Archive for the ‘Cambodia’ Category

Buddhas, Buddhas Everywhere

Friday, April 12th, 2013

A Buddha here, a Buddha there

Oh my God – that’s him right

There are Buddha’s absolutely everywhere

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Looking inward, looking outward

Looking down from on High

Eyes closed and at peace

Some staring up at the sky

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Leaning, kneeling

Faded and peeling

Female persona

This one’s a loner

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Draped in flowers

Housed in towers

Faithful followers

Standers and bowers

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Present throughout the world

Looking might daze ya

For the real Buddha experience

You must visit Asia

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Batman Seen Driving An Audi In Siem Reap

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Fading sunlight struggles to drown out the streetlights that start to appear one by one in the Pub Street district of Siem Reap.

The tired haggling enterprenuers in the Old Market wind down from another day of trying to tempt tourists to buy another must have trinket.  Horse hagglers needing some vocal reconditioning before setting up stall to do it all again tomorrow.

Our vantage point, a sidewalk table at Café Le Grande, is a perfect place to sit back, relax and soak up the sights and sounds in the French quarter of town.

It's Batman

“Hey, how you doin?. Good to see you again”.  A truth is being spoken this time.  It’s Batman – and he’s driving a freakin’ Audi!

Batman’s pearly white teeth almost blind us when his strolls up to greet us at our table.  “Good to see you again!” we reply.  We met Batman, a proud young Tuk Tuk driver, last night on our way back to the hotel.  Impressed by his dazzling Tuk Tuk, logoed with Batman icons, we couldn’t help but strike up a conversation with him.

Despite his polite offers to take us anywhere for a dollar we order another glass of very good red.  We might need a Tuk Tuk at this rate!

Euro Style

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Rising With A Rooster, Following Sheep and Feeding Seals To See Angkor Rise From The Shadows

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The gall that this Gallus Gallus has.  Doesn’t he know we are on holidays.  I’ll give you “cock-a-doodle do”.  Who needs an alarm clock when you have a suburban chicken coop outside your window?  I tweak my earplugs and press them into my ear canal just a little further.  Zzzzzzzzzzz!  Morning one.

Today, morning two, no rooster crowing!  Did someone cook him up last night?  Life can be short as a rooster in Cambodia.  No – it’s just too early for him.  For that matter, it’s too early for us.  However, there is a must experience event to witness – sunrise over Angkor Wat.

The cool morning breeze is accentuated by the speed of Samnang’s Tuk Tuk and we soak up the ambience of the darkness as the Tuk Tuk gently putters along the quiet road toward Angkor Wat.

If we thought that our early start to the day would get us ahead of the crowd we were mistaken.  They must have more active roosters at their hotels.  Or, maybe, these people are insomniacs.

With an assurance from Sam that we will find him amongst the hundreds of Tuk Tuks when we return we set off in the darkness to find a place to see the sunrise of the ancient Wat.

Like two sheep in search of greener pastures we fall into line behind our fellow tourists and negotiate the unlit entrance to Angkor Wat and find a vantage point to set up our camera gear.  Now we wait.

The relative quiet of the morning is soon challenged by a variety of sheep called Chinese.  This particular sheep doesn’t seem to understand that the rest of the flock is enjoying the serenity.  Different species.  Different understanding.  Baa, baa, baa.

The angular rotation of the earth reveals our sun ever so slowly and the night gives way to morning civil twilight.  Angkor Wat’s silhouette rises out of the shadows – an impressive sight at such an early hour.

The sound of camera shutters releasing are drowned out by the cacophony of sheep and seal noises.  Seals?  Yep – right here in Angkor Wat.  Well, analogy seals that is.  Tourists lined up around the small lake in front of Angkor Wat.  Like the sheep, the seals don’t seem to get it.

Despite the menagerie that surrounds you on any one weekday the early start makes the appearance of the sun in Cambodia worth it.  Being present and being present gives you a sense how remarkable life really is.

Can someone pass me a fish?  Maybe seals eat roosters – now there’s a thought!

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Shania Twain and Dire Straits Perform at Ta Prohm

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

“So you think you’re a temple?… That don’t impress me much” “Do, do, do do, do, do, do” The beat and words to Shania’s catchy song play out in my head as I stare, open mouthed at the sheer size of the trees (and their root systems) that envelope parts of the Ta Prohm temple.

It is like Mother Nature is singing this song to the long passed builders of the city of Angkor Thom, letting them know that she is the one and only ruler of this land.
“You may have created this monument, this gift, this sanctuary but it is only I that you need to worship, for it is I that has the last word” Did I hear that come from the shadows over there? Is there someone hiding in that inner sanctum? Mmmmm. Maybe it’s the wind rustling through the tops of the enormous trees.
Standing, watching, listening, feeling. Trying to gain a sense of Ta Prohm is not something that can be had in one visit. This is a place you need to return to again, and again. If it took decades to build it will take more than a couple of hours to appreciate.
“That’s OK, I’m not going anywhere”. Who said that? Maybe it was that tiny statue of Buddha set in the wall. And he’s right – he’s not going anywhere. And nor are the trees. Centuries have past since Ta Prohm was built and many more will pass before it is consumed. We have time to come back.
Exiting the ruins and looking back at them I think I hear the dulcet tones of Mark Knopfler emanating from the passageways. That famous Dire Straits song Dire Straits is being performed:
“There are so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones”

Ah…. I get it. Whilst Mother Nature rules she is actually teaching us that when we understand this symbiotic relationship we get our place and purpose.

Hmmmmm. Who would have thought I would have heard Buddha, Mother Nature, Shania Twain and Dire Straits perform “live” together in Cambodia

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Staring. Wondering.

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

My safe haven’s here

Held by Daddy’s arms

I’m keeping an eye on you

Mum’s listening to psalms

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I’d like to know a little more

About why you’re looking at me

But don’t you come too close

I’ll peer at you – I can see

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Safety – it’s right here

Here in this skin

I know him and her

Their my real blood kin

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Staring. Wondering.

Not sure about you

You over there

Why do you keep looking

Why do you stare

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Connected by sight

That’s enough, show some respect

I’m shy don’t you know

What do you expect

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Ah, that’s better

Your walking away

Have fun in Phnom Penh

Enjoy your stay

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I love little kids

They inquisitive little things

But don’t get too close

Some are unsure what it brings

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A Kindergarten On The Streets

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

A child threads cotton balls onto a wool covered pipe cleaner in a kindergarten near a quaint sleepy village in the United Kingdom – they call it play, developmental learning.  On an expansive open-air park in the middle of Phnom Penh, Cambodia a 2 year old threads fish balls onto a wooden skewer – here they call it a living.  Work.

The focus of the deep black eyes of a handsome little boy changes from his bag of fish balls to us.  Unmoved by our presence, and after a short visual interaction, he continues his work – one more skewer, six more fish balls.

10 metres away his mother keeps a watchful eye on her employee son and with a nod gives us approval to photograph him.

Despite him not being old enough to talk he looks at us now with a question.  “Why me?”  “What’s so interesting about this scene?” he seems to be asking.  “It’s what I do.  It’s who I am” And indeed it is.  Looking around we start to see more and more productive toddlers contributing to “street capitalism”. None of them desperate.  All of them smiling.

A way of life here may seem like child labor in the United Kingdom but tell that to this little guy and his mum.  He hasn’t got his hand out for a “donation” and his smile tells you that he’s not exactly unhappy with his lot in life
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Open Air Learning

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