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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Siem Reap What You Sow in Cambodia

Next stop in SE Asia was Siem Reap, Cambodia. Took Cambodia Angkor Air from Bangkok, Thailand. Originally planned on making a quick stop in Bangkok but due to the protest decided to bypass it. However, had to change planes in BKK. Bangkok almost got us. I shit you not. I've been in a lot of airports and I must say that BKK needs to get their shit together. Almost missed the flight to Siem Riep because of poor signage and lack of knowledge of who can assist or where things are. Didn't realize that we had to exit the terminal completely to check in even though there are signs directing "transfers go west". I admit I had a bit of a melt down. But after running around with 5 kg on my back and sweating from every pore on my exhausted body we managed to get on a plane. 
Landing in Siem Reap was quite interesting. My passport had to be handled by at least 10 people including a 4 year old. I'm not exaggerating on this or kidding. Ok, the 4 year old didn't touch my passport. But I'm sure she glanced at it. I guess in some countries it's quite all right to bring your kids to work. It cost $20 for a visa and $2 to get your photo taken. So, if you have an extra passport photo laying around bring it with you to avoid $2 charge.
Visiting Angkor Wat/ Vat was a very spiritual experience for me. I remember in my Art History 101 class learning the symbolic meaning of this fortress and the details of the bas reliefs was so intriguing to me. Taking an Eastern philosophy/religion course and learning about the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, & Upanishad was just another solidification of the excitement and desire to visit this marvelous place. To walk, touch, breathe, & be spiritually in tune with its grandeur was an experience that will be etched in my memory.
Being an ethnic minority, I understand the push and pull to be more westernized but trying to be traditionally inclined to my first culture. The limbo of how do we ethnics, keep our "old" traditions and move forward with modern times? I took note of the marginalization of the people of Cambodia. The majority of the people that worked in the tourism industry in Siem Reap were people from the country side. The average income per day is $1! This hit me really hard because for the majority of us, $1 can barely get us a bottle of water (In Australia, a bottle of water average cost $4). The value of a dollar- it can make you the richest or the poorest. It's all relative to where you are in the world. 
Lessons here: Be humble - don't demean anyone that you know may not have the things you have. Stop being a whiny bitch because your friend just posted a picture of her new LV purse and you want one too. Lastly, be grateful that you get to drink water from the faucet, throw your toilet paper down the toilet instead of the trash can provided, and live in better conditions than most people in this world. 
amongst the many to witness the sunrise 

sunrise on Angkor Wat



soaking up the sun's rays on the east side of Angkor Vat

Lunch break from restoration of the temples


Something beautiful always occur in the most unlikely place

"Churning of the Milk" entrance to Angkor Thom

The many faces


Children waiting for their mother to get done with work

Getting serenaded through the ancient ruins

Ta Prohm where Tomb Raider was filmed

Chillin' at The Mulberry Boutique Hotel

Foot massage, anyone?

First bar on Pub Street in Siem Reap

Riding in style

Cambodia, thank you for humbling my soul and letting me appreciate of all things that I have. You have my deepest thanks and I will always be indebted for the life experience/ lesson that I came out with.  Chum Riep Leah!

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