Siem Reap Chronicles: Day 3

I posted our Day 2 adventure on November 9, 2013 and the last leg today. (*゚ー゚)ゞ  Just how lazy is that? Tsk.

I vividly remember it was raining the night before and it has not abated the following day. We were dreading the temple-hopping we’ll be doing because it will surely be muddy and slippery and downright scary given that we’ll be traversing the Indiana Jones temple.

Prasat Beng Mealea

Translated as Lotus Pond Temple and known to tourist as the Indiana Jones temple well because the movie of the same title starring Harrison Ford was shot here.

This Hindu temple is about 800 years old and reminiscent of the sprawling Angkor Wat but in a smaller scale.

Because not even the rain can dampen our good spirits. We got ourselves a US$1 flimsy raincoat that saved us from lugging around a huge umbrella that our tour guide readied on a rainy day like this.

Because not even the rain can dampen our good spirits. We got ourselves a US$1 flimsy raincoat that saved us from lugging around a huge umbrella that our tour guide readied on a rainy day like this.

A few meters of walking along a muddy trail, we arrived at the collapsed entrance of Prasat Beng Mealea.

A few meters of walking along a muddy trail, we arrived at the collapsed entrance of Prasat Beng Mealea.

The wooden floorboards around Prasat Beng Mealea make traversing the ruins suitable for tourists but on a rainy day like this, it can get slippery so just be careful.

The wooden floorboards around Prasat Beng Mealea make traversing the ruins suitable for tourists but on a rainy day like this, it can get slippery so just be careful.

With the rain still pouring, I can hardly make any decent shot without getting rain spatters on my lens.

With the rain still pouring, I can hardly make any decent shot without getting rain spatters on my lens.

For all its seemingly wild outgrowths, Beng Mealea is a quiet temple and well worth the additional US$5 as this is not included in the Angkor pass.

For all its seemingly wild outgrowths, Beng Mealea is a quiet temple and well worth the additional US$5 as this is not included in the Angkor pass.

With the rain still pouring, it was impossible to explore Beng Mealea ala Indiana Jones; it’s too slippery to walk over the ruins so we stayed on the wooden structures. And when we have circled the entire place, we headed to our van to get on our next stop.

The sun seem to have finally talked some sense to the rain since it stopped pouring at last. Halfway to the Rolous Group, I was just so happy to see the fierce afternoon sun from the window.

Siem Reap scenes

Sitting by the window gives you a passing glimpse of the local’s way of life. It was past 12NN so I guess school day is done and it’s time to head home.

I’ve lived a sheltered life and as embarrassing as it may be, I’m putting it out here. ***tada!*** I don’t know how to bike. (-_-) But I’m planning (operative word, planning :D ) to get me one with a nifty little basket in front, just like what these kids have.

Rolous Group

The Rolous Group consist of three temples: Lolei, Preah Ko and Bakong. Unfortunately, Lolei Temple was closed when we visited last October 2013 and so we headed instead to Preah Koh.

Preah Koh (Sacred Bull) is a Hindu temple and the first to be built in the ancient city,  Hariharalaya, now known as Rolous.

Preah Koh (Sacred Bull) is a Hindu temple and the first to be built in the ancient city, Hariharalaya, now known as Rolous.

Prasat Bakong was built in the late 9th century and was considered Angkor's state temple for a few years.

Prasat Bakong was built in the late 9th century and was considered Angkor’s state temple for a few years.

View from the steps of Prasat Bakong. You will notice a modern Buddhist temple on the right side of the east entrance.

View from the first level of Prasat Bakong. You will notice a modern Buddhist temple on the right side of the east entrance.

So this is the other side of Prasat Bakong and our tour guide declared himself as our official photographer, hence my camera was with him the whole time. So I'm free to photobomb my friends. :D

So this is the other side of Prasat Bakong and our tour guide declared himself as our official photographer, hence my camera was with him the whole time. And that means, I will finally be included in the photos. :D

We have finally reached the end of our three days of temple-hopping. And so, off we trekked back to our van and passed by this part of the moat surrounding Prasat Bakong.

We have finally reached the end of our three days of temple-hopping. And so, off we trekked back to our van and passed by this part of the moat surrounding Prasat Bakong.

Souvenir shot with our humorous tour guide, Reah (the one in lilac shirt) and nice driver,Toy (yup, that's his name).

Souvenir shot with our humorous tour guide, Reah (the one in lilac shirt) and nice driver,Toy (yup, that’s his name).

We finished our tour early and as they dropped us off at our hotel, we bade Reah and Toy farewell. And of course, we can't let them go without a souvenir shot. :D

We finished our tour early and as they dropped us off at our hotel, we bade Reah and Toy farewell. And of course, we can’t let them go without a souvenir shot. :D

So, will we recommend Sam Tuktuk Tours to our friends? YES! I likewise placed my review of his tour here. It’s just crazy that Reah had a pink eye that day and he still decided to go to work. And because I know it’s contagious, I always had my hand sanitizer ready whenever I came in contact with him the whole time. But in my excitement to check the photos in our room, I completely forgot to wipe my camera. So two days later, I got more than a souvenir from our tour guide: a Khmer pink eye. ;)

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Extensionality

A spread from Bradley Trevor Greive's book, The Simple Truth About Love.

A spread from Bradley Trevor Greive’s book, The Simple Truth About Love.

Had I placed “love” in the title, I’m sure more would have bothered to read this. :)

I have nothing against the word ‘love’ or  the often highly regarded day: Valentine’s Day or as others would sarcastically refer to as Singles Awareness Day. I love “love”. I’m in love with love and everything that comes with it. But over the years, this day has become so overrated and superficial. It reached a point where love has been reduced to an exhibit of one’s financial capabilities: a huge bouquet of flowers, a basket laden with chocolates and stuffed toy, jewelries or a very expensive dinner that could easily feed a family of five.

While material expression of love has its merits, your grasp for the reality of your capacity should not be overpowered by your desire to brag unnecessarily. Spending for something beyond your means to impress or show your utmost adoration for your partner that you end up in debt after is just ridiculous.

Love is more than that. It’s almost hard to define but I do know that love makes you stare into space with that faraway look and stupid smile on your lips. Love may just as well be sitting quietly with that someone and yet feels like you’re having the best conversation ever. And now that I think about it, love is wanting to be better, or if possible, be the best version of you without coercion whatsoever.

Extensionality is a new word I learned today; thanks to my brother who shared a link on Jacque Fresco. Extensionality in essence is the ability to extend another person’s mind or life or possibilities. Wouldn’t that be nice? To have or be that person to another who will make you realize your possibilities and let you understand the world a little better? I thought, that IS love.

Love has been overly romanticized in movies and fairy tales; like love is some sort of magic that makes everything all rosy and shiny. It sets an expectation so high about what love should be that eventually sets us up for a  glaring disappointment in our relationships.

Love is never steady. It fluctuates. Like you love yourself sometimes, other times you don’t. You’re lovestruck with your partner one time, another time, you’re just ok. And sometimes you just hate them for the littlest mistake they made that on any other day wouldn’t have bothered you at all. But it doesn’t mean you love them any less. It’s just the way it is. Therein lies the wonder of experiencing these fluctuations in love and life, for that matter; it makes us appreciate those moments of sheer happiness because we have experienced those moments of sheer desolation. For how can we know the difference if we have not experienced the other? :)

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In 2014….

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This coming year we should care about things that actually matter.

Stop caring about what people will say or think about you; you can’t please everybody anyway. Do what makes you happy as long as you don’t hurt anyone in the process and take full responsibility for it.

Start caring about people that really matter in your life. Those who appreciate you for who you are and see that you are awesome in your own quirky way. Those who love you in all your wonderful weirdness.

Start taking responsibility over our actions because we are all interrelated in this little planet. Yes, and that includes keeping those little trashes in your pocket until you find a garbage bin.

Sorry, I’m doing this post in between waiting for my Tropical Cheesecake to set and watching cable movies. With those lame excuses….

Happy New Year! May this year be a little nicer to all of us. (^_^) Continue reading

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Mindless Late Night Wanderings

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December 2, 2013 · 10:54 PM

Siem Reap Chronicles: Day 2

After a very long day, we just had dinner and then went back to our hotel again as we have to wake up early for our sunrise date at Angkor Wat.

Tips:

If your accommodation offers breakfast, you can ask them the night before to pack it for you so you can eat it while waiting for the sunrise. 

Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day so the sun didn’t show itself over Angkor Wat. So if you really want to witness this, it’s best to go here during summer  when there is least chance of raining.

After breakfast, Reah bought us to a modest Buddhist temple and school. We were able to speak with the man who converted himself to be a monk and dedicate his life to this place.

Buddhist temple

The man sold everything he owned and had this temple and school built . We came at a time when he was preparing for the memorial of his son who died in a motor accident.

The interior of temple is consistent with the overall simplicity and serenity of the compound.

Some few minutes later, we bade him farewell and headed off to our first major trek of the day.

Kbal Spean

After presenting your Angkor Pass at the base, you can now proceed with the 1500m trek. For someone who does not regularly exercise, I felt that this has compensated for all those times I’ve been lazy to run and play badminton. It really is quite a trek especially when your tour guide leads you to the more difficult trail. Crazy, humorous Reah. :)

The sandstone in this area has a pinkish overcast; the same material used in building Banteay Srei, likewise known as the Pink Temple.

The sandstone in this area has a pinkish overcast; the same material used in building Banteay Srei, likewise known as the Pink Temple.

This is what awaits you at the end of the 1500m trek.

This is what awaits you at the end of the 1500m trek. It’s nothing spectacular but after the trek, the cool water is a welcome treat to wash off my face and extremities.

Kbal Spean is also referred to as the River with a Thousand Lingas. ‘Linga’ is a Sanskrit word which means “mark” and is often represented by a phallic symbol. I’m no expert in Hinduism but I’m sure the Shiva linga is more than just a structure resembling a phallus. It may mean great power or something that is very distinguished mark.

The riverbed

Some meters from the waterfalls is the riverbed with the stone carvings related to Hinduism.

One of the preserved stone carvings on the riverbanks of Kbal Spean.

One of the preserved stone carvings on the riverbanks of Kbal Spean.

Few minutes later, we decided to go back down but Reah led us once more to the more adventurous route.

The current is pretty strong but it sure compensated for this rather ho-hum place.

The current is pretty strong but it sure compensated for this rather ho-hum place.

Tips:

  • Make sure you start off your day here as it’s bound to get really hot. That way, you’ll be out of here before noon.   
  • If you’ll ask me, you can skip this place but if you don’t mind the climb, go ahead and explore.
  • Don’t forget to bring water and extra shirt. :)

The airconditioned van is a welcome refuge after that tiring climb. But we were already at our next destination before we can really bask in the comforts of our seats.

Banteay Srei

Among the temples we have visited, I find this temple the most charmingly exquisite. It’s another Hindu temple that has been standing since the 10th century and fondly referred to by the locals as the Pink Temple or Lady Temple.

The temples we have visited did not have the same intricate carvings as that of Banteay Srei.

The temples we have visited did not have the same intricate carvings as that of Banteay Srei.

What it lacks for in size, is very much compensated by its sheer exquisiteness and elaborate design. Come to think of it, its miniature size is actually a huge chunk of its charm.

Very charming indeed.

Very charming indeed.

It’s getting crowded again so we took that as our cue to proceed to our next destination.

East Mebon

This is a five-tiered Hindu temple built in the 10th century and dedicated to Shiva.

There are guardian elephants posted on the corners of the first and second tiers of this temple.

There are guardian elephants posted on the corners of the first and second tiers of this temple.

Structures here are made of sandstone, brick and stucco.

Structures here are made of sandstone, brick and stucco.

Up close, one can see the detailed work on the lintel.

Up close, one can see the detailed work on the lintel.

With the heat enjoying beating down our back, we headed off to our last stop.

Preah Khan

Part of the Grand Circuit, this temple is built in the 12th century and translated as “sacred sword”.  Much like Ta Prohm, this site has been left unrestored except for clearing the area and other maintenance works.

Preah Khan

Most of this temple has been left unrestored; the paths were just cleared and the overgrown trees atop structures were left as is.

Preah Khan is built on the 12th century and this is all that remained of its library.

Preah Khan is built on the 12th century and this is all that remained of its library.

The gateway to Preah Khan. One uses a specific doorway depending on his status. I cannot remember who enters on the left and right but I'm sure that the central doorway is only for royalty.

The gateway to Preah Khan. One uses a specific doorway depending on his status. I cannot remember who enters on the left and right but I’m sure that the central doorway is only for royalty.

With one last look at Preah Khan, we hopped on the van and went back much earlier than we did the first day. That night however, it started to rain already. Though it didn’t stop us from dining over at Pub Street, it certainly was a prelude to what lies for us the following day.

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