March 2009 Archives

Cambodia - Banteay Srei carvings (3)

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A last pair of photos from Banteay Srei. The figures in the lower photo are modern copies of the originals, which are in the national museum. They are rather jarring given the harmony of the rest of the site, but I think the image is striking just for that reason.

Cambodia - Banteay Srei carvings (2)

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Two more of the wonderful sculptures from Banteay Srei. These may be representations of the Hindu god Krishna.

Cambodia - Banteay Srei carvings

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A couple of the exquisitely detailed carvings from Banteay Srei. Whole walls and buildings are covered with this!


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Cambodia - Banteay Srei

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The most exquisite of the Angkor temples is Banteay Srei, renowned for the intricacy of its carvings. According to Wikipedia,

"Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a "precious gem", or the 'jewel of Khmer art.' "

Cambodia - Angkor Thom Central Terrace

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The Central Terrace at Angkor Thom is richly decorated with bas reliefs of elephants and the sacred Garuda, and the stairs have statues of the cobra Naga and lions.

Cambodia - Angkor Thom Bayon Faces

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From Wikipedia:

"Angkor Thom was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by king Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 kmĀ², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman's state temple, the Bayon ..."

"The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak."

Cambodia - Angkor Thom carvings

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It's not clear whether this great four-headed carving over the entrance gate to Angkor Thom represents the Buddha, or King Jayavaraman VII who caused the complex to be built, or someone else. (click to enlarge)

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A delicate carving of dancers (click to enlarge)

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Bas-relief of a battle (click to enlarge)

Cambodia - Angkor Thom Gods and Demons

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A short bridge leads to the great temple complex at Angkor Thom. On the left are gods; on the right, demons. In Khmer mythology, together they churned the Ocean of Milk and liberated the elixir of immortality. According to Wikipedia

"The churning of the Ocean of Milk was an elaborate process. Mount Mandaranchal was used as the dasher (churning tool), and Vasuki, the king of serpents, became the churning rope. The gods held the tail of the snake, while the demons (Asuras) held its head, and they pulled on it alternately causing the mountain to rotate, which in turn churned the ocean. However, once the mountain was placed on the ocean, it began to sink. Vishnu in his second incarnation, in the form of a turtle Kurma, came to their rescue and supported the mountain on his back."

Cambodia - Siem Reap and Angkor Thom

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Sala Bai Restaurant Training School in Siem Reap. We had a good lunch and tour at this school, which trains young people from underprivileged families (income below the Cambodian poverty line is REALLY low) to work in the hospitality industry. Some were learning to be chefs and waitstaff, some maids and laundry workers, others hotel clerks and managers.

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Elephant and mahout at Angkor Thom. If you wished (our group didn't) you could ride an elephant (dyed black) into the ruins.

The Angkor civilization in Cambodia, centered near the city of Siem Reap, is so full of fascinating ruins that it's easy to forget about the people who make it possible for us tourists to enjoy the wonderful sights.

Cambodia - Ta Prohm people

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Was this little boy sitting there hoping for a small payment for being photographed? (I didn't offer to pay, and he didn't ask.) Or was he just enjoying the people-watching?

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A group of musicians who had lost limbs to land mines. A reminder of the tragic history of Cambodia, which despite that history seems like a remarkably good-humored country.


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Cambodia - Ta Prohm bas reliefs

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Cambodia - Ta Prohm details

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Cambodia - Ta Prohm

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According to Wikipedia, "Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors."


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Cambodia - Auspicious Days

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Chinese New Year shrine in Borei Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap. (click to enlarge)

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Partial eclipse of the sun seen from the Preah Ko temple. (click to enlarge)

Our photographic journey through Cambodia begins with a couple of auspicious events: Chinese New Year and a partial eclipse of the sun.

I've just published my photo books on Cambodia and Vietnam at the Blurb site. You can see a preview of the first 15 pages of each at the site.



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Singapore - Icons

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Esplanade - Theaters on the Bay (click to enlarge)

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Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of the city of Singapore in 1819

I conclude this collection of Singapore photos with two icons of the city.

Next, Cambodia.

Singapore Zoo - Splashes of Red

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For the last photos from the Singapore Zoo, a few flashes of vivid color.

Singapore Zoo - Strangeness

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Most people seem to think that orangutans are cute or otherwise attractive. I think they're strange -- stranger than the other great apes. In any case, the Singapore Zoo has a good orangutan exhibit.

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A pygmy hippo, with a young spectator reflected in the glass. Looks a bit otherworldly to me.

Singapore Zoo - Baboon Colony

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The Singapore Zoo has a lively colony of Hamadryas baboons from Ethiopia. Here are three shots of life in the colony.

Singapore Zoo - White and Black

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Singapore has a wonderful zoo, one of the best we've seen. Both the animals and the landscaping are superb. Perhaps the biggest attraction is a group of white tigers. The black gibbon also caught our attention.

Singapore - Botanic Gardens Waterfalls

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The Singapore Botanic Gardens has several pretty little waterfalls.

Singapore - Botanic Gardens (2)

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In the Orchid Garden (click to enlarge)

Singapore - Botanic Gardens

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Despite its heavy commercialism, Singapore has not neglected its scenic and recreational aspects. The Botanic Gardens is a lovely respite from the concrete and steel of the business district.

My photo book on Singapore, most of whose pictures have appeared on this blog, has just been published by Blurb. Log on to see a preview.



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Singapore - Merlion

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The Merlion (think mermaid) on Marina Bay is an icon of Singapore. (click to enlarge)

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Here it is spouting at three casinos going up across the bay. (click to enlarge)

Singapore - Suntec City Mall

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Suntec City Mall is the big new shopping center in Singapore. I'd guess that it's at least as big as the Mall of America in Minnesota (though without the amusement park; in Singapore, business is all business). I was particularly struck by this colorful display of bicycles.

Singapore -Ferris Wheel and Skyscrapers

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Singapore Flyer (photo modeled after Joel Meyerowitz's "St, Louis and the Arch"). (click to enlarge)

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Singapore Memorial Tower, in the middle of the business district. (click to enlarge)

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These four skyscrapers, whose lower floors comprise the Suntec City Mall, surround the Fountain of Wealth, the world's largest fountain (not shown). \click

Singapore - Chinatown

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The old buildings and street markets of Chinatown have been largely torn down and replaced by modern glass and steel.

Singapore - Little India Mosque

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The Abdul Gafoor Mosque is a few blocks from the center of Little India. It's a pretty, peaceful place. You have to take off your shoes before you enter the grounds.

Singapore - Little India Temple (2)

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Two more photos from Little India's colorful Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

Singapore - Little India Temple

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The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Singapore's Little India district is one of the liveliest and most colorful I've ever seen.

Singapore - Little India Markets (2)

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Singapore - Little India Markets

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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