Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fatal summary: Video

Six months have passed after our arrival from Fatal trip. Since it did not feel like we have spent 3 months in Asia already after couple of days back in the Czech Republic, it certainly does not feel much different now. At the same time, we came to the conclusion that we have both developed some kind of eternal bond towards the magical region and its culture (and Fatal trip itself, of course) and would probably not hesitate too long when given the chance to go back and enjoy the unique moments and adventures again.

We have been seriously struggling to come up with summary promised in the last post. We have put together the content, however did not manage to come up with structured post so far. 

Let us at least share a teaser for movie that Martin created from pictures and videos we took throughout the trip. Some of you might have seen it as a part of the official Fatal trip presentation which took place on 7.1.2009.

On behalf of the fatal crew :)

Click on the thumbnail above or click here to view the teaser

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back home! :)

The time has come... to say bye to south-east Asia, and return home. Our plane from Delhi successfully landed in Vienna on Wednesday September 10th at 6:20 CET. We managed to catch earlier connecting bus to Prague, where we eventually arrived at 13:30.

After taking a few (actually quite a lot) pictures with our parents in various arrangements, we both set off to our homes to get some final holiday rest and prepare ourselves for upcoming events. The next year is about to bring many new challenges, related to all school, job, personal stuff, and also travelling… we are both looking forward!

However, the Fatal trip is actually not completely over, yet. We have gained significant inputs related to many areas of personal, professional and social (in global terms) life to think over in upcoming period. Besides, we need to (& want to) go through thousands of pictures and process countless short videos so as to put together a kind of “structured output” to concisely commemorate the whole trip.

Therefore, providing that you stay tuned at this website, you might be looking forward to following summary posts to be uploaded in upcoming weeks:
- major highlights from particular countries
- update on the final route
- interesting facts & numbers
- video summary of the trip

Last but not least, we would like to thank you, the readers of our blog, and especially our parents and other family members, for your continuous support during the entire trip, which made our summer adventures more easygoing, enjoyable, and secure.

On behalf of the fatal crew :)

At the Florenc coach terminal, Prague (June 20th)

At the Florenc coach terminal, Prague (September 10th)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

India III (Sep. 6 - Sep. 10)

The last stop of the Fatal trip has been in India, in Delhi to be more specific, where we stayed for the last three days. We arrived from Bangkok on Saturday September 6th, almost before midnight. It was exactly the same arrival hall, the same food stalls, the same outside climate (wet & warm & with typical Indian smell), the same rickshaws... but still so much different (now I’m not speaking about the exchange rate, which changed favorably, too). It simply was not our “first time” (as the locals tend to ask foreigners “Your first time in India?”). Well... the rickshaw drivers didn’t have it easy when bargaining:) We eventually found a cheap hotel near New Delhi railway station, right at the Main Bazaar street.

On the next day, we slept in a little bit, which was very easy to manage, thanks to a complete darkness in our room (no windows) and considerably increased humidity level. OK, so at 11 am we set off to have our breakfast - it was nice to recall those big Indian portions we were used to during the first two weeks of our travels. The rest of the day was about exploring the New Delhi district and shopping (actually the first phase of shopping - looking around & mapping the market & targeting the favored souvenirs). In the afternoon, we decided to see Qutab Minar, No.2 sight in Delhi - the tallest brick minaret in the world.

The second day in Delhi was dedicated mostly to sightseeing. Having already seen two most famous sights in Delhi (Red fort in June and Qutab Minar yesterday), we walked around Connaught place, Jantar Mantar, Parliament buildings, National museum, India Gate, and Hayman’s tomb, to take metro to Jama Masjid and continue further to the remote parts of Delhi’s suburbs (30 km from the centre). The afternoon was a shopping part of the day, again.

The last day in Delhi was also the last whole day of the Fatal trip. We spent the morning on our own - online & last shopping (yes, Delhi was intended to be more like a shopping stop:)) and went to enjoy the Bollywood blockbuster “Hijack” in the local cinema. As we already expected after the Jaipur Bollywood cinema experience, the movie was very well shot (compared to Thai, Vietnamese or Lao movies), with good choreography of randomly appearing dance scenes, with extremely poor plotline, wild effects, predictable dialogs unexpectedly switching from Hindi to English, and ripped music from Lord of the rings. Just amusing! :)

We finished the day with a dinner in the same restaurant we ate in on the first day of the Fatal trip - right before taking a train to Jodphur on June 21st. Moreover, we managed to sit at the same table and order (almost) the same dishes:) We arrived to the airport at 9 pm, successfully checked in (after dealing with tough Indian bureaucracy - 25 staff at 5 check-in counters? whatever...). The plane took off at 2 am, the dinner was served at 2:30 am, the breakfast then at 5am:) Welcome in Europe!

On behalf of the fatal crew :)

The main bazaar street, New Delhi

Jama Masjid, Old Delhi

Qutab Minar, Delhi suburbs

Ansal Plaza shopping center, Delhi suburbs

Cyclo-rickshaws, Delhi

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thailand II (Aug. 25 - Sep. 5)

Although Thailand definitely is the most developed country in south-east Asia (as far as the quality of services and general living standards are concerned), our crossing from Cambodia was not as smooth as one would expect. Having been told in Siem Reap that our bus tipped over (wtf?) and therefore needing to take a shared taxi*) to the Aranya Prathet/Poipet border, we successfully entered Thailand. Our bus (actually the fourth from THE ONE that we were told to be definitely reserved for us) came about 5 hours after we have crossed the border. Since the driver has packed several large bags of something into the area reserved for the luggage of the passengers, he (suprisingly) realised that there is no space left and we soon set off to Bangkok with all the bags in the aisle within the passengers' area - resulting into all the people jumping like monkeys from one bag to another while trying to get outside the bus at one of the many stops along the way. With a couple of funny ape-like videos and pictures, we arrived to Bangkok in the afternoon.

First day spent in Bangkok was mostly organizational. We had to fix our flight tickets to India with which we have been having some long-term issues with, get a bus ticket to southern Thailand (where we wanted to spend our relaxing part of the trip), buy a trip to Kanchanaburi (famous safari, but also location of the well-known bridge over the river Kwai) and the floating market of Damnoen Saduak and last but not least - visit a tailor's shop in order to select the fabrics for our custom-made shirts that we have decided to buy. It took us almost the whole day, but it was definitely successful.

On Wednesday (August 27th) we went for the Kanchanaburi/Damnoen Saduak trip for the whole day and visited an interesting tiger temple along the way. Later we came to the conclusion that as we would otherwise not be able to see the bridge over the river Kwai and the floating market, the trip was definitely worth it, but since it was one of those many mass-touristical tours, it was not particularly appealing.

Next day we enjoyed Bangkok once again, focusing on sightseeing - we did not really have time to do it so far. We visited all the major sights in the town and had a really pleasant day. In the afternoon, we got onto a night bus to Krabi in southern Thailand.

We arrived to Krabi in the morning, found a guesthouse, bought a boat-ticket to Ko Phi-Phi, hired a motorbike and set off to the Ao Nang beach to spend the rest of the day on the beach. Our first impression of the Thai beaches was simply amazing - turquoise waters, white silk-like sand, bays formed by awesome carst formations. And one of the best things - almost no people. Simply wonderful. Well, one drawback we did find and it was the fact that the water level tends to go really down during tide, resulting into the sea kind of saying bye-bye to the beach - so where there once was sea, is a rocky landscape in the afternoon that you need to somehow climb over in order to reach water again. Since the whole procedure can take easily 10 minutes, it is sometimes better not to go swimming in the afternoon at all. We have spend one more day in Krabi (Klong Muang beach) and got on a boat to Ko Phi-Phi the other day in the morning.

Having arrived to Ko Phi-Phi on Saturday (31th August) after a quite scenic boat ride, we began our "lets-do-nothing" part of the trip. Having chosen Phi-Phi island, as one of allegedly the most beautiful places on the Earth, we could have hardly picked a better spot. The Phi-Phi beach actually motivates to do nothing, we even found it hard to walk around the island a bit :). Although we both had enough work for the beach bumming (mostly some personal and school stuff), our 3.5-day-long stay there was great.

We came back to Krabi on Thursday (4th September) and changed directly to a night bus to Bangkok. Being in Bangkok for the third time, the last day there we spent both alone, just walking around the town, visiting the shopping malls, food courts etc. - simply enjoying all the secural pleasures town has on offer. The day after we picked up our shirts, went to a Thai massage and left to the airport to catch our flight to Delhi - our last stop before coming back home after 3 months of travelling.

On behalf of the fatal crew :)

*) For which we ended up paying some extra money at the end, although it was not us who tipped the bus over, I believe.

Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok

Floating market, Damnoen Saduak

Klong Muang Beach, near Krabi

One of the amazing sunsets in paradise, Ko Phi-Phi

Original Thai massage

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fatal loss: 26.5 kg

So far, we have really enjoyed being on the Asian diet. Some of us (the fatter ones) appreciate its consequences, some of us (the skinnier ones) do not that much.

Nevertheless, in order to keep you updated even on the most detailed information, we are happy to announce that we have lost 26.5 kg (shared ca. 60:40) since we began our three-months-long fatal trip.

On behalf of the body-builders crew :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pictures update 3

Being again in Bangkok, it would be shameful not to utilize the local well-equipped internet cafes! So we are bringing you some more fatal pictures! Checkout especially the last one and then click on the link below the last photo.

On behalf of the fatal crew :)

In a cyclo-rickshaw, Hanoi, Vietnam

First time on the beach, Hue, Vietnam

Meeting with the party cadres, My Son, Vietnam

Sand dunes, Mui Ne, Vietnam

Watching the magnificent sunset, Kep, Cambodia

Driving around on a motorbike, around Kampot, Cambodia

Trekking in the jungle, Bokor National Park, Cambodia

Relaxing on a pickup after trekking, Bokor National Park, Cambodia

At a Khmer cooking course, Battambang, Cambodia

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Enjoying the last evening in Indochina, Angkor Area, Cambodia

Same same, but different - click here

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cambodia (Aug. 15 - Aug. 25)

Moving forward smoothly, we crossed the Vietnam-Cambodia border on August 15th. The direct bus connection from Ho-Chi-Minh City to Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, was a fairly reasonable choice. But so as not to have it too easy (having already passed a great deal tougher borders), we were the only ones aboard who insisted on arranging the visa on our own - which put our guide in quite an unenviable situation as soon as some other passengers found out he actually ripped them off... he made 5 USD profit on each passport - a good deal, isn't it.

We arrived to Phnom Penh, satisfied that we didn't fall into a cheap tourist-greenhorn trap. Unexpectedly, Phnom Penh turned out to be quite an organized city with most of western facilities available (maybe with exception of all those huge Lexus cars parked right on the sidewalk that forced us to walk on the road). They even had a drainage system (not too common all over the Indochina), which unfortunately proved incapable of handling the monsoon downpour that stroke the city in the late afternoon. It was much more powerful than the one we experienced in Hanoi or Nha Trang in Vietnam as it literally flooded the whole city - there was up to 50 cm of water in the streets!

According to our expectations, the water was gone in couple of hours, and we spent the next day walking around the city without any problems. A place to be mentioned surely is the Tuol Sleng prison (high school converted into a prison and interrogation centre during the unstable period of civil war in 1970's), providing quite an impressive insight into the unsettled Cambodian history.

Originally we intended to visit the north-eastern part of the country (namely Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri province), however because of uncertain transportation options and limited time, we have set off to the south instead. Our journey to Kampot had taken twice as long as it should have, but luckily we had enough time to rent a motorbike and enjoy a wonderful sunset at the remote beaches near Kep, small seaside town 25 km far from Kampot.

The next two days were spent on a great trekking tour in the Bokor national park. Highlights of the tour would definitely be: approximately 10 km of relatively steep ascending through a rain forest, large abandoned building of the Bokor hill station, misty atmosphere of the ghost town, 3 hours in a real jungle (just enough time not to encounter any tiger), observing a live chameleon, river crab and few other extraordinary animals and plants. Last but not least, we met a couple of cool people from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with whom we also decided to share a taxi (6 people and a driver in one small car - quite an unforgettable ride) to Sihanoukville, our next destination.

Right after enjoying a nice sunrise at the Sihanoukville's beach, we moved on to Battambang, where we wanted to relax a little bit after the trekking - and so we did. We attended a half-day cooking class, so now we can prepare some of the Khmer specialities, e.g. a delicious fish amok cooked in coconut milk.

Last 3 days in Cambodia were dedicated to Siem Reap and mostly its surroundings, i.e. the Temples of Angkor. Honestly, our expectations had grown so big that we were a little bit afraid of disappointment. Luckily it did not happen, since the area was simply amazing. To be more precise, the temples of Angkor don't stand just for the Angkor Wat (which by the way isn't as interesting as the fact as it is the largest religious construction in the world), but for a vast complex of approximately 20 squared kms, comprising of tens of temples of all kinds and dimensions. We have spent all 3 days on bicycles, returning to Siem Reap always after sunset - demanding, but undoubtedly worth it.

On August 25th, we took a shared taxi to Poipet at the Cambodia-Thailand border and successfully entered Thailand again - just 10 hours before our visa would expire. Having done that, we actually ended our travels across the Indochina (meaning Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia) and are about to enjoy last 2 "fatal" weeks, mostly on the beaches of southern Thailand.

On behalf of the fatal crew :)

Tuol Sleng prison, Phnom Penh

Sunset on the beach near Kep

Bokor national park

Food market in Battambang

Angkor Wat