Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sokha Angkor Hotel

My friend David worked at the was a beautiful hotel and noteworthy because it used to be a prison. Pretty cool, eh?

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Silk Farm

I was a little resistant to the idea of going to a Silk farm seeing as I had no need for silk and it just sorta seemed like a kitschy thing to do. But Andrew insisted it was really interesting and boy am I glad we went. I had no idea what a lengthy process it was and how fascinating it truly is. I took way more photos than I've posted here and there are several key steps missing, but I put the ones I thought most photogenic :)

Step 1: Plant mulberry bushes
Step 2: Put silkworm larvae in with said mulberry leaves and let them go to town
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Step 3: Fatten 'em up (they eat for about six weeks straight...)
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Step 4: Let 'em start their spinnin...(cocoons take about 3 to 8 days to make)
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Step 5:  Take the cocoons and get 'em ready for treatment (FACT (that I didn't know): the cocoon has both types of silk: raw and fine. Raw silk is the outside layer and fine, the inside.)

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Step 6: Put cocoons in boiling water and then the silk somehow magically unwinds and becomes tiny tiny threads (this part may have been the coolest, but I didn't get a good photo)
Step 7: Silk is this yellow color so these beautiful ladies spool it before it gets dyed.
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Step 8: Prep for dying
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Step 9: Dyed silk is then put onto spools.
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Step 10: Silk is dyed into several colors using tumuric, black/blueberries, indigo, etc etc
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Step 11: Ladies be weavin' (I made this baby cry)
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Lolei is the northernmost Hindu temple of the Rolous Group. It was in a pretty shoddy state but a French guy and a Cambodian girl were there taking measurements and photographs with plans to help restore it. A small Buddhist temple was built adjacent to it.

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Bakong was probably my second favorite Angkorian temple. About 19km from Siem Reap, this temple is part of the Rolous Group and was built in the 9th century (ipso facto: Hindu) and was the first temple built of sandstone. It is surrounded by a large moat. Since a village was built around it there were tiny school girls walking around the outside and it was a beautiful spot to be at sundown. Andrew told me that every new year there is a huge party where they play games, drink, bands play and they all watch the sunrise the next morning. Sign this girl up.

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she copied me.
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Preah Ko

Preah Ko is one of three temples in the Rolous Group (all about 15-20km away from Siem Reap). All are a bit defunct and decrepit but Andrew and I had fun goofing off just the same :)

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Bayon and Angkor Thom (Part 2)

Back to my favorite temple, Bayon. My previous visit and info here.

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I honestly can't remember/find the name of this temple


Either way, I met a precious old man with no teeth who blessed me and told me some stories about this temple. There were jewels, gold and beautiful bas relief's inside this temple in the inner sanctum. In the 70s when the Khmer Rouge ransacked all temples, they cut off all the religious imagery in this temple as it was sacrilegious to their "cause"...more to come on that.

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this man was so cute...he said a prayer, flicked water all over me and tied this flower to my bracelet :)
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Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei is a 10th century Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva. It was built solely by women and is about 25km northeast of the main Angkor temple group. One reason it was built so far away is because it is closer to the mountains and therefore closer to the source of red sandstone. This temple is particularly revered for its intricate carvings, but it was a little too crowded and over-hyped for my liking.

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At a few of the main temples there are Land Mine Victim bands...all of the members were injured by landmines (which was and still is a huge problem in Cambodia, now mostly just in the countryside). There are estimated to be 4 to 6 million landmines still buried (and undetonated) in Cambodia. If you want to read more about land mines and how you can help go here.


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Siem Reap Public Gardens

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Wat Bo

One of my non-temple days I wandered around Siem Reap. I stumbled upon Wat Bo, a small Buddhist temple, and spent 45 minutes talking to a monk (who asked me for my email address). The temple itself was quite ornate...there was even a secret crawl space the monk showed me. During the Khmer Rouge, monks were among the first to be executed so they hid in this attic for days and days. Crazy.

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David's Birthday Party

We (Denny, Andrew, David and Kong) went out to the Baray (man-made Angkorian period lake) for David's birthday. We swam, ate chickens (or were they ducks?), rice, crickets, and drank lots of beer. This place reminded me of Austin. Ya'll would love it.

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pretty sure he was listening to Rhianna on repeat

Children of Kompompluk

While Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, I don't think I ever saw what I would consider true "poverty" until visiting this village. I spent most of my time in the two biggest cities and in a backpacker beach resort, so it wasn't until Kompompluk that I really realized I was in a third world country. The children in the "high part" of this village (ie: the water wasn't high enough in a certain area so kids could play on the ground) were beautiful and curious and friendly. I loved taking pictures of them and some of these are my favorite of my entire trip.

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swatting flies
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