Singapore & Cambodia 2007 (part 2)

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Speaking of rich, our accommodations in Siem Reap turned out to be a lot fancier than we expected.
Keywords hdr

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The lobby featured prominent portraits of top officials, as is common throughout Indochina.

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This is the lobby of the separate building where we had our room.

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An overview of the pool at night.
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The next morning, our driver took us with our guide to Angkor Wat, so we could feed the monkeys.
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Someone was nice enough to give Elizabeth a banana so she could Dole it out to the macaques.
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This girl was content to roost and leave the others to their begging.
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Who needs to beg? Just take on the appearance of a Buddha and worshippers will leave food at your feet. (Where are my feet?)
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Eliz made a special effort to feed the shy mom with her clinging infant.
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Sand Roses
These were more brilliant in real life.
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We missed out on the elephant rides.
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But we did visit the Elephant Terrace, which was nearly as good.
Keywords Eliz, Greg, photoshop

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Space enough for elephants _and_ tourists.
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The ones at the top aren't statues.

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Our guide (Mao) explaining some of the symbology, I think. Elizabeth learned stuff. I took pictures. The thing on the right is a sculpture thing.
Keywords Eliz

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Mao said the lions were frequently different and fanciful, mostly because the sculptors had never seen a real lion. Even so, this is much better than I could do from memory...
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Between the temples, we would frequently be accosted (occasionally mobbed) by children selling various trinkets.
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Somehow, the Cambodian children learn to identify the tourists. Is it the way we dress?

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The golden dragonflies were brilliant in the sunlight.
Keywords nice, photoshop, wildlife

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Mao called to this monk, asking him to stand in the doorway for our camera.
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We saw several gates like this one, accompanied by a wall to control entry.
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Elizabeth and I traded the camera back and forth quite a bit.
Owner Elizabeth
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Mao chatting with a compatriot. Everyone we met was friendly and the natives seemed to have a very easy way with one another.

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One of many ancient pools, or "barays."

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Mao hanging out with some artifacts.

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I wonder how many feet have tread these steps over the millenia?
Keywords Eliz, nice

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I'm bad with names to begin with, but we saw so many temples, I would have needed a map to recall half of them.

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Another common feature of many temples was a long causeway that took you up to it on a level. I presume there was water surrounding it at one time.
Owner Elizabeth

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One of the temple crowns, which is kept on the ground during restoration.

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A Buddhist nun welcomed us to this temple.
Owner Elizabeth

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The temple at Bayon was probably my favorite in terms of the structure itself.
Owner Elizabeth

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Four faces of Buddha on each prominence, one face in each direction. The combined effect was incredible.

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The scale of the place was also spectacular.
Keywords nice, panorama

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I simply cannot convey the feeling of this place with my arsenal of stupid puns and one-liners.

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Gods and Goddesses were hidden in every crevice.
Owner Elizabeth
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Symmetry made the back entrance look almost identical to the front.
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This is the ceiling of the gateway to the river bridge.
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A welcoming goddess.
Keywords Eliz, hdr, nice

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And a scary demon.
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"Please Miss! Buy a scarf?"
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The main temple at Angkor Wat.
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The north section of steps before repair.

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And the south section after repair. Barays were always aligned perfectly on the Earth's axis.

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We cooled off as best we could under a tree for a few minutes, while a horse grazed nearby.
Keywords hdr, nice, pets

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The mural that surrounds the main temple is the longest bas relief in the known world.
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One of many kings, speaking to his priests and advisors in preparation for an important battle.
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We saw many of these snake (or "naga") tug-of-wars, which represented the struggle between the forces of good and evil. Mao had umbrellas on hand in case of a downpour, but we were lucky not to see any rain while we were there, even though it was monsoon season.
Keywords Eliz

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Ooooh. Perspective.

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Many of the smaller Buddha statues were missing their heads, removed by scavangers and thieves who sell them on the black art market.
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The steps leading to the gods' temples were designed such that you were made to approach on your hands and knees, and retreat just as respectively.
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Look who awaited us at the top -- and we forgot to bring any fruit to leave as an offering!
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The temple roofs were lavishly decorated.
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A less common reclining Buddha.

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Most of the windows contained these carved gratings.
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The goddesses were mostly modeled after the emperor's concubines.

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Some reliefs were left only as sketches.
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This part of the temple seemed designed as a pool or bath, so it may have contained water at one time.

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Here we can see the causeway connecting the two temples.

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This was the view we had on the climb down the front side of the gods' temples.

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They had a railing to make it easier on us tourists.

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Mao timed it so we were leaving just as the after-lunch crowd arrived.

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We took a quick pit stop at a nearby village.

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Here we see one of the modern Buddhist temples.

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On the way out.

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We thought about taking a balloon ride, but it basically went straight up and straight down on a cable, and we were pretty hot at that point and ready to cool down at our hotel.

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On the ride home, we saw many families riding little scooters and motorbikes, often with babes in arms, and some preadolescents doing the steering.

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After a shower and a nap, we headed out to dine in Siem Reap.

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Here we are, waiting at a red light in our tuk-tuk -- basically a two-person trailer towed by a 100cc motorbike. Typical traffic was a mob of bikes, motorbikes, and a few autos.

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Eliz indulged in a Singapore Sling (now that we were in Cambodia).
Keywords Eliz, nice

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I had a 7-up with pineapple juice, as I recall.
Owner Elizabeth
Keywords Greg, nice

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I loved our dessert -- a concoction of dragon fruit and jackfruit in the dragon fruit's shell, surrounded by fresh rambutan.

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Here we see our driver, who insisted on taking us home as well. (There was a free shuttle once an hour to the hotel, but the tuk-tuk was way-way more fun!)
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Next to second day in Cambodia...

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Page created Oct 13 2007 3:25:55p