The Sockeyed Blog

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Almost Done

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Sadly my trip is winding down, but it will be nice to get home again despite the ridiculous weather in Vancouver. I’ve got one more night in Siem Reap, then tomorrow evening I fly to Bangkok. My flight to Vancouver leaves early the next morning, so I have to decide whether to just doze in the airport or head into Bangkok for a look around. It will be Friday night, after all, so things will be lively.

Cambodia continues to be interesting. Yesterday we made a trip to Tonle Sap, an enormous lake south of Siem Reap. We visited a pair of villages which are based on the seasonal growth and retreat of the lake. Some villages are floating and move around; others are built on stilts over the water. We strolled through one of the stilt houses. It was as poor as anything I’ve seen in India. The houses are small wood and thatch shacks, and people seem to eek out a pretty marginal existence, based largely on fishing. Many are Vietnamese who come up the Mekong to Tonle Sap, recognizable by their conical hats and different boats.

Tonlé Sap

We’ve been back to Angkor several times as well. We’ve managed to visit several temples in quieter times, like the Bayon last night at sunset. This is the temple with the placid Buddha faces carved on the cardinal faces of the many towers. Angkor Wat itself never seems to be quiet.

The Photo Festival has been inspirational each night. Last night, the focus was on South Asia, with a series of slide shows by particular photographers or agencies. The previous night was Korea, and the highlight was a brilliant documentary called “The Game of Their Lives” about two North Korean girls participating in the mass games: thousands of gymnasts and dancers performing revolutionary spectaculars for the Generalissimo and the people. I’m going to try and get a copy when I get back to town.

Glow

Last night we saw an apsara dance performance. It was a touristy event – a buffet crammed full of Korean and European tourists, but the dancing itself was lovely. It’s derived from Indian classical dance and features slow, graceful movements and elegant symbolic hand gestures. The costumes are very beautiful too.

Today was a bit of slower day. We just did some shopping, ate, napped and emailed. Tonight’s festival program is very full – probably about 20 or more short slide presentations. There is also the final awards for a photo contest for an Angkor Photography Festival photo contest that was run over the last couple of months. Jeremy is actually one of the finalists, with an image in the top 100. His is a great image from Xian of a guard at the terracotta warriors site:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigheadjer/272582747/

So, tonight in Siem Reap, tomorrow in Bangkok, and Saturday in Vancouver in the snow. The mind boggles.

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Written by sockeyed

November 30, 2006 at 08:20

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