Thursday, June 27, 2013

Phnom Penh

Traveling is always an adventure full of uncertainty and excitement. But hopping on a plane for western Europe feels a lot different than hopping on a plane to Southeast Asia.

Cleveland to Houston to Moscow to Singapore -- four flights and almost 48 housr later I finally landed in Cambodia.

In the general Southeast Asia circuit Cambodia is not always high on the list of things to do. Years of war, pain, and incredible loss have left its mark on this quiet country. Outside of the obvious attraction of Angkor Wat, backpackers head for Thailand and Laos -- do the trek through Vietnam -- and it can be easy to skip Cambodia. But you shouldn't.

Phnom Penh is an overflowing swarm of emotions. It is poverty and loss atop immense beauty and unbelieveable kindness. It is every kind of food you can imagine, endless markets, and the hustle of the riverside against the calm presence of the Royal Palace. The gawky younger sister to the metropolis of Bangkok, six months here and you could start to scratch the surface. But most people don't have six months, and if you've got to do Phnom Penh in a couple of days there are some musts to attend to.

First, grab a tuk tuk driver for the day. Accept now that you will be offered a tuk tuk every 15 seconds for the remainder of your visit. Unless you actually need which point you will inevitably be stranded. So find a good one who knows his way around (or atleast has a sheet with all the major sites on it that you can point to) and stick to him -- I personally recommend Vireak who is Phnom Penh's Number 1 Tuk Tuk driver and speaks perfect english (can be reached at 012456744).

There are some major sites in Phnom Penh that you should try to visit -- in no particular order:
  1. Royal Palace: a few dollars for an entrance fee and be sure to cover your knees and shoulders. Wander through the palace grounds and take a moment to enjoy the quite sanctuary of the palace and the pagodas. In case you are like me and have zero common sense -- do not approach the monkeys. They bite. After Royal Palace head down to the riverside for some food and drinks at one of the millions of restaurants. Check out the balcony at the FCC or any of the rooftop bars along the riverside to get a great view of the city. If you don't need a big meal then head down to Blue Pumpkin for an always needed ice cream break!
  2. Wat Phnom: Built on the hill the city was named after it only costs a dollar to tromp through this wat and it gives some great views of the city. Beware the Gangster Monkeys!
  3. Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields: prepare yourself for a harrowing couple of hours and visit these memorials of the horrors that occurred in Cambodia during the 1970s. After the sombering experience of Tuol Sleng -- head over to The Boddhi Tree for some amazing curry or a tasty fruit shake.
  4. Markets! Central Market, Russian Market, Night Market -- the markets are neverending in Phnom Penh and always a great place to enjoy the hustle and bustle while picking up a few suveniers or gifts. Always haggle and watch your purse but definitely worth the trip. Russian Market is particularly good for food!
  5. National Museum: Take a few hours to wander through the National Museum and lay some jasmine at the feet of a shiva or two. The building is just as impressive as its contents so definitely worth a look. Right down the road from the National Museum is Friends restaurant where you can have some of the best food in town while helping to support a great cause.
If you've got the time take a day trip out into the countryside or grab a riverboat for a sunset cruise. Buy a drink and you've got your pick of any hotel pool in the city.

For a night out Riverside and Latin Quarter are always a great choice. Katy Peri's pizza sets up shop near all the bars off Street 51 -- you haven't lived until you've had pizza from a tuk tuk. For an incredibly authentic Khmer meal check out Sovanni's on Street 21. Warung Bali on Street 178 -- by far my favorite restaurant in town the chicken satay is one of the best things I've ever tasted and I've never paid more then $4 for more food and cans of Angkor than I need. At some point in just need a pizza -- when the desire for pizza strikes there is a little italian place called Luigis that is by far the best pizza in town. Street 308 right at the end of Street 29.

This is making me hungry. I'm off to dine again before heading to Siem Reap for the weekend!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Grand Return to Ohio...week one in a glance

Cleveland in a paragraph...I have been pleasantly surprised! We live in Little Italy right on the train line, and walking distance to Case. There are great restaurants and bars all over the place. Much more to do as far as a metropolitan area goes than Toledo/Bloomington/Charleston were able to offer. Indians/Browns/Cavs alone give everyone a reason to get together and party on a regular basis. Westside Market and all of the brewery's on the West side of town are enough to make me ready to call this place home. Being close to family is great after being away for so long. We went to my grandma's this past weekend for Labor Day Goolash and a last bash at the beach. It was almost surreal being able to hop in the car and be there in less than an hour. Laura is getting MARRIED (holy crap) next weekend and I don't even have to take any time off school, or buy a plane ticket or anything - just getting in the car Friday after class and should be there by the time the rehearsal dinner begins. I do miss Charleston though, who wouldn't miss the weather and it's hard being away from all my beloved southern weirdos.

But for now I will just enjoy the exciting new things that come with living in Cleveland, I'll have enough time to miss Charleston once I'm trudging through seven feet of snow to get to and from class everyday.

Side note and something to remember - Rachel's wedding was July 11th. It was beautiful and perfect and at sunrise on a beach in Sanibel. On the last day we were there, Rachel and Laura and I were almost eaten by a shark. True story. We were rescued by a pod of dolphins.

I think this proves that we were all mermaids in a past life. And the disney movie about mermaids was based on our life.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summer before 1L

Bucket List:

  1. Rachel's wedding
  2. Laura's Bachelorette Party
  3. See Amanda's band play at least once
  4. Do yoga as often as I want
  5. Go to Disneyworld
  6. Go to the ocean as often as possible
  7. Eat fondue at Fast and French
  8. Get on a paddleboard
  9. Read the entire Game of Thrones series because it is awesome
  10. Read the Steve Jobs book because I bought it
  11. Re-read the entire Twilight series because it is ridiculous and I can't help but love it
  12. Spend a week at Grandma the Beach's house
  13. Go to Nirlip Lunch Buffet before leaving Charleston
  14. Visit Botany Bay
  15. Get on a surfboard
  16. Savannah or Asheville - pick one and visit before moving
  17. Eat at ONE of the super fancy Charleston restaurants
  18. Sleep on the beach
  19. Sleep in general
  20. Relax

Friday, January 6, 2012

What to remember - Paris, France

Paris, France
1. Eiffel Tower lights up at dusk
2. Opera Bastille is very inexpensive on Thursdays
3. Eat bread and cheese the entire time
4. Rue de Moufftard
5. Sacre Cour at night on the weekends - take wine
6. You can get bottles of wine for less than 2 euro but it won't be worth it the next day
7. On again off again bus tour is an easy way to get around the first time you're in the city
8. Musee d'Orsee
9. Louvre is almost as good from the outside as it is from the inside
10. Versaille is an entire day - don't miss Marie Antoinettes fake village its the best part
11. Drink coffee
12. Pain au chocolate
13. Walk
14. Rent a bike
15. Stop for wine as often as you want
16. Smoke a cigerette
17. Sit by le Seine in the sunlight or the moonlight
18. Relax, wander - the river makes it easy to never really get lost
19. Eat fondue
20. The first day of summer is a wild party throughout the entire city

What to remember - London, England

London, England
1. Chelsea
2. The Tube
3. South Kensington station
4. Mind the gap
5. Don't hang out at Picadilly
6. Do hang out on the East Side
7. Black Springs Press
8. Robert from Scotland and Gretchen from Conneticutt
9. Late night walks
10. Museums are free
11. Double Decker busses
12. Taxis are expensive and enormous
13. Sneaking into that ridiculous club on King's Rd.
14. Manresa Road, London 020 7808 9200
15. The Tube
16. Traffic going the wrong direction
17. Almost getting hit by busses
18. Signs on the ground telling stupid Americans not to get hit by the oncoming busses
19. Baked beans with breakfast
20. Bacon Buddies
21. French fries with everything
22. Beer
23. Rain
24. Dark by 4pm
25. Going to Scotland
26. Taking the train to Paris
27. Tesco
28. Bikram
29. Rubbish Bin
30. "issues" is not used as an alternative to "problems"
31. The grocer refusing to give me my bags until I told them who I was going to vote for in the next election
32. Escaping from Notting Hill and going to McDonald's
33. Markets
34. Bar Italia in Soho
35. Instant Coffee
36. Indian Food
37. Quid
38. Henry J. Beans and Beer Gardens
39. Guilds
40. Day drinking
41. Summer is a different world

What to remember - Toledo, OH

Toledo, OH
1. Bowsher
2. 4385 Beverly Dr.
3. The river spot
4. Driving
5. Amanda's first house and sleeping in the backyard
6. Amanda's second house and sleeping in the hammock
7. Laura's basement
8. Laura's basement doors
9. Running laps around Rachel's basement
10. Mi Hacienda
11. Early morning breakfasts
12. French class
13. Chandra's house
14. Jeff Veitch's basement
15. TCS Park
16. OLPH Festival
17. Records
18. Allied
19. VHS tapes
20. Skipping class
21. University of Toledo
22. Simon and Garfunkel
23. Maxwell's Brew
24. Sidecut Park
25. Swan Creek Metro
26. Cross Country
27. Scott's house
28. Caiti's car
29. Haunted bridge
30. Big Boy
31. House Parties
32. The Lair
33. Doc Watson's
34. The Faux Paus
35. Swings
36. River Road
37. The Zoo
38. Lickety Split
39. Murphy's Place Jazz Cafe
40. The Movie Theatre
41. Nick
42. Grandma's House for dinner
43. Church
44. Sparky
45. Ringo
46. Brock's house
47. Railroad tracks
48. Sneaking onto Bowsher
49. Climbing on the roof of the school - " you know dinardo?"
50. Parks
51. Cigarettes
52. Coffee
53. Aimless walks
54. Aimless conversations
55. Waiting
56. Childhood
57. Bike rides
58. Holidays
59. Downtown
60. Manhatten's
61. The Mudhen's
62. Fricker's
63. Tony Packos
64. The East Side
65. The Drive in
66. The South Side
67. The West Side
68. Sneaking onto the Mudhen's field
69. Sneaking into the Mudhen's games
70. Getting lost downtown
71. Franklin Park
72. Southwyck
73. Laura getting fired from Dillards
74. Rachel and Amanda working at the coffee house
75. Boys
76. Friends
77. Summers
78. Michael's
79. Super Duper Shakes

What to remember - Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina
1. Speed Humps
2. Outside brunch on New Years Day
3. Pool parties on Easter with mini-bottles in the eggs
4. Collard Greens
5. Visors being appropriate
6. Seersucker pants
7. Tattooed Moose Duck Sandwich and Sausage Gravy Fries
8. Black eyed peas and collards greens for good luck on New Years Day
9. Men is pastels
10. Men in short shorts
11. Back porches
12. Green pools
13. Beach parties
14. Vodka Sodas...everything sodas
15. Y'all
16. Diddy
17. Charleston City Paper
18. Farmer's Market
19. Restaurant Week
20. Fast and French Fondu Thursdays
21. Dolphin's at Morris Lighthouse
22. The duck at Poogan's Porch
23. Zia Taquiero enchiladas
24. Art Walk on the first Friday of the month
25. One way streets
26. Downtown flooding every time it rains
27. New Year's party
28. Music Farm - Old Crow Medicine Show
29. Surfers
30. Summers
31. Don't go to Folly after 10am any time after April unless you want to wait an hour in traffic
32. Sullivan's Island adventuring
33. Plantations
34. 109 Cannon St., Apt. F
35. Fuel, D'allesandro's, Hot Mustard, Hominy Grill
36. Bikram
37. Black Bean
38. Birthdays
39. Indian Fair
40. Wild Flour Sticky Buns and dog treats
41. Hampton Park
42. The Battery
43. Rainbow Row
44. Skinful...skinful
45. Very blonde hair
46. The difference between the beach and the rest of the world during summer
47. John's Island
48. James Island
49. Folly Beach - surfers, Sullivans Island - Families, Isle of Palms - Tourists
50. Follypalooza
51. Folly Beach Christmas Parade
52. Christmas Boat Parade
53. O'Malley's for football
54. AC's for brunch
55. Black out Sunday's when you try to combine AC's brunch with O'Malley's football
56. Don't go out downtown on St. Patrick's Day
57. Island Bar and Grill Kareoke