Friday, 30 July 2010

Cambodia - Kemboja Part 2

Siem Reap

The Khmer or Angkor Civilization came into existence during the period from 802  to 1431 A.D. and stretched as far as the modern Thailand-Burma Border in the West and Wat Phou of Laos in the North during its peak.

Its emergence lies in the fact that the ancient Khmer rulers adopted a right political doctrine of its time, which enforce the unity among people. Moreover, they had developed an intelligent irrigation system to control the water of the great Mekong River for agricultures, which enhanced its prosperity.  The Khmer Civilization had long been perished over 5 centuries ago, but it left outstanding monuments such as the great Khmer temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon and numerous unique sculptures like Apsara.
The word "Angkor" is derived Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, of "Nagara" which means "City".  Angkor Wat literally means "City of Temple" and Angkor Thom "The Magnificent City".

The drive to Siem reap, was for as long as 8-hours (reminded me of our good old annual Hari Raya KL-Kelantan drive). It was bumpy, long but scenic. In which case i noticed there were NO CATS to be seen. Weird. 3 days in cambodia and not a single cat? 

Cambodians eat cats.

The above theory was supported by my fellow traveller who said that he had a cambodian neighbor who took in all the stray cats and made soup. aaaaaaa. no way!

anyway..the drive was scenic, and long. and filled with temples from left to right. there were exactly 245 temples in between those 8 hours. we counted. 
Siem Reap was bautiful. it was small, clean, and filled with four-five star hotels. It reminded me of Luang Prabang. where there were many tourists, but no night pubs. everythig was serene and cooler thn Phnom Penh.

I immediately fell for this place. did i say it was clean and immaculate?

So we went to see the Angkor. Not just the Angkor Wat, we saw the Elephant terrace, we climbed up into the Angkor Bayon and Ta Phrom. You know, where Angelina did her Tomb Raider thing.

To describe it is as difficult as it was to xplore it. To enter the Angkor, you have to purchase a ticket. It can be a one day ticket or a one week ticket. or even a one month ticket.

To xplore the whole Wat by foot on a day ticket was suicide. I mentally opted for the bicycle route only to find out that you have to rent the bike in town, and then cycle to Angkor, and inside Angkor itself. so, scratch that! Bus ride it is with the rest of the tour group. 

Our tour guide, was awesome! Mr Tan, whom i thought was a chinese Malaysian, but was actually a local Cambodaian told great stories. I mean history. yeah.
We only had a day and a half in Siem Reap, so we made the most of one day in Angkor. and the rest of the half day xploring the other options.

1. Silk worm factory!
2. Tonle Sap river boat ride.

If you dont know what Tonle Sap is. pls google and shame on your geography teacher.

those 2 i shall write about in the next entry. :D

Cambodia - Kemboja

 Phnom PenH

   I had a dream of conquering SouthEast Asia on my travels. When i say conquer i dont mean wars and spilled blood. I meant, of the educational leisure kind. :) It is my own country's back-yard. And so since 2009 i have checklisted the countries i've stepped in.
Laos, Vietnam and Singapore. Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar was still part of another plan (Granted that when my family roamed in bangkok, i was the only one left alone at home for my friends had planned an awesome surprise 16th birthday party for me :D ).

And in June, i finally made it to Cambodia, the famous world-heritage site of the oldest buddhist monument; The Angkor-Wat.  

Here is a view of the capital, Phnom Penh from the MAS 3-hour flight i took.

Arriving in Phnom Penh on my own, i took the first cab into the city which was about a 30-minute drive towards the hotel mum was staying at: Swiss inn. It was Malaysian owned and the only hotel crawling with Malaysians! (contributed by the fact that it served only halal food which was hard to find in this city). 

settling in, as mum was busy with her seminar, i joined her young-minded colleagues and her student in exploring the city. First stop was the royal palace. 

A brief history of Cambodia and the Khmer people for those who were ignorant of our Malay roots as well as combined east-asia culture like myself (sighs):

Cambodia is a country in South East Asia, less than half the size of California and twice the size of Scotland. Once it was the centre of the ancient kingdom of the Khmer, and its capital was Angkor, famous for its 12th century temples. The present day capital is Phnom Penh. In 1953 Cambodia gained independence after nearly 100 years of French rule. In the 1960s the population was over 7m, almost all Buddhists, under the rule of a monarch, Prince Sihanouk.
    I thought going to the royal palace, i might catch a glimpse of the royal Prince! but no such luck, we were however greeted by a giant portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. In my minds eye i was wondering what Queen Elizabeths photo was doing out here? And then the tuk-tuk driver told us that i was wrong. The portrait was of the Queen of Cambodiaa, Queen Monineath of the French lineage who resembles the British ruler down to a T. Though recalling i thing Queen M is pretty hot. haha.
   Anyway, we took the royal tour, and then walked along the Tonle Sap lake across the palace. It reeked. I guess its the same as Italy's waterways as they say. Photos can deceive u. just remember not to breathe in too long :)
Along the riverfront there were vendors selling flowers, in coconut vases! as well as insence sticks for us to vurn n pray. But most of all there were so many vendors selling fried creepy crawlies. Its similar to waht you might find in Thailand, but they smelled delicious though. But takng a second look my stomach turned and we settled for photo snapping instead. :)
Phnom Penh wasnt making too big an impression on me, so we decided to check out the all day market to feast on some shopping possibilities. Like any market; you can find bags, clothes, caps, food, shawls and the cambodian silk in every nook and cranny. Other wares include silver, bangles and jewelleries made of the local stones (which were awesomely cheap!)> Everything is negotiable and sells mostly in USD rather than Cambodian Riyal. But a majority of the Cambodians know Malay words, and take RM too!
There were calls of "Kakak, Abang, sini murah murah. cantik cantik," "tak mahal,"
which made us smile. AAh the comfort and hospitality of Asians :D.
English is easily understood though not really spoken. They do however excel at french. Wow! Being the cheapskate student traveller that i am. I bargained with the lowest prices and was answered by mostly laughs and shooaways by shop owners but the few that fell for my smile and childish bargaining (hahahah.) gave in to some low low prices (T-shirts was less than USD 1. thanks!)
2 Days in Phnom penh was just us walking around the city to see the sights and night market for food and shop. I couldnt wait for the bus ride to Siem Reap. The city of Angkor.

Life made out of cut-outs and memories

The photos as promised. :)

Zaznuriah Zahir & Hashley Tajuddin

Nurfarissa Hussin & Rushdan Anuar

Gorgeous Garden Wedding

  To both my gorgeoud friends and their husbands :) who we have known for years as well; congratulations and may both newlyweds have the best of future, in love, life and everything in between.Alhamdulillah ;)

Rainbow veins

Bright eyes and subtle variations of blow...

Owl City writes awesome songs. I'm a fan. not a HUGE fan. but some of their songs are so fun, upbeat and yeat meaningful. I am writing this simply because their new album is playing int he background and it has been on repeat for a week now (yes, i am the type who will never tire of a new cd for about 2 weeks till i find a new album to obsess about).

I miss writing. I've been overly invested on my other interests and obligations in the past few months for lack of a better explanation. Perhaps no one will read this but just in case you might stumble upon my barren blog. i might as well writer something. :p

I got my anesthesiology department results today. And if u know me n realize i put up 'I <3 SAGA' on my fb status? I wasnt referring to Proton's first car, or my good ol car back home. Its an abbreviation of my examiner's name. Because i got an A! (i have bragging rights yes!)

Lats just say i was pleasantly surprised because a LOT has happened in that department and in between my holiday period before i took that exam. My hopes of excelling were practically zero.

Long story short. I went back to Malaysia on June 4th, a night before Za's wedding, on my scheduled exam day to which i had to postpone till i got back from Malaysia.

And i stayed in Malaysia till 14th July because Sha's wedding was on the 10th. You see? they are my closest and oldest girlfriends which made both weddings impossible to miss. I put my exam on hold for those two. And of course my ex-uia roomie Tai2's 3rd reception was on the 4th of July. Do you see where i'm going with this? (Photos i'm gonna put up in the next entry )

And once i was in Malaysia--for no less than 6 weeks; it's probable to say i was definitely going to travel somewhere and not be home ALL day.

I went to Melaka and Kedah to see my brothers.
I accompanied my mum to Cambodia on a seminar.
I went on a foodie road-trip with pals to Ipoh

And i stayed up late everynight to watch the World Cup.

Did you think i had time to study?

So on the day i flew back (14th), went home, cleaned up the ol shack and studied a little.
i went to see my examiner the enxt day to report to him and he set up my exam date, for two days later.

On the same day i was reporting for my first week duties of the O.B.G.Y.N dept. So mentally i was breaking down for fear of failure. And believe me when i say you DO NOT want to repeat anesthesiology dept.

He made me wait. As usual. About 4 hours. while he waited for all his opeartions to be over. then he decide to give me a written exam. (phewww).

And here we are. :)

like i said. I <3 Saga :D