Solo Travels

Since my blog is blocked in Vietnam, I couldn’t post anything for the last week or so.  I was able to post at the beginning of my trip because the hostel I was staying at had a VPN, making facebook and wordpress accessible.

Jason and I had a great time adventuring together in Vietnam.  We trekked through the hills of Sapa, swam in the warm waters of Ha Long Bay (and successfully avoided jellyfish attacks), sampled the tasty cuisine, drank coffee from beans that came out of a weasel’s rectum, and met lots of interesting people along the way.

I think that one of the most awkward moments for me (and trust me, there are many), was when I got a massage in Ha Long City.  Jason and Andy, a German friend we were with, were in separate rooms.  My masseuse was a woman wearing a skin-tight, short skirt and a tube top.  Red flag number one.  After my “massage” was over, I was supposed to shower and probably get all the oils off my back.  I’m surprised that I still had oil on my back because the masseuse spent a lot of her time slapping and hitting me.  Red flag number two.

Anyway, so I showered and had a towel on, and right as I opened the door from the bathroom, the masseuse was standing right there.  I was so scared that I almost dropped my towel.  Then she sat me down on the bed and stared at me.  Intermittently, she looked at the clock, but quickly resumed staring at me.  I stared back at her.  Unsure what to do, I also looked at the clock and shrugged my shoulders.  This went on for about five minutes.  Finally, she made me leave, ending my massage 15 minutes before Jason and Andy.  Boo.

I was supposed to fill out a comment card for her after I was done.  As I was filling it out, she came and hovered over me, looking at the card.  Another uncomfortable minute.

Jason and I parted ways on July 5th, and now he’s safely in Japan with Kevin.  I’m in Siem Reap right now after about 19 hours of cumulative bus rides.

I only stayed in Phnom Penh for one night, but that was all I needed to see the Killing Fields.  Before this trip, I’d never heard of the Killing Fields or Pol Pot.  I learned that he was a ruthless murderer who killed 1/4 of his own people, targeting intellectuals, Christians, Buddhist monks, anyone who came in contact with a Westerner, etc.  Many people died on his “collective farms” due to starvation, malnutrition or sickness.

At the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh (there were hundreds all over the country), people were taken and murdered.  They were forced to dig their own graves and were often killed by having their heads beaten in with hoes, sharpened bamboo sticks, or any sort of object that could kill them.  Bullets were too expensive to waste.  He even killed the families of those were died so that they couldn’t seek revenge against him.  It was incredibly sad to visit this site and I left with a heavy heart.

At my hostel, I met a woman who was about 70 years old.  Trying to be polite, I asked her where she was from, knowing she was American.  Then she went into a whole story about all these different places she lived, her daughter who died of a rare cancer, the journey she was on, and a lot of other person information that made me uncomfortable.  She asked where I was from and I told her “America, around Portland, Oregon”.  Dejectedly, she sighed and said “oh, I though you’d be from somewhere interesting, like Hong Kong”.

On a brighter note, tomorrow I will be touring the beautiful temples and I will finally be able to see Angkor Wat. Wahoo!

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