Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cambodia shots

Above: Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC), ceiling shot

Above: Angkor Wat

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Books read while traipsing around Cambodia

Stay Alive My Son:
Biography and true account by Cambodian writer Pin Yathay, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge era, who lost his parents, wife, 3 children and all his brothers, sisters and friends to the war and how he lived to tell his tale after his harrowing escape through the jungles into the borders of Thailand. This is a story that makes you wonder at the resilience of the human spirit in the face of total hopelessness.
You will want to read and not stop reading until the last page is turned and finished.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time:
Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year, by Mark Haddon.
Written from the perspective of a 15 yr old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, who is a math's genius but knows very little about human beings. If you've ever had any contact with the mentally disabled and wonder sometimes what goes on in their minds, this book is a fun and rewarding read.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Cambodia, here I come!

1st good news: Managed to resolve Blogger problem with updates and photos, it's great to be back!

2nd good news: My boss finally got my leave approved for end October, at last! Been feeling so depressed with work and the whole gamut of bureaucratic red tape which spirals to no end and makes no sense...I just have to free myself from the shackles of work and get away from the madness before I start to go berserk!

I'm packing my travelling bags and will be off to Siem Reap...right now, the thought of sitting atop one of the most wonderful temples in the world, with God's sunrise in front of me seems so sweet. I can hardly wait...

30 October 2007, Notes on trip

Came home early this morning from Siem Reap after spending almost 5 days of blissful wandering around the city. Now, I can strike one country less off my life's list of places to see before I die.

Cambodia is a must see country for many reasons, Angkor Wat the least of those reasons, to me. Its a country where poverty is endemic and yet the people are always smiling and gracious, toddlers with brown naked bums running around wild and free on the streets, diesel sold in dubious Black Label whiskey bottles for USD 1 a pop, downright cheap massages (USD 10 per 2 hours), housewives nonchalantly cleaning fish on a chopping board by the dusty roadside amidst mud and roaring tuk-tuks, floating villages and wondrous markets full of the most amazing produce! I particularly love the Phsar Leu Thom Thmei, not for the faint-hearted because you might easily find yourself standing ankle deep in a mixture of dirty water, mud, fermenting vegetable/rubbish and animal blood, or brushing against sweaty, frenetic, heaving mass of humanity all out to sell or buy the freshest produce, most of which are still in their original skins, feathers, scales etc. Cambodians treat foreignors with warmth, smling into your cameras and usually with a friendly wave. I'll post some photos soon of the places I've wandered into in Siem Reap :

Day 1- Town, Old Market, Blue Pumpkin, Massage of cos...
Day 2- Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon, Wat Thom, Ta Keo, Massage again...
Day 3- Central Market, Tonle Sap Floating Village, Neak Mah Mosque and Muslim village, Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC), McDermott Gallery, (no massage tonite)
Day 4- Royal Gardens, FCC again, back for massage...
Day 5- Phsar Leu Thom Thmei, Massage for a one final time!

Note to Muslim friends on halal restos you can find there:
1. Imam Musa's resto just behind Neak Mah mosque (only mosque in Siem Reap). There's no menu here, you're served whatever is in the kitchen. If you can, ask in advance for his specialty, an amazing grilled beef and vegetable dish translated to mean 'Cow climb over the Mountain'. It's lovingly and patiently cooked on the spot on an inverted round bottomed steel wok and is truly truly lip smacking delicious with lemon-pepper dip. The other dish we were served is also really good, a clear fish broth, fragrant and so tasty.
2. Malaysian Resto - at Wat Bo Village
3. Maharajah in town area, near Pub Street
4. Princess Angkor Hotel resto - near Airport Road.


Ginger, hubby's fave cat

This is Ginger, the Queen of the household, the big mama with the attitude... She who strikes terror in the hearts of the other cats with evil thoughts of furniture scratching lurking on their warned that if you mess up the house, Ginger will not be pleased! Nope, Ginger accepts no excuses for bad behaviour, which is why she's Daddy's fave cat.