Monday, 15 October 2018

The Grim History Of Tuol Sleng Prison In Phnom Penh, Cambodia

When Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia in 1975, they took over a local school and turned it into a prison for political prisoners, renamed Security Prison 21. By 1978, around 17,000 people had passed through the place, been tortured and killed, or driven to the nearby Killing Fields for execution.

The former school/prison, a set of standard concrete buildings situated in a small campus within the city.

Breezeway. Classroom. Yup, chalkboards still hanging on the walls.

Typical torture scene. Desks removed, bed brought in.  Add prisoner, chains and let the interrogation commence. 

Other classrooms were turned into prison cell areas. Wood or brick, does it matter? Holes were punched between walls to create one long cell block.

The museum curators have placed images of the torture in the classrooms, giving a harrowing sense of place and the grim reality that unfolded.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Getting Wet At Phnom Penh's Central Market

The Central Market has its dry goods and then, its very wet goods. Pretty stuff for the house and home, graphic stuff for the tummy. Let's wade in.

Selling fresh seafood, browse the tanks.

Whadyagot? Mean crabs, secured with red plastic bags. Tropical fish, ready for display or eating.

Dried shrimp, ready for sprinkling on everything.

Back on land, time to go full gore. Chicken, all of it. Beef, all bones about it.

Maybe best to escape to the veggie section, nothing staring back at you, right? If nothing else, you know your food is fresh.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Wat Ounalom In Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh's most prominent Buddhist site is right on the water, just north of the palace. There you'll find the Wat Ounalom complex. It was founded in 1443, is considered the center of Cambodian Buddhism, and is the country seat of their Mohanikay order. Good enough for us.

Imposing. Impressive.

Buddhists like animals. Especially concrete ones scattered around their complexes.

Gold is also desirable, the more for covering, the better.

Did we mention the animals? Elephants, shy and prominent.

Beating the heat in the temple.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Many of the countries in Southeast Asia are kingdoms and have their requisite palaces. A good reference is the elaborate palace in Bangkok. Cambodia's royal retreat was built in the 1860's by King Norodom, when the capital was moved from Oudong to Phnom Penh. Renovation and reconstruction have taken place almost constantly, especially the necessary rebuilding after the grim Khmer Rouge era of the mid-1970's.

Today, bright and beautiful for the tourists.

A couple of buildings in the complex.

The silver pagoda, named for the floor tiles. Moonlight pavilion, used for dances.

Royal fans.

A massive mural depicting the Indian epic saga the Ramayana, stretching to infinity. It keeps going along three more walls, creating a courtyard. Striking a pose in front of a renovation project.

Sizing up a royal stupa.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Details Of Tokyo

Being in Tokyo feels a bit like life in a model train set. Everything in its place, everything arranged just so.

Buildings and nature take on a make-believe quality.

A hint of reality, an old fashioned utility line bisecting modern architecture. Back to fantasy, a design emporium window.

Why, hello Japanese rabbit.

Graffiti is up-lifting. More power to you. And why are you waiting in line?

What's a metropolis without an MTV-style afternoon show in which screaming girls get to be seen in the background? From Elvis onward, the thrill never changes.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Meandering To Meiji Jingu

A nice respite in huge, modern Tokyo is a temple visit. One of the better temple shrines to see is mighty Meiji Jingu.

A big temple needs a big gate.

Meiji Jingu is located within a lovely park, so lovely that the paths seems to meld into fantasy. Arriving in the sedate complex.

Main temple hall.

Prepping your prayer tile. Plenty of room to find a spot for quiet reflection.

Future fan.

Monday, 1 October 2018

White Light, White Architecture In Tokyo

With apologies to the Velvet Underground, over-expose images of strking modern architecture in Tokyo and you get interesting results.