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Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Phnom Penh to the Vietnam border

sunny 87 °F

Today was a much needed break day. We left Phnom Penh at about 0900 and cruised down the Mekong arriving at the Vietnam boarder at about 1700. During the trip, there was a Vietnamese Tea demonstration and a cooking demonstration by our Executive Chef. Once we arrived, we debarked the Cambodian pilot and the Vietnamese health officials came on board to measure everyone's temperature to insure no one with a virus would enter the country. It was a comfortable, relaxing day! Surprisingly there was 4G cell phone coverage the entire trip!

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Posted by rpickett 00:51 Archived in Cambodia Tagged vietnam to cruising Comments (0)

Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Siem Reap to Krong Kampong Cham

sunny 95 °F

The main order of business today was traveling the 300km from Siem Reap to Krong Kampong Cham to board the AMADara on the Mekong River. The trip took about 5 hours, and we made two potty stops along the way. AMA provided a snack box to tide us over until we had a light lunch upon boarding at about 2:00pm. We traveled through many small villages and dried rice paddies which will come to life when the rains start in the spring. large_DSC_1892.jpglarge_DSC_1886.jpglarge_DSC_1883.jpglarge_DSC_1897.jpglarge_DSC_1899.jpglarge_DSC_1901.jpglarge_DSC_1907.jpglarge_DSC_1903.jpglarge_DSC_1912.jpg

After lunch we had a short break and then headed off for our first Mekong excursion, a visit to Twin Mountains. Phnom Srei and Phnom Pros translate into Man Hill and Women Hill respectively. Long time ago, there was a Queen called “Srey Ayuthia”, who had reign Khmer Kingdom. There was no one asking her to get marriage, because she was as the King. But many years later, she decided to ask for a man in order to marry her. Then all the women in the Kingdom stated to follow their Queen. They started to ask man to marry them, which was contrast to traditional norm that men were the one who ask women to marry. However, it was unfortunate for the ugly women as they were rejected by all men. (This is from a Cambodian web site - hence the somewhat different English!)

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Posted by rpickett 02:53 Archived in Cambodia Tagged to reap siem cham kampong krong Comments (0)

Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Flying to Cambodia

sunny 90 °F

I left the house at 0830 Tuesday morning for my flight to Dulles and the literally half way around the world journey to Siem Reap Cambodia for the start of our visit to Angkor Wat and 7 night voyage down the Mekong to Ho Chi Min City.

After an hour and 7 minute flight from Charleston, I arrived at Dulles International Airport where I would fly with Qatar Airways and Bangkok Air to Siem Reap. At Dulles, business class folks can use the Turkish Airlines Lounge while waiting for the flight.
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The next leg was an 11 hour 45 minute flight to Doha, Qatar. The Qatar business class experience is by far the best business class suite that I have ever traveled on with attentive service and excellent food. By many rating systems, Qatar is the best in the world and the flight attendants are very proud of that fact and go out of there way to keep that reputation. We flew on a pretty new Boeing triple 7. The flight attendant for my section was from the Philippines. The Qatar airport is modern and spacious, and the Business Lounge is something to behold - perhaps holding more than 1500 people.

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The next leg was a 5 hour and 40 minute flight to Bangkok on an A350. Not as luxurious as the Triple 7 but again superb service. We arrived in Bangkok at 0330 in the morning and enjoy the Thai sunrise as we waited for the 0800 flight.

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The last leg was short 35 minute flight to Siem Reap, arriving at about 0930 in the morning Thursday. My transfer arranged with AMA Waterways was waiting and I was in my room at the Hôtel Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort by about 1100...38 hours after I left my house. I had some lunch, dozed for a while, took a dip in the pool and had a wonderful dinner at the hotel's french restaurant, Mouhot's Dream.

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Posted by rpickett 18:39 Archived in Cambodia Tagged to reap siem charleston Comments (0)

Utah National Parks

Zion to Salt Lake City

sunny 60 °F

Today we drove the 280 some miles from Zion to the Salt Lake City airport, from which we will fly out in the morning. Still hungry for some visual stimulation from Nature's bounty, we stopped at a small part of Zion National Park called Kolob Canyons. The part of the park has some great scenery, is easily accessible from Exit 40 on I-15 and is far from the madding crowd. The Kolob Canyons, tucked into the northwest corner of Zion National Park, is the park’s best-kept secret. A half-dozen finger canyons drain west from a high plateau, offering Zion Canyon’s spectacular red-rock scenery, breathtaking views, and rainbow-tinted cliffs but no crowds. Instead, the Kolob Canyons area is a place of solitude, wilderness, and empty trails. For some peace and quiet and great hikes, this is the place to go!

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Up next----the Christmas markets of Austria and German along the Danube aboard AMAMagna in December.

Posted by rpickett 16:28 Archived in USA Tagged lake city to salt zion Comments (0)

Utah National Parks

Bryce Canyon to Zion

sunny 36 °F

Today our only goal was to drive from Bryce Canyon to Springdale Utah, where we will spend all day at Zion National Park on Tuesday. After we checked out of the hotel, we went back in to Bryce to look at Fairyland Canyon, which we had intentionally skipped yesterday. After that stop, we ventured into the Dixie National Forest, climbed to 10,500 feet and visited Cedar Breaks National Monument. Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater, stretching across 3 miles (4.8 km), with a depth of over 2,000 feet (610 m). The elevation of the rim of the amphitheater is over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level. The viewpoints were chilly as the temperature was in the mid thirties and the wind was gusting up the canyon to near 50 mph. The Monument Visitor Center was closed for the season, but the views were great. It was then on to Zion.

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Posted by rpickett 14:58 Archived in USA Tagged to zion bryce Comments (0)

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