Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stupid Blogger

Can't seem to figure out how to create a slideshow on the side of this blog, so here's the link to the photos from our trip.


Two Giants

Saturday, June 4, 2011

All Good times must come to an end...

Today is the last day for the Two Giants, until we publish photos when I get home and can actually upload them...

Paul has left, his flight to Hong Kong was at 5:50am so he was out the door at 3am. I on the other hand have another full day to spend in the heat and humidity of HCMC, with no real plans. I think I'm going to go see the reunification palace and the cathedral. Maybe even a stop at the market to look for a couple more things, can get enough of people pushing me to buy thier junk...

My flights at 11:50pm tonight and after a 3hr stop in Tokyo I land in Chicago at 8am on the morning of the 6th. Its really crazy to think that I'm going to be traveling for 22 hrs but it will only take 8 of clock time.  I like the idea of free time, but I'm not so sure my body will while I'm riding that train back to A2.

I promise there will be one more post when I get home, and I would expect one from Paul about Hong Kong.

Until then,
Everyone be safe.

Two Giants

Apocalypse Now, Hangover tomorrow

Greetings loyal readers.  Sorry for the infrequent posts, but we've been pretty busy running around Vietnam, so we've slacked a little on the blog.  Here's the happy recap of what's happen since we last spoke:

Ha Long Bay Boat Cruise: On Wednesday, we headed out of our hostel at 8:00am for an overnight trip to Ha Long Bay. The start was a bit inauspicious: a 4 hour van ride to get there on a van that a jockey would feel cramped in.  Needless to say, the Giants were a little uncomfortable. Thankfully, it got much better after that. Once at Ha Long, it was a little bit of a cluster f*@k getting out to the Bay, but boy was it worth it. There are over 3000 mini islands out in the Bay, in crystal blue water. Once we anchored, we spent about 30 minutes jumping off the boat and swimming, followed by a 2 hour kayak and cave exploration trip. Boyink, being the Giant that he is broke his paddle on the way back. To make matters worse, his kayak mate (Scott aka Danny Dyer) broke his paddle on the way out, so they had a ton of fun trying to get back to the boat. After we all go back and showered, things got aggressive.

The 2 trip leaders organized a couple of spirited drinking games for us. Since it was taking them a little long to get going, we decided to pregame the drinking games... maybe not the best idea. The first offical game was "Roxanne".  For those of you that have never played this, it is a debacle. Sting's Roxanne is played on an iPod or what have you, and one team drinks every time he says Roxanne, the other team drinks for "put on a red light"  That should been a sign what kind of night it was going to be. After that, we played the CRAZIEST game of Kings ever. Since there were 50+ of us, they just laid the cards out in two long lines, and we played one side of the room vs. the other side of the room. By the end of the game, multiple people had obscene drawings on their arms, we learned a few peoples inner most secrets, and no one was wearing any of their own clothes.

After the games, we had a dance party, highlighted by our new friends from Lehigh belting out "Born in the USA".  Sadly, we could only stay out there one night, since we had a flight to Ho Chi Minh booked for the next day. All in all, Hanoi was a ton of fun. I lost one day with a stomach bug, but it was still a great time.

Ho Chi Minh was the last stop on the Two Giants SE Asia tour. Our flight was delayed, so we didn't arrive at our hotel until 3AM.  On day 1, we went to the War Remnants Museum.  When you walk in, you see a bunch of US Planes and Tanks. We joked that we were going to repossess them and take them back with us. After going through the museum and seeing all of the things America did during the war, we decided it best to let the Vietnamese have the tanks and planes. Granted, it was very biased and one-sided, but you still felt a little worse about being American after you walk out of there.

Later that night, we found our favorite Ho Chi Minh pregame spot, the Spotted Pig. They had 50% off all cocktails, so we treated ourselves to $5 pitchers of Mojitos. We also got a private Vietnamese lesson from Yuen, our very friendly waitress. We were a little spent since we got in late, and we had an early day on the Mekong the following day, so we called it an early night.

Day 2 was spent touring around the Mekong Delta. Really interesting hopping around the islands, sampling local food and playing with bees and snakes. After we got home and showered, we headed back out to the Spotted Cow for there 1.5 hour all you drink special.  We definitely got our moneys worth. After that, we headed out to Apocalypse Now, a relatively big club in Ho Chi Minh. The details are a little hazy, but I know it was very well air conditioned (always a plus), and we got bottle service with our Lehigh friends.

Ho Chi Minh, like pretty much everywhere on this trip, has been great. It will be sad to lose Andrew, but I'm excited for my quick stop over in Hong Kong.  Maybe someone might even come up to ME and tell me I'm tall with him gone.

Sorry for the long winded post.

Two Giants

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bia Hoi!

One addition to the Laos story before we start the Vietnam Story...

Last night in Laos we see on Facebook that Nick Arkinson and Cameron Doctor (I need a doctor! I need a doctor!) are in Luang Prabang. So Paul and I decide that we're going to go find them. After just 5 minutes of walking through the market we find them at a table just on the other side. Sit for an hour and tell each other what to do for the rest of our trips.  Totally random and totally awesome!

Then we were off to Vietnam.  We land in Hanoi which is so smoggy and hazy that at 3000 feet you still can't see the ground.  We grab a cab (after I nearly lost it on the pushy drivers) and get to our hostel. Hanoi Backpackers Hostel is awesome (even have free beer on sundays). We spend the afternoon and evening here and then go find the Bia Hoi bars. Bia Hoi for those of you who don't know is fresh beer that costs a quarter for a pint.  A total of $2.50 later it was time to go to the late night bar.

It was supposed to be a late night bar but after about an hour (and more beer pong domination by me) the police kicked everyone out. That was fine because all we did was go around the corner for about 10 minutes and then come back to party the night away.  Now its time for a day of some culture and a somewhat early night as we are leaving for Ha Long Bay tomorrow at 8am.

Things in Hanoi are fun, but I'm ready for the bay and then off to Ho Chi Minh City.  Too bad we won't get to see uncle Ho (Sorry Tony). Its closed today and we won't be in the city after this. 

We're almost done, and I definitely don't want to come home.

See you all soon,

Two Giants

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Leaving Laos Vegas

Laos, you will always have a special place in our hearts.  From going out in Vientiane in a torrential downpour, to ridiculous tubing experiences in Vang Vieng to amazing scenery in Luang Prabang, this has been a great stop for us.

After we left Kenny G in Phnom Penh, we arrived in Vientiane late in the afternoon.  We walked down to the river, and found this great rooftop bar restaurant.  So excited for our first Beer Lao, we sat down for what was planned as being a beer or two before dinner, turned into much, much more. As we were thinking about leaving, Vientiane was hit with a torrential thunderstorm. We even had to move seats since the water was coming into the bar. So, we order food (and more Beer Lao), and made the best of it.  3 hours later, we were still at the same place, making friends with a tour group that was at the bar as well.  We made it back to the hostel pretty late, and pretty drunk, which probably wasn't the best way to go into our two day tubing experience.

Tubing was awesome. I'll leave it at that.  If you don't know anything about it, go to youtube and search Vang Vieng tubing. We drank a bunch, I almost drowned, we were RIDICULOUSLY dominant in beer pong.

Luang Prabang has been a really good way to end our Laos experience. We got in pretty late, so we went down to a nice little restaurant right on the Mekong River. We also had the privileged of experiencing a Luang Prabang blackout, which our hostel said was pretty common.  The food was great, and after wards we walked through the Night Market and called it a day.

Today, we went up to the Waterfalls just outside the city.  The views were out of this world. Boyink convinced me to hike up to the top (about a 30 minute hike straight up the side of a mountain, and though i bitched at first, it was totally worth it. REALLY wish we could post these pics, but they'll be coming soon.  As an added bonus, as we were walking out of the waterfall, they have a Black Bear Sanctuary, and we saw an actual Bear Fight.... Priceless.

That's all for now. I fee like i missed a bunch of stuff in this, so there may be another Laos post to come.  Until then, talk to you later!

Two Giants

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Phnom Penh: The Adventures of Kenny G-Spot

So, it turns out that there was no feasible way for us to head out from Siem Reap to Laos. Our best option was to take a VIP bus down to Phnom Penh, and then fly out from there. Wasn't exactly what we wanted to do, but we're trying to roll with the punches out here, so we figured we'd make the most of it.

The VIP bus did mildly exceed expectations. First, it was Air Conditioned: we were bracing ourselves for a 6 hour ride without it, so that was a welcome surprise.  However, there were certainly some interesting characters on the bus.  First, was the Cambodian gentleman who legitimately sounded like he was going to die. He coughed up at least one of his lungs on the way down. Second, was another older gentleman whose cell phone went off no less than 14 times down there. Apparently, he really liked his ringtone too, because he would let it play for 10 seconds before he answered. At around 1:30AM, we arrived at our final destination, and headed to the hotel.  There, we found that the King size bed they promised us was actually a Queen.  The two giants got a little closer then they wanted to last night, but we were so exhausted, it didn't matter.

Now the fun part.  We woke up and went down to get breakfast at the hostel.  This is where we first met Kenny G-Spot. He's a 21 year old Cambodian who works at the Hostel while also studying at the University. He really likes to practice his English, so we spent most of the meal chatting away with him. After a quick break to hit the Internet Cafe, we were back at the hostel bar / restaurant, again with Kenny G-Spot.  Now, he was also joined by Tony Montoya (another Employee) and Cambodian Tammy Dorje. We spoke about America for a bit, and then the conversation turned to music. Kenny G told us he is a gangsta, and is into hip hop, especially Jay-Z. At that point, I took over the hostel iPod, and started playing some of my music. I hit him with some Arrested Development, which he liked, and some Wiz Khalifa, which he really liked.  The ultimate highlight was when I played "Big Pimpin" for him.  He loved the song, but when we asked him if he was Big Pimpin in Cambodia, he was confused.  He took out his phone to try to find the definition for "Pimpin", and once he found it, he started cracking up and showing everyone. Needless to say, Kenny G-Spot has a new word in his English repertoire now.

Though we only spent 12 hours on the ground in Phnom Penh and had absolutely no expectations for the place, turned out to be a bunch of fun. Tony Montoya, Cambodian Tammy Dorje and especially Kenny G-Spot will always have a place in the hearts of the Two Giants.

Two Giants: Teaching Ebonics since 2011 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Leaving Siem Reap

We've had a couple of pretty fun days here in Siem Reap. The majority of this portion of the trip has been cultural, which is nice, because Koh Phagnan was a little less cultural. As Andrew posted, we spend the first two days checking out the temples of Angkor, and today we went over to the National Angkor Museum to get a better understanding for what it was we were looking at. It was also nice to be "exploring" the temples in a climate controlled facility, instead of out in the open where it's pushing 100 degrees everyday.

We all did spend some time on "Pub Street" both nights we had here, which was fun too. $0.50 beers are the special pretty much every bar offers, which you obviously can't go wrong with. Had some amazing Khmer food both out on the street, as well as in our guest house. If any of you loyal readers are planning on coming to Siem Reap, I highly recommend Rosy's Guesthouse; the food and service has been top notch, and an air conditioned room cost us $10 each.

Another interesting thing about Cambodia is that USD is the prevailing currency. There is a local currency, but you only get that if you're change is less than a dollar. Its a nice break from having to continually do the conversion in your head while bartering with someone.

Next stop on our magical mystery tour is Phnom Penh: We hadn't planned on spending any time there, but it's the only place that flies daily to Laos. It will be our first experience on Asia's long haul buses.  Here's to hoping they are built for two giants.

Two Giants