Browsing articles in "Cambodia"

Amazingly intricate carvings at Banteay Srei (Cambodia)

Apr 9, 2013   //   by Eva   //   Blog, Cambodia  //  Comments Off

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we couldn’t stop taking pictures

Cambodian Village Soccer

Mar 30, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Cambodia, Videos  //  1 Comment

When David was a boy he’d get to school early for a game of pre-class soccer and then stay late for a game of post class soccer. Here’s an unedited video snippet of how the game is played in a Cambodian village.

 

Angkor Wat and Pa Trom (two month ago)

Mar 30, 2013   //   by Eva   //   Blog, Cambodia  //  Comments Off

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a Hindu Temple to Vishnu (the Protector God) so it is built to resemble Mount Meru the holiest place in Hinduism, hence the three peaks. As the Khmer king is god on earth it is a fitting place for him to live.

It is not easy to enter Angkor Wat. You need to travel from Earth to heaven. You need to cross the primordial waters and arrive at the inner courtyard from where you ascent to heaven.During your ascent you see murals which tell famous Hindu tales and on your leaving you see murals which tell of the warrior prowess of the Khmer king.

Here in pictures, “To Heaven and Back”

 

 

Cambodia

Jan 21, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Cambodia  //  1 Comment

“Cambodia’s developing economy and institutionalized corruption have concentrated wealth into a new rich class that now supports Phnom Penh’s new fancy hotels and restaurants.” (Good insight from Wikitravel)

In the 1997 coup the Cambodian People Party (CPP)’s militia overthrew the government and since then have begun instituting a Chinese model in Cambodia. Large signs, small signs and posters of the three leaders of the party are very present. Signs with faces of the three ruthless leaders were cemented into the road at 10 meter intervals along one village road paid for by the CPP. Village life remains as it once was. Some villages have wells, others rely on stream water. People share house space with animals although unlike in Africa the people and the animals here have separate quarters.

The cost of goods and people is low. A meal in a vegetarian restaurant serving locals and us cost $0.75. For $1.50 you could eat your fill. A tuk-tuk (taxi) around town cost $2. Interestingly, although the Riyal is the currency most things in the city are quoted in US$. I haven’t seen a city as blatantly use the $ in place of the local currency. I’ve seen items quoted in $ elsewhere around the world but in Cambodian cities almost every vendor can give you change in $. It’s a full two currency economy.

Yesterday (20th Jan) in Siem Reap I took Yannay’s computer cord to a local computer shop for repair. It was shorting out. The technician was expert, courteous, patient and charged $3 for the repair and $1 for a replacement cord. This is the likely future of Cambodia. Those who get a professional education will create a new middle class. There is currently a seemingly large upper class as the number of vehicles we saw outstrips the number we saw in Vietnam. The palace build by the owner of Tiger Beer is enormous. But, vehicle prices are high and salaries are low. Policemen are paid $25 per month (one cause for police corruption) and a typical office clerk receives $45 per month so less than $2 per day. The vast majority of people are not well off.

Near Phnom Pehn we visited a free English school set up by Terra Mackie’s mother Anne. The villagers still draw their water from wells. There is certainly no sewage. Kids have never watched sport on TV. Most rise at 5am to do chores before going to school. There’s a big gap between this and a motor vehicle. And many of these very smart kids would not be able to remain in school if not for Anne Mackie. The parents need their help on the farms. Anne has offered to supplement parental income in return for keeping their kids in school. As a result of this, for many of these people life will be quite different in 10 years time.

But some will not. Interestingly when offered the means to increase their rice yield from one harvest to two harvests per year and thereby increase their income and food security, most or all of the villagers in the above village opted not to. One harvest is still the norm and in the non-rice growing season it seems that people just hang out. Compared with three rice harvests elsewhere in the country this choice seems to imply that these villagers, though very rural, are happy with their current lot.

We visited Friends-International a charity helping street kids learn a useful skill like food service or bike maintenance so as to join regular society. The kids then work in small businesses (restaurants, repair shops) owned by Friends. Their success rate though low in % is numerically high. Considering that they are dealing with mostly illiterate, drug using kids their success is remarkable. And their restaurant food and presentation is outstanding.

We also visited a home based silk weaving factory. Having studied industry this was fantastic to see.
Under each house each family has about eight to ten looms on which they weave specialist products out of silk for the local market. Prices are so different from the west the arbitrage opportunity is huge.

Of course we toured Angor Wat and related buildings built by the glorious kings of the Khmer’s glorious past. In doing so we took a crash course in the history of Hinduism so as to understand what we were looking at. Then a crash course, still ongoing, in the various Buddhist sects. And all I want to do is have some fun…

(Interestingly, the later Khmer kings adopted Buddhism for much the same reason Rome adopted Christianity. Both were very democratic religions without hierarchy or central place of pilgrimage. Adoption may help create a common culture among a diverse people from Bagan to Champa or from Spain to Armenia with the king as head of the church or an incarnation of God.)

Photos and videos to come in separate posts. It has been a full ten days so we’ve had limited time to post updates. They’ll come thick and fast this week. Including an experience will elephant snot from Wednesday.

Ta Mao Animal Park, Phnom Pehn

Jan 15, 2013   //   by Eva   //   Blog, Cambodia, Videos  //  Comments Off

There and back on an old, open top Vietnam war era jeep. No dashboard indicators worked. No idea of speed or fuel level. Avia rode sometimes in the jeep, sometime out.

This large animal park’s animals were taken from traders in exotic animals. It holds two spectacular Asian leopards, leopard cats, many tigers, Asian antelope we’d never heard about and a few large Captain Hook type crocs (teeth exposed along the line of their mouth like the below photos from an internet site) and the world’s smallest bear, the sun bear and related moon bear. These are the bears you see in circuses and are hunted for their bile, used in local ‘viagra’ formulae.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unique Petting Zoo

It’s also a unique petting zoo. You can pet the Gibbons. In fact they like getting scratched and tickled. And you can scratch and feed the elephant. For a family that like to touch animals (except for Dad) this is a satisfying way to spend time.

http://youtu.be/FKvhguBj3fM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKvhguBj3fM

How a piece of cloth may save your life

Jan 14, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Cambodia, Videos  //  2 Comments

In an entertaining and funny demonstration, Chourn Im shows us how to properly use a towel or other piece of rectangular cloth.