Saturday, April 21, 2007

War Museum ... Millitary Junkyard cum Mango Farm

In reality I was reluctant to go to this war museum caused we've got to fork out USD$3 for the entrance, as compare to the volunteers run Land mine museum start by Akira.


But since the place is near to our hotel, and we really had enough of temples visiting, Mark decided that we will just pop in to find out what issit so great about the War Museum.


Cleverly, they actually make full use to the "War Museum" by planting loads of mango trees. There are bundles of them hanging high up there since Mango is in season now. Perhaps it is one of the way they sustain their livelihood from the low turn up at their so called museum.




Why do I say it is so called? Because from what Mark and I observed, there are hardly any great value to the stuffs that they put here.



Most of the stuffs they put up here hardly work anymore, there are tanks that met their end after driving over land mines, heavily rusted equipments, more more land mines that NGOs dig up from various fields (at least some work, I think), and clothings worn during Khmer Rouge times.


Quietly they sat there looking at the people that came looking at them, reminiscing the older days when they ruled the city like a king...



Hmmm, and there was this spot here heavily labeled saying live mines around. Probably is part of the exhibition.



It comes with a big hole on the other side, which Mark thinks caused by a land mine.


There are some pictures around showing how mines get removed, showing land mine victims how they coped with lives. Though not the most informative, but it does make myself glad that the British colonial days in Malaysia has make a great deal saving us from such terrible aftermath resulted by civil wars. I am so glad that there wasn't time that we always get warned about land mines, like how we are here.



Preah Khan, Nak Pean- More Temples and Ruins

By the time we were done with Preah Khan, I somehow feel a little intoxicated with ancient ruins and temples.

I mean, there are just so many of them here, each is of quite large areas. Carvings and more carvings, some depict the Buddhisms teachings, some from the Ramayana epic. To me as an amateur, they really look the same to me.


At Preah Khan, this used to be a monastery for buddism teaching. In reality, sometime I wonder if somewhere deep in India, such similar structures would be still be of existence and in better condition? Then I further my thought wondering, if they do exist, wouldn't it be better to see it from the source of these religion rather than wandering here thinking what would it be like at present day?




Alas, at such weather, it didn't take me long before I came back to reality deciding to find the best shelter available.

Corridors after corridors... windows, entrances, leading from one courtyard to another.





Secret courtyards on every entrance opening to more ruins...











Found this very authentic stupa originate from Buddist teaching. First time me seeing one here actually. They exist in abundant in Thailand and Myanmar apparently.


Mark decided to stretch things to limit, by telling reader that he gets to literally sit on an artifact. Hey, don't blame him... a tire day with all walking and no benches for sitting. You've got to pamper yourself some how.


If you are ever visiting Preah Khan, you should stop by at the small hut that was made into the Museum, just right outside the entrance. The stuffs they've there are actually quite interesting, ranging from how the place was originally looking, towards the looting incidents that was recapture by National Geographic in the 80's


Later on, we stopped at the Nak Pean, a place of man made squarish water barray with fountain. Not really a big place, but not too hard to imagine such tyranny those kings at old days pose themselves to be.




Negotiating with the tuk-tuk driver is a daily affair. While they are not as bad as their neighbouring countries counterpart (Thailand for once), but you do need to negotiate and check on them again and again, on what's the next destination.

When we went on the Big circuit of the Angkor Temples, we've got to pre agree at which route he will take, and which temples he will stop us. We've had experience the previous day at Bantey Srey, realizing there were other temples along the way that he won't stop us telling stories like no rain, not attractive blah blah blah. When we insist of stopping, he then blurred out that we need to pay extra as the petrol is expensive. And mind you, it is not always about USD$1 difference, but more like USD$3 or so.

That is not the end too, before you get down, they actually demand to be tipped for such lousy service, and USD$1 was deemed to be very little.

So just be careful on your next tuk-tuk ride in Siem Reap.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lost Jungle Temple - Ta Prohm

So, this is where they had the idea to film Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider...


Even though most of the time I feel that human kind are destroying the environment more and more everyday (looking at the way how they clear the jungle) but you know, being here you can get the glimpse that mother nature can have it her way when she is angry... err.. upset.





Such magnificent temple, but with the look of slowly being engulfed by the jungle.

It is strange on how trees can grow around the temple, fusing the dead bit of rocks into them.



Apparently most part of Cambodia, until recently, used to be submerged in the swampy area. Therefore it is not unusual to see marsh land kind of ecology around, whereby trees with root hanging from up to down. This really explain how those temples got slowly covered up by them, creating such "lost temple" feeling all around.



I think Ta Prohm is Mark's favorite here. Hehe... He keenly observed those trees that are as if engulfing the temple.


While me means is splendid time for a perfect mysterious lost temple shot.





Some works are continuously being done here, as the fight on how to really restore the temple (whether chop the tree or not) didn't really come to a concrete conclusion



There is one temple that is even wilder, better preservation too, about 3 hours on Tuk-tuk away from town. Known as the Bang Melea. Many says it is a reference temple when they built the Angkor Wat, and it is as big as the Angkor wat. But we didn't really get to go there as we are always waking up too late.