On the Road in Southeast Asia
Carol at the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam A few months wandering through Asia can produce profound changes in your perspective and values.  When Carol and I first landed in Bangkok back in early September we were overwhelmed by the noise, the air and the traffic.

Last week when we cruised through the city a second time after a couple months in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, it all seemed so quiet and ordinary. Having survived Hanoi and Saigon, Bangkok's traffic was a piece of cake, no problem!

Getting out of Cambodia was a challenge.  All the nasty stories they tell you about the roads in that country are true.  On the bright side, the rainy season has finished there, and our journey was much better than it could have been.  We'd had a couple of people give us their first-hands accounts of "the bus ride from Hell" through Cambodia.

It's been intense and exhausting, particularly the past three weeks.  Still, I can't think of a place we've visited that I wouldn't mind going back to and exploring further... well, two places perhaps, but they were just stops along the road.

December 3 -- We've found a quiet little spot in the south of Thailand, about 1000 kilometers from Bangkok (an overnight train, two busses, a tuk-tuk and a boat).  We're in Krabi Province at a place called Railay Beach.  It's been 80 days since we arrived in Asia.  I think we'll stay put for a while.

There's an eclipse of the sun tomorrow in southern Australia.  Alas we'll miss it, but our friends David and Harvie from London, whom we travelled with in Vietnam and Cambodia, headed down for it a few days ago.  We're going to have to work on our timing.  We were 12 days early for the José Carreras concert at Angkor Wat, accompanied by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (we'll catch it next year on PBS, no doubt), two weeks off for the lunar lanterns night in Hoi An, and we left Laos just as the dragon boat races were starting in Vientiane.  Next time we'll have to plan a bit more extensively.

This is a good place for reflecting on the adventures and the people, the surprises and the hardships.  We're in another world here.

Laos, was great, my favourite place, I think.  People in Cambodia were so friendly, but what a desparate and devastated country! Vietnam was intense, and fascinating. Thailand is charming.  Each are so different, lots of new phrases and bits of language to master.  Many stories to be told...

Carol outside the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.  We dropped by hoping for some more detailed information on current travel advisories, and perhaps a recent copy of The Globe and Mail.  Well, maybe the Canadian Foreign Service is just underfunded.
Gary and two Buddhist monks at Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Gary tries to explain Saskatchewan winters to a couple of Buddhist monks at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.  The ancient Khmer ruins had been on my Places to Go list for many years and have been one of the highlights of our journey so far.
The Mekong River near Luang Prabang, Laos
The Mekong River carried us from Thailand into Laos and then six weeks later we travelled through the Mekong Delta and up the river from Vietnam into Cambodia.  With its headwaters in Tibet, the Mekong journeys through seven countries, and is the fifth largest river in the world.  For transportation, irrigation and food, this legendary river is the lifeblood of southeast Asia.
Visit us in Angkor Wat and Cambodia
Come see our journey in Vietnam
Join us on our trip through Laos
Check out our travels in Thailand
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