Catching Up

So, where did we leave off? :-) I admit to having been a bit lax on updates of late. Partially, I’ve just been lazy…also, fewer interesting stories to tell. After spending a day seeing Angkor Wat, my other two days in Siem Reap, Cambodia, were fairly low key. I visited a craft center and watched a number of very skilled artisans at work. A few of the rooms were staffed solely by deaf individuals, which was interesting – and a bit depressing to be honest, as I suspect that they are there because of: 1) lack of alternatives, and 2) it looks good to tourists. The guide who showed me around was a nice guy, and we chatted a bit. One disappointing thing is that for all the artisan’s talent, they only made recreations. I tried to ask the guide about original artwork, and he kept conveniently misunderstanding me. I don’t really know why this is…maybe he just wanted me to buy something they made? Still, impressively done. I also took a cooking class at one of the local restaurants, and…was underwhelmed, to be honest. They basically hand you a recipe and a platter of ingredients, and you go from there. Also, while Cambodian food was tasty, it was so similar to Vietnamese (and Thai, sometimes) that it all blended together. Siem Reap was okay, but I don’t know that there’s much to do beyond the temples.

My next stop was Bangkok, before heading south. I actually ended up hanging out here for a few days, mostly because I couldn’t get my act together and figure out next steps. I did take advantage of the break to go on a food tour of Bangkok, which was interesting if not quite what I expected. I expected street food and Thai cuisine, got more sit-down and ethnic enclaves. Still nice to get a bit of cultural information. Also, lemongrass fried chicken wings? AMAZING. Anyway, finally figured out my plans and headed south to Krabi, Thailand, for one night before catching the ferry over to Koh Lanta. Spent several days there, mostly being lazy. I did the beach thing, the beach bar/sunset thing*, and so on. Went to a fantastic restaurant, came back the next day for a private cooking lesson with the chef who taught me to make Khao Soi, the delicious northern Thai curry soup dish. Mmm. Anyway, if you’re looking for quiet (ie fewer parties), pretty, and affordable, Koh Lanta is hard to beat.

After shuttling around a bit, I arrived in Singapore for a brief overnight visit. I really did not get to see much of the city, unfortunately – it seems interesting! Also, fantastically clean and modern and upscale. I did get to try soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, which is famous for them, and they were as good as promised. I looked up a recipe and have decided that these shall remain a restaurant menu item – far too much work for me! And now I am writing this post from the lounge at Singapore Airport, where I will soon board a flight for…

New Zealand!! Yes, my Asia adventure has come to an end. Hard to believe, but I have been here for two months, seen four countries (not counting Singapore), and had an amazing time. At some point I’ll reflect a bit on everything, but I think some distance is necessary.

Also, thank you all for reading and commenting. It’s been great to hear from you, and to know that you’re enjoying the trip along with me!

* Yes, I have pictures. Having trouble uploading them to Flickr at the moment, for some reason.

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