Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2010

Made it through the first week!

My knees, shins, and elbows are bruised and bloody.  I'm completely exhausted, and can't be bothered to do anything "fun" tonight other than go to sleep. The last four days have been brutal and are taking their toll physically, but at the same time I have been really enjoying them and am so glad to be here.  I'm slowly getting back towards having top notch conditioning, and I think by the end of next week I will be able to go all day without feeling like I'm going to die.  We shall see! Some random things I have learned this week: - Striking is hard.  With most of the noobs I have sparred with it hasn't been that big of a deal, I can usually block okay here and there and get a lot of good strikes in.  On the other hand, today I sparred muay thai with a guy who had a lot of boxing experience and it was a totally wicked experience - he just peppered me constantly, pop pop pop, anywhere I moved to block he just threw them in somewhere else.  I hav

Tiger Muay Thai – Arrival and Training Day 1

(I don’t expect to update every day of training or have them be this long, but I have a lot of impressions and thoughts to sort through from my first day so this update is huge!) I arrived in Phuket yesterday a little behind schedule due to a plane delay, but was still met at the airport by a driver from Tiger Muay Thai (TMT), where I will be learning MMA and Muay Thai for the next month.  Unfortunately they had no standard rooms available (in spite of my reservation!), so I have to share a bathroom/shower and have no A/C – the former is actually more annoying than the latter, since I’m fine with a fan.  All good, I may end up moving up the road to a nearby resort as they can be a bit cheaper and have pools and stuff. My first impression was, I must admit, a little daunting – it seemed like everyone I saw training was completely ripped and knew exactly what they were doing.  I got to talk to a few people and quickly found out that not everyone was as experienced as I perceived, so

Beng Melea

Approximately 70km outside of Siem Reap lies Beng Melea, a medium size temple built along a similar floor plan to Angkor Wat.  Unlike many of the other Angkor temples, Beng Melea (which apparently means “water flower”) has been almost completely subsumed by the jungle and very little recovery has taken place.  As a result, almost the entire set of structures have collapsed, leaving only a few partially intact walls and a few corridors. In spite of this, Beng Melea is an incredible experience for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, since it is two hours by tuk tuk out of Siem Reap and is covered in jungle, it is NOT swarmed by  tourists.  In the hours I spent there I probably saw a total of less than twenty people, something that allowed me to explore and genuinely experience the place without the hubbub.  As you will hear when I am able to upload some edited video, the raw sound of the jungle around you is mostly intact and this is quite an interesting background track to the

Angkor at Last!

I've wanted to see the Angkor temples for a long time and am struggling with the disappointing reality...  The temples are amazing, the history and the work being done to restore them are absolutely incredible - however the entire thing has been turned into almost a tourist circus...  (note that I tried hard to NOT capture this in photos, including often waiting many minutes for a room to clear for a few seconds) I completely understand that this is a key source of income for people in Siem Reap and that many of them survive off it completely, however the constant nagging to buy things (some of the most persistent I've ever seen in my fairly broad experience) combined with the overcrowding of foreign tourists combines to destroy most of the sense of wonder.  Instead of a few days of something amazing I'm getting short bursts of amazing things hidden in the rest. For example, due to the pressure of the tourism industry costs for many things are very high - in some s

Travel overload...

I think today was the longest travel day in my personal experience - I am now in my hostel in Siem Reap after 30 hours of straight traveling, done on 3 hours of sleep. Complete mind fog. The entire trip was really easy otherwise. Cathay Pacific had impressive economy seats and in spite of being trapped by a window I enjoyed it overall. It was weird flying so far north that day turned to night, then back south into day. Some of the views were amazing too - check out some of the pictures of Greenland and Siberia, they make DC snowpocalypse look tame. Hong Kong was unfortunately shrouded in mist, but it was cool to see the HUGE new airport - last time I flew into HK I remember flying between and lower than the downtown skyscrapers. Siem Reap is intense. I got a ride on the back of a scooter to an ATM and my hostel, it was wicked! We even took some crazy back alleys on the way, to the point where I was open to the possibility of a setup.  All turned out well and my driver Sapo is going

Visas, Last Minute Preparations, and Snow

Looking out into the snow falling peacefully outside my condo window, it's easy to forget the weather is wreaking havoc with my final week in the US for awhile...  from screwing with my ability to get a new passport (mine expires in October, which means all my visas will be wiped out when I renew - I was hoping to get a new passport before all the Asia visas) to getting in the way of seeing some of my friends and preventing me from getting some of the gear I still want. On the plus side, my MEGA To Do List is full of check marks, meaning I am effectively ready to leave.  From paying my taxes to auto payment and taking care of my motorcycle, the only important things I have left to do are purchase travel insurance (will be done shortly) and buy an e-book reader (not likely with the city shut down). A quick review of the plan: Saturday 2/13 @ 6AM - DC to Siem Reap Cambodia , arriving Sunday @ 8:30 (via Vietnam).  I am expecting to stay in the Earthwalkers guesthouse and spend

Chaos on the mall

Some shots from the giant snowball fight on the mall today complete with firing lines and organized charges...

Travelling Light: Three Months on a Carry-on

This time next week, I will be on my second leg of a four leg flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia.  Over the next three months I will be flying all over the place, logging over 20,000 airline miles and making at least fifteen transfers. I simply can't afford to deal with misplaced baggage on this trip, and I need to be mobile enough to easily pack and move without worrying about carrying around multiple bags.  So, how do you travel for three months with a carry-on?  It's actually easier than you might think... Clothes: Clothes take up the most space in any traveler's bag, so if you want to travel light you need to eliminate them.  There are a few easy tricks to this, but the best is simple - use synthetics, wear bulky gear, buy local, and donate on the way out.  For this trip, I'll only be bringing the following with me: Wearing when traveling: New pair of jeans (they will wear out most likely) North Face Hyvent waterproof/windproof shell (if I go somewhere cold I