Dreaming Of Cambodia


Today was a good day.

I got up pretty late, because I went to bed pretty late. I takes a while to wind down after coming back from work. I came back yesterday at around 11:20PM. I was actually writing something about public transport in my head, but I didn’t really feel like posting it because I had to wait for about 20-30 minutes for the bus to get home. I recently learned that the bus service stops at around 10PM, though I couldn’t understand why there still was a bus at 11PM.

Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it rocks.

One thing that is good about public transport is that it makes me walk all over the place. It’s good for the health. I remember that year, back in 1998 when I stayed a year and a half in Montreal, Canada and took the metro and bus everyday. I was pretty fit back then. In the last few years, it has always been easy to take the car. In fact, I rarely took the metro at all in Montreal, unless it was for special occasions, like the Canadian F1 in Montreal; I took my car everywhere, even for short distances. Right now, I don’t have a car, I have a scooter here in Taiwan. I used to use it every day to go to work. But now, since I am living in Taipei, I find that I no longer need it as much. The MRT and bus network is conveniently developed.

Another great thing is that you can do something while you are traveling. I like to read and listen to music at the same time. Sometimes I don’t read, but most of the time I do. Right now, I am reading my Lonely Planet Guide to Cambodia. (Yes I know about the Lonely Planet website, in fact I booked our hostel in Bangkok over Chinese New Year through the Lonely Planet website.)

I will be visiting Cambodia and Thailand in July, as well as either Laos or Vietnam. 4 weeks of traveling.

It looks like we will be spending a considerable amount of time in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. There are a lot of great temples to see and I am looking forward to this experience. We will most probably spend a lot of time in this area, at least 5-7 days. I haven’t decided how long, because there are a lot of cool things to see, from Angkor Thom to Koh Ker, Prasat Preah Vihear on Mount Phnom Kulen and Banteay Chhmar. I’ve been playing around with the idea of a helicopter ride to see Angkor from the sky (68USD) and a hot air balloon ride, taking 30 people to see Angkor from far up (11USD).

Anyone wanting more information on the Angkorian temples should download for free this guide by Maurice Glaize, A Guide to the Angkor Monuments. It was written in 1944.

The Osprey Atmos 35.

Speaking of which, I didn’t really have time to discuss my new packs that I got dirt cheap of some English bloke on tealit. The guys was really nice and I got a great price for 3 packs: an Osprey Atmos 35 (160USD), an Osprey Atmos 25 (140USD) and a GoLite Jam (90USD). All three packs are in almost mint condition, they have not been used a lot. The guy told me that he wanted to use them for cycling, but they proved too rigid for that.

The Osprey 25.

I believe that both Ospreys are built on the same frame, but one can contain less things. I have tried out the Osprey 25 today and I barely felt it on my back. I had my DSLR camera with my 18-200mm VR lens, a jacket, a book, a Cyclone 1L water bottle, my iPod and some papers in it and it proved to work very well.

(Today would have been the perfect day to have an ultralight gore-tex softshell with me, as it became very windy towards the end of the day. )

Why?

Well this is the same gear that I usually take around with me, but if I put the jacket into my National Geographic shoulder bag, it becomes heavy and cumbersome. Same is true for my other shoulder bag that I brought with me. It took me a few minutes before I let to configure the pack correctly, but once it was on my back, it was great. On our trip to Hong Kong, I brought barely a few essentials, including the Lonely Planet Guide to Hong Kong & Macau, iPod, DSLR camera, basic toiletries, a t-shirt and some socks. My National Geographic shoulder bag was filled to the brim. And it was hot in HK and we were stuck with our coats and jackets. After a few hours, the shoulder bag was really hurting my shoulder.

If I had the Osprey 35 at that time, it would have been a cinch.

To house my DSLR camera, I use the padding from my National Geographic bag, since they are modular. In my opinion, this is enough to protect the camera, if you don’t throw your pack around. On my way back from work, I stopped at a grocery store and filled up the pack. No problem.

I managed to put a considerable amount of groceries inside, but still had to carry a few larger items, such as a loaf of bread, in a plastic bag. I think that one important part of these packs is their compressibility factor. Meaning that they can be compressed by straps on the side to smaller loads and sizes, immobilizing whatever is in you pack at the same time. Some packs feature zippered expandable volumes, but I think that Osprey hit it on the money with this one.

For some reason, I enjoy tying the loose ends and straps away in a strange fashion. I have done so on my bigger National Geographic NG5737 backpack. I have done the same with the two Ospreys. Also, I have tied back the hip belt since I will not be carrying heavy loads for now.

After examining them closer, I believe that you can haul at least 2x3L hydration bladders in each of the Osprey packs without loosing any packing space. They both have another place for hydration bladders inside the packs, but I find that if you use this, you will loose a lot of valuable space.

Obviously, the only reason why I got the Osprey 25 is because I had an incredible deal on it, if I bought it with the other packs. The GoLite is light enough for me to pack as a secondary bag in a primary bag. It folds up pretty nicely and an extra bag can always be handy when you are adventure traveling.

I know a guy named Jason who is leaving for the same places that I am who is going with a 45L pack. He will be leaving for 3 months and then returning home to Canada. I wonder what he will be packing. There is a fine line between adventure traveling and backpacking; while adventure traveling, you don’t have to worry about a tent, sleeping bag or stove. You just visit exotic locales, eat local foods and sleep in cheap digs.

Another form of backpacking that I can really appreciate is ultralight backpacking, which refers to backpacking weights between 10 and 20 pounds (4.5 to 9kg). In this style of backpacking, the backpacker will try to reduce the weight of what he is carrying as much as possible.

(I have got 8 more paperblogs ready to go, but since Zooomr is still down, I have no way of sharing them for now. Hopefully this Zooomr situation will be resolved shortly.)

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Featured Photographer

Poagao

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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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