Author Topic: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)  (Read 33145 times)

Online TimT

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2015, 08:52:25 AM »
i had originally thought to give it a week, but the positive feedback has inspired me to write some more now. working on it...
Wow, thanks. Maybe you could give Dan a hand with his :)

Offline avadah

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2015, 04:03:06 PM »
Great TR so far! Could you post a list of all the destinations you went to on this trip?

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2015, 06:38:04 PM »
Great TR so far! Could you post a list of all the destinations you went to on this trip?
you know what would be more fun? if people guessed the next destination

we can use a points system. 10 points for the one who guesses correctly

Offline Emkay

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2015, 06:41:22 PM »
you know what would be more fun? if people guessed the next destination

we can use a points system. 10 points for the one who guesses correctly
What does the winner get?

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2015, 06:42:43 PM »
amenity kit

Offline Tzadik Nistar

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2015, 06:51:44 PM »
you know what would be more fun? if people guessed the next destination

we can use a points system. 10 points for the one who guesses correctly
Dxb or auh

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2015, 07:30:02 PM »
Dxb or auh
oh c'mon, i already wrote reports on them

Offline Tzadik Nistar

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2015, 07:31:50 PM »
oh c'mon, i already wrote reports on them
I only see DOH

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2015, 07:32:15 PM »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2015, 08:10:48 PM »

Offline yitrap

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2015, 08:51:36 PM »

Offline yhaller14

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2015, 11:56:55 PM »
Great tr keep em coming
"In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take"

Offline avadah

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2015, 01:53:57 AM »
you know what would be more fun? if people guessed the next destination

we can use a points system. 10 points for the one who guesses correctly
HND

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2015, 06:17:42 AM »
I flew overnight on QR from DOH-KUL.



The plan was to connect to MH in KUL for a short hop. Less than 3 weeks after MH370 disappeared from the face of the earth without a trace. In the days leading up to the flight I was a bit nervous although I kept telling myself it was an irrational fear. Ultimately, I took the flight but kept an eagle’s eye on the flight map screen lest the pilot decide to deviate from the scheduled route.



It was a bit odd strange (not the word I’m looking for, somebody please help me. Maybe eerie? Living in Israel has taken its toll on my English writing skills) to see the following Time magazines displayed at the MH lounge in KUL.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 08:01:39 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2015, 06:17:51 AM »
There is also a real outdoor rainforest in middle of KUL which is a cool way to pass some time before your flight.





After a short, and, thank G-d, uneventful flight, I landed in…


Siem Reap, Cambodia

(Disclaimer: The following few paragraphs delve into the warped and deranged mind of a crazed traveler. For those wishing to preserve their sanity, please skip to the paragraph which begins with the word “A”)

One needs to purchase a $20 visa to enter Cambodia and can be obtained through one of two ways. You can either apply and purchase one online, and if and when approved, the visa will be emailed to you, which you print out and present to passport control. Or you can apply upon arrival at the airport. The problem with Plan A is that I appreciate/enjoy the stamps in my passport, especially the big beautiful full page visas. Yes, I’m crazy in that way. On the other hand, relying on Plan B could come back and bite me, as in the event that other flights land before us, which I’ve read can sometimes happen, you can end up waiting a very long time. Getting the visa in Plan B is not instantaneous but rather you must fill out a form, submit the fee, and then wait for a different department to issue the visa which can create a backlog.

I figured I would apply online to have a visa with me just in case, and I would rush off the plane to be first on line in the event it would be empty. And so it was. However, when I checked my emails at the DOH lounge, alas, I didn’t see any emails containing my Cambodia visa. I went to the eVisa site and entered my information, and lo and behold I had been approved for an eVisa but for some reason they hadn’t emailed it to me. However I was able to print it out directly from the site.

Arriving in REP, I was first off the plane (I flew up front) and rushed to the visa application desk.



The place was empty. Perfect. Everything according to plan. Or so I thought. As I approached the desk I had second thoughts about shelling out an additional, unnecessary visa fee. Was it really worth $20 just for the visa sticker? I quickly devised a plan.
 
I approached the officer and told him that I had applied for an eVisa but I hadn’t received the visa via email (this was true). I had the confirmation number, and could he please check the computer to see whether I was approved and if I was, to please issue the visa for me that I had already paid for. He replied that he couldn’t check on the status as he wasn’t connected to that system. He recommended that I go speak with the passport control officer. I figured that the passport officer would check my confirmation, see that I was approved, and have them print me out a visa sticker. After all, I need a visa to enter, right? Well, not quite…

I explained the whole thing to the passport officer and he tells me, “Don’t worry, no problem, I take care of you, and then you take care of me.” Well, that was one scenario I hadn’t prepared for. There was no way I was going to have an eVisa sitting in my bag, and have to tip/bribe the passport official to let me in without a visa at all. Heck no. I told him “let me check my bag one more time just to be sure.” Well what do you know, I “found” it.

So in the end, my plan backfired and I had to suffice with a measly entry/exit stamp. At the end of the debacle, after stamping my passport, as I prepared to leave, the officer still asked me, “What about me?” I had to explain to him that he didn’t do me any favors at the end, and as such, no bribes would be heading his way… I subsequently learned that the average daily salary for a policeman in Siem Reap was no more than $2-3 per day, so I really can’t blame him for trying to get something on the side.

A cool thing in Cambodia is the ability to shoot high powered weapons, which is facilitated through the Cambodian military. Ideally, it would be better to do this in Phnom Penh where there is more availability and the prices are cheaper. There is actually a Western guy living in Phnom Penh that’s able to get really good deals and I was in contact with him hoping he might be able to arrange something for me in Siem Reap; after all it’s the same military. He tried but was unsuccessful.

I actually was considering stopping in PNH for the sole purpose of shooting there, but I abandoned that option since it didn’t really make sense time wise. In the end, I negotiated with the local company and I was able to get the price down a bit, but it was still quite expensive. They also didn’t have everything I wanted to do, such as throw a hand grenade (available in PNH).

I arranged with the company to pick me up from the airport, drive me to my hotel to check in and drop my luggage, and then drive me to the range.

I checked in to the Park Hyatt Siem Reap which was like an oasis in what was otherwise a pretty ugly city. As a category 4 hotel, it was great to be able to redeem an anniversary night for my one night stay. I checked in, got a welcome drink chosen from anything on the bar menu, put my luggage in the room, then headed out.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:29:52 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2015, 06:18:00 AM »






Since I had chosen to shoot machine guns and an RPG, we had to trek out to an “army base” about 1.5 hours out of town. For smaller arms, it would be possible to shoot somewhere closer. My order consisted of AK47 30 bullets, M60 100 bullets and an RPG.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:31:04 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2015, 06:18:08 AM »


Real men don’t need no mirror


We got there, I set up my tripod and connected my video camera, and had his assistant take pictures. The experience was certainly a rush. I felt like a “real man.” It’s also really hard to aim. I missed the target most of the time. There is an urban legend that you can shoot the RPG at a cow for a few extra bucks, but I was never given that offer. I probably would have declined anyways on moral grounds. Besides, I probably would have missed.





I felt like a star!




To my horror, when I checked my video camera, I saw that the video stopped right before I shot off the RPG. I either never turned it on after the machine gun (less likely) or it was deliberately done by his assistant (more likely). I’ll never know for sure. Either way, I was very upset. I wanted to shoot another one but he refused to budge on the price. I decided it was too expensive to shoot again and had to suffice with pictures. The memory will have to live exclusively in my brain.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:33:42 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2015, 06:18:16 AM »
On the way back to town, I had him drop me off at the Angkor Wat complex. Of course, the main reason one visits Siem Reap is to marvel at the temples of Angkor Wat. A one day pass costs $20 but if you purchase your pass at 5:00pm, your pass will not be activated until the next day, allowing you into the complex to get a free sunset.





After a beautiful sunset, I got a tuk-tuk back into town for a few pennies. It’s important to bring small bills with you when traveling to Siem Reap. You can't have enough 1000 Riel and $1 bills both for short tuk-tuk rides, tipping, and small purchases at the market.



Next up was going to the 7:30pm performance of “Phare, The Cambodian Circus” where I had pre-booked a preferred VIP seat. The show is performed by kids with difficult social and economic backgrounds who use this performance to change their life. The show itself was very amateurish but they definitely deserve points for trying.




« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:35:52 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2015, 06:18:23 AM »
I then headed down to the night market to view the local crafts and purchase some souvenirs. They have this interesting whiskey infused with cobras and scorpions among other creepy crawlies which is supposed to provide the one who drinks it with great strength and power, but due to kashrus concerns, I was unable to partake. It did look cool though.



I then returned to the PH for a few hours of shuteye.



The best time to see Angkor Wat is for sunrise and I had booked a sunrise tour with a company called Smart Tour Travel and my guide, Mr. Phearom to begin at 5am. The cost of the tour which is supposed to last until 2:30-3:00pm was $40 + $10 for an all-day tuk-tuk. Unfortunately I overslept a bit and by the time I arrived at the viewpoint, there was a huge crowd, but I was still able to get a few decent pics.



It was really sad to hear my guide’s story of the poverty prevalent in the region. Growing up, he was constantly hungry and had to learn how to hunt spiders to satiate himself.


« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:37:50 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: Hopping Around Asia (Mostly)
« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2015, 06:18:31 AM »
We went through the various temples including the famous Angkor Wat, Bayon, which is famous for the various faces in the rock, and Ta Prohm, famous for the trees growing over the ruins and featured prominently in the movie Tomb Raider.








« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:38:33 AM by moish »