A Travellerspoint blog

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Happy New Year!!!

semi-overcast 23 °C

This time just a short 'we are OK' message. We are at the moment volunteering in a small Cambodian village situated on the bank of Mekhong river called Chiro. We are involved in an education project, which provides 260 children with after school free of charge classes. These include English, dance and music and art but most of all provides safe and empowering environment for children to get relief from their hardship in every day life and improve perspectives for the future. We are very happy there and will stay in Chiro for a while. As there is no internet in the village, our blog will remain quiet until we resume our travels. We wish you all a very happy New Year!!! WEBSITE: http://obtcambodia.wordpress.com/

Tym razem krotka wiadomosc. Obecnie mieszkamy w malej Kambodzanskiej wiosce polozonej na wybrzezu rzeki Mekhong o nazwie Chiro. Odbywamy tu wolontariat w projekcie stworzonym przez ludzi pochodzacych z Chiro, ktory zapewnia darmowa dodatkowa edukacje dla 260 dzieci z oklocy i zawiera: lekce angielskiego, tanca, muzyki i rysunku. Co wazniejsze projekt ten zapewnia bezpieczne i dajace nadzieje na przyszlosc srodowisko, w ktorym dzieci moga odpoczac od trudow ich codziennego zycia. Jestesmy tu bardzo szczesliwi, i zostaniemy tu przez jakis czas. Nasz kolejny wpis w tym blogu zamiescimy po naszym wyjezdzie z Chiro. Szczesliwego Nowego Roku! STRONA INTERNETOWA: http://obtcambodia.wordpress.com/

Estamos ahora en un pequeño pueblo en Cambodia, situado a la orilla del río Mekong, llamado Chiro. Estamos ayudando en un proyecto que ofrece clases gratuitas a más de 260 chavales. Las clases son de inglés, música, danza y grupos de estudio. Aparte de eso la escuela sirve como centro cívico donde los chavales pueden jugar y disfrutar. Estamos bien en Chiro y estaremos aquí por una temporada. Como no hay internet en el pueblo no podemos actualizar nuestro blog hasta que empezemos a viajar. Feliz año nuevo a todos http://obtcambodia.wordpress.com/

Christmas Eve in Chiro

Christmas Eve in Chiro

Posted by joxa 22:02 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Last stop before Chiro

Sihanoukville Part II

sunny 28 °C
View Cambodia on joxa's travel map.

Hello everybody!

We are now back on the road. Before we write about our truly amazing experience in Chiro village, here is a short summary of our stay in Sihanoukville in Decemver 2013....

As our visa was running out, we decided to return to Sihanoukville to extend it. We decided to stay near city this time, for a change and also because there was more choice to eat and better accommodation. Beach itself was not as pretty as Otres but still was good to enjoy the sun, rest and plan our next move. We also had the chance to meet with Alberto, our Italian friend who we met in indonesia. Thanks to him we discovered a hippy village a bit further away from Otres. Our days were quite relaxed and we spent the time trying to escape the party atmosphere surrounding the beach, eating nice food and swimming .

Como nuestro visado estaba a punto de expirar, decidimos volver a Sihanoukville para extenderlo. Decidimos estar cerca de la ciudad para cambiar de escenario y porque había más opciones de alojamiento y comida. La playa no era tan bonita como la de Otres pero aun así era suficiente para disfrutar del sol, descansar y pensar acerca de nuestros planes de futuro. Tuvimos la oportunidad de reencontrarnos con Alberto, nuestro amigo Italiano que conocimos en Indonesia. Gracias a el descubrimos que había un especie de pueblo hippy a escasa distancía de Otres. Pasamos los días relajandonos, tratando de evitar el ambiente de fiesta, comiendo comida local y nadando.

Witamy wszystkich:-)

Jestesmy ponownie w podrozy. Zanim napiszemy o naszym wspanialym doswiadzeniu w wiosce Chiro, oto krotkie podsumowanie z Sihanoukville, gdzie spedzilismy kilka dni w grudniu 2013. Zatrzymalismy sie tam, gdyz musielismy przedluzyc nasza wize oraz zaplanowac dalsza podroz. Plaza w Sihanoukville nie jest najpiekniejsza, i przygotowana na ciezkie imprezowanie. Piaskowe muchy dodatkowo uprzykrzaly nam czas. A jednoczesnie, dobrze sie bylo zatrzymac i przemyslec nasze dalsze kroki. No i oczywiscie plywac kazdego dnia! Spotkalismy tez naszego kolege z Wloch, dzieki ktoremu odkrylismy hipisowska wioske niedaleko Otres.

They use this machine to do sugar cane juice

They use this machine to do sugar cane juice

Very big prawns and quite nice to eat

Very big prawns and quite nice to eat

And yet another sunset <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

And yet another sunset :)

View from the loungers

View from the loungers

Party town

Party town

With Alberto, traveler who we met in Indonesia

With Alberto, traveler who we met in Indonesia

Village near Otres

Village near Otres

Some of the bars had a very subtle names

Some of the bars had a very subtle names

Victory Monument see on our way to the post office

Victory Monument see on our way to the post office

Posted by joxa 05:16 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Working and living in Chiro

Organization for Basic Training

sunny 33 °C
View Cambodia on joxa's travel map.

Chiro has been great! We were very happy there living and working in a small community. Sophal, who opened the Organizatin for Basic Training is a genuinely great man of a huge heart and devotion to helping other people. His extended family who hosted us as the time went by became our own second family! Additionally, we have worked together with many interesting people who were drawn to Chiro during their travel. However, the best were all the children who were making us happy everyday.

Besides teaching English and developing creative methods of teaching, our role included coordinating the school and the coming volunteers. We managed to achieve our personal objectives of helping develop a structure of the organization. We were happy to contribute to setting a creative and fulfilling atmosphere where people were helping each other and sharing their skills. Once we finished our agreed project, we decided it was time to go. The parting was very hard, sad and touching but we are still feeling a deep sense of achievement. Check out the website for more information:-)

Some experiences are beyond the words and this has been one of them...

Chiro bylo dla nas wspanialym doswiadczeniem! Bylismy tam bardzo szczesliwi. Sophal, ktory zalozyl organizacle OBT to wielki czlowiek z ogromnym sercem i gleboka potrzeba pomocy innym. Jego rozlegla rodzina, ktora nas goscila, stworzyla nam drugi dom w Kambodzy, i stala sie z biegiem czasu nasza druga rodzina. Dodatkowo, wielu interesujacych ludzi przybylo do Chiro, podobnie jak my, z checia pomocy oraz nowego doswiadczenia. Jednak przede wszystkim te ponad 200 dzieci, ktore uszczesliwialy nas kazdego dnia!

Poza nauka angielskiego oraz tworzeniem nowych, kreatywnych metod uczenia, w sposob naturalny podjelismy tez role koordynatorow szkoly oraz przybywajacych wolontariuszy. Udalo nam sie rozwinac strukture organizacji oraz przyczynic sie do stworzenia kreatywnej atmosfery w miejscu, gdzie pomc i dzielenie sie z drugim czlowiekim sa na porzadku dziennym. Skonczywszy nasz ustalony projekt, uznalismy, ze czas ruszac w dalsza droge. Mimo glebokiego poczucia spelnienia, nie obylo sie bez lez. Nadal tesknimy za Chiro!

Jest to jedno z doswiadczen, na ktorego opisanie brak nam slow...

Chiro a sido una experiencia increible. Disfrutamos inmensamente viviendo y trabajando allí e inmersos en la comunidad. Sophal, quién abrió la organización O.B.T, es una persona con un gran corazón y deseo de ayudar a la gente. Su familía que nos acogió se convirtió en nuestra segunda familía. También tuvimos la oportunidad de trabajar con viajeros de distintos lugares. Aunque lo mejor eran los chavales que nos hacian sonreir todos los días.

Aparte de enseñar inglés y tratar de desarrollar metodos creativos para enseñarlo, nuestra tarea consistía en cordinar los voluntarios y la escuela. Conseguimos alcanzar nuestros objetivos y desarrolar una estructura para la escuela. Una vez que terminamos nuestro proyecto decidimos que era un buen momento para irnos. La despedida fue muy dura y emocional pero nos fuimos con una muy buena sensación. Mirar su pagina web.

Algunas experiencias son imposibles de poner en palabras, esta fue una de ellas.

Sunset over the Mekong

Sunset over the Mekong

Ready to bike

Ready to bike

Ready to bike

Ready to bike

Visiting the surrounding farms

Visiting the surrounding farms

Day trip to the river beach

Day trip to the river beach

Day trip to the river beach

Day trip to the river beach

Day trip

Day trip

Teaching Sokha English

Teaching Sokha English

Red sunset

Red sunset

Christmas in Chiro

Christmas in Chiro

Cambodian fashion

Cambodian fashion

Day trip around Kampong Cham

Day trip around Kampong Cham

View over the Mekong from the top of the hill

View over the Mekong from the top of the hill

New year party with the kids

New year party with the kids

Wedding day

Wedding day

Cooking class

Cooking class

Learning how to cook Cambodian style

Learning how to cook Cambodian style

The school

The school

Chiro village

Chiro village

Christmas decoration kampong Cham

Christmas decoration kampong Cham

Posing with the kids

Posing with the kids

Visiting nearby fields

Visiting nearby fields

Playing at home with Sokha's children

Playing at home with Sokha's children

Pushing Bamboo in the Mekong

Pushing Bamboo in the Mekong

Cleaning tables with our students

Cleaning tables with our students

Cleaning the tables with our students

Cleaning the tables with our students

Ox cart, looks nice but really uncomfortable

Ox cart, looks nice but really uncomfortable

Ox going for some shade and rest

Ox going for some shade and rest

Fishing trip

Fishing trip

Fishing day

Fishing day

Eating the fish from the lake

Eating the fish from the lake

Lifting the new library up

Lifting the new library up

Sokha, our host and family during our trip to the Vietnamese border

Sokha, our host and family during our trip to the Vietnamese border

Lunch time, very nice food

Lunch time, very nice food

Children playing in the Mekong

Children playing in the Mekong

Pelikha, Sokhas daughter, playing in the water

Pelikha, Sokhas daughter, playing in the water

Day trip and playing in the Mekong

Day trip and playing in the Mekong

Visiting temples in Kampong Cham

Visiting temples in Kampong Cham

Cambodian style ride

Cambodian style ride

Our students

Our students

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Posted by joxa 07:50 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Saigon = Ho Chi Minh City

Good Morning Vietnam!

sunny 30 °C
View Vietnam & Cambodia on joxa's travel map.

We arrived to Saigon without great expectations and some reservations after speaking with fellow travellers. However our first impression was very good. The city was clean and pleasant to walk besides of the road crossings with 5 million of motorbikes that exist in the city. We saw most of the city centre and went to see the war museum and the presidential palace, iconic buildings with history about the Vietnam war. Another positive surprise was the food that was easily available, street stalls , and were offering different specialities. As we were feeling very active we decided to take a tour to see the Mekong delta, it was a bit out of our way to see it otherwise. The Tour wasn't amazing but gave us the chance to see the floating market and sail through the Mekong and small canals. We farewelled Saigon with a good feeling and went to seek some beach to lay down.

Llegamos a Saigon sin grandes expectaciones y algunas dudas despues de hablar con otros viajeros. Aun así nuestra primera impresión fue muy buena. La ciudad estaba limpia y era agradable para andar aparte de los cruzes de carretera con cientos de motos. Vimos la mayor parte del centro de la ciudad y fuimos al museo de guerra y el palacio presidencial, edificios míticos relacionados con la guerra de Vietnam. Otra sorpresa fue que había gran variedad de comida en oferta, puestos callejeros, ofreciendo diferentes especialidades. Como nos sentiamos activos decidimos ir a ver el delta del Mekong en un Tour. Estaba un poco a desmano para verlo sino de esta de manera. El tour no fue impresionante pero nis dió la opurtunidad de ver el mercado flotante, navegar en el Mekong y canales adyacentes. Nos despedimos de Saigon con una buena impresión y nos fuimos en busca de playa para tumbarnos.

Przed wyjazdem do Wietnamu, nastawialismy sie na najgorsze. Bylo to spowodowane licznymi opowiesciami napotkanych podroznikow na temat niebezpiecznych, nachalnych i niemilych Wietnamczykow. Zamkncieci na ostatnia klodke, wjechalismy do Sajgonu, 11 milionowego miasta, gdzie od samego poczatku nasze doswiadczenia okazaly sie przeciwne do powyzszych sprawozdan. Bylo to pierwsze miasto w calej naszej podrozy, gdzie po wyjsciu z autobusu nie zastalismy czekajacych tlumow ludzi oferujacych nam swoje uslugi. Zamiast nich, niesmiala pani podeszla do nas na ulicy z pytaniem, czy moze nam pokazac pokoj do wynajecia w swoim domu. Cena byla przystepna a pokoj okazal sie czysty, pelen luksusoow i bardzo tani. Cale miasto z reszta bylo zadbane, czyste, kwitnace i zazielenione. Powied,enie 'jak w Sajgonie' czesto mialam na mysli patrzac na miliony skuterow jadacych we wszystkich mozliwych kierunkach. Kolejnym milym zaskoczeniem bylo jedzenie, ogolnie dostepne uliczne stragany oferujace przepyszne dania, owoce i desery. Po dniu spedzonym w muzeach i budynkach zwiazanych z wojna w Wietnamie, udalismy sie na wycieczke w rejon delty Mekhongu. Rejon ten byl troche poza nasza trasa, stad zorganizowana wycieczka (zwykle unikamy). Ta ostatnia nie najgorsza, nie najlepsza ale pozwolila nam zobaczyc region,.gdzie ludzie zyja na wodzie, z licznymi kanalami i plywajacymi targami.

Saigon

Saigon

Millions of motorbikes everywhere

Millions of motorbikes everywhere

The Presidential palace

The Presidential palace

A lot of Memorabilia from the Vietnam war

A lot of Memorabilia from the Vietnam war

Ho Chi Min everywhere

Ho Chi Min everywhere

Game room from the presidential palace, stuck in the 70

Game room from the presidential palace, stuck in the 70

Helicopter in the roof of the presidential palace, same model as the original

Helicopter in the roof of the presidential palace, same model as the original

Communication Room in the bunker under the presidential palace

Communication Room in the bunker under the presidential palace

Helicopter in front of the war museum

Helicopter in front of the war museum

Notre Damme in Saigon

Notre Damme in Saigon

Post office in Saigon

Post office in Saigon

Notre Dame , Saigon

Notre Dame , Saigon

The National theatre

The National theatre

Saigon starts being a modern city

Saigon starts being a modern city

Modern Saigon

Modern Saigon

Saigon alley where our guesthouse was hidden

Saigon alley where our guesthouse was hidden

Surprisingly plenty of churches

Surprisingly plenty of churches

Saigon, side street full of small shops

Saigon, side street full of small shops

The Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta

Floating Market in the Mekong delta

Floating Market in the Mekong delta

Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

Sailing in the Mekong

Sailing in the Mekong

Through the canals in the Mekong Delta

Through the canals in the Mekong Delta

Posing <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Posing :)

Through the canals doing the tourist

Through the canals doing the tourist

Through the canals in the Mekong Delta

Through the canals in the Mekong Delta

Rice Market in the Mekong Delta

Rice Market in the Mekong Delta

Posted by joxa 08:07 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

South Central Coast

Mui Ne, Ca Na, Ninh Chu, Nha Trang

sunny 30 °C
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Three months with no sight of a sea and we were desperate... we followed the coastline, starting in Mui Ne where large number of Russian visitors has had a huge impact on the place. Everything written in Russian, some agency workers could not speak English apart from 'Russian only', but what was mostly surprising - there was almost no beach and the very tiny bit of sand was covered in dying jelly fish! Still - we quite easily found a very nice and cheap accommodation and the transport in Vietnam is very efficient which saves a lot of time. Some travellers have complained that it is too easy and far from being authentic but for us after months of using all sorts of transport, this was a nice surprise. We rented a moped and explored the area, including famous sand dunes. We then decided to go off the tourist trial and stopped in Ca Na. The latter turned out to be a very small motel town, mostly used as a short stop on the way. It was quite picturesque and relaxing, and we fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean. We took a local bus to Ninh Chu with the last hope to find a secluded beach. This place exceeded our expectations - a very long and mostly deserted beach, a very nice accommodation, beautiful views but mostly amazing people made us stay for longer than planned. We felt extremely lucky as every day the encountered people were so generous, friendly and curious. Nobody wanted to cheat us, or in any way bother us - quite opposite! Everybody was helpful and we ended up eating real homemade food in a homely atmosphere with the menu changing every day! We tried to learn some Vietnamese - sooo difficult, much more than any other language encountered in Asia! The weekend brought crowds of local tourists to the beach, which convinced us to move on. Rather traumatic way with aggressive people and a couple of desperate looking situations which in the end turned out not so bad brought us to the famous resort of Nha Trang. Crowds of Western tourists, not so nice locals and the overall resorty atmosphere was not for us so after Joanna had a check- up at the dentist, we happily escaped from there.

Kilka miesiecy bez widoku morza i czulismy sie zdesperowani do tego, aby znalezc kolejna plaze. Zaczelismy od Mui Ne, gdzie niestety zamiast plazy znalezlismy tlumy Rosjan, zdychajacych meduz oraz smieci. Nie zwazajac na te przeciwnosci podrozy, wynajelusmy skuter i zwiedzilismy okolice. Widoki piekne, zdominowane przez wydmy i piaskowe gory. Udalo nam sie odpoczac gdyz podrozowanie w Wietnamie, przynajmniej na razie jest dosc proste - autobusy turystyczne sa wygodne i bezpieczne oraz latwy dostep do czystych i dobrze wyposazonych pokojow oszczedzaja wiele czasu. Kolejny przystanek to rezultat naszego pomyslu, aby triszke zboczyc z turystycznego szlaku. Ca Na okazalo sie byc motelowym przystankiem z ladnym widokiem na mala plaze. Zasnelismy sluchajac szumu fal. Nasza ostatnia nadzieja bylo Ninh Chu. Miejsce to przveroslo nasze oczekiwania z dluga oraz prawie bezludna plaza, uroczymi pokojami i przede wszystkim - wspanialymi ludzmi. To oni przekonali nas do dluzszego pozostania. Nie narzucajacy sie, ciekawi i pomocni naprawde sprawili, ze poczulismy sie jak w kolejnym domu. Jedlismy domowe obiadki u pani, ktora codziennie przygotowywala nam nowe niespodzianki. Probowalsmy sie nauczyc kilku wyrazow w jezyku wietnamskim, ale niestety okazalo sie to byc nie lada wyzwaniem gdyz jezyk ten jest szczegolnie trudny w wymowie! Weekend przyciagnal chmary lokalnych turystow, co przekonalo nas do dalszej podrozy. Nieprzyjemna przeprawa, pelna napotkanych oszustow i agresywnych ludzi, zakonczyla soe w slynnym resorcie Nha Trang. Nie podobalo nam sie tam, typowy resort, tlumy turystow, niemili miejscowi. Ucieklismy stamtad jak naszybciej sie dalo.

Despues de tres meses sin ver el mar, empezabamos a echarlo de menos. Viajamos seguiendo la costa empezando por Mui Ne. Allí había una gran cantidad de turistas rusos. Hasta el punto de que la mayoría de los carteles estaban escritos en ruso y en algunas agencias de viaje hablaban solo ruso. Lo sorprendente es que no había realmentente mucha playa, solo una estrecha banda de arena cubierta de medusas moribundas. Aun así buscanos un alojamiento barato y espacioso sin ningún problema. Hay que mencionar que el transporte en Vietnam es muy comodo y fácil, lo que nos ahorra un monton de tiempo. Algunos viajeros que hemos encontrado se han quejado de ello puesto que es muy turístico y no lo suficientemente aunténtico. Por nuestra parte despues de meses de usar todo tipo de transportes lo agradecimos. Alquilamos una moto y estuvimos explorando los alrededores, incluyendo unas dunas y kilometros de costa. Decidimos salirnos de la ruta turística y fuimos a Ca Na. Resulto ser un pueblo de paso, con restaurantes y hoteles para viajeros, aunque con cierto encanto y relajado. El día siguiente cogimos un autobus local con dirección a Ninh Chu. El lugar supero nuestras expectaciones, una playa larga y casi desierta, un buen alojamiento y sobre todo gente muy amable dispuesta a ayudarte. Todo esto hizo que nos quedasemos mas días de los previstos disfrutando de un ambiente casi hogareño y tratando de aprender Vietnamita ( increiblemente dificil). El fin de semana trajo un aluvión de turistas locales lo que nos motivó a movernos. Despues de varias situaciones tensas y varias negociaciones llegamos a Nha Trang. Un centro turístico lleno de occidentales y un ambiente no muy agradable. Así que despues de que Joanna fuese al dentista nos fuimos de allí

New type of bus, sleeping bus.

New type of bus, sleeping bus.

Mui Ne beach, looking better in the picture than in reality

Mui Ne beach, looking better in the picture than in reality

Not all was clean in Mui Ne

Not all was clean in Mui Ne

Russian everywhere

Russian everywhere

Seaside in front of the fishing village

Seaside in front of the fishing village

Curious floating thing used by the local fishermen

Curious floating thing used by the local fishermen

Posing in the red sand dunes

Posing in the red sand dunes

Posing in the red sand dunes

Posing in the red sand dunes

Back in the scooter <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Back in the scooter :)

Lake near the white sand dunes

Lake near the white sand dunes

White Dunes in the background

White Dunes in the background

View from the top of the sand dune

View from the top of the sand dune

Coastline between Mui ne and the Sand Dunes

Coastline between Mui ne and the Sand Dunes

Ca Na, the view from our guesthouse's terrace

Ca Na, the view from our guesthouse's terrace

Ca Na, the view from our guesthouse's terrace

Ca Na, the view from our guesthouse's terrace

Ca Na, just a road <img class='img' src='http://www.travellerspoint.com/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Ca Na, just a road :)

And yet another sunset , this time in Ca Na

And yet another sunset , this time in Ca Na

Ninh Chu beach

Ninh Chu beach

The other side of the beach in Ninh Chu, local people weren't very bothered with cleaning

The other side of the beach in Ninh Chu, local people weren't very bothered with cleaning

Sampling street food in Ninh Chu

Sampling street food in Ninh Chu

Our rice lady,  she was cooking for us and was making sure that we were absolutely full

Our rice lady, she was cooking for us and was making sure that we were absolutely full

Being lazy in the balcony of our guesthouse in Ninh Chu

Being lazy in the balcony of our guesthouse in Ninh Chu

Joanna dancing on the beach

Joanna dancing on the beach

Ninh Chu beach

Ninh Chu beach

Nah Trang, a typical resort crowded with tourists

Nah Trang, a typical resort crowded with tourists

Promenade in Nah Trang

Promenade in Nah Trang

Posted by joxa 07:17 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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