Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dispatches from Siem Reap - VI

The last day in Siem Reap is spent in wondering...

We wonder how time sped past so fast.

We wonder whether we can slow down time this last day, so that we can get to see maybe one wonder more.

We wonder whether the elephants will still be ferrying excited travellers around the Angkor complex, the next time we visit.

We wonder whether this artist's work will be displayed with pride and fond memories in a house half-way across the world.

We wonder what the King who declared all the images of Buddha at Preah Khan to be changed to hermits, had been thinking.

We wonder whether this Apsara peeks out from behind the wall that hides her, at nights.

We wonder what this two-storeyed columned building must have been used for in it's hey day

We wonder how long will it take till we see interesting road signs like these again.

We wonder whether the restoration will ever cease to be and become only conservation.

We wonder whether any other ascent up has ever been so fulfilling.

We wonder whether it will be long, much too long, before we feast our eyes on this spectacular and humbling monument again.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dispatches from Siem Reap - V

Every traveller yearns to carry a lit bit of their trip back home, where they can look at it and remember those experiences that will stay with them forever.

We do it in the form of photographs that will keep the stone lamppost by the Wat Bo bridge near the Siem Reap river virtually intact forever

By buying little pieces that represent Siem Reap, from it's colourful Bazaar

And then sometimes we do it by picking up the recipes that will help us recreate the flavours that had added to our Khmerian experience.

There's the delectable Pat Prik Gang or Pork in chilli sauce with long beans

The comforting Soup Psut or mushroom soup with minced chicken

The 'makes your tongue explode in a riot of sensations' Lok Lak or Fried beef with red sauce served with a fried egg

The deep fried minced pork with ginger, onions, beans and red bell pepper that got polished off within minutes of getting ordered

The flavourful Fried rice that could give fried rice from around the world a run for it's money

And the pork marinated and then cooked in Khmerian spices

What they say about Siem Reap is true, one visit is not just not enough to take in all the temples and monuments, but also sample all that it has to offer elsewhere as well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dispatches from Siem Reap - IV

Cambodia is not just a land of temples, but it's one of expressions...


And then some more....

No wonder why they have so many dances, expressing their many moods.

There's the shyness of a just-married couple...

There's the 'Daiii' of a Hanuman ready to protect the Apsaras

There's the surprise of an Asura who's been attacked by Hanuman

There's the tight-lipped and alluring smile of the Apsara

The irritation of the farmer's wife at the village toddy seller

The exuberance of a couple in love

The playfulness of a Chinese origin dragon

The slinky seductiveness of a snake

The delicate tip-toedness of a peacock

The self-assuredness of three potential suitors

The valour of a Khmer warrior in the making

The spirit of dancing open-heartedly no matter what the occasion ...

Cambodia is truly the land of expressions, the land where a smile can cut right through the self-constructed tower of Babel that the foreign traveller brings along.