Monday, July 9, 2012

Siem Reap, Cambodia - Let's Explore Together

Historical interesting day it has been. Walking back to ancient era for finding out why Angkor Wat is the pride of Cambodia (Angkor Wat). Nonetheless, frankly speaking, the after effects were massive. I was akin a brown flour dusted soft cake, additionally, I smelled worse than the fish market due to sweated out in the torturous sun and my legs, I tell you, almost ripped apart (Ho Chi Minh City). Henceforth, after dinner, I showered like nobody’s business, thank god for the hair dryer which I badly needed and what else can possibly be next but almost instantly collapsing on bed. Wrestling out of bed next morning, I made it for breakfast, by 9,00am, we left groovingly for further Siem Reap discovery. First stop, Artisan d’Angkor for lending our social responsibility support, in any which way we can, towards the objective of training the boys and girls for the betterment of their future.

For a fact, Artisan d'Angkor''s mission of contributing towards the society is what you see and read once you walk into the rather small workshop. Those boys and girls at work, wonder why, despite us being friendly, they just wouldn’t want to look at us at all. Anyway, within the next 10 minutes, we had seen it all. Nothing much is there actually. While tour buddies headed to the shop where you can buy the products out from the workshop, I decided not to. Not because I didn’t want to support the good cause of Artisan dÁngkor, shopping by itself is out of the question for me. No other particular reason.  

An hour in Artisan d'Angkor actually crawled worse than a tortoise. We could have done it by half an hour, then again, such a thing I guess is something you have to put up with if you tour group travel. Out of Artisan dÁngkor, we were already seated in Restaurant Cambodian Kitchen before 12pm. Indeed, a very early lunch, one which didn’t let us down. Spiciness, sourness, sweetness and saltiness, all of these tastes popping up in the dishes we tucked in. Sheer delightfulness. 

Tummy heartily filled, we got moving to “Wat Thmey/The Cambodian Killing Fields where initially, we only noticed the Buddha Statues, the homes of the monks, the teaching hall and the small gift shop. But these soon vanished from our mind once we saw the glass memorial that houses the skulls and bones of those who were killed and buried during Khmer rule from 1975-1979. Oh-my-god. Merciless killing, torture and heart wrecking reminiscences of Cambodia's past trouble, basically, what Cambodians endured during Pol Pot's dictatorship. Tragic. Honestly, we were all, mind you, quite shaken up. We felt as though a sharp arrow had pierced, right at the heart of our heart. 

Literally constantly or every now and then, talking or dwelling on the hard core Khmer regime, we had by this hour arrived in Cambodian Village. The first we did in Cambodian Village was entering the museum. Cambodian history. Honestly, nothing really spectacular, you shall skip it if you don’t feel like. Not in the afternoon when you are already slightly dazed after visiting other places. 

Subsequently, we walked to the theater across for the Cambodian Cultural Show. Madness. Hot, stuffy and so many people on this really hot afternoon until I wanted to run out. I couldn’t take it. But nothing much I could do because there was hardly any space, even the floor was occupied. So, I had no other choice except staying put, whether I actually watched the show, that's definitely besides the point. All the dainty dancing was such a waste of my time.
Thank god, show ended within an hour, next was the acrobatic show at the open area. Interesting start, colourful costumes and stunts, but after the first 10 minutes, it came on as a boring stuff.
I walked off. I grabbed a drink from the stall across the road, and that’s when I notice the "Pong Tia Koon/Cambodian Balut or fertilized duck embryo. Embryo? So this is the famous embryo, I've read about? Must be. Eaten by cracking the shell, tip some salt atop, before sucking up the gooey smelly egg. Oh no! The thought of it already got my tummy twisted, the last thing I wanted is running to the toilet or vomiting. I may be an adventurous person, but not to the extent of sucking embryo from such a dusty and dirty road side stall.
End of day in Siem Reap, off to the airport for later touching down in Hanoi. 

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  1. So interesting to see these pictures of skilled artisans at work. Your post reminded me of such a place in Bhutan. They didn't seem to be distracted by the tourists who looked on and took photos. They went on working. Another aspect of Cambodian life that we might not have seen otherwise. Looking forward to your lunch in a Cambodian restaurant.

  2. Really loved this post nava and really hats off to those artists.super

  3. It is some thing great not to be disturbed by other while doing the work.

  4. Beautiful sculptures. Interesting post.. Nice to know about skilled artisans..

  5. they are so beautiful because people behind work so hard for one single piece...lovely pics nava...sorry dear could not catch up long time, now am back on track

  6. Love anything related to art.Loved the pics of workshop and skilled artisans.

  7. Wow Nava you show us something new every time!!! Loved the pictures and the project

  8. It very interesting to know where the items come from and started in this case amazing sculpture.


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