Randomness / noun

1.) The quality or state of lacking a pattern; unpredictability.

2.) oddness or eccentricity

How many times have I been to Asia?  One, ten it really doesn’t matter it’s always the same a crazy sense of odd, abnormal, strange and peculiar.

For instance,  the lady who asked me today if I was from the “States” really I thought, you have to ask a white girl with great English skills that?  I’m French I told her, oh really she says you sound so American.

Or maybe the images below, there is no pattern and if there is it’s never the same so I have decided to show you some of those “one off” images from the month that make me realize why I love it here.

What have you done today?


 

 

The Kala, Guardian & False Door

Some may say that Bantãy Srĕi is named for the citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty but it is most probably related to the intricacy of the bias relief carvings found on the walls.

Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings and intricate details that are still visible today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, in fact so much so that even I would hit my head walking through the doorways or down through the halls. So unlike anything else built by the standards of Angkorian construction.

Built sometime around April 22, 967 A.D it’s the only temple not built by a monarch but at some point came under the control of the king and had its original dedication changed to Monday, the 14th or 28th July 1119 A.D.

Decorative motifs include the Kala (a toothy monster symbolic of time), the guardian dvarapala (an armed protector of the temple) and devata (demi-goddess), the false door, and the colonette.  Every conceivable space is filled with carvings of different shapes and sizes.

By far this is my favorite of temples in the realm of Angkor Wat just for its stunning color changes with the light or maybe it’s the rice paddies right outside the gates.  Either way, I will be back again and again.

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I do ……

I landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia exactly two weeks ago and oh what I have done, seen and eaten but on Sunday my friend Kandara and I attended my first Khmer Wedding.

A little History along with Tradition 

The wedding ceremony is very meaningful for each of individual’s life and follows tradition and the laws of Cambodia.  A carefully planned ceremony including choosing the correct date is believed to bring luck and harmony for the couple and helps them start a family.   Some families do not allow their children to marry in the rain season and some delay it for two years after the engagement ceremony because of the fortune telling.

Khmer tradition allows people to marry only in a period of 6 months in a year in March, April, May, July, October, and January.   In those months there are only 7 days of each month that are appropriate and they never fall on birthday’s, religious days, the lunar / solar eclipse or during the Khmer New Years.

They throw a great party … let the wedding bells toll.

 

 

 

A Night at the Circus

A night at the Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap might seem like an odd way to spend your first night in a city that’s famous for Angkor Wat and other Khmer archaeological sites but I did.

There are no ring masters, no clowns but there is a big top along with acrobatics, juggling, balancing acts and even fire dancing. Siem Reaps Phare is in close comparison to Cirque du Soleil but warm, down to earth and very funny.

It’s a combination of personality, skills, and great storytelling that made the night so memorable.

There is a long and memorable story that you can read about but honestly just know that this was a night I won’t forget anytime soon.

Slow and Relaxed

It seems like the past of Luang Prabang sets in very fast as you walk through the French architecture, visit the crystal blue waterfalls and eat the most amazing pastries since Tokyo.

This Unesco-Heritage village sits on along the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers and is my true Shangri-La.

In my last post, we were on a slow boat down the Mekong river and this beautiful little town is where you arrive after the 2 day boat journey.

Just spectacular!

 

 

 

 

 

In Exactly 60 Days From Now …

 

I will be touching down on a new adventure to Cambodia.   Now, coming from the states and having the time and money to do some Asia travel I think but probably have no idea of what I’m getting into.

I’ve accepted a Country Director position, which by the way suits my heart and head just fine, with EGBOKmission in Siem Reap.

Funny that I have been to places such as Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos but never to Cambodia hmm how can that be but it is.

So I saw this little quote today and wanted to share.

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Let’s get this all started and write about it everyday!

 

Flow of the Mekong

If you are a true adventurer you will never ever give up a chance to meet new people, engage in great conversation and flow right along with the Mekong.

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Our day started with a quick border crossing at Chiang Khong where we met Mr.Wong our tour guide for the next two days.  Introductions, always an awkward moment led us to new friends from Australia, Cambodia, Turkey, and Germany.  17 people who were about to laugh and tell stories of their true adventures.

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Boat Launch – Chieng Khong, Laos

 

So, we were off and on our way to get papers signed to make us legal.  Good food, fun, new friends and our first stop was the small village where I felt like we were walking into a National Geographic photography scene.

Yes, we were the spectacle and just like any other time it makes me think that these kids are so happy just being without a computer, tv or phone.  Generations of families live in the same village and take care of each other year after year and they are so grateful for what they have.

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The breeze is warm and people are snoozing, reading and talking as the water hits the side of our boat.  It’s quiet and mesmerizing and I could easily just stay here with the simplicity and the happiness it brings.

Stop #2 of the afternoon – Pak Ou Cave that has been converted to a large temple with hundreds of buddhist statues some gold, some with color and some with the largest cob webs I have ever seen.    Did you know there are different statues for different days of the week – who knew?  Learn More

 

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Pak Ou Cave – Mekong River, Laos

 

And we are off for another hour or so before we are dropped off in the small town of Pakbeng for the night.  Yes, there are the typical guesthouses and small hotels or hostels but if you want to do this one night right the Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge is for you.  Such a great treat after almost a week of travel just wish we had one more night.

A good in room massage, dinner, and wine.   I’m out!

Off to Luang Prabang tomorrow.

 

If you need an amazing travel agent she’s at Rachel Dicker Travel