Monday, 27 February 2012

South East Asia (and Japan) in lists..


Difficult to narrow it down to 5 but we agreed on the following........................

1. Kyoto - Tokyo was breathtaking and a little unreal but Kyoto was the real gem in japan with its more traditional and laid back feel. 
2. Siem Reap -  In Cambodia was charming, the temples of Angkor fascinating and Jimmy's School kept us there much longer than planned.
3. Chiang Mai -  In the North of Thailand was a top little city with loads to see and do.
4. Bukit Lawang - If we weren't in the jungle we were swimming or washing our clothes in the river of this tranquil little village in Sumatra.
5. Pai - Massages, hot springs, waterfalls, rolling hills. Need I say anymore?


Thailand wins this one hands down but we will mix it up a bit to mention some Cambodian specialities...

1. Kang Hung Lay - This nearly brought my post NYE, fragile self to tears in Chiang Mai. The slow cooked pork was almost like a Chicken Run dinner and unlike any other Thai food due to its Burmese influences.
2. Amok - If i'm being lazy i'd say its like a Cambodian version of a Green Curry, served in a hollowed out coconut. However it has its own flavours and is distinctly different so ignore the first bit.
3. Lok Lak/Luc Lac - Cambodia is the biggest producer of pepper in the world and they make the most of it it here with some seriously peppery beef with tomoatos and rice.
4. Red/Green curry - Thai classic but well worth a mention along with Pad Thais, Thai Fishcakes and Papaya Salads.
5. Rambutan Fruit - First tried this funky, lychee-ish fruit in the jungle of Bukit Lawang but it re-appeared time and time again.

Special mention has to go to Gyoza dumpling in Japan which were already a firm favourite before coming away.


1. Mens bare midriffs are common - I think it is to show how much you are chilling but never actually confirmed this. Whatever it is its rife.
2. Getting things wrong is funny -  I didn't live down claiming that Charlotte, and not Scarlet red was a colour and Nat asking if I was going to throw the sock and not towel in on the 20" Pizza challenge got a giggle.
3. Vaguely ethnic and garish garms are not cool -  And they don't ingratiate you with the locals, no matter how much you have deluded yourself.
4. No one walks - And thought we were crazy to even walk a couple of miles. I think this is because literally everyone has a moped. I saw everything from a pile of King Size mattresses to a family of 6 on said mopeds too.
5. Religious people love us - The Brahman in Siem Reap loved us and this Buddhist and his posse approached us out of a crowd in Angkor to give us some free CDs and books after we listened in to his prayer about the impermanence of humans.

On a side note, eggs are everywhere and in every plausible form, you just can't escape them. Angry Birds also seems to have taken over and is much, much more than an iPhone game. You can get every conceivable piece of Angry Birds merchandise but these guys were Nat's faves.


1. 7/11 - In all seriousness this was a godsend with cheap noodles, cakes and ice lollies keeping our spending in check.
2. The Food - As you can see from before, we got some belting feeds.
3. Thai Markets - Even if your not buying anything going to one is an experience in itself.
4. The Sounds - Music and noise of some sort was everywhere around us and kept the ears entertained if a little battered at times.
5. Jimmy's School  - And all the characters there.


1. Public Buses - Not that we think India is going to be any less rowdy, the escape from dodgy dance music and beeping horns will be welcome even if it is only fleeting.
2. Russians on resort beaches - An odd, odd creature indeed with all the etiquette of a screaming kid.
3. Being blagged - Vietnam, take your bow.
4. The Food - For every nice meal there was also the prospect of a carteliege soup or similar shocker from a street food stand.
5. Vietnam - Do you think we have held a grudge much? Forgive and Forget ey? Maybe not. My Open Letter to Vietnam looks a lot like this...


Aside from Bob Marley and Jack Johnson these classics kept hitting the airwaves............

1. Black Eyed Peas - Time of My Life
2. Diana King - Shy Guy
3. Big Mountain -  Baby, I Love Your Way
4. Celine Dion - Asian men, it seems, love a woman crooner and Celine was never far away with more than one person having the Titanic theme tune on their phones.
5. Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart

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