A Travellerspoint blog

ankor wat? it must be for slaves

we left the protective care of lim's family and flew to siem reap, for a three day tour.

during the first day we spent some time in the musuem to get some basic education on khmer

(cambodian) history and mythology.

over the past couple of thousand years, khmer genetics haven't thrown too far. for instance some

of the busts showed an uncanny resemblance to lim's khmer side -
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on day 2 we headed out to angkor wat, and other nearby cities/ temple ruins around.

the first thing that struck me was the sheer scale of constructions. huge man made motes around

small cities. tons apon tons of hard volcanic rock worked, and miles of complex sculpting....

considering that to the cost of doing things even with modern technologies led to think of only

one solution - generations of slaves.. angkor wat is amazing, and yet must think a little of the

lives of the slaves that must have built it.

all the temples were impressive, but angkor wat is the one that we most enjoyed. this shot shows

the scale of the city on approach over the mostly origin walk way.

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the temple itself is a 700m walk inside the walled city and mote.

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the temples have miles of intricate carvings depicting stories, you could spend years reading it

all.

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you've got to use your elbows to get close however, siem reap is a major tourist destination.

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the small town has 220 hotels - and half of them are huge gorgeous five star establishments.

living costs for a tourist is similar to those of sydney.

at angkor wat i tried it on some of the local dancing girls - lim didn't mind all i received was

stoney faced expressions..

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we also visited other temples. some are still fully or partially owned by the trees.
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on our last day we visited the worlds largest freshwater lake (how many worlds largest freshwater lakes are there anyway?!?)

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the following biker was one of the more cautious. typical asian vehicle use.
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maybe he would get a fine/ bribe if he is pulled over. cambodia showed that there can be a thin line between corruption and a functioning economic/political system. apparently there is no budget for fuel for police bikes, so some of the bribes taken will go towards keeping the bike and it's copper on the road..

thats all for now - say hi to your mum for me.

Posted by hughmadden 04:09 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

and cambodia is for weddings

so far we are having a cotton wrapped experience of cambodia as we are well looked after by lim's family.

lim's well to do uncle picked us up directly from pnom penh airport in his lexus. we spent the next couple of days being looked after by his maids and eating at a restaurant less then a block away - owned by the family of lim's sister in law.

we are in the care of cambodia's wealthier class -
cambodia seems to have either rich or poor. a middle class is emerging quickly however. small businesses importing the rest of the world are successful and common.

with lim's birthday rapidly approaching, i had a short conspiracy with lim's sister in law and managed to organise a surprise birthday cake. this which along with a few beers and some jewelry made for a happy birthday girl.
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after celebrating lims birthday, we took a 7 hour drive to a northern province. this was to attend the wedding of lim's cousin.

a cambodian wedding is a really big deal - traditionally spanning 7 days but now shortened to 2 or less. keeping up with the weddings is the national pass-time. a city dwelling cambodian often has a wedding every day of the week, with several some nights.

we arrived at the hotel which was perhaps 4 star and costed 15usd a night - i hope to find more such gems throughout the rest of the trip.

the following snap was taken out of our rooms front window.
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on day 1 there was a small family ceremony with Buddhist monks. lim was bustled off for a 4 hour makeup session.
when this girl approached it took me a minute to recognise my gf hidden under the paint and hair
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we were dressed up in outfits and put through a photo shoot which left me with a strange urge to gallop around on horseback whacking a ball with a stick. (co-incidentally i've since seen some ancient khmer carvings depicting the game of pollo)
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following this, lim said 'congrats, now we are married'... heh, funny joke (i think!?!)

day 2 started with several hundred guests walking to the brides house and carrying fruit from her home to the grooms home. the scale was impressive - all of these people are guests.
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following this was another ceremony with the monks, and then the family of the couple did a symbolic grooming of the couple. a bit of entertainment (dancers and comedians) was included, and desperately required.
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this is because the crowd of guests sits patiently in the sweltering heat for hours in their finest (aka not heat friendly) threads waiting for things to progress.

finally the families tied strings around the wrists of the couple.

the reception followed - in this case around a thousand guests came; normally there is at least 300.

the reception went rather quickly from this
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to this
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as with weddings the world over, it wasn't long until i was provided with a chance to show off the moves - more practice required apparently ;)
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in a couple of days we are off to cambodia's angkor wat, until then, keep well folks.
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Posted by hughmadden 04:33 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

singapore is for eating

we've spent the last couple of days mentally adjusting to our new lifestyle - sleep eat and wander around to poke at things.

in most ways singapore is an expensive place - our room is 25pp/night and is only just big enough to lie lengthwise. food however is cheap at $1-3 a meal and -really- yummy.
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not quite five star
long as me lying down, wide as my out stretched arms - but it has ac; luxury!

one of the highlights was the chinese gardens - free and beautiful.
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a beautiful structure
and some old building

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the hand of buddha

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confucius and his greatest student

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innocent cute photo?
or domestic violence.. notice lim's fist. australia says no!

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fight for food
unluckily for this giant turtle, lim spotted the yummy cucumber same time as him. poor thing didn't stand a chance.

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can you spot lim amongst the buddhas?
correct - dragon top right

awesome dinner with eugene and then home completely exhaused.
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happy in our little shoebox

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bed is sooo good
after a day on yer feet

Posted by hughmadden 15:46 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

day one - escape from workcatraz

hugh and lim chllax in style

So, the day has finally come - cars and bikes sold, rental agreements shredded, and everything of value stored in dusty family garrages.

Lim and I chucked in our lives and head off to back pack for a year or two.. who knows perhaps the financial hoo-ha will be over.. or at least off the front page.

My pretty gf
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and I are drinking in first class lounge - shes relaxed after a massage.

I'm geeking out, the computer of choice is my oqo with a bluetooth igo stoway keyboard.
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the keyboard stows away to something about the size and appearance of a makeup kit - so i get to keep my cred when the bag spills out in some ritzy night club..
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Next stop is singapore, followed by cambodia and the rest of south east asia. If i was a modest type person i'd say something placating about the rest of you staying behind to work... however i'm not, so instead, so long until next time suckers :)

h and l, out.

Posted by hughmadden 21:06 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

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