Okay, I’m really determined to break this habit of blogging once a blue moon, because let’s face it, it’s not really kosher to blog about the best of (insert year here) when you’ve never even written about over half of those events. Since returning to campus last Friday, I’ve been catching up with friends over our winter break shenanigans, and since I’ve basically had the same conversations over the past few days, I figured, why not do the blogging equivalent?
For winter hols (that’s late December for you Southern hemisphere folk), the fam and I went to Vietnam (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Saigon) and Cambodia (Siem Reap). Yes, it was awesome, and yes, I practically lived on pho. I’ve uploaded some photos here and here, but you can also click on the photos for a larger size if 600×400 won’t cut it.
Ha Long Bay is a bay (duh) dotted by these lovely limestone karst formations and beaches. Upon our arrival, we took a boat ride along the water, but the sky was too foggy to really make out any of the limestone shapes.
Along the boat ride, we would encounter several smaller boats selling fresh fruit.
If you’re really into ruins, I highly implore you to check out Cambodia the next time you’re hitting up the travel guides, because HOLY CRAP Angkor Wat will be like icing on the cake for you. They filmed Lara Croft here, but while traversing the ruins, I felt more like a contestant on Legends of the Hidden Temple looking for the Stolen Arm of Shiva, without a Pendant of Life than an Angelina Jolie namesake — which, for the record, is a far more awesome feeling.
In a way, Angkor Wat reminds me a bit of climbing the Great Wall or hiking Machu Picchu. But unlike those two places, it doesn’t come with the nasty side effects of fatigue from incessant uphill hiking (Great Wall) or altitude sickness (Machu Picchu). Instead, the temple complex is laid out across a huge expanse of flat land. And whereas the other two feel like a massive trail to hike or a wall to conquer, exploring Angkor Wat is less a show of your physical strength and more about appreciating the architecture. And fun fact: in the middle of writing this entry, I’ve just learned that it’s the largest religious building in the world.
But to be perfectly fair, there were stairs. In fact, you might be looking at this photo and thinking, “Gee, that staircase sure looks pretty steep!” Well! If the people grabbing the side of the rails for dear life don’t give it away…
…then this just might:
Once I was back on even footing, it was fun to watch in amusement (and horror!) as the other tourists held on for dear life as they tried to make the treacherous flight down.
We climbed this temple just in time for the sunset. 🙂
Anyway! That’s Vietnam and Cambodia for you. I greatly apologize for the dearth of food photos (after all, me and food porn are practically synonymous by this point) but after you take photos of five different bowls of pho, it gets to the point of “REALLY, CINDY, REALLY?” To make up for it, I promise I’ve got bucketloads of food photos that never really saw the light of day on this blog. Now I’m craving pho.