Thursday, August 11, 2011
We have been very busy since we returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We have enjoyed seeing family--Steve's mom Zelda, James (left), and Tim (right), as well as our friends. Steve has already been busy working on our home, and we have done some traveling too. We are happy to be back in New Mexico with all its wonderful food and the great climate. We are excited to be here for the fall, which is our favorite time of year, especially when the Hatch green chili harvest arrives.
We hope during the coming year to visit some of the wonderful cruising friends that we met along our journey. We often talk about our experiences during the seven years that we were on sv Linda and the one thing that was constant was the cruising community and how special it was. Without exception cruisers were always ready to assist in any way necessary to help someone in need. They unselfishly shared spare parts, knowledge, and moral support.
Some of the cruisers that we met are continuing on, and some, like us, have decided not to. To those who are continuing on we wish you safe sailing and many more fascinating experiences. The countries we visited and the local people that we met were always so inspiring. Where ever we went, we were greeted with big smiles and a request to have a picture taken with us. The people were so gracious and generous, and we always felt welcome. To those who are now landlubbers like us, we wish you the best.
A few days before we left Malaysia, we hoisted all our cruising and yacht club flags and took our last pictures of our lovely old boat. We thought that you might enjoy seeing them.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
We enjoyed an afternoon visit to St. Michael's, which is a small community by the water. There were wonderful shops and restaurants with great food. Crab is plentiful in the area so we enjoyed crab sandwiches for lunch. We walked around for awhile and did our part to support the local community. In the evening we enjoyed meeting the wedding party and family members at the rehearsal dinner.
I will post my last blog next week, and that will be a very difficult one to write.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Last week James’ wife Ling drove four of us ladies to town to get a shampoo and cut. The salon turned out to very nice, and the man who cut my hair did a fine job. All of us were a bit surprised, however, at the price. My cut (no shampoo) was 22 RM—that amounts to about $9. Now that may sound like a bargain, but for this part of the world it is a bit pricey.
We continue to go to lunch every few days with Gary, Wendy, and James. We have found a bakery that has amazing baguettes, egg tarts, blueberry cheese tarts, and rolls; but, actually, we are trying not to go there too often as all the good food is beginning to take a toll. We also found a great restaurant called Foos Steak House that has wonderful steak sandwiches on homemade bread.
We have cleaned out and packed up most of our belongings that will go home with us. James has been gracious enough to let us store our bags—all eight of them—in a room in the office. The only problem with packing things up is that no sooner have we cleared it out than Steve needs a tool or something else to finish up a chore. The two ladies in the office, Akina and Azira, are very good natured about our coming in to get something out of a bag and then returning it to the bag the next day. The three dock workers, Shar, Adam, and Bear, are also very helpful with anything we might need.
Now we will just wait until the first weekend of July. Hopefully, everything will go smoothly, and then we will fly home on July 7.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
We have unloaded all the aft lockers, and then Steve cleaned them and put on a new coat of paint so now they look very nice. We also took out all the sails and made sure that they were clean and had no mold on them. We then neatly repacked each locker. We also spent some time cleaning out the bilge, which had become a bit dirty.
I have spent quite a bit of time packing items that we will be taking home into suitcases. James, the marina manager, has been kind enough to let us store the bags in a locked room at the office. This has allowed us to move any unnecessary items from the boat to reduce the clutter. Before we leave, we will have to weigh the bags, as they have to be less than 50 pounds, and redistribute items as necessary.
One day about a week ago, James asked Steve if he would like to go fishing, which he did. Steve, Gary, Daniel, and Daniel’s oldest son all hopped on board. They left around 5:30 in the evening and returned around 9 o’clock. Steve had caught a lovely Queen fish, which is a nice, white meat fish. All together the guys caught 40 small tuna. We immediately set up a barbeque to cook the fish. Wendy brought some salad, I contributed some bread, and we all enjoyed a lovely meal. Some of the tuna became sushi, which as excellent. Daniel’s wife Hiro brought seaweed to wrap the rice in, and when you added some tuna, it was excellent.
On June 5, all the cruisers on the dock were invited by Mr. Ding, a part owner in the marina, to his grandson’s first birthday party. We first met Mr. Ding at the Methodist church on Easter Sunday when we learned that his son’s wife had passed away recently leaving his son with a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old boy. The son and his children live with Mr. Ding and his wife, and they seem to be a very close family.
Mr. Ding had arranged the dinner party at the Bar Restaurant, which is on the second floor of the main building and overlooks the ocean. We have seen some beautiful sunsets from there, and that evening was lovely as well. We enjoyed the traditional food of fried rice, fried noodles, prawns, fried chicken strips, small hot dogs, watermelon, and pineapple. Mr. Ding also brought some other wonderful fruit, of which I cannot begin to remember the names, to our table for us to enjoy. To finish it all off, we enjoyed a cream cheese birthday cake.
A couple of days ago we joined Gary, Wendy, and James and went to Fat Man’s Curry Restaurant. Now the name would imply that it has Indian food, but, actually, it is a Chinese restaurant that is owned by a large Chinese man and his wife. We enjoyed wild boar in red wine sauce, bok choy, and a tofu dish, along with rice and a local beer. It was all very good, and we were especially surprised at how good the boar was.
It is overcast today, which helps a bit with the heat, but the humidity is definitely higher. The night before last we had quite a bit of thunder and lightning during the evening, but, luckily, the wind never blew very hard. Last night we again had a bit of rain, but nothing very significant.
We plan to return to the states the first week of July, and we will just wait to see if anything happens with the boat. We may take a quick trip somewhere, but it all depends on the schedule with the boat. Things are pretty low key right now, but I guess that it won’t kill us to take it easy for awhile.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
On Mother’s Day we went up to The Bar Restaurant and were surprised to see that they were offering a Set Meal that included pumpkin soup, a quarter roasted chicken with potato wedges and mixed vegetables, watermelon for dessert, and a fruit drink. We paid a total of 30 RM or $15 USD, and the meal was delicious, plus we were able to enjoy a lovely sunset from our outdoor table.
On Friday, May 13 we decided to take the ferry from Marina Island to Lumut for lunch. We boarded the ferry at 11 a.m. and arrived at Pangkor Island just in time to get on the ferry to Lumut. Before we left, we looked out the window and saw this monitor lizard swimming up to the boat. As we pulled away from the dock, Steve said that he watched the lizard actually running across the water trying to catch a bird. The whole trip took us about 30 minutes. We left the ferry terminal and walked to Jook’s Bar (the yachties call it Duke’s) where we enjoyed a steak sandwich on a baguette roll, French fries, and a cold beer. We had planned to spend the afternoon in Lumut, but it was so hot that we gave up after two hours and returned to the ferry to head back to the boat and the air-conditioning.
On May 20 we decided to go to Penang for our belated anniversary gift. We left the boat and took a taxi into Lumut where we caught the Internasional bus up to Butterworth. It was a three-hour ride that turned into a five-hour ride because the air-conditioner fan belt broke, so we had to wait in Kuala Kangsar for the mechanic to replace the belt. We took advantage of the time to eat some lunch at one of the stalls, and the food was quite good. We had chicken and pineapple in curry sauce over rice.
We arrived in Butterworth and walked from the bus station to the ferry station that was right next door, and we were able to get on the ferry immediately and enjoyed the ride across the channel to Penang. We have sailed in this channel twice on our boat and have had to dodge these ferries both times. In the picture I took on board the ferry a bird flew through the passenger level just as I clicked the shutter.
We arrived in Penang and walked to the taxi stop where we were immediately hussled into a waiting taxi and driven to the Traders Hotel Resort. As this was our anniversary celebration, we decided that a stay in a five-star resort would be nice. The hotel was beautiful, and we were pleased with our room. The pool was lovely, and we spent each afternoon relaxing there and reading our books.
We had seen much of Penang on our way through in November, so we just enjoyed a relaxing weekend. We went back to our favorite restaurant—Restauran Kapitan—each day for lunch because the Indian food there is exceptional. We enjoyed Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken Curry, and Kabobs with assorted meat on them. They also serve Naan, which is a type of flat bread that is wonderful, and you can order it plain, with butter and garlic, or one of seven other flavors.
One evening we went to the Hawkers Stalls just up the street where we enjoyed roast duck and rice with a cold beer. There were so many stalls offering so many different dishes that it was hard to choose. The area was filled with locals and tourists who were enjoying their evening meals.
On Sunday night we went to the eight-story mall next door and saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It cost us 28 RM or $9 USD, and we got to sit in a “couples” seat. We had arrived a little early so we went into a room where people were sitting on couches watching previews until their movie was scheduled to start. We thought that was a novel idea.
On Monday we took the ferry back over to Butterworth and caught our bus back down to Lumut. We grabbed dinner at Kentucky Fried Chicken and took the taxi back to Marina Island. It was nice to get away for a few days, but it was also nice to return home.
We have a few additional jobs that we need to address on the boat, and we want to finish them during the next two weeks. After that, all the work that we feel needs to be done will be finished, and we can relax a bit.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The Eastern Sail Malaysia Rally came through last week, but it was a much smaller rally with only about 15 boats. They were here for several days and then left to head for Singapore. From there they will sail along the eastern coast of Malaysia and then across to Brunei. We knew a few of the boats from the Indonesia Rally and the Western Sail Malaysia Rally.
James, who is the marina manager here, has been very helpful. If we need any supplies or groceries, he always volunteers to drive us to town. Also, Gary and Wendy on sv Spirit of Sabraon are right across the dock from us, and they kept an eye on the boat while we were in the states. They are well acquainted with the town and often will use James’ car to drive us around. Often we all go to lunch together and have been to some excellent local restaurants. It is much better when James is along because he orders the best dishes for us to try. The last lunch included some “drinks” that quite interesting. One was made from peanuts, another from tapioca, and another from squash. They were all room temperature, and most were pretty good just not cold enough. We had a variety of noodle dishes and one curry dish. They were all very good. Wendy and Gary added two herbal teas. The whole lunch cost 29 RM or $10 USD.
There are only four boats here at the moment. The rainy season is setting in and the temperatures are hotter. Luckily, we got our painting done on some dry days. Of course, our air-conditioner is on all the time. We usually work outside in the mornings and then work inside during the heat of the day in the afternoons or just relax and do some reading. The evenings are not too bad, and there is always a sea breeze that helps to keep things a bit cooler.
We contacted Paul, who is a boat broker here in Malaysia, and he told us that he might have a prospective buyer for the boat. We called him when we had finished the major projects, and this past Friday he came to Pangkor to take pictures for the ad that will be on his web site and on Yacht World. His photographer Sue took quite a few pictures, and Steve showed them the workings of the boat. Keith and Kay, a couple from Australia, came down with Paul and came aboard to see the boat. They were very positive about her, and we were grateful for the feedback. Paul also felt that she would show well.
We had taken the air-conditioner off for the pictures and had unloaded more items that we plan to take home. We also had to remove the sun shade from the boat for the pictures. Naturally, the air-conditioner was the first thing to go back on after everyone left. We got the boat organized again, ate a small dinner, showered in our swimsuits on the dock, and went to bed. It had been a long day.
Today we went to Duke's Bar in town with Gary and Wendy and Jerry and Joanie from sv Lotus. Duke's has delicious steak sandwiches and cold beer. After that we made a quick trip to Tesco for some groceries, including rotissery chicken, and then we returned to the boat to put everything away.
As soon as the listing is posted, I will put a link to them so that you can see the pictures if you are interested. We plan to do a few additional smaller projects in the time that we are still here. We still do now know exactly when we will fly home; however, I will continue to write blogs as long as we are here.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Our flight to Tokyo left on time, and we were surprised that it was only half full. We were flying on Japan Airlines, and everything went well. Our flight took about six hours, and when we got off the plane, we went to the first coffee shop we could find. We were sitting on comfortable chairs enjoying a hot cup of coffee when I felt the floor shaking. Not being exposed to earthquakes before, I thought that perhaps some construction was going on close by. After just a few seconds, I told Steve that I thought it was an earthquake. He agreed and told me that the painting on the wall behind me was shaking. The shaking lasted for about five minutes and then stopped. When we were able to get Internet a little later, we saw that a 6.5 aftershock had occurred up north. It was an amazing experience, and I could only imagine what the original quake must have felt like.
About six hours later our flight on American Airlines left Tokyo headed for Dallas. We settled in for a very long flight and spent our time either trying to sleep or watching movies. The good news was that the tailwind made it possible for the plane to arrive an hour early—the bad news was that we flew over Albuquerque on our way to Dallas.
We had a two-hour layover in Dallas, which gave us time to eat lunch and walk around a bit. Our two-hour flight to Albuquerque was uneventful, and after almost forty hours of travel we were very happy to be back in the states. Tim and Zelda picked us up and took us to Zelda’s house.
The next few days were very busy. Steve and his mom finalized the arrangements for his brother’s services, and we helped Zelda with some projects around the house. David’s service was on April 5. The next day the three of us, along with our friend Dwight, spent a night up at the cabin in Chama in order to get Zelda’s room put back together after everything had been moved out because of a water leak in the roof.
Steve stayed in town to help his mom, and I left for San Diego on April 7 to see the girls and Riley. Southwest was still a mess because of the metal fatigue concerns, so I decided to carry on my luggage. My flight out of Albuquerque and the one out of Phoenix were both delayed because of weather in Chicago. I spoke with the attendant at the gate, and luckily I was able to get on the direct flight that would get me in at my regular time—good thing I hadn’t checked my bag.
Brie’s husband Tim was in Phoenix on business so it was just us girls. I had a delightful time catching up with Brie and Drue, and I had a chance to babysit Riley and spend some one-on-one time with her. It was over way too soon as I had to return to Albuquerque on Sunday.
We left on Monday at 7:50 p.m. to fly to Los Angeles and from there we flew on Cathay Pacific Airliines to Hong Kong. We found the seats on that flight to be quite uncomfortable. Also, we had paid extra for the exit row seats; however, because they were by the toilet, people were around us all night, and some stepped on our toes. Unfortunately, we were bucking a head wind all the way to Hong Kong, so the flight took us 15 hours. We were more than happy to arrive in Hong Kong and get off the plane for awhile. We had about three hours before our flight to Kuala Lumpur, so we ate lunch and walked around a bit to stretch our legs.
The final leg of our trip took four hours. On that Cathay Pacific flight, the seats were more comfortable, and we were able to watch some more movies, so we are now somewhat caught up on recent movies. We arrived just a half hour late for the bus back to Pangkor, so we enjoyed a Burger King hamburger with fries and waited two hours for the next bus.
The bus ride back took only four and a half hours, and we were so tired that we slept part of the way. When we arrived at seven o’clock, Gary and Wendy, who are our neighbors on the dock, picked us up and took us to dinner. We enjoyed a nice meal at a local restaurant and then headed back to the boat. It took us only a few minutes to drop our bags below, get ready for bed, and crash.
The trip was long and tiring; however, it was also good to be home. We found out that our daughter Brie is pregnant again. Our daughter Drue found out in March that she was accepted to medical school at Michigan State University and is on the alternate list at The University of New Mexico so she will start school in August. It will be a busy year. Our boys James and Tim were a great help to Zelda until we could get home and then to us during our stay.
I have found this a difficult blog to write and have put it off for a week now. For several reasons Steve and I have decided that it is time for us to return home. We have contacted a broker to list the boat for sale and have spent the past ten days working to get her ready. I have been cleaning out closets and cupboards of all the unnecessary items and have given away food that we can’t possibly eat before we return home. Steve has been working on the topsides.
Depending on how long it takes us to get our work done, we will haul the boat out of the water and put her on the hard at Pangkor Island Marina in the next month or two, and then return home. It will be very hard to leave her. As we were walking to the marina office the other day, I turned to look at her tied at the dock. She has such lovely lines and has performed so well for us for 25,000 miles. She is truly a classic beauty!
I will update the blog again in a week or two.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
We took the time in the afternoon to just relax and made our last weather checks. We decided to leave at 6 a.m. in order to have enough time to make it to Pangkor before dark. We pulled the anchor and discovered that the wash down pump was not working so Steve and I had to clean the chain by hand as it came up, and it was not fun because there was heavy mud on it. It was still dark when we left, but the moon gave us enough light to see by, and we had to dodge only a few fishing boats.
We motored most of the way; however, in the afternoon the wind picked up enough that we were making very good time. We had one heavy rain for about 20 minutes, but we had no high winds associated with it. As we approached the entrance to the channel at Penang, the waves had built and were rolling by us just off the beam. It was making the ride a bit uncomfortable; however, when we got in the lee of the island, the waves calmed right down, the current pushed us nicely along, and the ride through the channel was quite enjoyable. Our only stressful moment was when we had four ferries all crossing the channel at the same time but from four directions.
We entered Jerejak Anchorage at about 5 p.m. and looked for our anchorage spot. We saw a fishing net in front of us, so we turned and went further south to drop our anchor. After getting the anchor down and everything secure on the bow, we looked up and saw the same net coming at the boat. It was a drift net so it was moving with the current. It was too late for us to pull our anchor so the net went on both sides of our boat. We tried pulling it from one side to the other; however, the net was deep, and we could not budge it. We decided to give up and hoped that the owner would see what had happened and come out.
He did see, and he did come out with two men, and he was not happy. He started yelling at us about his net and told us to pull the anchor. Steve responded that if we did we would tear his net. The owner then was yelling at us for not seeing the net, so Steve told him that we anchored in a designated anchorage and the net drifted onto us. After much grumbling and posturing, they took one end and pulled it across our bow so that we were free. We agreed to move to the side of the anchorage so we pulled the anchor and moved.
The holding was good, and the anchor set well when I was backing down with the engine in reverse. Just when we finished, the throttle cable broke. This meant disassembling the pedestal to get at the cable. It was an hour before dark, so Steve started right in on the project. Once we had the top off, we could see that the set screw holding the cable in place had come out, so all we had to do was replace the screw. This was, of course, more difficult that it sounds. Steve had to remove a small center section of the pedestal, and the screws were tough to get loose. Then he had to remove a long bolt that was very hard to get a grip on. Working together we were able to get the set screw in and began to reassemble the whole thing. Just when we thought we were there, the bolt dropped out of the hole. Luckily, Steve had a replacement bolt, so we kept working and finished the job just as it got dark.
We slept well that night and woke at 6:30 to leave. We needed more light to leave this anchorage because a bridge is being constructed, and the waterway is filled with barges and other ships. Steve did a quick download of email and weather only to learn that his brother had passed away that morning. Steve was able to call his mom to get the details, and she asked if he could come home so we told her that we would leave as soon as we could get a flight.
We decided that we would continue to Pangkor and leave from there. The weather was nice, but the current was not being helpful. We spent most of the day in calm seas but had another major rain shower, again with no wind. The fishing boats were out in force, so we played “dodge the fleet” for most of the day. About mid-afternoon the wind picked up just enough to increase our speed so that we were able to make it through the channel and into the marina by 7 p.m.
We were greeted at the dock by James and his crew, who got us all tied up. Glen and Marilyn from sv Tin Soldier were there as well. They are putting the boat on the hard and going back to Canada in a few days. We had a quick reunion and then called it a night.
The next morning Steve began a search for flights home. Since it was short notice, he had to work at it, but we did manage to book one that worked. We spent the day getting things out to be packed to go home and preparing the boat. The sv Spirit of Sobraon with Gary and Wendy aboard are also here, and they told us there would be a pot luck on the dock at 7 p.m. so I decided to make spaghetti and garlic bread. At 7:30 Tin Soldier had been pulled out and was on the hard, so the crew from the marina joined us, as well as couples from some of the other boats on the hard. There was plenty of food, and everyone seemed to have a good time. We called it quits at 10 o’clock and returned to the boat.
It rained most of the night and into the morning so we just stayed below and worked on chores. It is quite hot so it doesn’t take much effort before one is sweating and hot. We have to pace ourselves with frequent breaks, but we managed to get things done. We will leave tomorrow night from Kuala Lumpur and be in Albuquerque in the afternoon on March 28. We will have two weeks at home before we return to Malaysia and continue down the coast.
Monday, March 21, 2011
It is quite hot here now so the air-conditioner has really helped. We worked slowly for most of the day, but in the afternoon we usually went to the pool for an hour or so to cool off and discuss the sailing situation in the Red Sea with other cruisers. Several boats from the Indonesia Rally have changed plans and will be heading to South Africa instead, either this year or next.
We will move down to Pangkor where we will say goodbye to Tin Soldier as they are returning to Canada for awhile. Then we will take several days move down the Melacca Strait and return to Danga Bay so that we can have some canvas work done.
The weather has been unsettled with rain squalls and some thunderstorms; however, it looks pretty good for the next few days. We will keep our fingers crossed.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
As soon as our bus pulled into the parking lot, the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers came over to it, holding signs up stating their fees. Women also came running over with food or other items to sell. It was a bit overwhelming. The bus company asked us to wait in the bus while the local Cambodians got off the bus, and then they took our bags and assigned us to a tuk-tuk driver. He drove us to the Frangapini Hotel and carried our bags inside. We were checked in and shown to our room, which was quite nice. After we put our things away, we cooled off for awhile, and then we went downstairs to take a swim in the pool. It felt so good to be in the cool water. We went back to the room and got dressed for dinner at the hotel.
We got up the next morning and got ready for a day of touring. Va, our driver, picked us up at 9 a.m., and we drove out to the temples. We stopped to pay our and $40 fee for the day and receive our picture identification card. We decided to see the major temples started with the South Gate of Angkor Thom and then Central Angkor Tom (late 12th century).
It was now almost one o’clock so we stopped for lunch, followed by a stop at the bakery for our breakfast. Lastly, we enjoyed a one-hour massage for $15 each. We returned to our hotel tired but quite relaxed. We have to pack tonight for our flight back to Langkawi in the morning.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
It was now 6:40, and our bus was supposed to leave at 6:45 so we were a bit stressed. We tried to relax when the driver told Steve that the bus would wait. We finally got everyone picked up and drove to the bus, where we all piled on and took off. We were pleased to see that this bus was much nicer than the last one. The drive to get out of Saigon took us almost an hour because of the horrible traffic. Also, at one point a power line had come down so our bus had to cross traffic to the left lane and VERY slowly creep under another part of the power line. A little further down the road, we could hear the overhead power lines scraping against the bus. It was all a little unnerving.
The rest of the Vietnam drive was through the usual countryside filled with beautiful, green rice paddies for mile after mile. When we reached the border, we stopped and had to take our luggage in to be scanned. Our guide had collected all the passports in order to expedite the process at the border so we stood in line to wait until they called our names, and then we picked up our passports, gave them back to our guide, and got back on the bus. We drove a few hundred yards to the Cambodian processing center and again got out of the bus, without luggage this time. We went into the center and had a seat. We had also paid our guide $50 for our visas for Cambodia so he took care of everything. All we had to do was sign the visa application and then pass through Immigration and Customs. It was all very well coordinated and took very little time, and it was the first time in Vietnam that we felt we got what we paid for.
A few minutes later we stopped for a quick lunch; however, Steve and I were short on cash. Thankfully, we had eaten something for breakfast so we could wait. The last part of the drive took about three hours. At one point we had to cross the Mekong River on a ferry. The driver took the bus down an uneven road and pulled it onto the ferry, along with two other large tour buses and a truck. One family in the truck beside us had so many people crowded in that we took a picture.
We finished lunch and grabbed a remorque-moto, which is a trailer hitched to a motorcycle, and went to the Silver River Hotel¸ where we checked in and went up to our room. The room was small but very nice, and we again have a balcony that will be great in the afternoons. We took a break and then went down to schedule our bus to Siem Reap on Friday.
Today we left with our guide Mr. Thay for a day of sightseeing in his Tuk-Tuk. Our first stop was at the Royal Palace. The grounds were beautiful with flowering trees and shrubs, and the buildings were spectacular. Unfortunately, we were limited to just two areas, but it was well worth the time to walk around and to see all the artifacts from the royal families.
After the Royal Palace Mr. Thay drove us to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, formerly known as Security Prison 21. This facility was Tuol Svay Prey High School before it was transformed into a security prison by the Khmer Rouge where political prisoners were interrogated and tortured. We walked through the cells and through rooms filled with photographs of the many prisoners who were tortured and murdered. It was a very moving experience, and everyone there was very somber. We are pleased that they have created a museum to memorialize the victims.
After the museum we felt that we needed a break so we asked Mr. Thay to take us to a restaurant for lunch, where we enjoyed a sandwich and a Caesar salad. Next we drove through Phnom Penh and headed for the Killing Fields. The drive provided us with a great view of the people and how they live and work in Cambodia. We love riding in the Tuk-Tuks because we can see all around us, which is not the case in a taxi. It was about 10 miles so we just relaxed and enjoyed the view. The best part of the ride was when a man on a motorscooter passed us with two pigs strapped on the back of his cycle--and Steve got the picture.
We arrived at the Killings Fields of Choeung Ek. Rising above the 129 mass graves is a beautiful white stupa or religious monument that serves as a memorial to the some 17,000 men, women, and children who were killed here. Encased inside the stupa are almost 9,000 human skulls found during excavations in 1980. It was overwhelming.
We returned to Phnom Penh and made a quick stop at the Russian Market, which is much like the Central Market. We picked up a few items, including some “Panasonic” batteries. We did not want to pack our recharger for batteries, so we figured that we would just buy them along the way. Well, we bought eight batteries yesterday, and when Steve used them today, four batteries were good for about 10 pictures—then nothing. Thankfully, we have the small camera that we can charge, but we are still going to buy a lot of “Panasonic” batteries for the next two days.
We were tired and hot, so we had Mr. Thai take us back to our hotel. We thanked him and shook his hand, and then we paid him his fee plus a tip because he was an excellent driver and a very nice man.
Tonight we will pack up so that we will be ready to leave early tomorrow for Siem Reap—another glorious bus ride. This ride will be with the same company as the last bus trip, so it should be fine. Also, it will give us a chance to see more of the Cambodian countryside.