January 26, 2014

Six Months in Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Hall 

Philadelphia in my mind never actually crossed my mind. From the history books, I remember it as "the City of Brotherly Love" and the city that houses the huge bell with a crack in it. There's the Philly Cheesesteak (Dalessandro's wins), and then those steps that one fictitious boxer runs up (though I really thought that was in New York City, because any big city I saw on the silver screen had to be New York City). 

And when I finally got off the Greyhound bus at 10th and Filbert, I knew that I shouldn't judge Philadelphia just yet. So what if there were three pigeons hanging out inside the station? The first time I visited Philadelphia, I would have never thought that a year later, I'd spend three hours installing an IKEA bed frame, my IKEA bed frame, in a room that I'd be renting out for the next 12 months. 6 months later, and the bed is still in tact!

When I was living in New York City, I never blogged about it. I actually haven't blogged in many months (I must stop talking about blogging because apparently, according to some blog tips I read, readers hate to read about blogging and would rather read about things that will be useful to the reader). But because my readership has declined from 5 to 0, I shouldn't really worry too much about that.

I've been in Philadelphia and the only post I can remember posting is about my trip to Cambodia. I've travelled a tremendous amount recently and have yet to update them. It's really never ever going to happen. As TSwift would say, like, ever.

Being in a new city is like falling in love. No it's not. Let's just say I've been on a few dates, thought I was falling in love, got stood up, and now I'm avoiding the phone calls but not necessarily ready to break up and move on. It's also convenient that I arrived during the summer, when everything was whimsical and heated! 6 months later, the polar vortex arrived and ruined a little girl's dream.

I haven't taken any pictures with my camera (I'm 90% ready to sell it, except the buyer loves stalling) so I browsed through my phone looking for some horizontal images (#nofilter) of this city called Philadelphia.

Race Street Pier
Fairmount Park

Broad and JFK

Thanks for the description sign, PPA.  
10th between Arch and Cherry
The 76ers first and only win? Probably.
First Hockey game! It was fun until it stopped being not fun 30 minutes later.
I do love the murals around the city.
KAWS at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Despite the construction, these residents still decorated their tree!

And then the snow came...

And it kept coming. Also, I've never see any street allow such parking!

This was the first snow, and I was Dora the Explorer.

The commute to work


I'd live in South Philly just so I can decorate my window like this.

October 24, 2013

1 Day, 1 Night in Siem Reap, Cambodia is Enough

After a 5-6 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, we were welcomed by our tuk tuk driver, Sokra. The hotel we wanted, also the most popular (Golden Temple Villa) was booked. We had no one to pick us up but thankfully the gentleman at the bus waiting area knew Sokra, and told him to pick us up. We hired him for the next day, from 5am to 8pm for $25. He drove us everywhere we wanted, including the Angkor Archaelogical Park. We stayed at the Siem Reap Center Hostel, which was located across the street from Golden Temple. The hostels, guesthouses, and hotels are endless in Siem Reap. We paid $15 a night (includes a/c which you MUST have, I can't stress this enough). 

We wanted to go early for the sunrise. Some people suggest to buy your ticket before they close because you can enter the same day along with a whole day tomorrow. But, it was too much planning, and I would not spend more than half a day exploring the temples. It was $20 for a one day pass. After you pay, they take a photo of you, and give you a printed paper, which you will show when you enter. It is crazy as all the tuk tuk drivers and tourists are rushing to Angkor Wat to catch the sunrise. Note: don't buy the coffee outside the entrance. It was overcharged (2-3 dollars) and it tastes horrible. Also, you don't want to be holding a hot cup of coffee and your camera! Being at the  site should give you the morning energy you need.

When you walk down the long walkway, turn left and walk down the stairs. That's where you'll get the picture of the reflection of Angkor Wat. I was surprised at how not majestic the actual site was. As you can see in the picture, there's water and mud, and a lot of people. However, everyone just zooms in and compose it so it looks beautiful. It is, it really is! Just not that surrounding area.

My favorite couple.

We started talking to him. We asked every imaginable question. Every one except what is your name.

For a majority of the temples, there is no dress code. You can walk around Angkor Wat in a strapless dress and you won't get kicked out. However, once you enter one of the main temples (it's a lot of stairs), you have to be covered up. Having a shawl or sarong to cover your shoulders won't do. One lady wasn't able to enter because she wore a sleeveless dress and used a sarong to cover her arms. 

Look at who we ran into!

After spending two hours taking photos at Angkor Wat, we spent about 15 minutes at the two other popular temples. It gets old, at least for me. 

After getting massages (not worth the $10), Sokra reserved tickets for a dinner and show. It was a buffet for $12 (not including drinks) with five traditional dance performances. I thought this was a great deal because we didn't eat much Cambodian food (if you want really good food, you need to find a local).

After the performance and dinner, we decided to walk back because it simple was walking ten minutes down the road. We stopped and experienced some doctor fish. Boy, it was ticklish! It was $1 for 15 minutes, but lucky for us, we sat there for thirty minutes. The guy who was watching over the shop for his friend thought we were cute girls (exactly what he said), and we hopped on his motorbike and explored the local side of Siem Reap. It was not at all creepy! Seriously! One of the highlights of the day.
Quick tips:
- don't buy the three day pass, one day is enough ($20)
- you can visit the temples from 5am to 1pm. We left at 11am. (it gets super hot, and they all begin to look the same)
- hire a driver for a day ($25)
- when you exit a temple, there will be a lot of street vendors. Ignore them, but if you want to buy something, bargain for half the price because they will sell it to you.
- book a room with air conditioning
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