On a vu des caïmans en rentrant.

caiman
un caiman

Nous avons rencontré deux personnes françaises, Julie et Martin, ils étaient trÚs gentils et il nous accompagné pendant ces trois jours.

20180828_173609
Martin et Julie avec nous dans le bateau

Notre guide s’appelait Sulema. Le 2ùme jour on a  fait une balade dans le foret, on a vu des fourmis qui portait des petit bout de feuilles on a aussi vu des singes.

Nous sommes rentrĂ©s en ramant, c’était quand mĂȘme fatiguant. L’aprĂšs-midi de nouvelles personnes sont venus.  Nous sommes retournĂ©s Ă  la lagune  et l’eau  Ă©tait plus chaude. Le soir on a fĂȘtĂ© l’anniversaire de notre pĂšre (51 ans waow).

 

Le lendemain on est allé  à un village et  nous avons cuisiné et mangé des tortillas. Ce sont des galettes de yuca (manioc). AprÚs, Rafael, le chaman du village est venu, il nous a expliqué comment devenir un guérisseur : il devait faire une sorte de rituel pour enlever le mauvaise pensée. AprÚs, il faut boire un jus qui te fait halluciner 24h.

20180830_143721 Ensuite nous avons appris comment fabriquer une flĂšche empoisonnĂ©e que l’on tire avec une sarbacane. Moi, j’ai essayĂ© de tirer sur la cible et j’ai presque rĂ©ussi.

20180829_194608Nous avons aussi vu plein de mygales plus grosses que ma main.

Mitad del Mundo par Erin

On est allĂ© Ă  la Mitad Del Mundo (Le milieu du monde) qui s’appelle comme ça car la ligne de l’équateur passe par lĂ . C’était trop cool!!!!! On a fait plein de photos.

Il y avait un musĂ©e sur l’Équateur, tu devais prendre un appareil et viser une photo d’un animal ou d’une statuette et  ensuite il apparaissait en 3D et  tu apprenais l’histoire de la chose que tu as visĂ©e. Il y a l’histoire de Lonesome George : c’est l’histoire d’une tortue que quand on pensait que son espĂšce avait disparu on l’a trouvĂ©, mais c’était le dernier. Alors il ne pouvait pas faire de bĂ©bĂ©. On  a pris d’autre tortues d’autres iles pour recrĂ©er son espĂšce mais ça ne marchait pas donc il a vĂ©cu cĂ©libataire toute sa vie. Cette tortue est morte en 2012 donc il n’y a pas si longtemps, elle a vĂ©cu environ 100 ans.

Mitad

Our Panama journey

20180813_012050
Zen mode for teacher Papa who has the seat all for himself.

Casco Viejo

The plane landed before 7h at Tocumen Airport. The drive to Casco Viejo took about an hour due to traffic. Check-in time was 14h and we arrived early. The solution was to just hang around town and have breakfast. The plane’s omelette and pancake didn’t last long.

We all agreed that Casco Viejo is a lovely place. Ruins and renovation go hand in hand. A bit expensive for a family of four on a budget (U.S. dollar is the currency used here). Though parents could not help but gave in to the 2 mojitos + 1 free during the happy hour.

We skipped buying a new hat for Erin to replace the one of Lola’s now battered and holed. She didn’t want to throw it at first but eventually did so and kept the ribbon for souvenir.

After  3 cities, we needed to examine our spending and made some modification.

There are so many places to visit but we opted to explore the town and went to Miraflores thru Uber ($5). Our driver pointed us many spots during our ride to Miraflores. The latter is one of the 3 locks in Panama Canal. We have missed the ship’s schedule in the morning and didn’t want to go back at 15h to see it. The cost of our taxi ride back to our apartment was a bit expensive.


After two nights, we headed to El Valle de Anton.

El Valle de Anton

It’s a  2 hr. journey  from Casco Viejo which cost $85. Though most of the times winding road, the green vegetation along the way kept me awake. It’s in Hostal Orquidea where we decided to stay. A pleasant Japanese named Ayumi, welcomed us on our arrival.

Teacher husband chose this accomodation, taking into account my love for gardens and greenery. Thought the orchids were not in bloom, other trees and flowers made out for it.

We both agreed on the fact that staying in an accomodation like the hostal gives us possibilities to meet other people.  Like the  french couple who was also staying  in the same hostal. They are well travelled and the common dining area is our place to converse. We also briefly chatted with a Canadian woman who heard Carlo giving lessons to the girls. She was visiting the garden with her children and a friend. Learning that we are travelling for a year, she said  that it’s the best gift we can give to our girls. Apparently,  she has done the same thing with her children. She briefly shared her experience and how her son while travelling with her at 17 years old decided to travel on his own, met a girl and now lives in Germany with the girl he met while travelling.

On our second day, we were able to go to Pozos Termales, where we camouflaged our faces with mask and enjoy the warm pool. We went during a  weekday and luckily  the place was not crowded.

We  left El Valle on a sunny day.

San Carlos

After 2 nights in Hostal Orquidea, we went to San Carlos and stayed in Beach Inn Hotel.The bus ride from Calle Centrale of El Valle was half an hour. One can get the bus ($1.80 fare/person) out of El Valle from the center  but we opted to hail one by the road. It was a coaster type vehicle with AC, comfortable inspite of the winding road . Was worried for my youngest who easily get car sick.

We like the village, our accomodation is near a supermercato and a restaurant. We decided to have our lunch in what we named our fave resto 🙂 and have our dinner in the rooftop ( we didn’t have a kitchen in our room) which were composed of cruditĂ©s, tuna (much to my regret, there was no cornbeef anywhere!) and bread. This was the time when  we long for the bakery in Plans-les Ouates.

It was raining cats and dogs on the morning of our departure from San Carlos. Then received an email that our supposed lodging cannot accomodate us. With matching two excited kids and zen teacher husband (he is always calm and unpertubed in my moments of panick and anxiety which really annoys me ) my stress level was on high.

We eventually got another accomodation and was able to leave San Carlos.

Farallon

From San Carlos, we hailed a bus, asked the driver if he was passing by Farallon, Playa Blanca. This one was going to Chiriqui. We got down Playa Blanca, hailed a taxi and learned that our destination is “abajo”, so we returned and was taken to the correct direction. The Farallon signage  was not that visible for us, maybe we should have said Royal Decameron because there was a big sign on that road going to Farallon.


We stayed in Hostal Acuarela. Alessandra and her staff were pleasant and helpful.

The beach is only few steps from the hostal. Just like in San Carlos, the grocery stores are own by Chinese. There are also few places we went for drinks and food. We particularly like Coco Blue where I have celebrated my birthday. Food was really good as well as the ambiance. Their cevice frito was a good discovery.

For our return to Panama City, we were driven by Alessandra to Rio Hato  where we took the bus to Albrook Terminal. From there we took a bus to our hotel. We have the room for a few hours. The shuttle bus would take us to the airport at 2h30 for our 5h05 flight to Quito, Ecuador. The girls were ecstatic over our room,saying it was the best room ever.

20180813_124629
tired but happy

Panama was awesome but the Amazon Rainforest is waiting.

This is Panama

Casco Viejo

 

 

Nous sommes arrivĂ©s le 13 aout Ă  6h du matin. Le voyage de l’aĂ©roport Ă  Casco Viejo Ă©tait assez long car il y avait beaucoup de trafic.

 

 

Le check-in Ă©tait Ă  14h00 et c’était que 9h00 alors on s’est un peu promenĂ©.

 

 


Il y avait un froyo shop. Froyo est une sorte de yogurt mais un peu glacĂ© qui vient des Etats-Unis, tu peux aussi rajouter des toppings. On a mangĂ© un froyo et on a continuĂ© notre promenade on a trouvĂ© plein d’endroit en ruine.

 

 

 À 12h nous sommes allĂ©s Ă  un fish restaurant il avait des sushis, du poisson (Ă©videmment) moi, j’ai partagĂ© un plateau de 8 sushis avec ma sƓur.

20180813_121917

On a bien mangĂ© >_< , aprĂšs on a du attendre longtemps. Vers 13h45 nous sommes rentrĂ©s dans l’appartement. Il Ă©tait petit mais ça allait car on devait partager la chambre avec les parents, au rooftop (une terrasse sur le toit) il y avait un jacuzzi 😉

 

 

El Valle de Anton

AprĂšs trois jours, on est parti Ă  El Valle Ă  l’Hostel OrquidĂ©a, c’était trĂšs beau.

 

 

San Carlos

A San Carlos nous sommes allĂ©s Ă  la plage, il y avait des bernards l’hermite.
Ils changent de coquille chaque fois qu’ils grandissent mais comme ils peuvent pas fabriquer leur coquille ils doivent chiper celle des autres.

Karen

Farallon

20180820_155624[1]
Je fais du paddle avec ma sƓur sur la plage de Farallon
Le paddle c’est une planche Ă  voile mais sans voile, avec une rame. C’est trop cool mais  je tombe tout le temps. Je faisais toujours tomber ma sƓur en essayant de plonger. AprĂšs nous sommes allĂ©s boire des batidos Ă  la piña (des smoothies Ă  l’ananas en espagnol). AprĂšs nous sommes rentrĂ©s Ă  l’Hostal Acuarela.

Erin

Muito obrigado, Brésil!

20180808_104936
une Ɠuvre d’art de CarybĂ©

Le 9 août nous sommes allés en ville. On est allé au centre culturel avec un Uber.  AprÚs on est allé dans une cathédrale et on est allé faire des courses.

20180808_125021

On a mangĂ© dans un buffet au Mercato Central de Fortaleza. Ici on choisi ce qu’on veut et on le pĂšse,aprĂšs on paye. J’ai aussi vu quelqu’un qui te gravait le prĂ©nom sur un bout de bois sur un bracelet 🙂

Le soir  on est allĂ© Ă  Crocobeach ,il y avait des grosse vagues. On a mangĂ© lĂ -bas, moi, j`ai pris des nuggets et une purĂ©e de patate. C`Ă©tait trĂšs bon !!!! miam. Pendant qu’on mangeait il y avait un groupe de musiciens, il y avait de l’ambiance et mon pĂšre a essayĂ© de danser .

Le dĂ©part pour Panama Ă©tait Ă  1h25 du matin , aprĂšs j’Ă©tais trĂšs fatiguĂ©e.

Karen

EstĂĄ tudo bem

20180812_083742[1]

Went out before 8h30, when the sun was still mild. We’d like to see the small basin created when there’s low tide, I was hoping to take lots of pictures.

20180812_082148[1]

Unfortunately, the current was so strong and the basin was nowhere in sight. I could see the gray clouds forming at the horizon. The sun was out and for our last day in Fortaleza we let the waves carried us.

20180812_082204[1]

Then it rained. Running to cover our belongings, I turned as the rest of the family came out of the water , I thought of our laundry hanging and drying.Perhaps it was the rain ,the expanse of the beach or maybe the memory it brought when I was a child, playing with my siblings and cousins, enjoying the rain.

I laid down, sand on my back, letting the rain bathe me . I felt a sudden serenity , why should I worry about my laundry to the point of forgetting the moment. I kissed my husband and danced with my girls, laughing, allowing the rain soaked us.

It felt good, being at the moment.