April 07, 2006


Every time I am about to touch ground in a different country, I get an overcoming new wave of excitement. Landing into Myanmar was glorious. Truely The Golden Land. Even through Yangon's thick smog, there were flecks of gold shining through far away in the distance. Pagodas were everywhere and this isn't even Bagan. P

April 05, 2006

Leaving Cambodia

Like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok is like returning home. The bus ride from Siam Reap was my worst yet. And I just happened to wake up that day with a clenching gut. 14 in a minivan, 4 of us packed into 3 seats. I got the space between the 2 seater and the 1 seater. We gathered a shoe, bag and sweater to fill in the gap. 2 people took up 2/3rd's of the room which left Kevin and I to share 1/3rd and our arms up on the seat since there wasn't enough shoulder width for everyone. Our heads crashed when the back tire fell through a metal plank in the middle of a bridge. Thank God we didn't get a flat! Actually, I was more grateful we didn't fall through! When we finally arrived at the border, my best moment would have been throwing up on some potted plants, right infront of customs.

Out of Siam Reap, the paved road ended and turned into bright orange dust with gravel and pot holes. The land was so flat with only a few short, gray bumps far away along the horizon. The Norwegian vegetarian described with enthusiasm her 15 course cobra dinner. The Canadian on my left listed the most unbelievable unluckiness she's had during only 1 month of travel.

Bordering a field to our right were red danger signs with the skull and crossbones labelling a landmine area. 2 boys were playing in there. 2 people die and 7 are injured every single day in Cambodia due to landmines. P

April 01, 2006

Angkor Wat

I am here! Spent three sweaty days on a bicycle, riding the 7 km each way from Siam Reap plus many more to explore the massive grounds of these ancient ruins. Angkor itself is actually only one part of hundreds of temples scattered around the beautiful jungle. Standing on top of them, you can sometimes see the familiar lotus shaped peaks jutting above the flat horizon a few kilometers away.

The size is staggering and the workmanship unbelievable. Trying to imagine how many people it took to build and then how many artists to carve the intricate reliefs and patterns. Huge blocks stacked into steep staircases and tall, arched walls. Details covered all surfaces and sculptures. Large, smiling faces of Bayon on 4 sides of each tower. So many parts shifting and broken and fallen and angled. Tree roots mangled between Ta Prohm's cracks and doorways. Piles of puzzle pieces not yet solved. Preah Khan heads stolen from the railing of men holding a snake. Walls before moats curved on the edges of missing sections. Framed landscapes between open windows. Baphuon's maze of tiered reliefs of 9 headed snakes and dancing women.

Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, I wonder what colour the blackened and mossed covered stone looked like. How each carving looked without parts cut out, cracked or worn away. The sounds of intense jungle, uncleared the way it looked in the eyes of the French explorer. But even still, what remains now, is the most impressive thing I've ever seen. P