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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turning the Pages of Angkor Wat



I have this place inserted inside my head as far I could remember. Was it somewhere I've read as a kid? some documentary on TV that I've seen, I could not exactly pinpoint the source of my obsession to see this place. Angkor Wat for me is like a page from the book I'm reading, as days and years gone by, the pages seems to thicken and the more I feel my chances slithering away.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Nomadic Pranksters: 2011 Masskara Festival




Famous beat writer Ken Kessey unofficially formed "Merry Pranksters" in the 60's. It is composed of a group of people bonded by a singular thread that weaves them all together. Theirs was a choice of an unconventional lifestyle, of living communally and taking road trips across the United States (while high with something - LSD?). It was a set-up that have provided them a rich set of experiences, that somehow made it into works of literature, as most of them are writers in the said era. To know more about these gregarious people, reading Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" should be a good start.

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The River Garden, Siem Reap



Our home away from home for two nights while in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The River Garden was the accommodation provided for me by Roomorama months before my trip. I remember while planning my trip to Siem Reap, I told myself I would not mind sleeping on benches in a park just to visit the place at all cost, though sometimes surprises comes in great package and I was able to book this place courtesy of Roomorama, which is the leading online provider of "quality accommodations for the curious travelers" 

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nomadic Video 3: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


It's hard to write something about this place. It's hard enough being there with all your human emotions all over the place. More difficult to walk around and stare at the nameless portraits of those who died there. The air inside was that of modern day peace time, but the presence of the walls that surrounds you, tells of an unspoken grim and brutal past.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Banteay Srei Temple in Angkor



Like any good addiction such as traveling, our temple hopping never hovered near overdose level. Reason why we went further from the main Angkor complex to explore more temple ruins. Banteay Srei is one of my favorite temples in the former Khmer capital of Angkor. It is probably the most intricately designed sanctuary in Siem Reap, as evidenced by the impressive and elaborate carvings adorning  its still impressively looking walls. The temples doesn't share the capacious temples around Angkor, but it definitely showcases a unique characteristic. 

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Nomadic Video 2: Angkor Wat



Here is the music video of the various moving images of Angkor Wat and the many temples surrounding it. I made sure I was able to shoot enough scenes as this has been the trip I've been wanting to make for the longest time. What better way than to store it not only in my memory vault, but have it go along with one of my favorite songs of all time, "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phnom Pehn de Sarapen: Border Crossing


I arrived a day earlier in Ho Chi Minh and spent the whole day walking around the city, getting myself immersed in a new place which hurriedly became familiar to me. From crossing the street with the engines of motorcycles revving up and whose drivers will never slow down, I've become an expert in not getting ran over in just a few tries. I've also politely rejected motorcycle drivers and rickshaw operators' offer of ride, as I just told them "I'm just walking around". Which I did before retiring to the guest house and waited for my brother who arrived early morning the next day. After a short nap, we went out to the then awakening city of Saigon and had a quick breakfast in order to catch the 6:30 AM bus going to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A day earlier, I already purchased two one way tickets to Phnom Penh which costs $10.00 per person at the Sihn Tourist located at De Tham street - which is just beside both Buy Vien and Pham Ngu Lao.

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War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City



The "Vietnam War" is one of the most infamous events of recent times. Told to us by a telling number of movies made in Hollywood which heightened only the conflict through the eyes of the Americans. I grew up watching the films by Oliver Stone ("Platoon"), Francis Ford Coppolla ("Apocalypse Now") and Stanley Kubrick ("Full Metal Jacket") of how the war besieged the innocence of young Americans drafted into the battlefields of Vietnam. Truth to be told, the war is more terrifying and harrowing if looked from the eyes and the experiences of the Vietnamese people, 3 million of whom (2 million civilians) died in the senseless conflict brought upon from former US President Dwight Eisenhower's unfounded "domino theory" paranoia in Asia.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Phnom Bakheng Sunset


After an almost 7 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, we finally rolled into Siem Reap and the feeling of excitement has swelled into a massive wave inside my body. My mind is painting a picture of the vast Angkor Wat complex and its nearby and equally impressive temple ruins. Comparing what I had imagined and read before to what I will see in a short while, equals every adolescent boy's first foray into a lovemaking session with a beautiful girl.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Roomorama: You Khin House in Phnom Penh


True to form with Roomorama's vision of introducing the other aspects of traveling aside from "visiting a checklist of tourist attractions". The experience I had with You Khin House in Phnom Penh, Cambodia opened my eyes to the many things, a traveler can do while visiting a particular city on a longer term. The idea of joining an NGO organization like the one behind You Khin House presents an ideal chance to mix traveling and helping others.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reunification Palace: Last Bastion of South Vietnam

I grew up watching a battalion of Vietnam War movies and TV shows. From "Platoon", "Born on the 4th of July", "Full Metal Jacket", "Hamburger Hill" and even Chuck Norris' "Missing in Action" series. I've forever associated Vietnam with that brutal part of its history. Fast forward to today, I see the city of Ho Chi Minh as a country miles away from that bloody image of Saigon during the war. The peace-time version has disengaged my mind from its former image. Better be, because the end of Vietnam War  happened almost 37 years ago. It was on the day of April 30, 1975 when a tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army came crashing through the gates of what is then known as the Independence Palace. The ensuing short battle paved the way for the Fall of Saigon, thereby putting the control of all of Vietnam into the hands of the communist North Vietnamese forces.

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The view from the 2nd flr window of the Palace

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dispatch From Saigon



I'm writing this inside our $12 room in Saigon. My brother is already snoring and sleeping soundly, while I just had the urge to write something. This is our last night on a journey that has taken us from Saigon - Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia and back again in Ho Chi Minh. It was a trip that finally morphed my childhood fascination of seeing Angkor Wat - into a reality. By tomorrow, this epic on the road experience will total 8 days, one of my longest so far, in terms of traveling in between my day job.

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