Monday, 18 June 2018

Tussling At Ta Prohm

After Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm is probably the most popular temple to visit in Siem Reap. It's frequently referred to as the "Tomb Raider" temple, ever since Angelina Jolie showed up to rock some skimpy explorer shorts awhile ago. A king builds it, a starlet lays claim to it, whether she meant to or not.

It's easy to see why the temple made the movie cut. It oozes exotic jungle mood, mainly since the decision was made only to partially restore the temple. It's a bit of an illusion, to think that you're looking at a temple the way it was discovered in the early 20th century. In fact, most elements have been rebuilt or at least cleared. A smattering of crumbling walls and giant trees go a long way to convincing the public they can be Indiana Jones for an hour.

 The crowds are ready for the romp.

The atmospheric interior, exotic and refined at the same time.

Cathedral trees.

The trees are a nice touch, all alive, slithering over the heavy rock.

Occasionally there's an uninterrupted view, when the crowd is corralled a bit.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Around Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom is the biggest temple complex at Angkor and trekking through every section takes the better part of a day. What are some highlights?

Heading in from Angkor Wat, rows of gods and demons flank the road.

One of many gates in the complex. Elephants, can't go wrong with that theme, grand on a grand scale.

Baphuon, taken apart during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Plans were lost, many stones still scattered around. The highlight of Baphuon is around the back. A giant, reclining Buddha awaits, slyly swallowed up within a larger wall. Squint and you can see the relaxed head.

The cute pyramid called Phimeanakas.

Angkor Thom details, praying and small ruins.

Front view of Baphuon.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


Angkor has a few iconic sites, places that give the world the classic image of what the complex looks like. Think the massive temple of Angkor Wat, the over-grown trees slithering through Ta Prohm. And the 216 heads that dominate and decorate the Bayon temple.

Bayon is part of the sprawling Angkor Thom complex. When you approach the temple, it's impressive for what it isn't - a tight, well-preseved structure. Frankly, it looks like a pile of rocks.

Upon closer inspection, the many heads of king Avalokiteshvara appear. No shyness on likeness.

Every tower, every surface, hail the king.

OK, maybe a little break for some Buddhist imagery. Enough, back to king Avalokiteshvara!

It's nice to see that personal ego is still practiced for tourist posing.

Monday, 11 June 2018

The Awe Of Angkor Wat

The heavy at Angkor is Angkor Wat and it's obvious why. It dwarfs the other temples, both in size and complexity, a massive structure among village shacks. Maybe an exaggeration, except that seeing Angkor Wat does humble mere modern humans. It's close to impossible to appreciate the temple through photographs. Consider these images an amuse-bouche.

Looming temple at sunrise.

From within the outer walls. A group of apsaras, heavenly nymphs. They ring the upper concourse and feature fantastic hairstyles. The club kids of the 12th century.

One of the inner courtyards.

A guarding lion, much junk in the trunk. One of Angkor Wat's highlights is an enormous frieze that encircles the temple. It's 800 meters around and features scenes of various epic events. Forget cows being milked, think battles with elephant armies.

The backyard view. Quite a view.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Sunrise And Sunset At Angkor

Who goes on vacation to get up every day at 4:00 am? Evidently, James and Sarah do. At least in Siem Reap, Cambodia. If the guides say come witness the sunrise, one must obey. At least until you know better.

Score! About 5:15 am at Sra Srang.

The word is out. Waiting for sunset at Pre Rup. The result, a drab fade to black. Thanks for coming.

Sunrise over Angkor Wat. No Sra Srang.

If you're hoping to have a singular experience at one of the popular places, forget it. The crowd at Angkor Wat.

Back at Sra Srang, Sarah soaking in the coming day. Bliss.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Even More Murals And Graffiti Around Penang

Beyond the impressive work of Ernest Zacharevic and his imitators, there are plenty of other doodles to see. Penang has turned into an endless outdoor sketchpad.

Animal attraction.

Well placed Oscar. Getting a little scary.
Checking directions at the corner. Headed due North?

Sports hero on the wall watching over. Getting political, Trump sticker on an electrical box.

Local politics, this stencil celebrates Malaysia's recent 60th year anniversary of independence in 2017. Merdeka means "independence" and Negaraku means "my country" (it is also Malaysia's national anthem) in Malay.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Chew Jetty In George Town, Penang

If you run out of land, just start building over the water. Chinese clan groups embraced that idea and have established their own jetty communities in George Town. Time to take a long walk on an endless pier.

Jetty city.

The jetty designation is a loose description. More like a hydra platform, ever expanding to accommodate whoever wants to add a house.

Watery back porch.

Still room for a traditional Buddhist temple. How do they build the piers? A bit low tech: remove bottoms of large plastic paint buckets, stack them, pour concrete and, viola, pier.

Humble house interior.

Plenty of tourists wandering to the end of the pier, looking for a nice view and a photograph.