…immigration stop at the border
this trip was supposed to be for the philippines but due to circumstances that favored me staying – the vietnam idea came up…
bags packed – including cameras – one on my belt (a back up point and shoot) and another one inside a carry on camera bag. my friend m procured the day before tickets for us and arrived at the house twenty five minutes before departure time… left the house still at a comfortable time of fifteen minutes.
as we were nearing the bus station, i remembered that i picked up my mother and sister at another bus station when they visited cambodia before. immediately, we informed the tuktuk driver to proceed to another bus station – five minutes before departure. i was already feeling uneasy thinking that we wont be able to make it. we got there on time but the bus was nowhere to be found. it was stationed at the location where we originally was heading. alarm bells started ringing loud. we definitely are not going to make it.
phone calls were made from station to station. and we were informed to intersect with the bus station in route. i feel like we were on a mission – it was an adrenaline rush and the tuktuk driver was pushing his engines to the limits (could do more actually). as we arrived at the designated intersection, we saw the bus turning and i thought, this is it. we definitely will be able to make it. i was wrong. the bus didn’t stop. phone calls again – loud harsh voices from our end of the line asking them to stop for we are already tailing them. the bus kept on going. another phone call – this time harsher and louder. again, it didn’t work.
heavy traffic ahead – the bus crawled into a very slow pace, my hopes went up again. we got to the side of the bus and the tuktuk driver started banging on the side of the bus for them to open the door, to no avail. up came the bridge – i said to myself, if we don’t make it this time, trip is canceled. phone calls again – the bus will stop at the foot of the bridge on the other end. it stopped. we hurriedly got off the tuktuk, carried our bags and settled comfortably at our assigned seats. the trip is on. as i normally would say on these kind of instances – it was a photo finish. vietnam, here we come…
this opera house is a must see place in Saigon which is located at the intersection of Le Loi and Dont Khoi(the street straight up from the Cathedral) Sts. , District 1. Right in front of this opera house is a park. Passing through this park will lead you to an intersection. Don’t forget to turn right after the park so as not to miss the magnificent city hall, which we missed when we were there.
Angkor Thom was built as a square, the sides of which run exactly north to south and east to west. Standing in the exact center of the walled city, Bayon Temple represents the intersection of heaven and earth. Built around 1190 AD by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon is a budhhist temple but it incorporates elements of Hindu cosmology.
Bayon is known for its huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point. The curious smiling image , thought by many to be a portrait of Jayavarman himself, has been dubbed by some the “Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia.” There are 51 smaller towers surrounding Bayon, each with four faces of its own.”
…this temple is one of my favorite in the angkor temple complex. …notice the woman in white seated at the left corner of one of the photos – it shows how massive the temple is… micah was ten months old then when this photo was taken.
source of info: sacred destinations
“…Ta Prohm reminds us of the awesome fecundity and power of the jungle.” “Construction on Ta Prohm began in 1186 AD. Originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), it was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of King Jayavarman VII. It was described in one of the inscriptions that around 80,000 workers (including 2700 officials and 615 dancers) built this temple.
Great trees tower above Ta Prohm. The vines cleaved massive stones in two and spread over the top of temple ramparts especially at the strangulating root formation on the inside of the easternmost gopura (entrance pavilion). “Tomb Raider tree” (Lara Croft was filmed here) in the central sanctuary, where Angelina Jolie picked a jasmine flower and was sucked beneath the earth.
Visitors are no longer allowed to climb the 39 towers and corridors are impassable …that’s me underneath that massive tree.
source of info: sacred destinations / lonely planet
This is one thing that I truly could say, Mar really is a trooper. I am getting ahead of the story here. I just couldn’t help it but admire his stamina. But you be the judge of what I am talking about as I go along with this road trip chronicle.
A week or so before July 19, I called Mar to inform him that we have already arrived in Louisiana at my parents-in-laws place. Months before this u.s. trip, I announced to the small circle of friends that I have in the states of this visit. they are composed mostly of friends from way back then… when was that??? – ages ago but it always feels like good old times whenever communications are reconnected.
One of the itineraries for this trip was a visit to Treasure Island, Florida (not to be mistaken with the Pleasure island in Downtown Disney). Things had been set that Mar and I will meet up, him being in the same state. Fast forward… Treasure island: I sent an email to Mar the address of the place where we were staying at and confirmation of the time and date of the road trip with a warning: I can’t give you directions – I don’t know this place – which he replied “no problem about that I can ‘google’ it”. High techie – hmmmm.
More phone calls and the sched was finally set. time and date: 10:00 p.m. pick-up time, July 19. This started to turn into something like – road trip starting at ten at night? Back in the philippines, my parents wouldn’t allow me to travel at this time of the day. i was all too revved up to think more of it. Ten in the evening would be the time that he will be arriving in Treasure Island after a four hour drive from his workplace in Jacksonville. Whew, I didn’t realize that it would take that much drive time for him to see me.
6 p.m. – the call came – he was already on his way and I reminded him again that it is not blind pass road – it is blind pass drive, meanwhile, Michelle and I decided to go out for a walk at the beach located a few meters from our house. After which we went fishing at the back of the house while we waited for Mar to come. This has already became a routine thing to do everyday – fishing – not my forte but managed to have a fish caught every time I cast. And this always triggers hollering and jeering among the group (in-laws) – look at this person who – “I don’t know how to fish” – which is exactly what I said when they first invited me to go fishing.
A call from Mar – ten p.m. – where is the house? – I have gone past this big chateau (landmark) – “okay I will go out and meet you, just drive back”.– finally, mar was at our doorstep. more than four hours later of driving.
Introductions and all that and some photos taken and the road trip began at almost midnight. I packed with me my cameras and laptop to download photos if the memory chip (4 GB at that – each camera) is not enough. we will never know.
First on the list: Downtown Disney (Orlando Florida). There is actually no list, play it by ear so to speak but firmly focused on seeing downtown disney first – highly recommended by Mar.
Off we went… this is the tricky part – going out of Treasure Island. Mar used the google map and printed the directions in coming. Now all we have to do is do the reverse to go out. We sometimes would turn the print out upside down. Simple as it may sound, it proved to be so tricky. Have to stop and do detours a couple of times not to mention that we have to backtrack after some kilometers of treading the road constantly looking at this printed directions which at the end looked like as if hundred of elephants trodded on it.
Above all the conundrum of finding the road out is this tiny little voice that keeps on saying “just hit the interstate highway and the road will unravel by itself”. Finally, we did. After 45 minutes of the crisscrosses that we did along the grid line of road network. I could only muster a sigh of relief while Mar threw the printout at the back of the car – yahoo. Time was moving on fast and I kept wondering the whole time if we could still make it to downtown Disney while it is open.
Treasure Island, Florida is located on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast and is blessed with miles of gorgeous white sand beaches that boast that Old Florida” feel yet Treasure Island is part of the Tampa Bay region, one of the nation’s fastest growing metro areas. Treasure Island offers you and your family a quiet “laid back” atmosphere while being just a short drive from Florida’s major theme parks.
The “Great Gale” of 1848 created John’s Pass on the Island’s north end and split off two smaller islands which are now the Isle of Palms and Capri Isle. To generate interest in the properties being developed a couple of enterprising property owners buried and then “discovered” a couple of wooden chests on the beach. Claiming the chests were filled with “treasure” the news of the discovery spread quickly and people began calling the area Treasure Island. The name stuck.
Planning began on the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge in 1923 but legal and financial disagreements delayed the start of construction until 1938. The bridge was called “the best constructed bridge in Florida” when completed in 1939.
Treasure Island is in fact, an island. Treasure Island is connected to Madeira Beach to the north by the John’s Pass Bridge. The Treasure Island Causeway Bridge connects Treasure Island to St. Petersburg to the east. On the south end of the island is the Blind Pass Bridge which connects Treasure Island with St. Pete Beach. Proud of it’s heritage, today’s Treasure Island is a unique blend of a small town laid back beach community and an internationally known family vacation destination.”
(info taken from Florida Vacation Guide)
here now in florida usa for a three week vacation.