January 31, 2010

Cambodian Curry In Coconut Fruit

After Angkor Wat, we went to Prasat Kravan and headed to Banteay Srei. On the way to Banteay Srei, we saw a small museum. Neg asked me if I wanted to take a look and I said yes. It was The Cambodian Landmine Museum. They display a lot of landmines that were removed from the ground, and there are also exhibitions of photos. In those photos, I saw people removing the landmines and also people who were suffered from those mines. When I was looking at one of those photos, I found a photo that children were standing right beside the warning sign of landmines. Neg told me those children don't know that the place is dangerous because they don't go to school...so, they can't read the sign. I wondered how many children were sacrificed because of such a reason..

Around lunch time, we got to Banteay Srei. I asked Neg if he was hungry because I was hungry :D So, soon we got some Cambodian foods as luch. It was my first time eating something in Cambodia out of the GH :) When I was looking at the menu, I had no idea what to eat. But at least, I didn't wanna eat something like chicken and egg that I can eat in Japan. So, I asked Neg to tell me what he recommends...of course something unique in Cambodia. He told me Cambodian curry is good, but there were two kinds of the same curry on the menu; chicken or beef. I had to choose one of them. I asked him which is better, and he said chicken. So I decided to order the chicken one :) When the dish was brought for me, I was happy because the curry was in a coconut fruit!!! I don't say the curry was amazingly delicious, but it was yummy enough to make me happy. The taste reminded me about curry in Thailand tho, lol. Maybe my meal looked interesting, while I was eating, my eyes met a tourist guy's who was sitting behind me. I spoke to him, "It looks unique". I was not so shy in Cambodia :P

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

Angkor Wat

The first place I went on my second day in Cambodia was Angkor Wat. Seeing the temple was actually one of the main purposes of my trip :) When I got there with Neg, some people came close to me and tried to sell me water. I didn't buy it because I brought one. It may sound funny, but I thought I could be popular there. I noticed that a lot of Cambodians looked at me when I was walking and some of them came close and gave me compliments like "You look cute" or "You are pretty" in Japanese. But of course I knew it was not because I am pretty. I obviously look Japanese for them (I don't know how they noticed that I'm not Chinese or Korean), so they wanted me to buy something by catching my attention. I also noticed that some of drivers waiting for customers were looking at me wherever I went. I was wondering why, but soon I realized. It was because I was with Neg, lol. They were wondering if I was his gf, lol. It's not popular a Japanese girl like me going to Cambodia alone, and I was with a young Cambodian guy. So...no wonder. It was funny when I was leaving one of the ruins (I forgot where), my eyes met a middle aged guy's when I sat behind Neg and he told me to hold him by gesture!!! I laughed and said, "It's too hot" :P

I also experienced using a very powerful weapon there...it was S M I L E!! I'm not a person who smiles at strangers. But Cambodian atmosphere made me do that a lot. I could do that because I was foreigner there (too shy to do it in Japan! But I wanted to try!! lol). Whenever my eyes met others, I smiled at them. And they smiled back at me!! :)

Anyway, I enjoyed Angkor Wat. There are a lot of sculptures anywhere and corridors with walls having sculptures were filled with tourists. There were also many tour guides that were explaining their customers about the stories on the wall eagerly. Too bad that I didn't see any guide speaking in Japanese, lol. If I saw, I would have stopped and listened to him! But it was amazing seeing the arts, thinking of how they made such beautiful things and how long it took even without a tourguide :)

When I went back to Neg, it was a little bit later than the time he told me. I was late because I had to wait for 30 minutes or so to go upstairs of the temple. When Neg told me 2 hours when I was leaving him, I thought that would be too much, but actually it took more. I said sorry to him, and we left for the next ruin.

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

Night Market

When I came back from sightseeing, the GH people said "お帰りなさい" and I said "ただいま". It was relaxing having such greetings. I felt as if there was my home, lol. Yuta also said お帰りなさい to me, and asked how Beng Mealea was. He told me he wanted to come with me so I asked him why he didn't. The reason was, his Angkor ticket could be used till the day so he had to go to places where the ticket was available. Anyway, I had my first meal in Cambodia there. I had rice, something made of green tomatoes, and a soup with strong peppers, lol. Yuta told me about night market and supermarket he went and I was interested in going to night market. When I said that, Neg told us that he would take us there after work :) Yay!! v(>∀<)v So, around 9 o'clock, we headed to the night market...of course 3 people on a motorcycle; me and Yuta without helmets!! :P We already got used to such things, lol.

Night market was not so crowded. I saw Cambodians trying to sell things to tourists hardly, lol. One of the enjoyable things going to a market like it is bargaining :P I got a few things for myself with lower price than they showed firstly, but didn't know if it was a fair price. Maybe not?? Lol. Prices are too different from that of Japanese. But beside shopping, what did was TAKING PICTURES. You know I love taking snapshots, right? I bet Neg and Yuta were disgusted seeing me trying to take pictures from good angles, lol. After an hour or so, we found that Neg looked tired. It was his pleasure taking us there, so Yuta suggested to get him a drink or something and I agreed. We moved to a bar in the market, and ordered drinks. I wanted to have something unique so I asked the waitress what she recommends and got the one :)

The conversation we had there was very fun. However, I felt sorry a little bit because I was mostly talking to Yuta :S He had a nice camera and showed me pictures he took during his trip. He went to Vietnam before coming to Cambodia, went to Phnom Penh and came to Siem Reap. He told me what he experienced during the trip and how Phnom Penh is different from Siem Reap. I asked him why he decided going to a 2 months trip by himself and he told me he wanted to book a flight in foreign country, lol. I felt he was cool and brave because his English skill is poorer than mine but he was doing such a great thing. I envied him and felt myself so little worrying about language and stuff. He told me people were nice to him when they noticed he can't speak English, but what he failed was wearing shoes that were made in France being in Vietnam. Every story of his was interesting but what the most impressive was the words he said.

"When I browse pictures without frames I took, they frighten me because it feels like I actually took the pictures being there".

It was about the exhibition pictures that he took pictures of. His theme of the trip is "war". He went to the atom bomb museum in Hiroshima before leaving Japan, but what he saw in Vietnamese war museum was much stronger. I totally agreed with it browsing his pictures. They made me want to visit there. Maybe I will...one day, not too far in the future...I felt like talking to him more, but stopped because I noticed it was late. It was 11:30 or so and some stores were already closed. On my way home, Neg asked if I would see the sunrise next morning but I told him next time. I was sure that I wouldn't get up early because I was tired too, lol.

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

First Sightseeing In Cambodia

After spending 20-30 minutes at my room doing some stuff, I went to my first sightseeing in Cambodia. I'd already told the GH staff that I wanted to go somewhere today as soon as I got ready because I didn't want to miss the time during my short stay. I told her that I wanted to go to see Roluos ruins that were built more than 300 years before Angkor Wat, and she told me that it was possible to go to Beng Mealea as well. If I can go more places, why won't I go?? :P So, of course I decided to go to both of them. She told me she would call a driver for me and when I came back downstairs, the guy who came to pick me up to the airport was there. So, he became my driver :D He handed me a pink helmet and I sat behind him. Let's go~.

On the way to Beng Mealea, he talked a lot. He told me his name and asked my name as well. I told him my name but his pronunciation was not so good, so sometimes it sounded "Magyumi" or something and I said, "Hey, Mayumi is another girls name, how dare" stuff like that, lol. It was enjoyable talking with him while driving but sometimes it was hard to recognize what he was saying.

After 1.5 hours ride or so, we got to Beng Mealea. I had to get another ticket for the ruin because the ticket I got for other Angkor ruins couldn't be used there. I was excited about seeing the ruin because I'd heard Hayao Miyazaki used this ruin as a model of his movie "Castle in the Sky". Beng Mealea ruin is collapsed and you can feel the atmosphere when it was discovered. But because of it, it's hard to know what to see or where to walk in the ruin. So normally we need a guide. I heard children would come close to guide us if we tourists go there just by ourselves, but I didn't need it because Neg (my driver's name) came with me :) When we finished exploring Beng Mealea, we headed to Roluos ruins. I saw a very beautiful sunset on the way there, but when we got there, it was getting dark :S However, it was not bad because polices were not there anymore. Normal sightseeing time had already been finished, so Neg could come with me again. I didn't know about it at that time, but later, he told me that he would be arrested if a police finds him talking to tourists at ruins because he is not a guide. He also told me becoming a guide is his dream and he is studying for it :)

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

January 30, 2010

Hello Cambodia

I remember I was so nervous and unstable being on the 2 hours flight for Cambodia. I wished I had someone beside me. There was no Japanese announcement nor Japanese speaking flight attendant. I had been already embarrassed when I was filling up the forms for immigrating to Cambodia at Singaporean airport because there were a lot of things to write. But I found myself so stupid because when I almost finished it, I noticed that I had a help to fill them in my guide book. Damn, I should have taken a look of my guide book before starting filling the forms so I could finish it quickly :( Anyway, knowing my feelings or not, the airplane took me to Siem Reap; the place where Angkor ruins are.

I needed to get a tourist visa at the airport because Japanese people can't stay in Cambodia without having a visa. The building itself was just very simple and looked so different from any airports I had seen before. But at the place for getting visa, I felt some strange atmosphere. It was impressive. I don't remember the exact number, but around 10 people or so were sitting along a long table that is curved toward us. I had to pay money and give my passport and a photo to a person sitting the left side of the table, and my passport was given next person to next person toward right. I had to wait on the line that was in front of few people sitting on right side of the table. People there were glancing at me sometimes so I felt like I was in a court being judged until my name was called, lol.

After getting back my passport, I went outside of the building and searched for a person who was waiting for me. The GH I stayed had a free picking up service, and they told me someone would come to pick me up to the airport. So, there must be someone holding my name.. I looked around once, but couldn't find anyone. I looked again...hmmm, can't find. But when I looked around for the 3rd time, I saw a young guy holding my name. Yay, I finally found the person :D I went close to him, and he noticed me and asked my name. And then, he took me somewhere...there was a MOTORCYCLE (maybe 100cc or so). I was holding my SUITCASE. So I wondered how I could bring my luggage with me riding on a motorcycle. But knowing or without knowing my worries, he lifted my suitcase on the seat, sat in front of it and told me to sit down on the seat having my luggage between me and him and hold his shoulders over my luggage!! And we drove through the city, me, without wearing a helmet...OMG, it's impossible in Japan! I was a little bit scared, so I held his shoulders tightly, lol.

The city was dusty and hot. And he traffic rules looked much looser compared to Japan. It's not rare riding on a motorcycle without helmet, and also it's not rare 3 or 4 people are riding on a motorcycle. There are much more motorcycles than cars and it was normal to overtake others if they are slow. Traffic signals mostly exist only in city area, and each of them has a sign light beside the main lights that counting down numbers to show how much time is left to turn to the other colour. There were some great looking hotels on the streets we passed, but most of normal buildings looked poor and simple. After 20 minutes or so, we got to the GH :)

When I got off from the motorcycle, I guy spoke to me and said hi. Since he sounded so friendly, I thought he was a staff of the GH, but nah, he was also a traveler :) He told me he'd been here since 22nd, and he already got loose bowels. I told him I brought some umeboshi to avoid it but I was not sure if it would really work, lol. His name is Yuta but I didn't know the name at the time. He left Japan on 12th or so (I forgot! lol) and went to a few places before coming here. He was thinking about leaving here in a few days but still hadn't decided when to leave (he was thinking of 26th or 27th). Anyway, I'll talk about him later :)

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

My Second Time In Singapore!

Soon after coming out of the arrival lounge, I found my friend :) It had been a while since I met him last time, and it was only the 3rd time meeting him. But the number doesn't matter. I really feel like relying on him and his family :D I was so glad meeting him again. He carried my luggage and even got me a meal :) We sat and talked to catch up. After that, he brought me to my hotel, and walked with me to the nearest MRT station to show the way, and came back to the hotel again. When he was leaving there, he told me to call him next day at night because his father might be able to bring me to the airport when I leave. Now you must envy me having such a nice friend, lol.

Next day was my first experience being alone in Singapore. There were a few places that I didn't go last time, so I decided to go such places. I also wanted to go to the zoo since we only went to Night Safari last time, but couldn't afford it :S (Maaaaaayyyybe next time~) I went to Little India and Bugis to see Indian temples and a mosque. The Indian temples looked interesting. There are many colourful sculptures outside and inside, and a lot of people were praying, eating and talking. When I went to the first temple, there were some tourists inside. But when I went to the next one, I was the only foreigner there! I was surrounded by Indians!! It felt a bit strange and isolated, lol. But it was nice wandering around Little India because I got to eat some Indian food and bought some accessories as souvenir for my friends :)

After seeing Indian temples, I took MRT again and went to Bugis. I remember my friend's brother called there "Singaporean Harajuku" when they took us last time, lol. Anyway, I didn't go to "Harajuku" firstly, but went to see the mosque. When I got there, I couldn't go inside because it was the time only believers could go in to pray. So, I waited having a lunch at an Indian Pakistan restaurant. After lunch, I took a look of inside of the mosque and walked back toward Bugis station to go to Bugis Village and Bugis Junction. Bugis Village was crazily crowded because it was Sunday. I didn't buy anything there (only juice) but just browsing stuff and people was fun. I also found a soft ice cream that I haven't seen in Japanese McDonald's there, and got one. When I finished it, I moved to riverside to see Merlion again!!! I also wanted to take a look of the lights at Clarke Quay because they are pretty :) I think I spent 3-4 hours walking and sitting riverside area, lol.

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

Welcome Back, How Was Your Trip?

I didn't even realize how long I hadn't been here to write something!! I had been doing something hard and finally came back from my great trip :D I say it was like a dream. I know it was reality and I was actually there. But after few days coming back to Japan working as usual, I feel like it wasn't what I experienced but just happened somewhere far in another world when I was dreaming. But anyway, I decided to talk about my tiny brilliant experiences before they fade away.

I had to get up early when I was leaving for the airport. The weather was nice, but it was cold. I carried my suitcase with me, took a bus, took trains and got to the airport. This was my first trip going somewhere alone without having friends at the place. But I wasn't nervous at that time, I knew that I would meet my friend in Singapore :) I really really enjoyed spending time with him and his family when I went there last time. They took good care of us. So, there was nothing to worry about.

The flight for Singapore was not full. No one was sitting beside me, so it was relaxing. But I missed a chance to talk to someone. It was one of what I wanted to do on my trip because I'm a shy person. I wanted to try something through the trip. Even though they are small, they might be my first new step :) Anyway, I gave up talking to anyone at that time and was watching movies. After a while, a guy moved to the next next seat from mine because he felt cramped sitting beside his friends. There were 5 or 6 people in his group, and all of them were guys. It was funny because all of them brought their laptop to their own seat and were playing the same game all the way to Singapore!! I wonder if they didn't get bored playing the same game for almost 7 hours, lol. Anyway, the flight brought me to Changi airport. I was relieved I got there on time, but actually it was a little bit earlier than I expected because the departure time of the flight got 10 minutes early when I was in Narita airport :)

Web album: A Trip to Singapore And Cambodia

January 4, 2010

The World Is Great

When I came back from work and was eating dinner, a TV program caught my attention. The program was about a solo alpinist. His name is Nobukazu Kuriki. He was born in Hokkaido. He was attracted by city life and came to Tokyo when he graduated high school. But soon, he lost heart and spent for a year as a part timer worker or without working. After that, he went back to Hokkaido and entered an university. He joined mountain climbing club there and that changed his life.

In June of 2004, after 2 years since he started climbing mountains, he climbed McKinley which is the highest mountain in North American continent alone as his first trip abroad. Since then, he's kept climbing mountains in the world alone. In March of 2007, he climbed Cho Oyu which is the 6th highest mountain in the world without oxygen inhalation. From that time, he started sending his video and tried sharing his adventure with people. In October of 2008, he accomplished climbing Manaslu (the 8th highest mountain in the world, 8163m) alone without oxygen inhalation and descended by ski. He is the first person who did it as Japanese. In March of 2009, he climbed Dhaulagiri (the 7th highest mountain in the world, 8167m) and created an on-the spot broadcasting when he climbed it. Now, he is trying Everest. No Japanese has succeeded in climbing Everest alone without oxygen inhalation, and he wants to broadcast the adventure via internet :) I was very impressed when I saw him because he is just around same age as me! I thought what I was doing when he climbed these mountains and got a little bit depressed :(

I think, when humans meet something that is beyond them, they will be moved. He is meeting marvelous views when he climbs mountains. He gets to see them in exchange for all the efforts and suffering he has through climbing. Not everybody can do such a thing, but his succeed moves people. Actually, when he was trying Everest last year (unfortunately, he couldn't accomplish it at that time), a lot of people sent him messages to cheer him up when he had hard time. Everybody wished him coming back alive. And he came back alive. As long as he is alive, there is a chance to try again.

I thought about the meaning of living when I saw this program. He was what is called ニート (it means people who don't work), sort of people that we don't appreciate. But he changed, and now he is doing something great enough to move a lot of people and actually, his work even changed some people's life. People are encouraged seeing him and it pushed their back. I think, living is influencing. To a greater or less extent, we are affecting someone. We are getting an influence by someone, and also giving an influence. If not, maybe there is no point to live. I don't think I can move a lot of people. But I want to be a person who can give a good influence to people around me and hopefully, I will bring a small happiness to someone I love someday :)

January 1, 2010

Bye Bye Last Year And Happy New Year!

Past few days were lazy days. Usually, I have to get up at 5 or 6 when I have work, but since I didn't have work, and also stayed up late, I woke up much later than usual. Luckily or unluckily, the weather was good so I didn't feel cold when I got out of my futon, but also couldn't stop feeling something like I missed precious few hours in such good weather days.

The warm sunshine coming through the window reminded me about a post that someone wrote on her blog. It was exactly what I felt and thought about before, kind a sweet and warm daily small memories that are out of reach.

On the new years eve, I had a last stroll of 2009. I went to a park, went through shopping streets, moved from a city to another city. It was nice day to hang out somewhere outside...actually, it was better if the wind wasn't so hard, but still it was alright. We had a break at Mcdonald's once and chatted, but maybe the total time we walked was for 3~4 hours. Well done! Lol. It was nice if the observation room of the city building was avalable when we got to Shinjuku, but unfortunately, it wasn't. We experienced a strange party(?) that the atmosphere and people were really weird, I don't think I want to meet it again, but as a first experience, it was ok. I don't know how to explain, but the air that was so uncomfortable to stay in :S Maybe I saw something in the world which exists in a place that is different from where I live, lol.

Now, it's 2010. As a proverb "一年の計は元旦にあり" says, I have to concentrate on making a plan for my coming trip :) At least, writing on this blog today, I believe I made a good start of my blog this year :P