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Angkor Wat Cambodia

Cambodia


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For Calle and Broc's first trip to the most famous Angkorian temples, we chose Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. (Tam, feverish and feeling a need to be near facilities, stayed in the hotel for this outing.) These sites are crowded with tourists and it is not likely that I have any original photographs, but I nevertheless feel a need to share some of them...large_A02C96B72219AC6817A4BE7D8E390FF5.jpglarge_A02E8B3E2219AC68179DA5314A29C8D0.jpglarge_A030113C2219AC681783BDCE7D3668EA.jpglarge_A031A2632219AC68171FDB1973E24CD1.jpglarge_DSC00216.jpglarge_A0343A542219AC6817F8DFCC32C1715A.jpglarge_A0363A8B2219AC68177B2D3055B7CCD5.jpglarge_DSC00225.jpglarge_DSC00238.jpglarge_DSC00247.jpglarge_DSC00250.jpglarge_DSC00252.jpglarge_DSC00254.jpglarge_DSC00259.jpglarge_DSC00263.jpglarge_DSC00266.jpglarge_DSC00268.jpglarge_DSC00273.jpglarge_DSC00279.jpglarge_DSC00281.jpglarge_DSC00286.jpglarge_DSC00290.jpg

Posted by kkhopper 00:03 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Phnom Kulen Cambodia

Cambodia

sunny 36 °C
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Northeast of Siem Reap, there are two sites famous for riverbed linga carvings. Since this entire part of the country was out of reach during the 90s, because it was mined and under Khmer Rouge control, this was my first chance to visit. We traveled by taxi from Siem Reap to Phnom Kulen, where we saw a sacred spring and the riverbed carvings, as well as a clifftop statue of a reclining Buddha. The most powerful part of the day, though, we found at the end of a very rough one-hour (8-mile) ride on the backs of motorcycles to the Sras Damrei (Elephant Pool) site. The path through the forest was mostly a deep dirt trail, although at times we were crossing broad areas of bald rock and fording small streams. The trail ended in a steep cliffside, where ancient stone carvings of an elephant, two lions, an ox, and a frog (or was it a leopard? this seems to be in dispute) have been standing guard over the forest for long centuries.
Apsara of the forest

Apsara of the forest

Holy water from this springs flows over the carved lingas of the riverbed

Holy water from this springs flows over the carved lingas of the riverbed

Filling up with Johnny Walker Black Label

Filling up with Johnny Walker Black Label

First part of the trail

First part of the trail

Pointing the way to Sras Damrei

Pointing the way to Sras Damrei

Walking when it's too rough to ride

Walking when it's too rough to ride

Sacred spring

Sacred spring

Children of the forest

Children of the forest

Riverbed carvings

Riverbed carvings

Guardians of the forest

Guardians of the forest

Protector of the traveler

Protector of the traveler

On the way back

On the way back

Wat Preah Ang Thom at Phnom Kulen

Wat Preah Ang Thom at Phnom Kulen

Posted by kkhopper 00:32 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Preah Vihear Temple Cambodia

Cambodia

overcast 37 °C
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Our taxi driver picked us up at 6 for a three-hour drive from Siem Reap to Preah Vihear temple on the Thai border. Because Mr. Sok Sen is a very sedate driver, we traveled at a maximum speed of 35 mph and arrived at the temple site four hours later. The last leg of the trip, straight up the cliffside, required riding in a pick-up and tossing packages of cigarettes to the many soldiers standing guard. Preah Vihear, built between the 9th and 10th centuries, is at the top of a tall cliff in a string of five buildings leading to the edge of the cliff. From the top, we could have seen much of northwestern Cambodia if the smoke from burning brush hadn't been so thick. Two members of the Patrimony Police, one wearing thick woolen gloves in spite of the 90 degree heat, led us through the five successive temples, relating the ancient Hindu legends shown in the carvings along the way.

Virtual tour:
http://thierrymerre.com/panoramic/preahvihear_F-2/index.html

Preah Vihear Province

Preah Vihear Province

Preah Vihear

Preah Vihear

Preah Vihear

Preah Vihear

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Posted by kkhopper 19:15 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

Vietnam

Saigon


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I am living with Graham Greene at the Continental Hotel in Saigon, but...I don't think I want to live in this city! Tet is still two weeks away, but the streets are already livid with giant yellow, pink, and red paper flowers and there are huge gaudy gold and red neon signs everywhere, plus plenty of items for decorating the home. My travels with United First Class (SFO to Beijing) were fine...but Lufthansa was amazing. Too bad it was only the one hour flight from Bangkok to Saigon. At check-in, I was assigned a personal assistant who escorted me through the premier immigration line and to the first class lounge...where I was greeted with a cold cloth and iced fruit drink and a full Thai menu. I was greeted by name on the plane and presented with a red rose bud in a silver vase. In Saigon, I was met by another minion who guided me through immigration (this was actually good, because it was a madhouse of pushing and shoving, no lines or system that I could figure out.) It would be so easy to feel entitled... I walked around the city for hours (it's very very hot), taking my life in my hands at every intersection. Blisters held out long enough to walk to Cholon, Saigon's Chinatown. Best food: fresh beer (bia hoi).
Continental Hotel, Pre-Tet

Continental Hotel, Pre-Tet

Pre-Tet street scene

Pre-Tet street scene

Pre-Tet street scene

Pre-Tet street scene

more bright blossoms

more bright blossoms

the Continental Greene never knew

the Continental Greene never knew

bats and butteflies

bats and butteflies

mango vendor

mango vendor

florist delivery service

florist delivery service

antique store

antique store

sad souveniers

sad souveniers

female ganesha

female ganesha

buy your tet decorations now

buy your tet decorations now

visiting from Washington DC

visiting from Washington DC

sidewalk manicure

sidewalk manicure

trash can on the riverfront

trash can on the riverfront

fresh beer

fresh beer

pollution solution

pollution solution

telephone repairman

telephone repairman

more Tet decorations

more Tet decorations

calligraphy wishes for the new year

calligraphy wishes for the new year

happy new year from Burger King

happy new year from Burger King

Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office

Posted by kkhopper 20:06 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Hong Kong

Kowloon


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Somehow, likely because this is my first attempt to travel first class, I created quite a nightmare itinerary: SFO to Beijing, with only one hour layover; Beijing to Hong Kong, getting in at 9 pm and flying on the next evening at 8 pm; Hong Kong to Bangkok, getting in a midnight and continuing at 5 pm the next day; and finally, Bangkok to Saigon, arriving at 6 in the evening. One hour was definitely not a long enough layover, and after waiting 45 minutes in the wrong line for transfer travelers and another 30 minutes in the correct line, and running myself and my stuff through the airport, it was iffy...but I made it. Traveling light with carry on luggage only means my bags made it to Hong Kong, too. Walking around Kowloon all morning, I found a great new food--white bread hamburger bun, spread generously with sweetened condensed mile and toasted to perfect crunchiness. Frenetic place.
Home of the Sweetened-Condensed-Milk-Toasted-Bun

Home of the Sweetened-Condensed-Milk-Toasted-Bun

Posted by kkhopper 19:43 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

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